For years our family vacations have come closer to resembling hostage-taking events than relaxing getaways.
We do a lot of abrupt stopping on vacation all in the name of scenic photography. The husband takes command of the vehicle and refuses to let go. We careen to the side of the road for a waterfall and screech to a stop in a gravel parking lot for a nest of osprey.
It is like riding in a getaway car, speeding from one telephoto shot to another.
The Photo Marketing Association reports that digital camera owners in the United States will shoot 27 billion photos this year. What they failed to report is that the husband will take 26 of those 27 billion.
So the man is an overachiever. He does good work.
Still, there's only so much stopping and starting you can do before you start to feel the effects of whiplash.
"When the cable cars jerk to a halt in San Francisco, the conductors at least call out the stop," I say.
"Blue sky with sailboats!" he yells as we shoot to a boat dock.
"Old timer in quaint village!" he calls, doing a quick U-turn.
"Field of blue lupine," he yells, jerking the car hard right.
I'm not saying all of his picture taking has made me suspicious, but when he suggests we go for a walk because it is a full moon, I ask who is going.
"Is this 'we' you and me, or is it you, me and the camera?"
We rented a cottage for a week in a small lobster village in Maine this summer. The locals say civil sunrise there is around 3:30 a.m. although it feels considerably uncivil when your room lights up a full two hours before the sun actually pops into view. It's morning light that lasts half the day and is a photographer's dream.
One morning we went for a bike ride at 5:30 a.m. with the husband balancing cameras and lenses in a backpack strapped to his bike. In a small rocky cove, a lone lobsterman in a red shirt was checking his cages from a blue and yellow boat.
The husband parked his bike to shoot and I pedaled a ways farther. I did a U-turn, overshot the road with no shoulder and wound up in a small gully. The husband was focused on a quiet scenic while an action shot was unfolding right behind him.
I often entertain myself by reading a book while he jogs out for his brief photo shoots. I read three books on vacation. In two days.
When the husband stopped to photograph a lily pond for the second time in a half an hour, I put myself on a reward system. For every minute he kept shooting, I rewarded myself with an M&M from a bag in the center console in the car.
The husband got back in and asked if I had heard a deep thud-like noise. "It was like something was banging over and over," he said.
"Like this?" I asked, dropping the lid to the console.
We cruised a quarter mile and made a quick turn into a small market.
"Where's the picture?" I asked. "I need new batteries," he said.
"Then get more M&Ms."