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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Photo Frenzy

Photos are an integral part of any travel abroad, whether for honeymoon, adoption, get-away vacation, or business.  Two basic shots will form the bulk of your album-to-be:  landscapes and closeups.

A simple point and shoot camera with a little bit of a zoom will generally do the trick.  This can slip in your purse or pocket, preferably an inside pocket to keep the batteries warm and operational in Siberian snowstorms.

There are the usual pictures:  moi in front of hotel, moi in front of monument, moi next to museum, moi on the beach (no, forget that one).  These are okay, because they say, “I was here.”

But, let’s think outside the box to parks, and street scenes, and funny local cars, and the post office.  Forget the supermarkets or gastronoms in Russia.  BTDT and almost got arrested, which makes me wonder what state secrets are being hidden among tanks of thrashing sturgeon, or jars of juicy caviar….

Where did your children play, where did you take your morning coffee, were the streets paved with cobblestones, what did the locals wear, how small or spacious was your hotel room?  I still have the photo of the tiny accommodation where I had to stack furniture if I hoped to open my suitcase.  These make for interesting pics.

Now let’s zoom closer:  the national coat of arms, your child’s face fast asleep on the pillow, the odd foreign bathroom, a plate of your favorite food, a famous street sign up close, a metro ticket and some native currency, the first lick of the local ice cream, a breakfast of pickles and sausage.  These little details will make you smile years later.

Mix it up between stereotypical (Russian nesting dolls, a Venetian mask or gondola, street cars in San Francisco, the Peak Tram in Hong Kong) and the atypical (piles of strange food in the outdoor market, a gold-toothed smile, outdoor ballroom dancing, a delightful dog tied up outside a neighborhood store, a handful of chocolates, the label on their bottled water, an ironed newspaper, a silver spoon on crisp linen).

Always ask permission if you’re photographing a person up close and give them a reason why you want their picture (My grandmother was born here; I love the color of your coat; You have the cutest puppy; My son would enjoying seeing your medals, I have a daughter your age….)

To me, photography implies friendly overtures, so I never pay people to let me photograph them.  But then I’m no professional, just a happy traveler collecting memories.

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