Recently I went on a beach getaway. I was walking on the beach, enjoying the beautiful view, breathing in the smells of the fresh, clean Florida air, and enjoying the moment.
I was listening to the sound of the waves and the sea goals circling over my head when I realized I was hearing different languages spoken around me. I snapped out of my bubble and smiled as I recognized I was walking passed families speaking Russian, Japanese, Spanish and a few other languages I did not recognize. And then it hit me: everyone had a camera in their hands. They were all either taking pictures, or talking about the camera. I could tell some were frustrated; their photos were not turning out the way they envisioned. One couple I walked passed was speaking in English, and I heard the woman complain to the man “the camera is just not good enough”, she said as she sighed in sorrow. I looked the other way, wondering what they were all photographing. There was nothing there except the big blue ocean. The beautiful, living, breathing big blue ocean. The ocean all these people came to enjoy, and relax, and re-charge by. But they were not doing that. They were all keeping very busy clicking away, and were getting frustrated when they could not seem to be able to capture the essence of the moment.
One of the things I talk about when I teach is when NOT to photograph. In this day and age with the camera equipment is accessible to anyone and everyone, it seems no one is living in the moment any longer. We are either capturing photos to be able to see them in the FUTURE, or looking through photos we captured as we reflect on the PAST. And then we wonder why the NOW, this moment in time, just seems to flee us so quickly.
That morning on the beach, me – the professional photographer – was the only person without a camera in her hands. Of course I brought a camera with me to the beach. But with years of experience and technical knowledge I know when it’s worth it to actually pull out the camera. The camera does not control my life, it’s a tool I control to capture a few special moments that are worthy of my time, energy and thought put into capturing them for prosperity sake.
The rest of the time, I choose to live NOW. And this seems to become a fleeting concept in the past few years since the photography equipment has become affordable and available to all. When we don’t realize is how much this affordable, available, easy to use equipment is costing us in time and energy. Because it’s only a piece of equipment. Think about how an airplane can safely take off and land when it’s in the hands of an experienced pilot in what seems to be a smooth, effortless motion (but we all know very well it is not). A camera follows the same concept. You can whiteness a professional photographer capture a beautiful photograph in what seems to be an effortless motion. But the same camera can become a time and energy sucker, frustrating experience when it’s in your hands if you do not know how to use this tool.
My suggestion? Get busy living life, and not capturing it. When you get somewhere decide to capture only a couple of shots, and then put the camera away. As the pilot says when the airplane takes off: “Sit back – and enjoy the ride!”.
Because that’s what life is about. Here is to a 2017 filled with beautiful, happy, relaxing and energizing NOW moments!
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