We went to Disney World last week and it was such a great time. There will be more to come in the week about our trip to see the Princesses but not today.
At the risk of sounding like an alarmist that is convinced that technology is ruining our lives (ruining? No. Significantly impacting? Yes. That, however, could be positive or negative.) I have to say this: when you are off on your summer vacation with your family, put your Cannon, Nikon, cell phone camera, whatever recording device you own– just put it down. Down, I say! Leave it. Seriously.
Let yourself be present to take in the amazing things you are seeing. Take the time to bond with those you are traveling with. Enjoy what you are seeing and know that this moment, the one you are watching, will never happen again. It is fleeting and a photo won’t change that fact, but it may make you forget how amazing this moment- or any moment- really is. I’m not making this up, either. Back in December of 2013, this article was published on CNN that suggests that taking many photos actually decreases memories. NPR also did a piece highlighting the same study. It’s interesting stuff when one thinks about all the ways in images, including photos, impact our lives.
Why am I insisting on this? Well….at the happiest place on earth there were a few hundred of well-meaning moms, dads, grandmas, and grandpas who thought that their lives (and the happiness of those lives) depended on recording the fireworks/ parade/stage-show. You know. Instead of watching the joy and amazement of the kiddoes in their presence. (Some children also displayed fear and horror, but good ol’ mom & pop were too wrapped up in filming on the ipad to notice.)
I am guilty of this too. One of the nights we decided to stay late to ride rides during the evening parades and fireworks when wait times were considerably shorter. Our big guy wanted to ride Space Mountian (his first ride, he was excited to go all day long!). So, I hopped over to the teacups for our 5 and 2 year old. When I realized Mike would be missing their “first” ride on the teacups, I began to video in earnest on the ride. About halfway through the ride, I wised up. I put it all down, and enjoyed the moment, making that cup spin my littles as fast as they could handle. We giggled so much that night! I will forever remember that evening as one of the highlights of my trip.
I know all the photography nuts out there are cringing. The thought of not taking photos is sacrilegious. Here are some tips for those that love to take photographs:
- Leave the spare memory card behind & make peace with the fact that just because your DSLR can hold thousands of pictures & hold hours of video footage, does not mean that thousands of pictures & hours of footage need be taken.
- But if I don’t take hundreds of pictures, how will I get that good shot? Well. If this is your photography style, you are relying more on luck than on actual camera knowledge. Spend ten minutes a day practicing with your camera shooting random stuff in your own home or outside. Anything. This will allow you to spend less time behind the camera on vacations and important holidays. Bonus: you’ll be catching some of the plain old regular joy of “real life”.
- Know before you go. Select one thing you want to photograph each day of your trip. I’m not talking “photograph everything blue” (Great exercise, not the point.) Be specific. If you are traveling to France and think you want to take a photo of a sidewalk cafe, choose the cafe. Decide if you want any of your travel companions in the photo. What time of day will you take this picture? Will anyone be eating? Do you want a detailed image or something to capture it all?
- Since you’ve made some of the big decisions already, and you’ve had a bit of practice, limit yourself to 10 shots of your predetermined subject matter. This ensures that you don’t miss a memory and still have a good shot of getting a good…um…shot.
- Furthermore, limit your snapshot taking as well. Digital is so tempting because it is endless. So few of us follow through with the organization and printing of our digital images. By taking fewer pictures, you will be more likely to remember more, according to the studies above, and you’ll have less work cut out for you at the end of your trip!