Featured RVing Articles and Camping News Article info
Summer is the time of year to take pictures of the family reunion, your child’s first home run of the season, or your vacation. With great weather, family activities and a little vacation time, summer is one of the best times to get great pictures. Using the tips below will ensure those photos are great ones.
Start with the right stuff – For the close-up and portrait shots, use either a moderate telephoto lens on a digital SLR or the zoom setting on a compact camera in the range of 70mm to 105 mm. A focal length of this size will provide a nice out-of-focus background while keeping the subject in sharp focus. On your digital camera, for the aperture, try shooting at around an f/5.6 or f/4.0 or use the portrait mode on your compact camera. This will also help blur the background and create a soft non-distracting look.
Fill the frame – This advice is just as good now as it has always been. Move close to your subject or zoom in on your subject to fill the viewfinder thereby eliminating distractions that can show up by trying to include too many elements in the photo.
Add context – By doing this, you are showing the subject in their environment. That could be Uncle Henry posed in his wood-working shop or Aunt Mabel working in the garden. Doing this adds another dimension to an otherwise stoic portrait.
Shed some light – If you are shooting under a clear sunny sky, pose your subject in a shady area to eliminate that harsh overhead light, but don’t forget to turn on your fill-flash so you can pop some light into their faces and add that sparkle to their eyes. Otherwise, all you will end up with is an underexposed face of your subject.
Take more than one shot – With group photos, it is hard to get one where everyone is looking at the camera or where everyone has their eyes open. To increase your chances of getting a good shot, take several shots while they are posed.
Avoid eyeglasses reflections – This can create a white reflection when using the flash. To prevent this, have the subject look slightly off to one side when taking the photos.
Outsmart the camera – Some summer scenes can fool your camera’s exposure meter resulting in both the white sand and blue pool water looking gray. Cameras are built to read 18 percent gray or in other words an even mix of white and black. In “average scenes”, this concept works great, but in scenes where there is a large expanse of either dark or light areas, the concept does not work well. You can adjust the reading however, by adding light to scenes having a large expanse of white and taking light out from scenes having dark areas. You can do this by either adjusting the aperture or shutter speed. To add light, either use a smaller number aperture or a slower shutter speed. To reduce the amount of light, use either a larger number aperture of a faster shutter speed.
Capturing action – There are three different ways to capture action. One is to freeze it in place. This is usually done by using a shutter speed of 1/250th of a second or faster. The second is to show it as a blur. This is usually done by using a shutter speed of 1/30th of a second or slower. See sidebar.
The third is to use a technique called panning, where the subject is moving in front of you from one side to the other. In panning, you track the subject in the viewfinder and when it is in front of you, click the shutter. The trick to this is to keep tracking the subject when tripping the shutter. Where most photographers fail in panning is they stop tracking the subject when they click the shutter. The resulting photo will have the subject froze and the background blurred. Panning makes a very appealing photo.
Checklist – Below is a handy checklist to use when going out to shoot photos:
• Batteries – Be sure to have at least two sets of fully charged batteries before leaving home. Invariably, batteries give up about the time you are ready to start shooting.
• Memory cards – Download and erase the shots on the card so that you have the full storage capability available to you before you go. Carry an extra card or two in case you see more photo opportunities than you have the storage capacity to hold.
• Camera protection – With summer, comes the chance of wind, dust and rain. Be sure your camera and equipment is in a protective case to shield out the elements. Water and camera electronics do not mix.
• Lenses – Take a look at the lenses you are taking. Will they meet your needs for this shoot?
• Filters – If I could only take one filter with me on a shoot, it would be a polarizer. This filter will reduce reflections on shiny surfaces, enhance colors, saturate the blue in a blue sky and reduce haze.
When you arrive –
• Set the camera to the highest resolution and leave it there.
• Set the white balance to match the light in the scene.
• Check the ISO setting. Use as low an ISO setting as you can to minimize the effect of grain (noise).
• Determine which lens will work best for a particular shot. If using a compact camera, make sure the mode on the camera is set to the proper setting.
In Closing – Summer is a great time to shoot pictures. Using the information in this article will help preserve those memories whether they are stored in your computer, in an album or hanging on the wall. Happy shooting!
