Award-winning photographer and FamilyTravel.com contributor Chase Guttman, enjoys traveling with his family and capturing special memories with his camera. Here, he shares tips that may inspire the budding shutterbugs in your clan.
1. Be adventurous.
“Veer off the beaten path. Take the road less traveled,” advises Guttman, who has visited dozens of countries and 45 US states. “Try to compose images that portray the essence of the culture you're experiencing. By thinking outside the box, you can put a fresh spin on a frequently photographed subject or destination. Don't be afraid to stretch out of your comfort zone and experiment.”
2. Get closer.
“When you create a feeling of intimacy and connection with your subject, you’ll capture stunning portraits,” advises the New York City native. “Every face tells a unique story. Wrinkles map out a life of hardship and piercing eyes offer a peak into a person’s emotional state. In essence, portraiture allows you to unveil your subject's world for all to see.”
3. It's in the details.
"Zero in on essential details that will tell a larger story about the people or destination you're capturing. Be aware that what you leave out of the frame can be as important as what you include,” advises Guttman. "With focus, you can effectively squeeze an exciting visual experience within the rectangular shaped frame.”
4. Head towards the action.
As illustrated in many of his favorite images, Guttman explains that “By diving into the middle of the action you’ll capture an array of energy and emotion. Local markets, sporting events, and festivals offer unique insights into people’s daily lives."
“No matter what camera you have in hand," he adds, "you can paint dynamic and visually arresting action shots by clicking the shutter while moving your body at the same pace as the moving object you're trying to capture.”
5. Plan ahead.
“It helps to be in the right place at the right time,” advises Guttman. “Early morning conditions offer unique advantages for photographers. Wildlife is more likely to be active and visible. A tranquil atmosphere makes water reflections more pristine, and you'll have a better chance to capture dawn’s magical mist and dew. Also, early morning and evening lighting provide the best opportunities to create stupendous landscape and cityscape shots.
Chase Guttman has a long list of awards associated with his work including Young Travel Photographer of the Year, a Grand Prize in National Geographic’s International Photography Contest for Kids, and an Emerging Photographic Talent by the Young Photographer’s Alliance. to name a few His work has been exhibited at the Royal Geographical Society in London and he was included as a Top Ten Travel Photographer in the New York Institute of Photography's latest book. Check out Chase's amazing work and his book on Drone photography! at ChaseGuttman.com
Whether you're seeking the ultimate fly fishing experience, the most authentic cattle drive, or a haven for your children and family to run free, a dude ranch vacation may be your best connection to the great outdoors. Browse through these ten ranches to find your perfect dude ranch.
Lake Winnipesaukee. Wolfeboro, NH.
This spring-fed lake has served as the center of New England family holidays for decades. Surrounded by three mountain ranges, the wooded shoreline and numerous islands make for great picnicking, sunning and simply relaxing on or near the water. Visit local museums, enjoy community theatre or stroll along the beach with an ice cream cone. 1-800-516-5324; www.wolfeboroonline.com.
Caneel Bay, St Johns Virgin Islands
Once a favored getaway for Laurance Rockefeller and family, this 170-acre island paradise is tucked within the Virgin Islands National Park, a protection made possible by Rockefellar’s land donation to the government in 1956.
Beach vacations are hard to beat.
Toddlers build sand castles. Teens socialize around a volley ball net or work on their tan.
Adults enjoy a little peace and a paperback.
Here are eleven beach destinations that offer sun, sand and something more:
Caneel Bay, St Johns Virgin Islands.
Once a favored getaway for Laurance Rockefeller and family, this 170-acre island paradise is tucked within the Virgin Islands National Park, a protection made possible by Rockefellar’s land donation to the government in 1956. Today, family travelers can hike park trails and swim, snorkel, dive, kayak and sail in the pristine waters of the resort’s bays and inlets. Youngsters can enjoy a complimentary kids club experience while parents opt for tennis, relaxation on one of seven beaches or a massage in an open-air cabana. Plein aire art classes are also available for the creatively inclined. Contact: 340-776-6111; RosewoodResorts.com/en/caneelbay (Sadly, this resort is still recovering from hurricane damage.)
