I love taking photos, but I find I take more of the atmopshere of a place away with me if I put the camera away and spend a bit of time just soaking things up. Noises, smells, people going about their daily routines......
When you get to a 'viewpoint' do you spend a few minutes admiring the view, then take some photos - or do you immediately start snapping?
Is photo overload a bad thing?
I seem to alternate between feeling like I am taking too many photos and not enjoying/appreciating the place, and enjoying the place then later wishing I'd taken a picture of some aspect of it to share.
Photo overload is definately a bad thing if all you do is arrive, snap away then leave, and all you have to show for the experience is loads of "same same" pictures. I love looking at the photos of a friend of ours, not on TB unfortunately, as he always captures a different side of where he is. He takes heaps of shots, luckily only sharing the better ones, but still seems to capture the essence of a place.
If I'm going to carry a camera somewhere, I feel that I should use it, not that I always do. And often feel like something is missing if I leave it behind.
How much is the 'digital age' encouraging photo overload though? When you can snap away and delete whatever doesnt work out later. Rather than thinking more about how and what you are taking a picture of so as not to use up too much film.
I never take photos at all. Mostly because of the burden of having to look after a camera, but also because it would be distracting me from just soaking up the atmosphere. Also, the internet is awash with images, and it wont miss any that I havent contributed.
If I did carry a camera, I would treat photo taking in the same way as I treat internet using, while I am travelling. I would keep it to a minumum. Though, if I did have a camera with me, I would keep an eye out for interesting things to photograph, such as riverside life beside the river in Bangkok or something like that, and then make plans to come back and take the photos after I have given some thought to what I want to capture on camera.
It's interesting that you've mentioned that cameras sometimes prevent you from enjoying the moment: carrying a camera helps me to appreciate my surroundings, as I'm always looking around for things to photograph, whereas if I didn't have a camera with me I might just listen to music instead, or only look at what is directly ahead of me.
I absolutely love taking pics while travelling, of the places/sites, but especially of my daughter soaking it all in. I am sure that at times I take too many photos, but my daughter will let me know when "enough is enough".
One of my problems is that while I think that I have some creativity and know what makes a nice shot, I am not very knowledgable about photography so have to take a LOT of pics of the same thing to get a couple good ones.
I think most of us have to take a lot of shots to get a couple of good ones :-)
Imagine how many National Geographic photographers take....... ;-)
I laughed when I remembered that I took 70 (NOT a typo) rolls of film on an 8 day rafting trip down the Colorado river through the Grand Canyon. I was really into photography at the time and knew you needed to take a lot of shots to get a few good ones. Everyone else on the trip only brought about 10 rolls each and were moaning when they went through about half on the first day. The first evening I was trying to get the perfect shot of my son and husband fly fishing at sunset and dropped the camera in the river! It was totally ruined. I was crushed, but immediately became the official film provider of that trip. The only deal was that they had to send me copies of anything good they took. I did end up with a mishmash of pictures and those few rolls I took before my camera took the plunge. I did find it strange to not look at the trip through the lens of a camera, you DO become more observant with Nikon in hand, but it was also freeing to not lug it around and hold up everyone while I set up my shots! I became an observer, not a bad thing at all. But I did miss the photo album memories.
It is now time the camera is put away in my house. My 8 year old daughter is following me around taking photos and movies of everything I do and then playing them back to me. I am frowning in most of the photos, because I am getting tired of the constant intrusion. If she could take more flattering photos, I wouldnt mind so much.
70 rolls on an 8 day trip does sound a lot, but I'm not laughing too much because we have done similar!
We have also taken photos of things, then looking at them later, notice something we didnt see first time round.
