To Camera or not to Camera

This is not the great philosophical debate of our time, however there are those who say carrying around a camera at all times ready to snap a picture takes away from the experience.  That rather, one should just be in the moment and soak it all in.  A “Picasso on the Beach” if you will.  That’s a wonderful philosophy.  However, reviewing past travels becomes a lot harder without some visual or written remembrances.  For instance, when I was 17 I went on a cruise with some family members and somehow my parents let me leave for a far flung adventure without making sure I had a camera with me.  To make matters worse this was in the time before cell phones had cameras on them (or at least I didn’t have one).  I remember vaguely the Florida Keys and seeing the house that Hemingway lived in, or Belize and underground cave tubing, and Cozumel with white sands and where I first learned the art of the barter, and that I was bad at it.  I will forever wish I had taken pictures, any pictures, even ones where my eyes are closed or my mouth open and my hair a mess.  Now I document the shit out of everything.  Perhaps to my detriment.  Now as you decide on how to document your next adventure, you can be like me and just stick to a cell phone, or you can buy a $500 camera with a $1,000 lens.  This list is mainly to help you pack one less thing while preparing to travel, namely a camera.  

  1. The best camera is the one you have.  If you don’t have the money to invest in another piece of equipment that is fine, because more often than not you will either take too long getting your camera out that the moment has passed or you will have forgotten your camera back at the hotel.
  2. It is much easier just to carry one overpriced gadget, I.E. your iphone rather than having to carry a bulky camera and lens.
  3. The average traveler won’t get much use out of an expensive DSLR camera.  Even my iphone with the certain apps I have purchased are too complicated for me.  I can imagine trying to set ISO or shutter speed on a DSLR being a right mess.
  4. The gopro changes the playing field a little bit.  This small piece of equipment is virtually indestructible, easy to carry, records video up to 8 hours, and the images are surprisingly good.  If you’re not an expert in photography but still want to invest in a camera for sporting activities where you don’t want to risk your phone then this would be the one.  I took a gopro with me to Southeast Asia and really only used it to take video while kayaking Ha Long Bay and when I was swimming with elephants
  5. One argument against using the phone as the main source of picture taking is that if you break your phone by taking a risky shot, or ask a stranger to take a photo of you and they run off with it, you have now lost your means of communication as well as your only way of visually documenting your trip.     

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