When I was a kid, cameras only came out on special occasions: birthdays, holidays. weddings, full stringers, etc.. (queue Paul Simon here)
We all had to stand like statues until grandma could get us all in the picture, get us in focus, and not get her thumb in the picture (never a sure thing). Then unless you had a Polaroid Instamatic, you had to take the film to the local drugstore and wait a week or two for the film to be developed. A return trip was required to pick up the prints. Then you had to pay for the prints you wanted. Sometimes all the pics were bad. Most of the time about half were.
Fast forward a few decades, and now most of us pack cameras like Bonnie and Clyde packed guns. We wouldn’t leave home without them, and sometimes we have several. They are small, digital (no more film to develop), and relatively affordable. Even cell phones have decent cameras these days, and some are quite good.
In addition to small easy to own and carry cameras, add the ability to do some photo fixing, add artsy filters, toss in social media, and what do you get? A society awash in digital images. I even get pictures from friends in Tanzania who don’t have electricity or running water, but they have a cell phone and a Facebook account.
In the outdoor world, digital pictures abound. Ten pound bass, ten point bucks, the sunrise from a deer stand or duck blind, etc.. On the trout stream nary a fish is caught without being subjected to the ubiquitous grip-n-grin (which, unfortunately can often be renamed “the grip of death and grin” according to this article by superb writer and blogger Erin Block in TROUT magazine).
Sometimes I reach the point of saturation. Sometimes too much of a good thing is too much.
I find myself considering a fast from photos in my upcoming adventures, especially those on the trout stream. I am not a guide or a pro photographer at work, I am just an average guy who wants to have some fun and catch some fish. Leaving the camera out simplifies things a bit and lets me live in the moment, without all the gyrations needed to keep from dropping the camera in the drink while trying to coerce a slippery fish into a photogenic pose.
Mankind from ancient days scrawled images on cave walls depicting hunts. Pictures allow us to relive the adventure. I will still take pictures. But now and again I think I will live in the moment and leave the camera at home.