- Category: Snap Shots
Spring is time of renewal, an annual renaissance. Snow and ice give way to the tender shoots of the first buds of spring. Our winter hibernation is coming to an end, and the early spring photographer is richly rewarded for their effort. Spring brings rapidly changing and sometimes volatile weather, so make sure you are aware of the forecast before setting out. Dressing for success means layering for wind, water and mud (yes this is mud season) protection. Once you have the basics covered, it’s time to start making the most of these seasonal changes - rain, clouds and some sunny days - and get some great spring photos.
Tip: Pack rain gear for your camera. Use all-weather camera bags and always have some sort of protection, even if it’s just a garbage bag and zip locks, ready in case a sudden shower. If you forget camera protection, consider that your rain jacket is easier and less expensive to dry out than your camera. Be creative, but don't let your camera gear get wet.
Early Morning Dew and raindrops
Early morning showers or dew make spider webs, leaves, and flowers into prisms of light and reflection. Whether you are shooting abstract compositions with a macro lens or capturing the first rays of sunlight dancing off an open field, dewy early mornings are richly rewarding for the intrepid early riser. Later in the day, spring showers sparkle like diamonds on new buds, making the same shot into a vibrant kaleidoscope of colors.
Tip: A macro lens allows you to get in close and show the delicate texture of the objects. Using a small tripod with your macro lens frees you to concentrate on your composition and depth of field (f/16 or greater).
Overcast or Cloudy days
The light on overcast (cloudy) days is even and subdued, so your subject and the surrounding landscape take on subtle soft colors. The lack of direct sunlight makes these overcast days perfect for shooting early spring grasses and wildflowers. The soft light and lack of sun allow you to shoot at almost any angle to compose unusual images with no risk of harsh shadows. This lack of shadow makes cloudy days ideal for macro (up-close) photography. So find a spot filled with wildflowers or early spring grasses, get low to the ground (you are dressed for any condition, right?) to find the unique patterns of nature, and start snapping away.
Tip: Bring a backpacker’s therm-a-rest with you to sit or lay on while taking macro photos. It will provide some cushion and will protect you from the damp, cold ground.
Mist and Fog
Mist and fog add an otherworldly look, but this can be difficult to capture on film. Bracket your exposures for the best chance at a show-stopping photograph since fog plays havoc with your camera’s built-in light meter. Mist and fog compositions work well with a wide-open landscape and a single point of interest placed off-center or in a tunnel or building effect. If you are photographing animals, try shooting them walking into the frame or appearing from the mist. If you are shooting with a digital camera, you’ll have a tremendous amount of control in the processing, allowing you to get your white balance and exposure just right. It’s also fun to experiment with your PhotoShop filters and effects tools on mist and fog shots.
Tip: “Bracketing” means taking many shots of the same scene at different settings.
- Category: Snap Shots
Spring days are filled with the buzz of new life and sounds of the earth awakening after a long winter slumber. Now is the time to get great images of fresh landscapes, the first animal babies of spring, and bright springtime color. But don’t forget that that buzz comes from a variety of stinging and biting insects. Winter might have been cold, but at least most of the bugs and other critter (like snakes) were joyously absent. Use bug repellent before heading out if you are concerned about bites, but remember that if you want to photograph bee and birds and other critters, the repellent might work too well.
If your photo journey is primarily geared toward photographing animals, avoid using perfume, perfumed lotions, aftershave, or scented deodorant. It’s also best to shower after your day’s shoot, rather than before.
Tip: If you are photographing Grizzly bears in Alaska, don’t (under any circumstance) light a mosquito coil. They vehemently dislike it!
Hunger forces wildlife to be more active in the early spring. Your best chance for photographing wild creatures is just after dawn and just before and around sunset. To find wildlife, learn what kind of foliage your subject likes best, then scout out likely places during the daylight hours and return at dawn or dusk. If you are in a national park, rangers will be able to tell you what you can expect to see and where. Make sure you follow the rules, both for your safety and the safety of the animals.
