by Sean Cayton
Freelance Photographer

There’s something about a family vacation that makes photography a lot of fun.

I think it’s about the space you have; no deadlines, no expectations, no questions from editors asking about pictures that weren’t in the take.

My brother Schuyler practices casting a fly rod on the Chesapeake Bay.
© 2004 Sean Cayton/All rights reserved

With a family vacation there is a different set of expectations. It’s about letting go. Not thinking. Enjoying yourself.

A family vacation is really your story. There’s the chance to show your appreciation to those you love. And a vacation is full of promise.

In the news business, a lot of times it's about turning chicken shit into chicken salad.

But on a family vacation, it’s not about making anything palatable. Implicit in a vacation is the opportunity to receive whatever comes your way.

Inspiration came at my mother’s new home at Kent Island on the Chesapeake Bay.

I brought my new favorite Canon lens (100-400mm IS), a Russian made Peleng 8mm fisheye, and a 10D camera body.

I really looked forward to a bay side view of the sunsets and the wildlife.

My vacation plan was a simple one. I was going to take it easy. Enjoy the waterfront. Do a little fishing. Keep a camera with me at all times, just in case.

My sister and her husband, both journalists in Washington, D.C., also visited with their young son for a day. I took the opportunity that some photographers might shirk to do some portraits.

My sister Jennifer Sergent plays on the beach with her son three-year-old son Henry.
© 2004 Sean Cayton/All rights reserved

The rest of the images came along like the tide.

There was an outrigger race in the early morning, Ospreys enjoying breakfast, Spanish mackerel that were running in the bay, a moody picture of my family before the ‘family portrait.’

A team of rowers chases a ship on the Chesapeake during an early morning outrigger race.
© 2004 Sean Cayton/All rights reserved
Ospreys dine on a breakfast.
© 2004 Sean Cayton/All rights reserved
Catching Spanish mackerel in the middle bay of the Chesapeake.
© 2004 Sean Cayton/All rights reserved.
Family portrait.
© 2004 Sean Cayton/All rights reserved

After 10 years of working in the news business, it’s amazing to realize that good pictures happen on their own. I just have to let them.

Best of all, a portfolio of family pictures that are cared for and protected will always have a place in the world.

Whenever you’re playing the role of tourist, family member, or vacationer remember to welcome the surprises and have your camera ready, just in case.

Sean Cayton



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