Sunday, 10 November 2013

Picture perfect ranting

I've often thought that if it ever came to the crunch I would rather lose my entire backpack than my camera when travelling.

You can buy new clothes, but if you don't have photos of your trip... how do you know you were ever there?

Once I foolishly packed my camera in my bag, which was then temporarily lost by an airline, leaving me to wander Vienna on a beautiful sunny day without any way to record the sights.

Sure, there's always my memory, but these days that's becoming as reliable as my 1998 Hyundai Excel.

One of the biggest milestones in my travels was the move from a film to digital camera.   Instead of rationing myself to eight rolls of 36 exposures per trip, suddenly I couldn't just take photos, but "paparazzi".

But there's a trend that's disturbing me: the death of the travel camera.

On my recent travels, I was shocked (appalled too strong?) to see sightseers taking their happy snaps with their iPads.

Picture this: a busload of tourists swarming in front of some amazing sight... all taking photos with their iPads (with the covers flapping limply in the breeze like undies on a clothes line).

It's happening.  It's real.  And it's alarming.

I have no doubt lots of clever tech folk have put some pretty decent cameras into smartphones and tablet computers.   But can the average person actually take good shots on these compared to a proper digital camera?

Having now been asked a few times to take someone's photo via their iPad, I don't think so.   There's nothing recognising the different focal points, lighting conditions, and generally no flash to fill in the shadows.

Don't get me wrong, I am in no way some amazing photographer.  I just use a simple digital camera, but sometimes play with the settings to try and maximise the shot.  And sure, some professional photographers have taken some great shots with smartphones and tablets.

But let's face it, most people adopting this approach to photography must be putting on some pretty crappy slide shows when they get home.

Rant over.

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