My camera helps me remember better!

Old May 31st, 2003, 12:20 AM
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My camera helps me remember better!

Every once in a while on this forum, a debate ensues concerning the pros and cons of taking a lot of photographs on a trip. With photography as my #1 hobby, I naturally have always been on the side of "more is better." I'm fortunate enough to be having a photo exhibit in my local library starting tomorrow. I was asked to write some comments explaining why I take photographs and what they mean to me. I thought a couple of my comments might help explain to non-photographers what makes us tick:
"I take pictures of things I want to remember. They can be sights/sites that impress me or I may just want to capture a moment that I saw, that was my personal, unique experience. Sure, postcards may contain better photographs, but they weren't my moments!"
"Do I spend too much time looking through my camera's eye when I travel? I think not. I know that I am capturing something that will live long after my memory doesn't serve me as well as today. In the movie Avalon, I remember the family patriarch's comment after realizing that part of this past environment no longer existed. His words were something like,'If I had known it wouldn't be here, I would have remembered better.' My camera helps me remember better."
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Old May 31st, 2003, 12:36 AM
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I usually buy postcards of the "major sites" (I collect them) as well as take my own pictures. The pictures I take of the major sites are never "nicer" than the postcards, are always full of tourists, but also contain either myself or my friends. I also like taking pictures of stuff like my favorite café, how people park their cars, some stranger's funky shoes, my dinner plate, interesting graffiti or wall murals, etc.
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Old May 31st, 2003, 03:39 AM
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I agree with Howard. There are a lot of places I've visited where the image in my mind has gone fuzzy. But the places where I have photos remain sharp and clear and I can share them with my friends! I also buy souvenir books (not guide books) of places I've been to give me more information. I'll buy post cards if I can't take a good photo.
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Old May 31st, 2003, 04:05 AM
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Yes, I use my camera primarily as a way of helping me remember where I've been and what I saw.

However, one picture is usually enough of most things. I won't forget the first time I went to New York and ended up with about a dozen pictures of the Statue if Liberty, all pretty much the same.

I put my better pictures in an album when I get home. I only show my pictures to family/friends if they ask. Very often people will spend longer looking at the people in photos than the building or scene in background. If people haven't been to the place in the photos then they tend to get bored going through film after film of pictures, many of the same thing. Only the photographer can appreciate the differences!

Maybe, I think like this because photography isn't a major hobby of mine, just a way of capturing images to remind me what I've seen etc.
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Old May 31st, 2003, 04:19 AM
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I also keep a travel journal...I take time each day in a cafe during my trip and write down experiences - the train ride, the restaurants and memorable sites. It is a great reference and then when someone asks for recommendations on that destination - I have my personal notes to refer to.
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Old May 31st, 2003, 04:22 AM
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Yes, Howard, you said it so well!
That is just the way we feel. They just don't have postcards of the way the sun was coming out from behind those big dzrk clouds over the Luxembourg Palace, the day we sat and watched the children play, I could never find a postcard of my husband looking out over the Seine from the Pont Neuf, right before he kissed me!
Thank you for putting it so well.
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Old May 31st, 2003, 11:15 AM
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I totally agree Howard. Not only does it help me to remember, but it heightens my senses at the time and allows me to perceive more. The quest for the next perfect shot keeps me alert
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Old May 31st, 2003, 12:21 PM
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I take photos on every trip, whether local, or far, exotic or very ordinary. Some more than others, but average about 15 rolls of 24. I stay with a 35mm as I haven't been impressed with what I've seen from digital (maybe someday, but not yet).

Sure about 1/3 are just so-so, while balance are really pretty good (though I do buy postcards if there is something I was not able to photograph for any number of reasons).

Upon return, the best go into an album along with air tickets, entrance vouchers, restaurant menus, beer labels (I taste the local beer in every country), the name of place such as hotel, game lodge, airport sign, etc. The album really looks like a story book with pictures.

