We have just returned from a wonderful week in Cape Town, a place we have not visited for five years. It’s been such a long time since we’ve been, in fact, that I couldn’t remember what it was really like to have sun in the middle of winter. (Cape Town is roughly due south of London, so there’s no jet lag, just an overnight change from cold to warmth.) So I found myself looking through my Facebook album from five years ago to remind myself what to wear, where to visit and all that.

I look through my holiday photos very often. And there are some photos that have become part of the ritual of the holiday, especially as the children grow up. Photos that I take of the same things, or in the same places. Ella holding a bunch of lavender in Provence, for example, or sitting on a particular swing in Tuscany; sunrise on the beach in Aldeburgh; and, in South Africa, pictures of everyone on top of Table Mountain, or the view through a particular door by the lagoon at Churchhaven. I’m sure you have your own examples. Taking the same picture each year lets you see both what has changed (as children grow up, for instance) and what has remained the same. With these images, we measure our lives.

Looking at the pictures from our South Africa trip in 2009 was interesting, though, because one thing in particular has changed since then: I am now obsessed with photography! Our previous pictures were taken with point-and-shoot cameras and smartphones, but this time I took grown-up cameras. So rather than compare South Africa pictures, which would not be fair, here are three examples of Ella on that swing in Tuscany. And we’re going back again this summer to take another one.

This girl. That swing.

swing with a view

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What photographic rituals do you have when on holiday? Tell us in the comments!