Caravan holidays and summer go hand in hand in Britain. It seems like everywhere you go there is a caravan park. It’s like a miniature city with its own roads, shops, parks and pool. There is a lot to be said about a caravan holiday. It is affordable for a family, you can be independent, if it rains you stay cozy and dry, and they are often in beautiful locations.
A few years after we moved to England, we went on our very first caravan holiday to a town called Felixstowe. The caravan park wasn’t right on the beach. But it was close enough to drive there in just a couple of minutes. We weren’t quite sure what to expect. I am pretty sure I over packed. I think I even brought toilet paper, because you never know! But I have to say it was one of the most fun and relaxing holidays we have ever had!
So of course we had to go again last summer. This time we went to Dorset along the Jurassic Coast. It was so beautiful! And this caravan park also had its own private beach. So we didn’t even have to leave if we didn’t want to! We left our hearts in Dorset, and with our little Caravan. I am pretty excited to go back for another adventure.
So, what does this have to do with photography you ask? Well, as a good photographer I brought my camera(s) along with me! It was certainly a real challenge because, no matter how “big” they might seem, caravans are small. And you have to get very creative with shooting in tight spaces. They are also often located at the beach, and don’t always have the best light because they are pretty crowded together. With all of this in mind, I wanted to share with you how I managed to document our caravan holidays, and which photos are a must when you do go!
You spend quite a bit of time inside the caravan, depending on your budget and sense of adventure! This is where you eat, sleep, shower and track in sand from outside (it gets everywhere!)
Although it has everything, the rooms are small and spaces are tight. In addition, depending on the location, it might not get all that much light. I remember the first one we were in was quite dark as it was shaded by a big tree, while the second one was flooded with sunshine!
I would absolutely recommend a wide-angle lens if you are going to take a camera with interchangeable lenses. You will find that you need to get creative with your angles, squeeze yourself into corners or stand outside the door to get far enough away.
It is pretty fun to capture normal life activities in a new place, including playing board games, reading, colouring, cooking and eating delicious food.
No trip to a caravan park would be complete without the traditional “family in front of the caravan” image. It is so nostalgic to me, so I make sure to do it every year. There is often a bit of space for playing garden games, so bringing a skipping rope etc is always a good call.
Watch how the light falls around the caravan, see when it dips below the trees or other caravans, look from the outside in and the inside out to see how you can use the many windows to frame your images. Again, I would suggest a wide angle, or at the most a 35mm lens here, because it is hard to get far enough away to get good environmental portraits.
As I mentioned a lot of caravans are near the beach, so you will have to battle with sand and salt water. It gets in everything, and even if you have just nipped to the store, somehow you are covered in sand by the time you get back!
This is why I would suggest a good, tough, water and shockproof camera. I use an Olympus Tough 5, but a Go Pro would be perfect. This way you can get into the water, roll in the sand, drop it (yes it has happened) and not really have to worry about damaging it!
So there you have it – the quintessential British summer vacation! Have you ever been? We would love it if you shared your images in the group!