I do write a journal on return from notes takes along the way and some photos get interspersed thru these pages. Since the big album really can't be carried, I place the remaining photos in a small 6x4 photo only album that fits into a totebag. And if there are still some remaining, I use them as "postcards" - draw a line down the middle back - write message and address, stamp and into the mailbox. Sure surprises lots of people.

Rarely do I take photos of people unless, they are children. Street scenes are great and have often waited till no people are around, except maybe one person only - gives it some reality.

Distance scenes from between buildings, photos from above, rooftops, lots of animals while on safari. As for too many shots of one subject - well I've got the Sydney Opera House from every imaginable angle and each is amazing.
The most fun was taking photos in Turkey - trying to get these very tall columns into the frame and not being a mile away (regardless the 150 zoom), so I just plopped mysef on the ground and shot up - one of the best photos. Or four columns that came together on top from a weird angle while in Jordan and the bluest sky. Have stopped in the middle of the road in France to get a photo of the plain-trees that lined the road (not a car in sight).

Even got amazing pics inside the Pharoah's tombs in Egypt, or birds on tree limbs in the rain forest, or a pride of lions in the dark while they downed a "kill" from earlier in the day - none of the last three taken with flash (not allowed).

Some folks take photos, look at them once upon developing then stick them away somewhere, never to be seen again. Not for me, they go into an album immediately - those are my memories to look at and enjoy and remember whenever I like.

Keep clicking away!

 
Old May 31st, 2003, 12:33 PM
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Howard,

You hit it right on! Also, for me, as someone else I think mentioned, I feel I see even more when I take pictures, because as anyone photographer knows, you don't just point the camera and shoot. I think photographers as a whole will be more aware of the lighting, more aware of the little details that make a place interesting. I also love to take macro shots, so I really am aware of the texture of things, architecture, etc.....

I think that most people who think that taking a lot of pictures means you only see the place through the lens of your camera don't understand photography. In order to take good pictures, you have to actually see your surroundings much more vividly than a non-photographer.

I'm going to Italy for 2 weeks at the end of June, I've got 33 rolls of 36 each, and my only fear will be that I might run out. That's barely 3 rolls a day! And for the first time in Italy, I'm not sure if that will be enough.
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Old May 31st, 2003, 02:33 PM
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Mr. Navigator, I think, certainly hit the nail concisely on the head. For some of us, not only does the camera help them remember better - it helps them see better as well.

If I find a view striking on my trip, I hope to revive the memory in my home and extend that feeling. I truly enjoy surveying my surroundings for an interestingly unique angle, perspective, shadow or subject. I'm not always successful, but it adds to the enjoyment of the trip for me. However, I only wish that I were even half the photographer as other folks are, including many of those who have posted links to their travel photos here on this forum.

I could not possibly be convinced that Mina's or Jim Tardio's photos were the results of someone who wasn't paying attention to their surroundings. It's clear to me that kind of talent is acutely aware of place and interest.
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Old May 31st, 2003, 04:44 PM
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Thank you all for your wonderful responses thus far. You've made my day knowing that you so many of you can indeed relate to what I'm trying to say.
I was looking at the 60 photos that comprise my exhibit, and in almost every case, I could recall an incident/memory (or two or three or more) that the photograph helped me recall.
Sandi and lyb, you're my kind of people. For 2 weeks in Paris, I came back with 37 rolls, and a week in Bologna, Tuscany and Umbria produced 27 rolls. (However, lyb, they're mostly 24s!)
lyb, another one of my quotes for the exhibit seems an appropriate followup to your comments:
"A few years ago on our first trip to Italy, I experienced one of the great moments of my life. While framing a scene in my viewfinder, I realized that I was creating a picture just as an artist does when he dips his brush onto the palette, takes a dab of paint and applies it to the canvas. It was a thrilling moment. I was creating my own painting."
That says it all.
And, thank you all again.
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Old May 31st, 2003, 05:00 PM
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Post cards are for people who have no interest in taking the time to set up a great photo from the angle of view/friends which they choose.

