Can I take photos when catching up with friends

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Tomorrow, I’m off to the National Arboretum to meet a friend for coffee. We will sit for a while and then have a look round, weather permitting.  This is supposed to be a time for friendship stuff – you know, catching up, taking an interest in how the world is treating another, being supportive, encouraging and learning from.

Yet, it’s my first time at the arboretum and that generally means I’d like to take some photos.

We started out just sitting in local cafes.  Then my friend suggested we meet at the Glassworks and suddenly a new tradition was born. In marketing terms, it’s called value adding. We deliberately combine our meetings with visits to interesting places we might not normally visit.

Can I add even more value by coming back with some great photos and some experiences to share … without intruding on friend time?

Has it worked in the past?

If I’m to be truthful, it hasn’t worked well in the past.  I enjoy travelling with people, but pulling out the big digital camera takes my attention away from my buddies.  If it doesn’t, then the quality of the photos suffer and it’s just not worth the bother. Time wasted on both counts.

On a couple of holidays, I wandered around with my smallish video camera conveniently to hand.  This meant I could quickly turn it on, keep it low and stay in touch with the people around me.  Single images were then lifted from the footage.  Some were standard tourist photos.  Some were a little … arty?

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BUT as the number of people on the trip grew, I felt uncomfortable because I could see they were uncomfortable being in shot. Rather than spending time with fellow travellers, I ended up trying to avoid them!

Perhaps this is where my new camera phone saves the day.  Everyone seems to be pointing their phone at something.  Me too?  I’ve been getting lots of practice grabbing quick shots for my other blog, Cherrie Zell Everyday.

A new schema?

So, when I pull all this together and think about how it might work … I end up with the following:

  • Everyday by myself – phone camera
  • Field trips by myself – the big digital camera
  • With 2 or 3 people – video camera
  • With more than 3 people – back to the phone?

There is one exception to this schema.  Sometimes it’s great to “take the camera for a walk” with another photographer.  We lug our DLSRs around, ponder the benefits (or otherwise) of taking a tripod and talk shop.  Spend time by ourselves and with each other.  Good fun.

And for tomorrow?

I’m still not sure which option, if any, will emerge triumphant tomorrow.  Although, if I’m really honest with myself, probably none of them.

Perhaps friend time should be simply that.

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