Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Why I've Been Leaving My Camera At Home


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!

6 comments:

  1. I tend to bring my point and shoot to bigger events, since I hate dragging around a heavy DSLR and worrying about it. I never bring my good one camping! too risky!

    Even still, sometimes I just dont take photos because Id rather just enjoy the moment. At my friend's recent wedding they asked for no photos while the bride came down the aisle- let the professional get some shots and just enjoy the moment. Otherwise we were allowed to snap away, so it was a nice compromise!

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  2. It's a balance...it's taken years to figure out what that means for me. I definitely put down the camera on purpose. I try to make photos that enhance my memory of something rather than replace my memory. It's actually fun, because I usually end up seeing something in pictures that I didn't notice in person. And of course, a picture is never the whole story!

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  3. Love the image of Bon Echo. Makes me wanna go and explore Ontario’s gorgeous parks!
    I’m not a photographer either, but ever since I got my DSLR for my BD we are inseparable.:) Believe it or not, I actually feel bad if I don’t use it because I know how much people paid to get it for me!
    I also love exploring this beautiful country and by sharing the images (on the blog) I hope people from other places will have a chance to see and appreciate it too.

    Haven't been to a wedding in a while, is that situation for real nowadays? 'Cause that's insane!

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  4. I end up catching so many treasured moments with my iPhone that its my method of choice anymore. I always have it on me, and am quickly able to pop it out when I catch the dog doing something cute, or a memorable moment with friends. My DSLR feels like 'work' where my phone is just an extension of my everyday.

    I do have to say I was at a wedding last week, and wasn't able to see the bride walk down the (short) isle as guests had gotten up to take photos. I was quite sad that their wanting to capture the moment made me miss it, but none the less that would happen with or without technology!

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  5. When the dog and I go for walks, I leave the camera and my phone at home. It's refreshing to not feel it buzzing away when I'm trying to concentrate on watching my girl run with her goofy galloping gait.

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  6. I definitely agree that it should be a balance. There is something to be said for living in moment and seeing it without a lens in the way. That's what memories are for! ;)

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