If some tourists want to run around from site to site twisting those post card racks looking for someone else's photo on a post card, that's their choice, and they come home with someone else's photos.
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Old May 31st, 2003, 06:20 PM
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I am one of those for whom photography is a major hobby (travel is probably #1).

It is also method of keeping a journal of the trip. I make a point of getting pictures of fellow travelers and our lodgings.

But also it a way of trying to be artistic. I will spend some time, if possible, framing and composing my pictures.

I have noticed that I see more when I am carrying my camera otherwise I tend to see only straight in front.
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Old May 31st, 2003, 06:40 PM
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It seems like I can take a couple hundred pictures...but there are only a few that REALLY capture the whole trip for us. Yet they are worth having taken all those others, because they are such perfect souvenirs.
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Old May 31st, 2003, 08:25 PM
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Howard,

That last quote of yours really hit home. Both of my sisters can paint and draw so well, and I've always been frustrated that even my "stick man" drawings are ugly. But I've realized in the past ten years or so, that my artistic talents lie with photography. I love to try different angles, different zoom lens, or macro and so on. Of course, that means that very often, if I am with people, they keep asking me why I take so long or so many pictures. This time I'm going to Italy alone and therefore, I'm looking forward to taking pictures without having people asking me, why?
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Old Jun 1st, 2003, 04:04 AM
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lyb, I really, and I do mean really, relate to your comments. I, too, have the art ability of child. When I'm asked to draw something, people think I'm kidding when they see the results! Perhaps, that is why I was such a golden moment for me when I felt that I was able to relate to how an article feels.
And, I also know too well the "why are you taking so many pictures" question. Happily, my wife now understands why...especially when she sees the results!
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Old Jun 1st, 2003, 04:25 AM
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I have never really considered this question before.

However I am certain the 'memory' reasons offer a strong enough rationale. Why? We now leave our camera on our coffee table, at hands reach at all times. We have two small children and now take a significant number of pics. of them.

I believe we do this not to serve our memory better in future years but because we having a gut-wrenching desire to hold them as they are, innocent, in-love with us and only us, and safe from the world.

I think the same rationale extends to many of us for travel pics. - "I'm on holidays and these are some of the best times of my life and I want to stay" or something like this.....

Anyway, that was all pretty heavy but I think it makes sense and am pretty sure its why I shoot 30 rools of ilm every year!!

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Old Jun 1st, 2003, 04:30 AM
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Oops, it must be too early in the morning. The last sentence in the first paragraph above should read, "Perhaps that it why it was such a golden moment for me when I felt I was able to relate to how an artist feels."
Sorry.
That feeling really surfaced when we were at Monet's home in Giverny last year. When I was framing potential photographs of the garden in my viewfinder, I really felt like I was creating paintings. (While I like the results, Monet's reputation has nothing to worry about!)
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Old Jun 1st, 2003, 04:38 AM
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I enjoyed all of your posts on your love of photos on a trip, and strongly agree on keeping a journal to go with the photo memories. I am a very early riser even when travelling and use that alone time with my first coffee to write notes about the day before. Since I've been digital, I also keep a photo log with dates and use that time to peruse photos on the viewer and discard the duplicates or uninteresting ones as I go along....
I love architecture and interior design, so I will snap shots of interesting doors, clotheslines in Italy and flower boxes. I also always have shots of dogs I meet on my travels... having the camera makes me pay attention more to the beauty of the moment.

I am in no way an excellent photographer but I have developed some skills over time in order to have treasured photos. We spent 2 weeks in Tuscany last year, and I photographed every small town sign at the entrance, the signs were usually painted and quaint, it made my albums more interesting....
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Old Jun 1st, 2003, 05:19 AM
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Most of my family does not travel far from home. My being able to share the photos of myself in other countries is a treat for them as well as myself.
They would hardly get the same pleasure if I were to just send the obligatory postcard!
Every time I try to go through my photo album, to add or re-arrange, I find myself, hours later, browsing through the memories of this trip or that, this occassion or that celebration.
Thanks, Howard!
 

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