By Chuck Woodbury
Last week I told you about the portable darkroom I once carried with me in my motorhome. What I didn’t tell you was how much fun it was to take photos back then (and now, too).
If you are looking for a creative hobby while traveling, consider photography. A small point and shoot camera or even an iPhone is all you need. An instruction book on basic photography techniques will help.
I love to take photos of all things odd and funny. As I head down an unfamiliar road, my eyes are darting left, right, up, down, everywhere — on the lookout for something “different” — a funny business slogan on a sign, an unusual mailbox, or perhaps a giant statue of a steer high atop a restaurant (“Steaks served here”). In Woodland, California I snapped a photo of City Hall along with the street sign out front, “Dead Cat Alley.”
I am always looking for strange looking animals — most often fake ones — like the photo above of a T-Rex that appears to be intent on terrorizing a town. Actually, it was a statue in Vernal, Utah. A small sign in front said, “Welcome to Vernal.” To snap my photo, I walked down the street a few hundred yards and used a telephoto lens to make the dinosaur appear large and menacing. It remains one of my very favorite roadside shots!
Not far away, a far friendlier looking dinosaur stood in front of the Motel Dine A Ville (now gone). Today, the dinosaur welcomes visitors to Utah’s “Dinosaur Land.” Years ago, local high school students with bows and arrows would occasionally take target practice on the defenseless beast.
I will drive out of my way to photograph anything that’s the “World’s Largest.” I have stopped several times in Winlock, Wash., for example, to photograph the “World’s Largest Egg.” In Brunswick, Missouri I proudly photographed the “World’s Largest Pecan.”
Occasionally, a photo simply presents itself, like the friendly chipmunk that showed up at my campsite in the Lassen (Calif.) National Forest. The little fellow demanded Cheez-Its. This was back when I fed wild animals (naughty me). Looking at the photo of this cute little guy peeking over my coffee mug always makes me smile.
For many years now I have carried a small, inexpensive point-and-shoot camera. It’s all anyone needs these days to take interesting travel photos. Most people, I have observed, photograph mostly scenery on their trips, most of which will bore their friends and have little interest to the photographer years later. My advice: take pictures of friends, family, interesting people you meet — and maybe keep an eye out for offbeat stuff. A funny photo can make people laugh just as much as a good joke.