Why I Decided to Stop Taking Pictures

Like many other Americans, I own a digital camera.  Well, until about four months ago when I accidentally spilled water on it, and it started taking pictures that made my home look haunted:

RIP, camera.  We had a good three years together.  But that’s beside the point of this post.  And while my camera wasn’t attached to my hand, I did use it often.  Particularly for events like parties or going on a hike.

Last summer I woke up super early and took a hike up a mountain to watch the sun rise from 12,000 feet.  It was gorgeous.

I had forgotten how FAST the sun comes up.  In thirty seconds or so it went from pink sky to entire glowing ball of light being fully visible hanging above the mountain.  So I sat there with my camera, clicking every five seconds, capturing it in megapixels.

Before I knew it, the sun was up, and I had experienced almost the whole thing through a lens.  I wasn’t taking pictures for a magazine here.  And I can’t even remember the last time I printed a digital picture to a hard copy.  I rarely even look at the pictures I take afterwards unless I want to blog with them or create the occasional Facebook album.

So why was I determined to get these shots?

I turned aroud and looked at the beautiful alpen glow on the cliff face behind me.  I hadn’t even bothered to watch that.  Instead of enjoying the experience and the atmosphere, I had been absorbed with getting the perfect setup and angle for my sunrise pictures.

Admittedly, I did get a few awesome shots of the cliffs reflected in the glass-smooth surface of the lake…

I have this strange hobby: I like taking pictures of people taking pictures.  I took this picture below during a wildfire 18 months ago.  I had gone up on a hill to do the same as this guy: take pictures of the fire – though with a much less souped-up camera.

It’s funny to me to see what people take pictures of.  And how much we have come to experience our world through a camera lens.

(This photo is NOT from when I saw Obama a few weeks ago, but I could have taken almost the same picture of the crowd – had I had a camera.  I kept turning to my coworkers on both sides saying, “Wow, look at all the camera screens!”)

Realizing how I had in a way “missed” the sunrise by focusing on my camera, I decided to try putting my camera away for a while.  It may not be a choice for everyone, but it was been an eye-opening experience for me.

I saw many amazing sunrises, ones definitely worthy of a photograph.  But instead it was just me and God experiencing them.  Saw crazy people on Pearl Street (like always), and just stood and watched them because I couldn’t capture them on film, trying to mentally capture their silliness to tell friends about later.  I went on some hikes and left my camera at home – I knew my friends would probably bring theirs to document the experience anyway.  🙂

I’ve enjoyed living the camera-free life.  And I think I’m going to continue it.

* * * * *

With less than 80 days left until the epic trip, though, I knew I *would* want a camera to document my solo travels.  I looked for a used one of a similar model on Amazon and found one in decent condition listed as pewter grey; but it must have been listed in the wrong location.  Internet, meet my new camera, which may have previously been owned by a middle school girl:

This photo does not do justice to my shocking-pink Barbie camera.  It takes great pictures, but it does make me laugh.  🙂

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One Response to Why I Decided to Stop Taking Pictures

  1. cheryl says:

    I regretted soon afterward that i had never taken any pictures of the 20 months we delivered the newspaper every morning. So i mentally archived some in a portable album. Now anytime I can see those two little cuties huddled on the back window sill as the car slowly pulls away! (Yep! I’ve got both still shots and videos!!) My fingers are even still frozen as I make the funny-cut sandwiches that I leave on the counter for when you wake up. Priceless!

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