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
Wrap yourselves in luxury (and those deliciously cozy bathrobes) and enjoy a seaside holiday. Stow yourselves away inside the lush grounds or spill onto the famous Seven Mile Beach where snorkeling, beach walking, sand castle building can engulf the day. The hotel’s Cousteau-inspired Ambassadors of the Environment program offers more than 40 three-hour learning programs each week, designed to send family members home with a greater understanding of the islands as well the interconnectedness of the natural world . Contact: 800-241-3333; www.ritzcarlton.com/grandcayman
Bitter End Yacht Club. Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands.
Are there Jack Sparrow fans in your clan? This haven for sea-loving sailors and beach-goers is known for a plethora of harbors and cays that once served as refuge for Blackbeard and other sword-bearing swashbucklers. Their fanciful stories still abound. Your family will also enjoy sailing and other kid’s camp activities, kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, yoga classes, fishing and spa services. Contact: 800-872-2382; www.BEYC.com. (Recovering from hurricane damage.)
Atlantis Resort. Paradise Island, Bahamas.
With more than 140 acres of lazy-river rides, 18 adrenaline pumping slides and 11 pools, the kids may never dry off. Swim with the dolphins, join yoga and family fitness classes on the beach, and make arts and crafts. Check out The Dig, inspired by the legend of Atlantis, where an underground maze mixes tales of mysterious royal treasure with live eels and piranhas. Teens will love the swanky 14,000 square foot nightclub Crush. Contact: 1-888-877-7525; www.Atlantis.com.
Curtain Bluff Resort, Antigua, West Indies.
Visit this laid back, but luxurious, family-owned resort for an all-inclusive experience that offers extensive water sports including water skiing, deep sea fishing, snorkeling, paddle-boating, tennis, yoga, and sailing. As the kids burn off energy post another delicious meal, relax in a hammock you’ll find tucked within the palm trees. Spend an afternoon at the spa where open air massages provide a perfect end to sports-filled day. Contact: 888-289-9898; www.CurtainBluff.com.
Hilton Head Island, SC
Miles of bike trails, parasailing, plenty of golf, tennis and of course 12 miles of great beaches make this barrier island a popular destination for families. Scope out the blue herons or spot dolphins on the horizon. Contact: www.HiltonHead.org.
Club Med Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
If your kids (or you for that matter) have dreams of joining the circus, this seaside, all-inclusive resort is for you. Kids fly through the air on a swinging trapeze, learn juggling, acrobatics and other circus tricks and then provide a demonstration for the family at week’s end. A picturesque beach and extensive programs for kids from babies to teens, make this resort a great choice for active families. Contact: 1-888-932-2582; www.ClubMed.us.
One of our family favorites, the long, wide stretch of sand is home to the iconic Hotel Del Coronado, which provides easy access to the water and a host of sea side activities. Get out your boogie board, take surfing lessons or watch Navy seamen from the nearby base train along the beach. Contact: www.beachcalifornia.com/coronado
Assateague Island, MD
Assateague Island, home to Maryland’s only ocean State Park, is a barrier island bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Sinepuxent Bay. Two miles of ocean beaches offer swimming, beachcombing, surfing and fishing. On the bay side explore secluded coves by canoe or kayak. Check out the marsh areas for a variety of wildlife including the famous feral horses. Contact: http://www.atbeach.com/mdstpark/index.asp
Swim in the still waters of Nantucket Sound on the north side of the island or choose the Atlantic beaches on the south shore. Once a booming port, Nantucket is picturesque, historic and awash in the whaling lore that provides much of its current character. Still pristine, nearly 40 percent of the island is protected conservation land. This is an ideal spot for a relaxing family beach vacation. Contact: www. www.nantucketchamber.org
South Walton Beach, Fla.
Here 26 miles of sugar white sand beaches provide the perfect home base for relaxation or fun for the active family. More than 40 percent of the area is preserved through state parks and forests, creating an ideal place to hike, bike, kayak and fish. Contact: www.beachesofsouthwalton.com.
