Bringing It All Back Home; The Best Place To Finesse Your Travel Photography Skills? Your Own Backyard
My first overseas trip combining travel and photography came in the summer of 1973, when I was one year out of high school. My uncle was the president of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and all his nephews got to work on a Merchant Marine ship over one summer in their lives. When it was my turn I worked in the kitchen on the ship and traveled to Scandinavia, England, and Ireland. I'd bought a Minolta SR-T 101, and over that summer I fell in love with travel and with photography. I look back at that experience as the root of who I am today.
What I remember most vividly, though, is coming home. After three months we came up the Cape Cod Canal, heading for Bourne, Massachusetts. I can remember the feeling I had, standing on deck. I'd been away almost three months, had seen Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, London, and Dublin, but what I was seeing and feeling then was the most beautiful experience of the trip. It's obvious why I felt that way--I was a teen-ager who missed his home and his family. But there was something else, too: I felt that visually there was no place like home. I had 90 days of shooting in what was for me pretty exotic territory, and yet as I was looking at the trees and the water, the sky and the clouds, I saw them in a way I'd never seen them before, even though I was born on Cape Cod.
So in addition to a love of photography and a love of travel, some other things were born that summer: a love of coming home and an appreciation of the visual beauty of things I often take for granted. Some 32 years later, I have the same love of travel and photography I had back then, and no matter if I'm returning from St. Petersburg, Hong Kong, Beijing, or Tokyo, I've got the same visual appreciation for my own backyard.
You may find that hard to believe. I go to a lot of exotic locations, so you'd think my own backyard would be no big deal. Well, yes and no. Home doesn't have the same electricity I feel when I get off the plane in an exotic place; it doesn't have that emotional sensation. But it's just as visually stimulating. The photographs here are ones I took on Cape Cod--our home is in Chatham, Massachusetts--and I took them with the same care, attention, and sense of discovery I bring to any photo I take anywhere. (And I took them with the same mixed bag of camera gear I'd use for my travels: Nikon F4 and F100, Canon EOS-1Ds and EOS-1Ds Mark II. I like zooms on the Nikons--the 28-80mm and the 80-200mm, particularly--and primes on the Canons--the 50mm, 85mm, 135mm, and 200mm.)