Tip: Moose like willows close to running or still water. Look for areas where the willows have been trampled and matted down, since this is likely a moose hang-out. Moose may look friendly and calm, but if their nostrils flare and they begin to snort, you’re too close. Back away slowly and stay low. Do not look them in the eye since eye contact will be seen as a challenge.
Leaves, bark, and barely-budding branches make interesting compositions. Pick a prominent feature that has strong design elements and narrow your depth of field to create a Matisse-like photo. Or try focusing on a neutral colored branch, tree trunk, or grove of trunks (like aspens) that is set amid a sea of wildflower color; blur the background to create a strong contrast to your subject. Look for tender buds grouped together on branches and angle your shot up through the boughs to create interest. Try a variety of different angles to gain a totally different perspective on the scene.
Tip: Think outside the norm, and you’ll be rewarded with truly unique photos.
Spring’s first color usually shows up close to water: a babbling brook, a snow-melt swollen river, or a mirror-smooth lake. Water, wild flowers, spring foliage, and wildlife make great subjects.
Rivers: take photos looking upstream or down stream, considering how the water moves. Compose your picture so that the river flows from one corner to an opposite corner. Find interesting features like rocks or a flower border, a log fallen across, or a tree bending over the river and make that the focal point of the photo. Let the water set the mood.
Babbling brooks: get a low perspective, lying next to the brook so you can see the obstructions and the places where the water flows free. Find a color contrast such as new wildflowers against a carpet of last fall’s leaves, and shoot across the water.
Mirror Lakes: Find the right light angle and shoot the far shore for a perfect reflection. This works with boats and water birds as well.
Tip: Any day in the wild with a camera and the right weather gear is a good day. Adjust your expectations based on what you find. Be open to whatever nature gives you. You’ll be amazed and maybe surprised by the photos you take when you take what is given instead of forcing a shot.
- Category: Snap Shots
If you're heading to the southern states this winter, you won't want to miss out on the incredible fairs and festivals going on. From the pirate festival of Tampa, Florida to the famous Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, you can find exactly the gathering that suits your tastes. Even if you don't call the southern reaches home, why not plan a trip to take in one of these fun get-togethers? You'll never regret your time in the sun.
January and February
Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo
Mid-January - early February
Will Rogers Memorial Center - Fort Worth, Texas
From incredible rodeos to stock shows, petting zoos, exhibits, and amazing food, this show is the greatest fair and rodeo event you'll ever attend. It's world-famous for good reason -- because of the vast number and quality of events. You'll find the classic rodeo events like calf roping, barrel racing, and bull riding as well as special events for the whole family like riding and roping classes, goat milking contests, pigeon shows, and magic shows. You'll find livestock of all kinds here, plus some of the bravest cowboys you'll find anywhere.
Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival
Third week in January
Late January - early February
Birders from all over the country converge every year for this incredible celebration of birds and birding. This is the time when migratory birds travel back from their southern wintertime havens and find a great resting and feeding place on Florida's Space Coast. The festival includes field trips, seminars, workshops, a pelagic (ocean-going) birding trip, kayaking, an art competition, and special talks and lectures. Join the over 3,500 people who flock to this amazing festival. For more info call - 321-268-5224
National Art Festival
Third week in January
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Wander through the sunny streets of Fort Lauderdale touring booths, art stands, and galleries. This al fresco event showcases the works of more than 100 high-end artists from around the world. More than 65,000 people will gather to see the year's finest pieces of art. For more info call -954-670-2839.
Gasparilla Pirate Fest
First week in February
Yarr, maties! Grab your eye patch and Jolly Roger and head to beautiful downtown Tampa for the Pirate Fest Street Festival held along Florida Avenue from Kennedy to Channelside. Be sure to arrive for the opening salvo, when pirates storm into town and capture the city. These fun-loving sea rogues turn Tampa into a party town as they romp through the streets, living it up. This is the perfect place to unleash the pirate within.
Second week of March
This fun, family-friendly festival has carnival rides, yummy food, and great shows and entertainment. More than 10,000 people are expected to attend this lively Louisiana festival. For more info call - 225-654-6777.
