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Photography & Travel: Drawing the Line Between Taking Photos and Being in the Moment

Photography & Travel

If you've dropped by my about page at some point, you will find this statement > I go on travel and adventures to learn, experience, and live the moment while at the same time capture photos, space, time, and beauty. 

Ever since I studied away from home back in college, I've developed a fearless disposition in life. That included traveling and going on non-stop adventures without thinking so much about the risks involved. What can you do? I was younger and more carefree. 

Fast forward to today, I can't say the same about myself anymore. I have definitely proven time and again that I am no longer as fearless as I was before. Let's just say things like anxiety and semi-paranoia get in the way sometimes. It probably comes with having a family of your own and thinking about them every time you are out alone.

Blissful Snapshots should have been a travel blog but it just couldn't be -- simply because I don't travel often anymore and I thought it would be quite contradictory to have a travel blog when I'm not even traveling that much. So I decided this would be an adventure photo blog because adventures don't have to involve traveling all the time, and photo blog because I love taking photos of my adventures. 

With my adventure photo blogging in place, you might be wondering how on earth I can enjoy my adventures when I take lots of photos. I have read a similar post about this before from one of my favorite blogs, Photography Concentrate, and it inspired me to write this blog post which has been brewing in my mind for a few months now.

Siem Reap, Cambodia
*Shadow on my face at Angkor Thom

Does taking photos defeat the purpose of traveling? 
I have to say it depends on your purpose. 

People have different reasons when they travel. In my case, taking photos is part of it. Photos are like treasures to me. They're my way of looking back and remembering what has transpired during my travels. I know that my brain won't be able to remember everything in the years to come. Since I'm no longer a hard-core traveler, photos might be the only way I could reminisce the happy and funny memories of my travels, including the unfortunate ones. 

Photos are also my prompts when I write about my adventures and travels. They remind me of my experiences so that I can write a detailed account of them on my blog or my personal non-digital journal. It's like traveling once again; taking a trip down memory lane, as they say. 

Having said all of that, taking too many photos might also distract you from the real purpose of your travel. Note: "Too many" is subjective. As I've figured from most travel bloggers, they travel because of the experience and so if you're too worried because you don't have enough gorgeous photos, then you might just miss the experience of being in the city or country you wanted to be in the first place.

Siem Reap, Cambodia
*I savored this moment in Angkor Wat, Siem Reap before actually taking this photo. It was around 5am when we went. 

It's challenging to draw the line between being in the moment and taking great photos when you are a shutterbug. I'm not sure how professional photographers do it. To capture stunning shots, you have to be on the lookout all the time, be keen, and observant. But I guess that's where the difference comes between travelers - there are those who prefer not to take photos and there are those who prefer to take lots of them. 

Personally, I think you have to learn the art of timing to successfully know how to draw the line between travel experiences and taking memorable photos. You have to know when it's time to breathe and to put down your camera or turn off your WiFi connection. I can honestly say that I have already learned that art as I've never felt stripped off the experience I wanted even when I took lots of photos when I travel. Perhaps that's why I came up with my "mission" which is shoot to feel

When you observe yourself closely, you will know for sure when you are already distracted and pre-occupied with taking photos instead of enjoying the moment. When that happens, you have to evaluate the reason you're traveling - are you there to enjoy or to take photos? Or to enjoy taking photos? Or to enjoy and to take photos? Again, it's a matter of preference. 

During my recent 10-day trip to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand - I have only taken 306 photos using my DSLR and 351 photos using my phone. I've recorded 8 videos which are all 1 minute or less only. I thought I would need another memory card but it turned out my 4gb DSLR SD card memory wasn't even consumed.

Siem Reap, Cambodia
*Mandatory "selfeet"

Also, during the duration of my trip, I have shared a total of 10 photos on my Instagram account and 12 photos on my Facebook account which were all done in our hotel room at night or in the bus during a long travel time to our next destination. ;) 

To conclude: The line between taking photos and being in the moment when traveling is rather thin or shady but might also be bold or clear for some. With the art of timing, I usually get the experience I want when traveling while at the same time capturing beautiful photos for keepsake and for blog/social media sharing.

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap, Cambodia
*Temple run at Siem Reap

How about you? Are you fond of taking photos when traveling? Or you'd rather not bring a camera with you?


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