When I was growing up, my dad took pictures (or slides) of signs everywhere we went. He also took pictures of family members posing next to the signs, wearing our “smile for the camera” expressions. Well, sometimes we were smiling. I still get teased that my “sulky teenager” expression was preserved for posterity in a photo from our family road trip to Canada’s Gaspé Peninsula.
As I started taking pictures on my own, I followed in Dad’s footsteps (not literally, that would have annoyed him no end) and took photos of signs all over the country: the Mid-Atlantic, New England, the West Coast, and everywhere else I lived or visited. And when I became a parent, I started posing my own children next to the signs! History does repeat itself. I have sulky-faced photos of the next generation to prove it.
All of those sign photos are valuable for more than just the memories that go with them. Those signs show where, specifically, a photo was taken. If I’m lucky and there’s a date on the photo or in the digital file, I even know when the photo was taken. That’s a huge help when the details have faded from memory. It’s especially useful when there are photos from many trips to the same location. It can get frustrating to guess the dates of photos by hairstyles, clothing, or vehicles! If I can establish a date for the sign photo, that also give a rough date for other photos from that same trip.
I also use photos of signs to create custom scrapbook embellishments and page titles. For traditional paper albums, I use my pointy scrapbooking scissors to cut around the outlines of the sign and then tape-runner it into position on my page. In the digital world, I use the custom cutting tool to cut the sign away from the background. A quick pass with the edge-softening filter, a heavy shadow applied, and the sign is all set to add to my digital page. Other fun digital options include rubber-stamping the sign or using the “magic wand” tool to cut out just the text from the sign. So many design choices. Good thing I am already in the habit of taking sign photos.
Often the signs that I photograph tell simply the names of states, cities, businesses, parks, and such. Sometimes, however, I hit the jackpot, and there are quirky and interesting signs to add to my collection. This scrapbook layout shows the signs that we saw on an outing to beautiful Rainbow Springs State Park in central Florida. Things started off in a predictable manner. A standard metal plaque gave relevant historical information. A traditional wood-framed sign displayed a detailed map of the extensive river and trail systems. But after that, things really got interesting.
Down by the water, we nervously read a large sign issuing a warning to swimmers. Yes, the spring waters are so crystal clear that you can see little fishes swimming all around. But that means the resident alligators can also see YOU floating along on your pool noodle. Uh oh.
After a relaxing (or maybe not) swim in the river, one is likely to be hungry, right? The park offered convenient vending machines for just such an eventuality. The sign on the soda machine caught my eye, though — “No Wet Dollar Bills”. So apparently this problem occurs with enough regularity to warrant a custom-made sign? Hmmm.
But of all the signs we saw that day, the award for Most Humorous went to a pair of standard-format brown informational signs. The one at the entrance said, “YOU ARE HERE”. The one in the parking lot said, “YOU ARE STILL HERE”. I am still laughing about those!
This all makes me think: Who knows what great signs are in my future? Camera in hand, I look forward to finding out!
Content Used: LJS Designs “Parking Lot Party”, Peppermint Creative “Kooky Spooks”
Font: Leelawadee UI