Photographic memories

One of my most important souvenirs on a trip is my photos. Back in the days of film, there would always be sacrifice and prayers to the photography gods, Please let all my photos come out ok!! They nearly always did aside from the very first or last shot on a roll of film. Sometimes the exposure wasn’t so good there. Nature of the beast.

Composition-wise, they were mostly pretty good and there were very few per roll that I considered “didn’t turn out”. There might have been some that I wasn’t so keen on as far as exposure or composition but on the whole, they all turned out. I laughed when people advocated the early digital cameras as being great because when your pictures don’t turn out, you can just delete them! My photos nearly always did turn out!

Little by little, I’ve gone over to all digital though I haven’t gone to a digital SLR. It’s just too cumbersome to travel with for me these days. Something else I’m trying to do more of is taking video clips. The digital cameras these days are very good at it and most of the newest ones do HD video. Rather than take 3 or 4 photos to make a panoramic shot, I need to remember that video works just as well! A panorama shot will never get printed anyway. Some things really do give you a much better flavour for a scene on video rather than on still photos.

Animals in a zoo, anything musical (buskers, concerts, people having a pub sing-song etc), the sights *and* sounds of a scene bring back more vivid memories. I don’t want to get a video cam though, because I don’t want to have that up in front of my face all the time and you’d be tempted to. With still cameras, you can take your time. Snap and stop. Snap and stop.  Shooting short video clips can be stitched together with software to make a nice “slideshow” type presentation.

My new camera, a Canon SX240, has a neat little feature I must try out on the upcoming trip. There’s a setting that will shoot 2 – 4 seconds of video just before you snap a still photo. You can take a video slideshow of your day in addition to the pictures. That might be neat for visits to things like the Colosseum or the Roman Forum! I could then add my own music to it. Nessun Dorma, Dona e Mobile or the Funicular song or something suitably Italian!

I remember one moment on my first bus tour of the U.K. that I would have loved to have had a camera capable of video. There were 3 or 4 families and couples on the trip from Israel. At one photo stop on the border between England and Scotland, there was, naturally, the obligatory bagpiper to entertain the tourists while we took some photos.  I came back to the area by the bus where the piper was to discover that he was playing Hava Nagila on the pipes and the Israeli women were dancing and kicking up to it in a circle beside him. You just wouldn’t have got the same effect from a still photo!

I keep saying I’m going to remember to take more video clips and little by little I’m starting to take advantage of that feature on my camera. I think it does enhance my photographic memories. So to speak. It doesn’t replace photos or even the panoramic stitched shots. I even still buy the occasional postcard for angles and views, especially of an overall large building or for interiors where cameras aren’t allowed.

Naturally, because I can, I now take a lot more photos than I used to because of the digital technology.  On a two week trip in the past, I might take 12 to 15 rolls of film, 24 exposure and a few 36 as well. When traveling with a friend, we’d get double prints and share them so I would have a heck of a lot of photos! Now my partner and I both take photos and we do try not to take too many of the same view or angle but, with digital, it doesn’t matter anyway. We can just keep the best of the lot. I still send my files away to be printed, generally trying to choose the best of them, something to depict a little of everything we saw. There’s still something about holding a photo album in your lap and it’s way easier to show others and talk about each photo.


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