If your family is searching for a fresh experience, consider a farm stay. Here are five places where your crew can collect eggs, milk a goat or get their hands dirty in the garden:
Weatherbury Farm. PA.
Give your kids the chance to hand feed ( from a bottle ) baby lambs and toss grain to the free ranging chickens. By joining in these morning chores and learning about organic farming, they can earn the “Official Weatherbury Farm Kid” designation. Discover how the owners of this 100-acre, idyllic spot near Pittsburg, focus on using integrated techniques to manage their sustainable farming operation. You’ll stay in historic buildings and of course, dine on farm-fresh taste treats.
Mary Jane’s Farm. Moscow, ID.
Check into a stylish wall tent on Mary Jane Butters’ farm and the worries of the world will melt away. Gather your own eggs for breakfast. Pick vegetables you’ll enjoy for lunch. Visit the library housed in a barn. Burn calories helping out with farm chores. Relax in the outdoor living room area nestled in a grove of plum trees. Go for a hike or play cards or board games. Later get clean in the outdoor tub or showers.
Contact: 888-750-6004; www.MaryJanesFarm.org.
Leaping Lamb Farm. Alsea, OR.
Stow your technology and get to know this charming farm, the animals and the folks who run this 40-acre homestead in Oregon’s Coast Range. Enjoy a leisurely family breakfast in your cozy cabin that includes local eggs ( yep, right from the farm ) and other fruits, breads and cereals. Find your way to the orchard to pick apples, pears or plums. Lend a hand in the greenhouse and garden or learn about raising lamb and Heritage turkeys. Visit the horses, admire the peacock and make time for a hike or bike outing on neighboring trails.
Contact: 877-820-6132; www.leapinglambfarm.com
Pagett Farm. ME
Your kids can pal around with the pigs, goats, chickens and ducks and learn about organic farming. Gather the family to help out with the chores on this 63-acre spread or simply relax and enjoy the natural environment. Check out the starry night sky before falling asleep inside the luxe platform tents, each decked out with braided rugs and colorful quilts. Consider a visit to nearby lakes for kayaking, swimming or canoeing. Also, Acadia National Park is within an hour and a half drive.
The Inn at Celebrity Dairy. Raleigh, NC. It's an eight-room, Greek-Revival farmhouse an hour southwest of Raleigh, rewards early risers: At 6 a.m., the five dozen goats are milked, and soon after, guests dig into award-winning cheese and eggs from the inn's free-range chickens.
Fresh air. Dirty hands.
Each year, Spring Break offers the opportunity to explore new places and deepen family bonds. Here are five ideas to consider this year:
International Adventure with Intrepid.
The way the folks at Intrepid Travel see it, most kids are master ice-breakers, eager to ask questions and make new friends. That’s why they’ve created a series of family adventures that include homestays with a multigenerational family in Morocco or meals at a tucked away trattoria, known only to resident Tuscans.
Many departures are keyed to school holidays so families can plan a cross-cultural experience to dreamy destinations like Brazil and Botswana. English speaking, kid-friendly, local guides will assist your small group in uncovering the most authentic experiences in your chosen destination.
Contact: 800-970-7299; IntrepidTravel.com.
Whistler Blackcomb. Whistler, BC, CA.
Enjoy a high altitude holiday with the kids in this pristine mountain enclave where kids can tap into a ski school experience designed for their specific age group. The whole family can check out the tubing park, cat skiing, and scenic sleigh rides as well as dog sled and snowshoe tours. For those eager to up the thrill factor, ask about winter zip lining and heli-skiing.
Have you ever built a seaside castle from pink sand? You and your family can do that and much more when spending your Spring Break at this luxurious island resort situated on 100 lush, flower-strewn acres. The Family Getaway package includes a complimentary adjoining room for the kids, a welcome amenity for the family and complimentary access to the Explorer’s Camp for kids. Hop aboard a jet ski, play golf and tennis and explore historic forts.