St. Joseph's Day Parade
New Orleans, Louisiana
Head to the big easy for the Italian American Marching Club's annual festival and parade. Up to 100,000 people are expected on the sidelines of this traditional parade. The Italian American club of New Orleans is one of the largest ethnic organizations in the Southeast. 504-421-0955
Sidewalk Art Festival
Third week in March
Winter Park, Florida
Stroll the streets and boulevards of Winter Park, Florida, viewing the work of more than 225 nationally and internationally juried artists. Their original works brighten up the city for a full week at the end of March. You'll be in good company, since 200,000 people are expected at this amazing art festival. 407-672-6390
Blessing of the Fleet
Last weekend in March
Head to the Georgia coast for this annual nautical festival. The Blessing of the Fleet of takes place in Darien-McIntosh and offers arts, crafts, delicious food, and fun with ships and seafood. Don't miss the fabulous shows and entertainment. 912-437-6684
Mulberry Street Festival and Cherry Blossom Festival
Head to historic Macon, Georgia for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival and the fun Mulberry Street Festival, an arts and crafts fair that's held at the same time. You can stroll along Mulberry Street enjoying the booths, stands, exhibits, and entertainment. More than 25,000 people are expected to head to the festivals this year! 478-744-9557
- Category: Camp Styles
Today, thousands of women are enjoying the independence that comes with the RVing lifestyle. Traveling with their homes 'on their backs' and the open road in front of them, women are hitting the highway like never before. Many are retirees, but they aren't all. Visit with the RVing women in your local campground and you'll likely meet people who can do their work from home (thanks to the power of the internet), moms homeschooling their kids, empyt-nesters, and women who are eager to see the country.
These women may be a disparate bunch, but they're all drawn to RVing by the same thing -- independence. When you live in an RV, you can change direction on a whim, head to a place where the weather suits your taste, or criss-cross the country visiting friends along the way (and you never need to ask them to put you up in a spare room, since you bring your own). RVing allows a person to enjoy the amenities of a campground one night and spend the next in a remote lot with a stunning view and no neighbors other than birds and a few furry friends.
Many of women on the road are retirees. These women may be snow birds who head to the warm southern reaches during the winter and then return to explore the northern part of the country during the summer when the sun is shining. But many also find that they're able to work remotely. With wi-fi wireless internet hook-ups available at nearly every campground in the country, anyone who works online can continue to do their jobs on the road.
If you're interested in hitting the road alone, with your family, or with a good friend, but aren't sure how to get started, consider taking an RV driving class. You can join an RV club and caravan with others for short trips -- this will help you get used to your rig in a safe situation. When you travel alone, be sure to always have at least half a tank of gas, plenty of emergency supplies, and extra food and supplies for your pet, if you're traveling with one.
The next time you're moving down the highway and you spot a woman behind the wheel of an RV, remember that their numbers are growing and growing. Women are enjoying the freedom that comes with the RVing life -- freedom from a mortgage, freedom to get into the great outdoors, and freedom to go wherever they want. If you're considering hitting the road, there's no better time to get started!
- Category: Camp Styles
The crackling campfire, the stars twinkling overhead, and your best friend cuddled up at your side -- there's no question that camping and romance go hand-in-hand. Whether you're newlyweds or have been married for decades, your next camping trip can be the most romantic get-away of your life. All it takes is a little thoughtful planning and the right attitude.
As you start planning your romantic camping trip, think about your partner's likes and dislikes. Does he love chocolate? Does she like gourmet meals? Are there special things you can pack that will be a fun surprise on your trip? Since camping is often about roughing it, bringing along an item of comfort can be a delight, whether it's a favorite pillow, a new pair of wool socks, or a delicious cup of hot chocolate or coffee.
Choose your destination carefully. Your friend will probably be happiest if they're comfortable and entertained. That means choosing a destination that won't be too hot or too cold, and picking a place that offers plenty of fun things to do. While you want your loved one to cuddle up when you sit around the campfire, you don't want the temperature to be so cold that he or she is miserable.
Being in the presence of natural beauty is another thing that prompts romance. Do your best to pick a beautiful destination. You may want to head to the beach or to the ocean, where you can watch the moon rise over the water. Mountains and forests provide majestic views in both winter and summer. And desert canyons are especially striking at sunrise and sunset. Choose a destination you think your friend will appreciate.