Then again, theres the "why did we ever take that one?" shots! I guess I'm just like Sofias Dad (ThroughMyEyes), I just love taking photos, and no doubt will get worse when we have kids!
carrying a camera helps me to appreciate my surroundings, as I'm always looking around for things to photograph
but i do take too much photos at times rather than enjoy the surroundings which i would regret in the end
i love photos because they keep the memory alive but it's also important that i take a moment to appreciate the environment before snapping away
Its interesting that youve mentioned that cameras sometimes prevent you from enjoying the moment: carrying a camera helps me to appreciate my surroundings, as Im always looking around for things to photograph, whereas if I didn have a camera with me I might just listen to music instead, or only look at what is directly ahead of me.
Thats a good point, never thought of it like that.
The main photos I think Ive probably taken too many of, or even feel I shouldnt have taken at all, are ones of sights - mainly there isnt anything unique about them, nothing that you cant find a million times over elsewhere, and Ive questioned myself: why did I actually take those ones? Just to prove I was there? Those are the cases where I feel I probably lost something about being in the moment, and was too overly concerned with having a photo.
I think video cameras are even worse for making a person miss what is happening around them. Instead of a quick snap and then continue to watch what is going on - the camera wielder keeps their eye glued to a tiny screen or eyepiece which is often in black and white in older video cameras. I think my husband is relieved when he runs out of battery or memory so he can just enjoy the moment. It is also a problem for other people on bus tours to see through the windows when video makers have their arms and cameras up blocking the view all the time.
I remembered this question today when I visited Angkor Wat. The place was full and half the time you are trying to avoid not being in someones photo and the other half waitng for someone to get out of your photo. This was definitely a time to put it away. I went from being frustrated to enjoying it emensly.
This is just me and this may not "fit" for you. I take hundreds of photos on every trip I take. On just my digital camera I have over 90000 on the PC and to start with there were many more. I delete all the ones that are not interesting or poor quality. Even with the number I take I always see a photo on the internet and I remark "I was there" but failed to take a picture. I carry three cameras with me on most trips, a Nikon D-80, a Sony Cool Pix I can put in my pocket and a spy pen in my shirt pocket provided my shirt has a pocket.
For me the trouble with taking to many photo's is that when you return home you tend to use the photo two dimensional still as your memory rather than pictures your mind has remembered.
I thought it might be time to revive this thread. Now that we have photo of the week and many of our front page bloggers seem to be expert photographers I thought it would be nice to hear other views on the subject.
For us a camera has become one of our appendages. We rarely go out without one. The minute you do....if seems you find something you want to take a photo at.
We have found our balance between taking photos and putting the camera away to enjoy the beauty, surroundings and people around us. It did take a little while to find the right balance.
We currently have the Nikon D90 but are thinking of upgrading. We are very happy with the Nikon and will stick with that brand. Although, there are other quality cameras out there.
We often take multiple photos of something to see how we can get the best angle and lighting. Recently when we were in Morocco and this photo was taken. Afterwards, Mohammed commented on the fact that we took many photos. He said most people just take one or two of him pouring the tea.
Seeking other comments.
While I like taking photos with a tiny point and shoot (no thinking involved), it's really the experience of being in a place that grabs me. I love the sights, sounds, wind/sun on my skin and the feeling of a place. It's only after I've experienced something/someone/a place that I'll bother with a photo.
I've often experienced something fleeting that I've recorded in the cells of my being and looked over to see someone glued to their eyepiece who perhaps got a great photo, but missed the experience. But then again, they had a photo that they could share with the world. My camera was purloined about 8 months ago, so I've been recording images into my body (and feeling free).
Tara, as you say everyone has to find "their" balance and what is good for them.
My recent experience at the Cat Stevens concert has made me think of this again. We were asked not to take photos and in respect to Cat I only took one illegal photo. I'm not opposed to 'forbidden" photography in most cases, well museums, not so much religious ceremonies. At the Cat Stevens concert photography was heavily monitored. Many people took photos and videos but I must admit it was distracting. (a bit)
My eyes we glued to the stage but I was aware of all the cameras in the dark theatre.
I can't say that taking photos has stopped me from appreciating the world around me. There are times when my camera is an extension of my body and it opens my eyes to things I might have missed without it.