Photographing couples: how to travel as a couple, and not in a zig-zag fashion

At that stage we already found ourselves crawling on our knees on the ground by the side of the road, groping with our hands in the low and dense vegetation, looking for the car keys.

Our vehicle was standing on the side of the road, about twenty meters away, locked, with most of our equipment in it. Even the mobile phones were not on us, because we stopped and got off it to take a picture of a particularly photogenic tree, somewhere in the prairies of the Smoky mountains reserve in the state of North Carolina, United States. Not that phones would have helped us here, because we were deep at the edge of the reservation, with zero reception.

Who we are? How did we get out of it and how did it end? immediately.

Before that, here’s an exercise: Put yourselves, a couple in the middle of a trip, late afternoon, locked outside the rental car, no spare keys (the American rental companies believe that the spare key should be handcuffed to the main key), no reception, and since we were also traveling in the off-season – also without a living soul around ( If we don’t count the birds that circled above our heads, and who, at an advanced stage of the search, were also suspected of stealing the key, which perhaps, so we imagined in despair, would glimmer for them in a special way from the grass). Oh and yes, the rental car was actually from Savannah, Georgia. several hundred kilometers away.

But let’s go back to the exercise: what dialogue would you expect to develop between spouses in a continuous stressful situation of this kind? And maybe not a dialogue at all, but an exchange of accusations and placing the responsibility on each other? Especially about who locked the car and held the keys?

So we are Orit and Rafi, spouses from Karkar, fifty-something years old. We both take pictures, and photography is an integral, and even significant, part of our trip. On the described trip to the Smoky Mountains in the USA, we were even before the age of 50, and it was one of our quite many trips around the world as a couple. Even after that, we continued, and we still continue, to travel, which of course means that we were not lost forever in the Smoky Mountains Reserve. But also that our relationship was not lost.

We stopped and got off it to take a photo of a particularly photogenic tree, somewhere in the prairies of the Smoky Mountains Reserve in the state of North Carolina

We stopped and got off it to take a photo of a particularly photogenic tree, somewhere in the prairies of the Smoky Mountains Reserve in the state of North Carolina

So how do you do it? How do you travel in a pair and not in a zig zag?

As mentioned, we stopped to photograph a single tree, which stood upright and noble in this part of the Cades Cove Reserve which was a flat prairie, and uniform in appearance, and therefore also caught our photographic eyes. As befits photographers, and in search of the perfect angle, each of us prostrated for long minutes in a different position in the surrounding grass, then we got up, satisfied with the results, to the car. Only when we got to the car did we realize the magnitude of the problem. The keys, which were in Rafi’s pocket, were not there.

It was us, and the cameras. outside the car.

We returned with cautious optimism to the place where we took pictures, or thought we took pictures there… because everything looks the same. The minutes got longer, there were no other cars in sight, and as time passed we also realized that our only chance to get out of there with the car was to find, god knows how, the keys. A bit like a needle in a haystack. Just a key, and in the grass. As mentioned, we got down on our knees and slowly expanded the search circle. The pressure level started to rise, because the hours of darkness were approaching, and we still had a considerable distance to cover to get out of the reserve. what No did we We didn’t blame each other, we didn’t argue, we didn’t start creating horror scripts out loud, and we didn’t create an uncomfortable atmosphere, beyond the situation we were in. We even managed to laugh, we used our heads a lot, we spoke logically and calmly, and we were optimistic and calm.

In the end, the camera, which got us into this situation in the first place, is also the one that got us out of it. Rafi returned to the photos he had taken, and was able to use them to locate the exact spots where he lay on the floor. The key is found!

From then on, and already while we were in the car, we could only laugh, it was also clear that there were really no “guilty” people in this story, and in the end we added this powerful experience to our increasingly full bag of experiences. These are the truly memorable things. If a fight resulted from this situation, we would only remember it. is not that a loss?

We continued along the beautiful road inside the reserve, and the sun, which had already started to set, created the perfect light for the photos we took later.

If that wasn’t enough, not long after we continued our journey, we met a moose, Bambi, who seemed to be waiting for us there, and after we had already practiced crawling, it was only natural to crawl to him as well, until the exact photo point. A picture we wouldn’t have gotten, in terms of perfect timing, if it weren’t for the key incident. True, there have already been places where we had to give up lingering and continue, so as not to enter the hours of darkness, but we don’t believe in “what we lost” but only in what we gained. And on this day we won big.

a little about The smoky hills, the mountains above the leaves of smoke, so called because of the mists that cover them, usually in the morning: these are mountains of relatively moderate height, due to their old age, and are characterized by a round landscape, with a moderate flow of rivers. Also thanks to the not extreme temperature in them, it is a reserve that houses a very large variety of flora and fauna, including moose and black bears. The Smoky Mountains Park covers an area of ​​approximately 2,000 square kilometers, and provides hiking (or driving) routes of all degrees of difficulty and length, and of course wonderful viewpoints. A visit to the reserve in the fall season will provide a completely different view than a visit in the spring or the snowy season. Our trip, although it was In the month of January, it was relatively warm in the winter, so although we didn’t get any snow, on the other hand we enjoyed open and easy roads for driving, and perfect weather for hiking and wandering, and of course also for photography.

blue ridge mountains (who star in the song Take me home, country roads) are part of the Appalachian Mountains. Their name comes from their blue hue, when seen from a distance. The Smoky Mountains are part of the Blue Ridge Mountains (in terms of their geological origin). The scenic road that passes through the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway, provides breathtaking views, colors and layers of mountains, and we recommend driving it even at dusk, or in dramatic weather, which create even more depth to the already impressive landscape. This scenic road begins near the town of Cherokee, which is close to the Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina, and ends near Shenandoah Park in Virginia. Along it, besides many observation points, there are also hiking trails, some of which are sections of the famous and well-respected Appalachian Trail. We chose to stop on the border of the state of Tennessee with North Carolina, for a section of the route that connects these two states, of which we walked only a symbolic part, on a round trip route.

Between photography and relationship – our secrets to success:

  • Patience, understand that waiting and patience will lead to the achievement of the goal.
  • Ability to adapt to a given situation – response to extreme situations, adjusting the parameters in the camera, and adapting the response to the situation imposed on us.
  • Creativity and lack of fixation.

(To be continued)
Orit Guterboim-Partok and Rafi Korena married couple in their early 50s, love to travel, take pictures, and tell stories.
Orit, mother of four sons, owns a law firm.
Rafi, father of a son and daughter, specializes in photography instruction in Israel and abroad for professional photographers and photography enthusiasts. Welcome to follow:

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