On the weekend, we went to Bon Echo Provincial Park. It’s one of my favourite places, fully exemplifying the beauty of my country and my province. Rocks, trees, water, all put together in the most artful way. So much to see, so much to stand in awe of, so much to document.
But, I left my ‘good’ DSLR camera at home. On purpose.
I’ve been doing this more and more often. Two weekends ago, we went to a wedding. I always used to enjoy playing photographer at weddings, reveling in the challenge of getting the best shot of the bride and groom possible. Once again, I left my camera at home*.
At both of these events, I wasn’t totally camera-less. I brought my phone along on the weekend and kept it charged even though I don’t get any service up there north of highway 7. It has a 5MP camera that did just fine for snapshots of the dogs and their clumsy attempts to swim – or avoid swimming.
The thing is, I didn’t miss it. Perhaps I’m losing what little interest I had in photography, and if I were dedicated to the craft, I wouldn’t let anything stop me from carrying that thing everywhere. But this is the problem: carrying that camera from life event to life event made the documentation of that event less about creating photos for fond remembrance and more about creating photos for art. It added pressure to get the right shot, the best angle, the sharpest image.
I still love the challenge of composition and lighting, but there is a time and place for all of that. I’m not a photographer, and every so often, I must remind myself that there is more to a special moment than capturing it with the best light balance possible. Perhaps in a little while I’ll start carrying that camera with me again, but with the careful realization that a single quick snap of the shutter is enough, and that being present is far more important that turning the moment into art.
Since a lot of you are fellow bloggers, I’m sure you have thoughts on this, and for those of you who are not, sharing our lives on Facebook has become paramount to every event. So, what do you think? Do you carry your camera everywhere you go? How do you maintain balance between focusing on the photo and the moment itself?
* I have a feeling that, with the rise of digital cameras, new etiquette for their use during ceremonies is slowly going to develop. The Internet is already seeing the shift!