Almost all of our sibling meltdowns on this trip have been induced by the presence of the camera. Dennis can't drive because he's 15, which means that he is the sole photographer while we are in motion. Consequently, almost all of the pictures of this trip are of when we're eating at roadside diners, Dennis shirking under my photographic gaze.
We decided to employ a strategy-- when I see something I want a picture of (something I want to remember or something I'm afraid of forgetting) I holler at Dennis to grab the camera. Inevitably the camera lens gets lost under the seat and we wind up with a sideways out-of-focus picture taken through bug-splattered window glass. Sometimes the picture isn't even of what I had been pointing at.
So now we're trying something new, which is that Dennis holds the camera in his lap with the lens cap off and the window down, ready for action. The problem with this is that I get so nervous with him sitting there with a pointed camera-- sometimes he even starts pretending it's a missile launcher.
Other changes have been made, too. I coached Dennis to stop worrying about getting the picture right in one shot because it's a digital camera and he can take as many as he wants. This has been helpful for both of us and takes the pressure off the single click of the shutter. It also means we get to look at all the pictures later and talk about which ones are good and which ones are not and why.
Yesterday Dennis started to take pictures without my encouragement , which was exciting. Some of them are really good, too. We've also started to stop the car more often instead of trying to take a picture while cruising at 80 mph down the road. We turned around for porcupine roadkill, for roadside shacks and giant fiberglass animals. Today is the last whole day of our drive together. Dennis took the top picture in Alma, Oklahoma. I took the bottom picture nearby at a civil war battlefield site.