Enjoy the view before you take a picture

Published 12:08 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2024

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In the nineties, I’m sure you had a family member or a close friend who would be behind a VHS camera at gatherings. No one really knew how to act when the camera guy walked into the room—except my uncle, of course, who would always stare at the camera and stick his finger up his nose. While having those memories recorded is great to look back on, it makes me wonder if we are seeing life through a screen more than with our own eyes. 

If you have been to a concert or at least watched one on television, the crowd has their phones out, recording a good portion of it. If you watch a sunrise at the beach, folks will try for minutes to get the perfect photo on their phone. Seeing a beautiful starry sky without any light pollution, many people’s first reaction is to try and get a photo. 

Media is great. Photographers and videographers do a wonderful job of capturing crucial moments in life to share. But with the availability of handheld high-powered cameras, it is common for folks to have the urge to capture everything. Did the people going to Taylor Swift’s concert see her perform, or did they just watch her on their phone screen? 

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These thoughts ran through my head as I tried to find my GoPro action camera. A tree branch knocked it off my head, and it disappeared into a deep, soft snow bank. While my family skied down the run, I was searching for a camera. I was missing a good time because I was trying to digitally capture one. 

We recently took a trip to Montana and were lucky enough to have four to six inches of new snow every morning. It was my kids’ first time skiing, so I was ready to document everything. 

I finally found my camera and immediately put it in my backpack. The rest of the day has zero digital evidence. I don’t have a picture of my daughter overcoming her fears and trying a harder slope. I don’t have a video of my son landing a “big jump” on the last run of the day. 

 do have vivid memories of those things occurring with my own eyes and not through an LED screen. Social media has made the outdoors into a Pokémon game. Pokémon is where you try to collect a bunch of cards with different characters. 

If you hike to a waterfall during the fall, you will see a scene like that Taylor Swift concert. People will spend more time looking at the waterfall and leaves through their phones then with the naked eye. Like Pokémon, they have collected the image of a waterfall and are off the find the next great picture to take. 

I have challenged myself to enjoy the view before I try to capture it and dive into the adventure instead of documenting every second. So go on a hike this Easter weekend and enjoy the outdoors first, and document it later.