Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Curse of the Digital Camera

I was in Africa (Rwanda and Kenya) for 5 weeks which was a great experience and we really got to do a lot of sightseeing. I know that people are soon going to ask me to see all the photos I took. Therein lies the rub.

We took hundreds of digital photos in Africa with two cameras. Obviously I really don't want to subject anybody to such a slide show although lots of people have no qualms about doing this. At the same time it is hard to decide except for the obvious out of focus shots which ones to discard. And of course with a digital camera it is really easy to just keep shooting. And of course no photo no matter how good really replaces the experience of being there. At the same time if you delete the photo you feel like you have deleted part of your experience.

When I started out taking pictures of course, we used film which was a lot more expensive, plus it came in rolls of maximum 36 exposure. You would come back from holiday, take your rolls of filmm to the drug store and a week or so later you would get your pictures, some of which were good some weren't. If you threw away or lost a print, you had the negatives.

Sometimes I think we take pictures as a substitute for the experience and as a consequence lose some of the experience.

A few years ago I visited Ularu (Ayers Rock) and its sidekick rock, Katajuta. We were taken to Katajuta to watch the sunset one night. It was a really magical experience, we were out in the desert, there were no clouds and as the sun set further and further the rock appeared with each passing moment to be a different shade of red. This we dutifly photographed. When I looked at the photos on my computer a few weeks later, I had about 20 photos of Katajuta all the same identical shade of red. And I haven't had the heart to delete any of them.

Likewise on this trip we spent about 20 minutes less than 5 metres from a pride of lions with 5 cubs. Being that close to a group of animals that could kill you in under a minute and watching them go about their business, playing, sleeping and nursing is one of the enduring images I have of Africa. And of course we have about 30 photos of the that special time.

But I know that on Tuesday people will be expecting to see my pictures, so enough blogging and more editing.

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