Put the Camera Down

I wish cameras were better…

Maybe I’m alone in this, but I doubt it. I love taking pictures of my experiences or interesting/entertaining things that I see, but there is always this frustration in me while taking the pictures, or later when reviewing them.

The camera didn’t catch “it.” Maybe it was the quality of the camera, or the picture comes out fuzzy, or it’s over- or under-exposed – and that’s always a bummer. But it’s usually something different for me.

For instance, at this moment I am sitting in Starbucks. Not just any Starbucks, but the one on the 40th floor of the Columbia Tower in Seattle. It’s a partly cloudy day, and instead of rushing home I thought I’d come up and enjoy the view. It’s gorgeous.

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Looking down makes me a little dizzy, even though I don’t have a fear of heights (clearly, as I’m on the 40th floor at my own volition). As I look out I can see the Bellevue skyline, churches, the freeway, apartments, and other buildings. There are white, puffy clouds accenting a mostly clear, blue sky. Beautiful.

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So I pull out my camera and begin to snap away, attempting to capture the moment. While the pictures I’ve taken look decent, they don’t capture it all.

A picture won’t capture the joy I feel being this high in the city (I’m speaking of altitude, funny people). It won’t capture my thoughts as I consider the lives being lived out below me. It definitely doesn’t capture the noise and conversations I’m hearing in the background at this moment.

And that is frustrating. I suppose it has to do with not wanting to accept that you can’t hold on to moments or people or things forever. You can try, but life inevitably moves on with or without your permission.

So what now? Is it my aim to stop taking pictures of memory-worthy moments? Not at all. I suppose I’m reminding myself – and maybe whomever else reads this – to enjoy the moments. Embrace them. Nothing after the moment you are in right now is guaranteed – so live it like it’s all you have.

So please, do take pictures – they will aid in memory down the road.

But before the moment passes you by – put the camera down.

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