I’ll admit it. I have a problem. It’s hard for me to enjoy a leisurely afternoon on the beach with my kids, without spending a chunk of that "relaxing" time behind some camera or other. After all, if you don’t have pictures of a vacation, did it really happen?
My kids don’t mind being the subjects of my photographs and video. But they much prefer getting behind the camera themselves. In the good old days of film, handing your kids a camera could be a costly endeavor. But with a gigabyte memory card costing less than $50, you can let your kids click at will. It is a pile of fun to go through the pictures with your kids and pick out the ones that they think are the keepers — it is often surprising to me the things my kids think are the highlights of our vacation.
As much fun as vacation photography is, the thing I really enjoy each summer is the annual Hornik family vacation video competition. Each summer my kids and I record a bunch of video clips of the summer comings and goings — swimming in the waves, boogie boarding, catching crabs, Grandpa Gerry doing a crossword puzzle. Once we feel we have enough "quality" footage (a highly subjective decision), the competition begins. My oldest son, my brother and I all commence editing our respective summer vacation music videos. The only rule is that we all need to choose from the same video clips. Otherwise, anything is fair game.
My son leans towards the more traditional music videos. He uses songs from Broadway musicals. His transitions are a little more flashy. And he tends to enjoy those video clips that make his brothers and sister look the stupidest. One summer’s video featured a number of clips of his brother missing diving catch after diving catch. Another summer’s video involved a whole lot of boogie boarding mishaps by his siblings. But perhaps the most pointed message came the summer that my son’s family video climaxed in a shot of me pacing the beach on my cell phone (I’ll admit that I was a bit preoccupied with work that summer).
I have never won the "viewers choice award" in the family video competition. The decks are stacked — the kids always vote for their Uncle Josh. But despite my losing streak, we end up with some seriously fun vacation videos. I only hope I’ll be able to get more kid contestants this summer. Maybe I can split the Uncle Josh vote and have a fighting chance of winning the video competition for once.