Over a 7-day period last week, I went to Disneyland 4 times. I mean, I know I have a blog and all, but come ON–that’s a little ridiculous. I mean, it seemed legit. Friday the 26th I tried to schedule like 17 things in the same morning with disastrous results. It was meeting readers Nancy and Linus, trying to get on the Lilly Belle, and a family photo shoot. It was approximately a billion degrees so the Lilly Belle was a bust, then Theo had a meltdown of massively epic proportions that completely shot the rest of the morning. Tuesday I joined friends Kristin, Monica, and Carissa, and our combined 5 children plus 2 babies and rode, among other things, the Astro Orbitor. Well, only 4 of those children rode. We didn’t take the babies flying around in circles in a tall rocket ship. Wednesday I finally did get to ride the Lilly Belle, and then on the spur of the moment, I met up with Kristin again at the Mouse-Next-Door on Friday.
So technically I only went to Disneyland 3 times in 7 days. heh.
But on that fourth time, when I was halfway to the park, I realized I’d forgotten my camera. I actually forgot it the first Friday too. I almost turned around to get it, and then I thought nah, leave it at home.
Not everything has to be documented within an inch of its life. I remember talking about this with my friend Renee, who is professional photographer. Her older son was born before the big digital switch. She said she brought the camera with one roll of 36 exposures, and planned out the pictures. You took time to make sure that hopefully most of them were good. You couldn’t get everything, so you captured the moments you thought were the most important, and the ones you wanted to remember. When her younger son was born, it was all about digital and she has pictures up the wazoo.
And of course, so do I. I have literally hundreds of pictures from writing this blog. I took 33 pictures on the Lilly Belle alone, and that’s about typical. I’ve got 70 pictures from D23. And whatever I was doing on June 7th, I took 158 pictures of that. I checked and it’s the Jedi Training Academy Parts One and Two,” it’s a small world,” the Hook and Ladder Company, and the South Side of Frontierland. I mean busy day, sure, but 158 pictures worth of busy???
So on Friday, I left the camera at home.
I was having a discussion with some friends a short while ago about living a documentary life. Photography is so easy and so cheap, it seems that we live our lives looking through those couple inch-sized screens. I think our society has changed. It almost feels as if people think “If I don’t take a picture or video of it, then I wasn’t really there, or it didn’t really happen.” Whenever a major news story breaks and there’s a crowd of people, what you see are a whole bunch of cell phones being held up over heads snapping picture after picture.
And of course I’m guilty of that too. I end up with pictures like this:
I AM AN AWESOME PHOTOGRAPHER!
Trying to catch a moment when obviously it was a complete waste of time to turn away from the show in front of me.
In this shot, I’m more concerned with taking a picture than enjoying what I’d set out to document in the first place. Where is the experience? Why can’t I just turn around and enjoy the moment with my husband and son and remember it in my head instead of a crummy picture later (in this case, one of 28 pictures of this show, The Magic, The Memories, and You)?
I always kind of feel strange when I see people taking videos inside of rides. Particularly people who spent thousands of dollars to get here and waited a really long time to get on the ride. Are you REALLY going to watch your video of the Pirates of the Caribbean when you get home? There already are videos of these rides on YouTube. Why not put the camera down and enjoy the best part of Pirates, which is the immersive experience.
We’re addicted to our cameras because we can be, and I’m not going to tell someone who spent a lot of money to get here not to take pictures, but the magic is there whether you take a picture of it or not. Sometimes a picture or video puts a barrier between you and the magic.
Sometimes it’s better to take a picture with your heart rather than with the camera.
So if you’re a local, leave your camera at home every once in a while. And if you’re here on vacation, maybe take a moment to ask yourself, “will this picture come between me and the experience–between me and the magic? Do I really need this picture or video to remember this moment?”
You may surprise yourself by finding that you don’t really need all those pictures after all.