Get Some Exercise
Studies have shown that people feel more romantic when they've gotten some exercise during the day. Start off your trip with a day hike, a bike ride, a cross-country ski adventure, or a walk along the beach. Spend some time doing something you both enjoy, whether it's canoeing and kayaking or taking a sail across the lake.
Plan the Menu
There's no reason your camping menu can't be just as ambitious as anything you'd make at home. Plan ahead, pack a cooler, and be prepared to take your time with the cooking process. It's a great time to chat and work together, after all. You'll find an excellent assortment of campfire-ready recipes at CampingCafe.com. Be sure to plan something chocolatey and sweet for dessert!
- Category: Camp Styles
If you're looking to save a few pennies on your family vacation this year, you can't do better than to plan a camping trip. First and foremost, the savings on housing is staggering. Where you would pay anywhere from fifty to hundreds of dollars a night for a hotel, campground stays are far more reasonable. Almost as dramatic is the amount you'll save on entertainment. Most campgrounds and RV parks are near gorgeous natural areas where you and your family can play all day for free, or for a minimal admission fee.
To get the most bang for your camping buck, plan your trip well in advance. Many campgrounds and RV parks offer reduced rates for weekly or monthly stays, so you can save by planning to stay put in one place for longer. Try to choose a park that's near a place you'd like to explore, such as a scenic mountain range, a great fishing lake, or a new stretch of desert.
You'll also want to scout out your campground options. What other amenities does each park offer? Will you be interested in cable TV hook-ups? Wi-fi internet access? Rainy-day activities for the kids? You'll find RV parks with everything from swimming pools and work-out rooms to fishing ponds and onsite boat launches. Many parks charge for TV and internet hook-ups, but some do not. Do a little homework in advance so you won't be surprised by any costs when you arrive at the park.
Most RV parks and campgrounds welcome large groups, and camping with friends or family can be a great way to keep the costs down. Your campground may offer a special group rate if you reserve a certain number of campsites in one booking. This is a great way to plan a family reunion or to get a group of friends together. And it also keeps the workload down! With a large group, you can easily delegate the meals and rotate the duty around, so each family is only responsible for a few meals over the course of a long weekend.
Get into Campfire Cooking
Once you've chosen to take a camping vacation, the second most significant thing you can do to save money is to decide to cook your meals at your campsite. By not going out to eat, you'll dine just as cheaply as you do at home. Most campsites have their own fire pit and grill, which makes campfire cooking easy so long as you remember to bring all of your pots and pans with you. If you prefer, you can invest in a Whisperlite or other gas-fueled backpacking stove that you can set up on the picnic table. Even a small backpacking stove is perfectly capable of cooking meals and hot drinks for two people. If you enjoy fishing, you'll love the feeling of satisfaction you get from catching your own supper!
Invest in Good Gear
Aside from your RV, trailer, or tent, you'll need good recreational gear for your camping trip. A visit to a snowy mountain is a lot more fun if you have all the sleds, skis, and snowshoes you need for a day on the slopes. Plan ahead by doing some off-season shopping. In the summer, look for discounts on cold-weather gear. Late fall is a perfect time to find sales on boating and hiking equipment, when stores are trying to clear out their stock. Garage sales, rummage sales, and used equipment stores are also a great place to go for bargains. While you're shopping, keep an eye out for cooking gear you can use to stock your RV or camping stores.
Camping has a way of making a person appreciate the little things, from a hot and hearty meal to a comfy bed for the night. When you spend your days hiking and boating in the great outdoors, enjoying the spectacles of nature, you don't need money to have a good time. With a little planning and savvy, you'll be amazed at how economical a camping trip can be!
- Category: Camp Styles
Tropical HolidaysIf the blustery weather and gray skies of winter have you down, perhaps it's time to consider escaping to the tropics for the holidays. Can't you just picture it? The golden sands, the waving palms, the trees filled with colorful parakeets and songbirds -- all this and more can be yours when you head to the tropics for a winter getaway.
- Category: Camp Styles
Hit the Road and Camp America!
