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Do I really need tons of photos to remember my vacation?

I’m a picture person. I usually take tons of photos during special events, especially trips and vacations.

Unfortunately, I was sick on my vacation last week. My throat was hurting by the first day, and by Tuesday my energy was low, low, low. I can see the rapid disintegration in my photo folders: Sun night 70 pictures, Mon 207 pictures, Tues 7 pictures.

It was one of those times when I really wanted to do something, but couldn’t muster the energy or motivation to make it happen. And it seemed like every time I opted not to take my camera with me, that was the time when I wish I’d had it. When I did take it with me, I barely used it.

I made myself spend the day outdoors on Thursday. And though I kept wanting to fall asleep on my chair, I swam and talked and read and watched. At one point, I knew it was the time to take pictures, that this was a moment I’d want to capture. The sun was shining, the waves were blue and white, and everyone was out there having fun. But I thought, “tomorrow…I will do it tomorrow. Today I will just watch and enjoy.”

Of course, the next day – our last day – I was in bed all day and the one time I ventured out into the heat, I turned right back around and went back to bed. So there was no next sunlit day at the beach.

And now I’m kind of sad that I don’t have more photos. I’m still sick, but I wish I’d pushed myself more and just made myself take pictures.

Memories of outings past:

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Those photos are important to me. They bring back the memories in a vivid, perfect way that my mind simply can’t replicate.

I remember the texture of the event, what I felt like, what it sounded like, bits and pieces of scenery and little snippets of the action. But a photo can show me, whenever I want, the exact expression on someone’s face, the exact moment when thisΒ  happened, this tiny little thing I’d already forgotten about.

Some people never take photos, and they don’t really need that kind of memento. Even as I was watching the others play in the waves that Thursday, I was thinking it would be okay if I didn’t get those pictures. Because being there was the thing, the most important part. Enjoying the experience. And I was right, of course.

But I still wish I had more pictures.


Are you a picture person?

Do you feel the need to capture the moment, or are you perfectly content just to live it?


23 Comments Post a comment
  1. I’m very much a picture person. But sometimes I wish I’d ease up and enjoy being in the moment more than worrying about getting the best photo.

    Some of your photos are great btw! But I speak purely from an aesthetic PoV – you of course have memories to color them in with πŸ™‚

    September 5, 2013
    • There’s definitely that side of it for me too. I’ve even used the camera as a way of separating myself from the action of the event and the people, because I am ill at ease with strangers or in large groups.

      Thanks for the compliment! Of course, I chose some photos I like the best, haha.

      September 5, 2013
      • Yes, I’ve done that too. I try to put my camera away once in a while though, because taking photos is not just aim and shoot (for me), and it often means keeping other people waiting etc, which I’m not comfortable with if they aren’t very close to me.

        September 6, 2013
        • Haha, yeah – I’ve had the family be like “are you done yet or WHAT?” and I’m just trying to get the picture right. πŸ™‚

          September 6, 2013
          • Haha! It’s such a pain. And then you feel bad about it, or grumpy because people are getting impatient with you – it’s just easier to stop. But yeah in general, I don’t feel like a holiday is complete if I haven’t taken tons of photos. Sometimes I think I only want to travel in order to be able to photograph.

            September 6, 2013
  2. Catherine Johnson #

    Sorry you were ill on vacation. Those pics are lovely and I take a gazillion photos.

    September 5, 2013
    • Aw, thanks Catherine, for both things. And I’m glad to not be alone in the big picture taking. I do love having tons of photos to look at later! And really, I enjoy taking them too.

      September 5, 2013
  3. I like taking photos–the nature shots are part of my relaxation process while on the trip. But the photos I would not want to miss are of family, especially elderly parents. But so many take photos now and they are easy to share, so if I do not take the photo, someone has!

    September 5, 2013
    • That’s true, and I kept thinking that my mom and sister were taking lots of photos this trip. But somehow it’s just not the same. I’m definitely going to get copies from them, and it will be a good memory booster. But they just don’t have the emotional impact for me as the pictures I take myself. I guess that makes sense. Maybe?

      September 5, 2013
  4. Hi Michelle,
    Pictures remind me of perceptions (real and imagined) for trip segments. You take such wonderful shots, the dimensions of whatever occasion would seem less without your captures……just be choosy about when it comes out.

    September 5, 2013
    • Hi Mark! I think you’re right about choosing. I want to find that balance between living the moment and photographing the moment. I don’t always balance that well. And I think part of it is the art of it – I just really get carried away with the scene and the creative aspect of taking photos. That is it’s own allure, I guess.

      Thanks for the compliment, too, and I love how you put that about the dimensions – that’s it really, the dimensions are so much larger and filled out with the right photos to go with the memories. Sometimes I think the photos can be so good and emotion-evoking that they make the event/trip into something greater in memory than it really was in real life.

      September 5, 2013
  5. Monica Cook #

    In the past few months I have realized how incredibly important pictures really are. I wish I had taken more. That is something I plan on getting better at in the future. Snap, Snap Michelle!

    September 5, 2013
    • Hi Monnie!! Yes, I have a photo of Brandon on my iPod that is just so him and I love that picture when it pops up. I don’t have any photos of my Nannie or Grandpop (Mom’s parents), who both died before I was really taking pictures. I think I have one of Grannie, none of Josephine or Joey or George, One I took of Grandpop. I remember them and can picture them, but I would love to have had something more tangible. Life goes by so quickly.

      September 5, 2013
  6. I prefer to let my memory be my camera. That way, I can look through my mental photographs at any time, and never have to worry about losing files or where to store the 4 x 5 glossies. πŸ™‚

    September 8, 2013
    • Hi Austin, thanks for commenting! I wondered about that, why it’s so important to me and it’s not important to some people at all. And the thing is, I rarely look at the photos! And now with digital, I almost never even print them. Since chatting this over in the comments, I’m thinking that at least some of my photo obsession is the creative process and the act of turning the event into a kind of art. In any case, I’m glad to hear a different viewpoint! I always like to know how other people think. πŸ™‚

      September 8, 2013
      • We’re all about Deep Thoughts on my blog, so I love to ponder and issue and then leave my two cents πŸ™‚

        September 8, 2013
        • Cool! I’ll come over to visit soon.

          September 8, 2013
          • Feel free to take pictures… πŸ˜‰

            September 8, 2013
          • Haha, ok!

            September 8, 2013
  7. I’ve a terrible memory so I love pictures. Not just for vacations but also in daily life. So my phone is filled with captured moments, and they always bring a smile to my face. And like you, I’m always wishing that i had taken more!

    September 8, 2013
    • I love your pictures! It’s funny that I never once thought it might be unusual that you take pictures of daily stuff. It just seems normal! I think we are definitely picture kindred spirits!

      September 8, 2013
      • We certainly are! I wish I had more pictures of daily stuff. People do sometimes give me strange looks when I stop for a shot of something completely mundane but I’ve gotten used to it πŸ˜›

        September 8, 2013
        • Yeah, I’m sometimes embarrassed out of taking photos, but I’m getting more used to just doing it. πŸ™‚

          September 8, 2013

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