Lavelle Gathings gets out and about – when she’s not pulling 12-hour shifts working security in the Charlotte area. And she has thousands of pictures to prove it.
She takes what she calls “photo-happy vacations” to places like China, Italy, Mexico, the Bahamas and – in the Caribbean – the Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Martin and the Dominican Republic. Stateside, her destinations have ranged from L.A. to Manhattan, the Oregon coast to St. Augustine, Fla. This fall: Spain.
“I try to take a formal getaway vacation every year: I work long shifts and the schedule is crazy. So I take seven or 10 days a year to do something I really enjoy.”
Gathings, originally from New Jersey, has made most of her trips with friends, family – “whoever is free” – she said. “I’ll say, ‘I’m going to China next year. Who wants to go?’ It has been amazing.”
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Her camera always goes along: “I use a Fuji S8200. You can take photos of statues or of a bird as it flies. You can take a video or a still shot. You can adjust the brightness inside a dark building.”
When it comes to naming a favorite photo trip, “It’s tough: between Italy and China. But I’d have to say Italy. When you look at all the major attractions in Rome – so much from biblical times right next to things from modern days – the past and present come together.”
She has a portfolio of prints and keeps the rest on her hard drive.
Here’s a photo essay of some of her work; there are more of Gathings’ images online.
Her top tip for other tourists? “If you see something absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous – for example, the Venice lagoon – take your time taking that picture. If you don’t have that photo, it will be very upsetting when you get home: You missed your chance.
“So take that picture. Take your time, get it right.”