Hit the Road -
Ready to answer the call of the open road? Then you've come to the right place. Here you'll find great ideas for finding the best camping and RVing road trips. We'll show you which routes to take, which exits have a "don't miss attraction and profile great campgrounds along the way. So grab your gear, pack the car or the RV and get ready to hit the road.
Camp Cuisine - Camping Recipes
Inspire your inner camp chef with recipes for camping trips. It doesn’t matter if it’s shared around a campfire, cooked in your RV's gourmet kitchen, or take-out from the local deli, food just tastes better on a camping vacation!
Find and share more great camping recipes at CampingCafe.com
RV Road Trips
Join Steve and Sally as they pack their bags and hit the open road to live their camping dreams. They’ve chosen their top 100 camping destinations and have set out to make their camping dreams a reality. Come along as they camp across the country. Share the journey.
Camping Hot Spots
Find great places to camp and gain insights into activities to make the most of the top camping hot spots. Get the scoop on where to go next. Discover destinations that offer unique opportunities for you to experience the great outdoors through recreation activities, wildlife viewing, and unforgettable vistas.
Find those fun and funky “special” places across the country. Hit the road and discover all the odd roadside attractions that make getting there more than half the fun. Road tripping gives you an excuse to search out hidden gems along your route. Look inside for suggested trips and inspiration to plan your own camping gem journey.
Fur Kids -
Camping with Pets
Hiking the Appalachian Trail with your mastiff, Max, or RV'ing across the country with your poodle, Polly - we all love our pets and want to find ways to share our passion for camping with them. We'll share stories of camping pets and tips for keeping your pets safe, comfortable, and happy - on the road and in the outdoors.
Find more great information about camping and RVing with pets at PetCamping.com
Outdoor Sport Spotlight
Wild or mild outdoor sports and recreation are a passion of the camping.com editors. Here we profile different sports and outdoor recreation activities. We'll give you tips on getting started, tell you about the great places for outdoor sports and show you what gear you need to be comfortable in all conditions. So whether you're a seasoned outdoor sports enthusiast or a enthusiastic beginner we have tips and advice to make the most of your outdoor recreation passion.
Camping with kids can be very rewarding. Find ideas about teaching children to love and respect the outdoors and camping. Find ways to keep the kids busy on the way to cam, plus games and other fun ideas to keep kids stimulated and engaged while at camp. Keep kids safe outdoors and teach them wilderness skills.
Find more great ideas for camping with kids of all ages. Visit KidsCamping.com
New To Do
New To Do
Try something different. As the saying goes, Ïf you're not learning you're not living. Get out there and try something new! Never been fond of mud season? Learn to love it! Never took the time to learn your constellations? Well, now is the time! Get ideas for expanding your camping horizons.
You can never be too prepared for your camping trip. Look through and use our checklists to ensure that you have a safe and happy camping vacation! You never know what you might forget - that tool that you needed, or the proper gear to go on the most beautiful hike of your life - be prepared by planning ahead!
Every camper has his or her own style. For some, the perfect camping trip means strapping on a backpack and heading for the backcountry. For others, it’s a way to spend time with family and friends in a natural surrounding away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. For others, it is a way of life – camping full time in an RV. Many people camp to be close to recreational activities such as hiking, fishing, water sports, and ATVing. Find your camp style.
- Top Picks
Get in shape for your camping adventure. Whether your camping vacation involves a wilderness hike, a month on the road in your RV, or just a family camping road trip, get fitness advice to get and stay in shape. Being fit and healthy makes camping and outdoor activities more enjoyable. Get tips for making fitness fun.
Camping Gear Guides
Confused about wicking? Baffled by sleeping bag ratings? We’ll help you wade through the techno speak of high performance camping and outdoor gear. Having the perfect camp clothes makes camping and participating in outdoor sports fun and comfortable no matter what Mother Nature dishes out.
Snap Shots - Outdoor Photography Tips
Find tips for taking great camping and travel photos. Capture your precious camping memories and learn to take perfect family portraits, amazing wildlife photos, and awesome landscape pictures. You'll be transported back to your favorite camping trip ever time you share your photos.