Stories beyond words – Part 7

by Steve Brock on May 2, 2013

In our review of stories and how to tell them with images, I want to share one last often overlooked point. We frequently focus on the “what,” “who” and “where” of our trips: what we see/do/eat, who we meet or travel with and where we go. Rarely, however, do we capture the “how”and the “why.”

I’ll save the “why” for later, but let me leave you with one final image from Bar Harbor, Maine that captures the “how.”

Cruise Ship in Bar Harbor, MaineI won’t take time now to explore the pros and cons of vacationing on a cruise ship since there are strong points to be made on each side. This particular trip was one where my parents, to celebrate some significant birthdays and anniversaries, took my family and my brother’s family on a cruise from Boston up to Montreal. Our first stop was Bar Harbor.

I chose this image to illustrate that it captures in part the story of how we got to Maine. But it incorporates enough of the setting to locate it clearly, at least for those of us who were there.

On your next trip, try and record in photos some of the “how” of the trip, from packing and leaving your house to the forms of transportation you used to some of the rooms where you stayed. They may not seem like interesting subjects to some, but they can form a useful narrative for you when you look back on your trip. Moreover, when seen in sequence (as we discussed in the post on focusing on the details), they tell a story of movement and the daily necessities of travel.

And if you think about it, you’ll find that the “how” of travel may be as meaningful to your trip as any other factor.


Here’s the rest of the series: Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6


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Stories beyond words – Part 6

by Steve Brock on April 26, 2013

I’ve kept you guessing through this series that looked at how photos can tell stories as much (or sometimes better) than words. We saw how people in the image can add to the narrative, how sometimes you don’t need people in your shots, how black and white images tell a different story than color and how focusing on the details makes for more interesting tales. All along, I asked you to guess where the place was. So here’s the answer (in photos, of course!):

Beer signIf you look closely, you can see the unlit sign for Bar Harbor Real Ale. Now they could serve this beverage anywhere, but what better place than in the town where it is brewed?

Bar Harbor, Main StreetIf you’ve ever been to Bar Harbor, Maine (and neighboring Acadia National Park where the picture of the little girl and the coast were taken), you’ll likely recognize this strip of the main drag of the town.

If you haven’t, while the town itself can be rather touristy, Acadia is beautiful and definitely worth a visit.

I will show you one more image next time from this trip, but hopefully this gives you a brief overview of how photos can tell different kinds of stories on a trip – even one to Maine!

To be continued…

Check out Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 if you haven’t already.



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Stories beyond words – Part 5

by Steve Brock on April 23, 2013

I like the advice in this Wall Street Journal article on how to take better travel photos. The two biggest recommendations?

  1. Focus on the details.
  2. Take time to learn to be a better photographer.

The article provides some great tips on both points. And if you want some additional tips on taking better travel photos anywhere (not just in Machu Picchu), check out this article from the Tips and Tools section.

For now, however, let’s examine the first point and how focusing on the details in your travel photos can help you tell a better story.

Back to our mystery location, here are some detailed shots that help tell the story of the place. The main thing to note is that on their own, as single images, they may be somewhat interesting, but when you put all the details together, that’s when a real story of the place emerges. On your next trip, look for the little things that mean something to you. Realize that when you put them together, those details do add up, often showing a more powerful story than any single image can.

Buoys will be Buoys

This first image reminds me that the location is either by the water or someone there has an interesting collection…

Lobster CagesHere I used black & white because the image was pretty dull in color. You can see the continuation of the nautical theme.

After the mealThis final image shows the end result of the previous two photos. It reflects both the importance of lobster to this place and also the meal my family feasted on while there. That makes it personal to me but also representative of the place to others.

These are just some of the many details I could show from this location. The first photo in the series is another example. But when you see all three of them together, and increasingly in slideshows and on our phones and Facebook pages we’re seeing collections of images rather than single shots, they tell a fuller story than any one picture could. Figure out where this is yet?

To be continued…

Check out Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 if you haven’t already.


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Stories beyond words – Part 2

by Steve Brock April 12, 2013

There’s no one right way to tell a story visually. But there are some principles to consider that will increase the odds of communicating the story you want to convey in an image.

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Sadness and serendipity – Part 2

by Steve Brock October 21, 2011

You travel to a funeral expecting to mourn the family member you lost. But sometimes, you find instead a better appreciation for the family you have.

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God is in the details – Part 2

by Steve Brock October 11, 2010

Details add meaning to our trip because they often summarize or highlight a broader experience. But sometimes, they come to represent far more than what we saw. They also serve as reminders of what we felt and all the related associations and meaning of that moment.

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God is in the details – Part 1

by Steve Brock October 8, 2010

While it is important to capture the big picture scenes of a trip, sometimes the most meaningful moments are found in the details. Our day at the fair provides multiple examples of how in travel and photography, sometimes a limited focus reveals much more.

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