Capturing the Moment vs. Living in the Moment

“Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted.” Sylvia Plath

Wherever I go, my camera comes along with me. It’s almost non-negotiable. I take my smaller mirrorless camera when it’s just me and E, and my big bulky dslr when someone is coming along with us (meaning, I might get a few seconds of free time where I can take photos without worrying about E scurrying off).

Yes, I am that annoying person who takes pictures of random objects and tries to re-position you so the light hits your face at a different angle. And because I’m still learning, I have to readjust the settings more than a few times before I’m satisfied (or somewhat happy) with the outcome of whatever it was I thought I was trying to get a shot of.

It’s not just the act of taking pictures that intrigues me (or maybe I should say the post-processing, which is actually what I enjoy the most). I’m drawn by the fact that we can easily capture priceless moments of our lives that may otherwise have faded in our memories.

The thing is though, sometimes I wonder if it’s better to leave the camera at home and just be in the moment. Live in the moment. And every so often, I do just that. But most of the time I end up thinking, “Damn, I wish I had my camera!”

So these days, I think it’s best to just take a camera with me and use it in moderation, so I don’t regret it later. (I’m pretty sure my family is rolling their eyes while reading this. Hi, guys! Sorry for sending you so many pictures all the time!) It’s not as bad of a habit as the smart phone addiction that people write articles about almost every week. But it’s similar in a way.

In my defense though, I feel like “living in the moment with a camera” can totally be a thing too.

But in any case, I wonder where the balance lies.

To bring or not to bring.
To capture the moment or live in the moment.

(Can’t we do both?)

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16 Comments

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  1. Well……….we’d get along just swell then. I don’t normally leave the house without my DSLR. I don’t own a point and shoot, simple because I haven’t found one I love and then I talk myself into new lens.

    I live by strict rules when I take my camera with me. Which is capture the moment and then set the camera down. Like for instance a recent moment that happen was my husband was reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” to T. Each time he’d read off a fruit T would pretend to eat the fruit like the caterpillar. I only caught him once pretending to eat and my husband laughing at him. Then I set the camera down and encouraged him to keep doing it and laughed at him each time. Same thing for DL. I had the camera around my neck but I’d only capture moments instead of living behind my camera.

    I think you might enjoy this article by another momtographer. She talks about putting her camera down for a whole year! Which is confusing but I think she means to live in the moment with your camera but to put it down instead of having it constantly in front of you.

    http://clickitupanotch.com/2014/01/why-i-am-putting-away-my-camera-this-year/

    • Thanks for this wonderful comment, Dina! The article that you recommended was exactly what I needed to read. Be more intentional. Yes, I think that’s the solution. Just like the example you gave with T reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” with your husband.

      Don’t worry though, It’s not like I’m totally living behind the lens right now and I realize after reading the article that I do already practice “being more intentional” to some degree. But your words and the article helped give a clear vision to as what I should be aiming for. I also loved the idea of using a tripod and setting it to go off at certain intervals during gatherings–what a genius idea :)

  2. i have my camera less than 1 year and all this time my family and relatives can be divided into two groups : “will you take your camera with you?:)” and “don’t take the camera”. right now I am always confused what should I do as last group starts changing their opinion :) maybe my photos are now better :) and i still think that it’s ok to use “auto” mode of camera when I want to live the moment but have my memories forever:)

    • Your photos are fabulous so I can totally understand why the second group has started changing its opinion ;) And thanks for the input about auto mode!! Yes, that’s such a great solution that hadn’t really crossed my mind! That would allow me to take quick shots in situations where I want to live in the moment but still capture it. Thanks ;)

  3. Firstly, I adore your photos. Secondly, I was thinking about writing about this myself in my blog, lol. I probably will :) I still have A LOT to learn in photography, hey, I just have fun, but for me part of the fun is the artistic side of it. It’s a bit like I play the piano, ok, for me listening to classical music is great, but also “wasting” my time on months of practice to get a piece right is also my view of living my life the way I want to. Yeah, I should write about it :) For me living the moment is also taking notice of the colours, the light (which many people without a camera in their hand might not notice) and wanting to play with them with my camera. Does that make sense to you?

    • Thank you, Sofia!! And yes, that makes complete sense to me. That’s another thing about photography that I love. It makes you look at things and situations differently. More artistically. It’s definitely eye-opening. And you’re right– taking notice of things like light and colors is “living in the moment” as well. I guess it’s just about moderation and making sure that you don’t completely lose track of what’s happening around you. Because at this point in my life, I can’t imagine life without photography! I have no problems with “wasting” time practicing, either. (Because it’s not a waste–it’s part of the process, right?)

      PS. I would love to read your post about this topic!

  4. You should not worry! I think that’s how people get better at photography. I’m actually having the opposite thoughts in my head. I stopped taking my camera (or simply forget to do so because I’m always rushing out the door). I think iPhone camera comes into an issue because of the social media, but a big camera should be okay. With social media, people are constantly posting, checking the reaction of their followers, etc. Anyways, I do hear your dilemma, too. I think you’ll figure it out. ;) Your photos are beautiful. I wish I had you near me so that I can ask you questions about post-processing!!

    • Thanks, Kaho! Yes, I agree, I think it’s how people get better, too! I mean, if we didn’t practice, there’s no way we could get better, right? And yes, smart phone cameras and social media are definitely an issue these days. I don’t use twitter and I rarely update my personal FB account so to me, taking photos isn’t about immediately sharing on social media. As you know, I have an Instagram account but I only post one picture a day or every few days (and most of them are #latergrams haha). But then again, the main reason I have this blog is because I like sharing pictures every now and then and connecting with people who have similar passions. So… I guess that makes me sort of guilty? (Although I don’t really care about stats and followers so maybe not? I’m confusing myself!)

      Anyway, I’ve gotten some great feedback through the comments on this post and it’s helped me sort of figure out how I want to approach this “capturing the moment vs. living in the moment” thing. I would say it’s about giving myself a few minutes to get some shots that I want and then putting the camera down. Hopefully, I’ll figure out the best balance that works for me!

  5. I personally am thankful you continue to capture the moment on camera because I get to see so many gorgeous photos on your blog. But it’s definitely a topic that crosses my mind, especially in this day and age. But imagine how much time and energy the old school photographers had to put into “capturing the moment.” Compared to that, grabbing the camera, focusing, and pressing the button doesn’t seem too time consuming…but everything is about balance, isn’t it? :D

  6. I go back and forth with this all the time, especially in regards to the traveling we do. I wonder, am I missing the point of a vacation if I’m constantly trying to get that one great shot? Part of me wants to just leave the camera at home – go somewhere and just enjoy every single moment. But then I think about how much joy I feel when I succeed in getting a particular shot I was wanting, etc. That’s all a part of the traveling for me, too. I just want to be able to live in the moment and capture it at the same time – is that too much to ask? :)

    • Taking pictures is a huge part of traveling for me too. At this point, I can’t even imagine taking a trip without a camera (the horror!)

      “I just want to be able to live in the moment and capture it at the same time”
      –Me too ;)

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