Contact: (866) 540-4497; Fairmont.com/southampton-bermuda
Movie nights, game nights, Twinkle Toes pedicures, ice cream socials and pizza-making with the resort’s Sicilian Chef, are all in your family’s future when you book the Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa’s Family Spring Break Spectacular. Plan to spend plenty of time outside in the art and nature lover’s mecca USA Today called the most beautiful place in America. Check in with the Adventure Concierge to plan off-road Jeep tours, balloon rides, mountain biking or a helicopter tour of the stunning red rocks for which the region is famous.
Contact: 1.877-273-3762; www.hiltonsedonaresort.com.
Check into the Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch in the heart of the Gila National Forest for a genuine old west adventure. Ride the same trails once traveled by Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as well as famed Apache Warrior Geronimo. Stay in a cozy cabin and play games next to a warming fireplace. Ask about special family discount weeks.
Contact: 575-772-5157; www.geronimoranch.com.
Sea Kayaking in the Sea of Cortez. Loreto, Mexico. Snorkel with brilliant king angelfish and lobster, watch plunge-diving blue-footed boobies, and search for 90-ton blue whales. Discoveries abound as you paddle your sea kayak through the islands of Baja’s Sea of Cortez and the Loreto Bay National Marine Park. Because of their volcanic ash layers, unique rock formations, crystal waters, and teeming wildlife the area has been compared to the Galapagos Islands. Discounts for those under 18. Contact: Sea Kayak Adventures, 800-616-1943; www.seakayakadventures.com
Why wait for Spring Break to explore the world?
Grab the sunscreen. Gather the towels and beach books. Yes, it's goodbye snow. And, hello warm, sandy beaches. As readers share their favorite beaches, get ready to choose from this list or share your own special spots.
1. Club Med, Punta Cana. Dominican Republic.
“There was something about relaxing on that beautiful stretch of white sand beach with the coconut palms swaying in the breeze. I think about it all the time,” muses Dayton, Ohio-based Diana Duncan. Her two children loved the children’s club that included a slew of age appropriate activities.
Diana and her husband Matt took to the trapeze, learning circus skills, when not kayaking, playing tennis or building sand castles on the beach with the kids. “My only regret,” admits Duncan, “is that I ate way too much of their famous white chocolate bread!”
Susan and Rich Andrews have been traveling to South Florida every year for decades. “Our long time family favorite is Bal Harbour because there is something for everyone.”
A luxurious seaside enclave, families take to the wide open beaches, walking paths and chic but comfortable ambience. Upscale restaurants and shopping abound. The Bal Harbour Kids Beach Camp is a collaborative partnership with the Miami Children’s Museum, and available to guests of both the Sea View Hotel and ONE Bal Harbour Resort & Spa, as well as village residents and their guests. Children have the opportunity to paint, learn about international cuisine, music and how to grow a garden.
3. Sag Harbor, NY.
“My favorite beach is still my home town stretch of sand here on Long Island,” explained Sharon Elizabeth. “The beaches on the east end of Long Island are some of the most magnificent in the world. My favorite is Sagg Beach, near Sagaponack.”
According to Elizabeth, Sagg Beach is pristine, wide and a great place for family picnics and relaxing days playing in the surf. Located near the historic whaling port of Sag Harbor, the area, widely known as “The Hamptons”, offers plenty of water-related recreation as well as top-notch dining, museums, parks and bike paths.
4. Destin, FL. –
When I was a child, we spent many a holiday on the white beaches of Destin and my memories are so wonderful,” explains Mary Ellis, who makes her home in Milwaukee, WI.
“As a result I was quick to take my own three children to this pristine location where there is so much for families to do! Between snorkeling, hiking, diving and just relaxing on the 24 miles of powder-soft white beaches, our family vacation never seems quite long enough,” says Ellis.
Cannon Beach, OR
Maxie Wade has long enjoyed flying kites with her kids on this wide beach on the north coast of Oregon where gulls float overhead and bon-fires melt s’mores and keep the sea breeze chill at bay. Cold water temperatures mean swimmers may only get ankle deep. Rather, families gather to collect shells, explore tide pools, watch storms roll in or stroll the day away enjoying the salt air. Just off shore and towering 235 feet over the beach, Haystack Rock is home to nesting seabirds. It is one of the largest sea stacks on America’s Pacific Coast.