Title Card - The Weird Quandary Over Taking Pictures

The Weird Quandary Over Taking Pictures

Photography is always a relaxing thing my girlfriend and I can do when we’re feeling up to it. Going out with out cameras to a fun location and taking pictures is always enjoyable, and the two of us have the cameras to back up the pastime. We both individually gravitated towards the Canon Rebel series of cameras, being an excellent entry-level DSLR camera that allowed us a good amount of freedom to take pictures in whatever way we saw fit. We’ve gone on a number of trips together and we took some beautiful pictures, and we’ve always been happy with the results when we decide to take them along.

So it should be a no-brainer, right? If you’ve got a camera and you know how to use it, and ENJOY using it, why not just take it every time and have fun gaining free mementos to look back upon later? Well, not always.

You see, I find the experience I get taking pictures versus not taking pictures to be very different. When I’m just out for a day and take pictures with my phone camera, I’m not super fussed about looking for shots or setting up the perfect angles, or constantly looking for a different thing to take a picture of from a unique angle. Sure, there’s some of that when taking a picture for the purposes of a memory, but far less than if I’m doing it because we’re out specifically for photography.

So, should I bring my camera and experience the excursion with my photographer’s hat on? Where what I see and remember will be coloured by the fact that I was looking for photos rather than taking in the sights? Or should I leave my camera behind, lose some potentially awesome pictures, but experience the trip as the experience itself, rather through the perspective of a viewfinder?

Thinking back on trips when I took my camera along, I remember the experiences very differently than when I didn’t, even in the same place with the same people. I have a lot more I can recall from that trip because there is photographic evidence of it, but all of it feels different because I was thinking about photo composition, shutter speeds, apertures, white balance, and what lens I should be using for what I expected to be shooting next. Should I be prepared for something spontaneous far away, or close up, and what sorts of shots do I feel like taking today. It doesn’t make sense to keep switching back and forth between a long range zoom lens and a close up macro lens, it’s very slow and cumbersome to do so and you chew up all your time changing lenses that way. All of these factors come into play to eat up your mental processing power and can take away from the experience at large.

In contrast, the trips that I did not bring a camera along, I have much more vivid individual memories of the experience, but I remember less of it due to a relative lack of documentation. It’s hard to forget where you went or what you did when you have pictures of things along the entire path you’re taking, or at several points of a performance (like an airshow, for example). In some ways, it feels like a blessing and a curse, because I have the skills needed to take pictures with a camera, but I also have the desire not to use them and live the experience too, risking forgetting what had happened.

I’m sure that this isn’t just me who has experienced this phenomenon as a photographer either. I’m sure other people with photography skills and other skills too will have similar feelings about whether or not they would want to use them at any given time, or just sit back and enjoy.

Does this happen to you? Is it because of photography or something else? What were your internal dilemmas?