Guest Blog Post: Brittany

date May 03, 2011 location Paris, France comments 7 Comments

Today is a very special day on the blog. I am very pleased to introduce the first ever guest blog post: Brittany. I will keep her introduction short, because as you are about to find out, her writing skills put mine to shame. Brit and I just got back from a nine day european vacation. In addition to the recent europe pics, Brit has tagged along on many of my adventures. Without further ado...

Let me begin by confessing, I am by no means a photographer. I may spend a lot of time with one, but unfortunately, I really haven't absorbed anything he has tried to teach me. Honestly, ask me about white balance or bracketing or ISO settings, and you'll get nothing from me other than an expression of complete and utter bewilderment. However, having been beside our beloved ShutterRunner during many of his recent travels, I have come to truly appreciate the complexity of producing a great photograph. And let me stress, it can be an exceedingly taxing process. Not only does the photographer have to find the perfect moment to capture, but he then must set up his tripod, choose the right lens, find the appropriate settings on the camera, and manage to avoid hundreds of pesky tourists, all while trying not to bore his photographically challenged girlfriend on their first European adventure (well maybe that last one is unique to ShutterRunner). In my eyes, however, the greatest challenge a photographer faces in executing his craft is managing to preserve a moment while still remaining an active participant in that moment. Essentially, the difficulty lies in simultaneously preserving and experiencing the moment sought to be captured. Some distance between an individual and his experiences is undoubtedly created when he inserts a camera between himself and his surroundings. He risks becoming an outsider, someone who misses the magic unique to a singular moment in time that cannot and will not ever be recreated in the exact same manner. For these reasons, I did not take a single photograph when I studied abroad in Paris in late 2007. Despite the undeniably beauty of my surroundings and the millions of photo opportunities before me, I refused to be like the rest of my classmates, trapped behind their cameras, seeing the world through their lenses rather than their own eyes. I wanted to live each moment of my life in Paris without placing a shield between myself and those moments I knew I would never have the chance to relive. And in that regard, I very much succeeded. After three months, however, I was slightly saddened to come home with nothing but my memories. To this day, I truly regret my decision not to memorialize my experience in any tangible way.

Having recently been afforded the opportunity to go back to Paris, I wanted to do things differently this time around. And as luck would have it, I had an amazing photographer by my side to capture all of my new Parisian memories. Don't get me wrong though, I did not want this trip to become a picture taking free for all. I knew well enough from my first experience that falling into extremes is not the ideal avenue to pursue. Instead, we sought to strike a balance between preserving our memories and living each moment to the fullest. Whether it was snapping a million pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower and then sitting down to enjoy a picnic on the nearby lawns or it was sneakily snapping some shots in the Sacre-Coeur and then taking a seat on les escaliers de la butte while enjoying some beers and live music, we were able to successfully overcome the challenges of simultaneously preserving and experiencing each moment of our trip. Finding this ideal balance guarantees the best possible outcome: unbelievable memories and breathtaking pictures (like the one right below)!

Brit's Favorite Parisian CafeView Exif InformationView on Map

Brit's Favorite Parisian Cafe

Posted by Jim Denham on May 03, 2011 8:46am

Definitely a balancing act to capture the moment and experience it! Good post and a wonderful image, as well!

Posted by Jim Nix on May 03, 2011 9:35am

great shot Matty and she does write well! it is hard to balance photographing a scene while trying to live it too, but ah it's a sacrifice we all continue to make :) great image! Jim

Posted by ShutterRunner on May 03, 2011 9:44am

Thanks for the comments, fellas! It is indeed a tough balance between trying to capture the moment and live it in the same time. Personally, I am thankful for photography because, if nothing else, it has forced me to find these moments even if it might mean not being able to enjoy them the same way that someone without a camera might be.

Posted by Jesse Pafundi on May 03, 2011 9:46am

Love this shot man. You captured the essence of a city in one frame.

Posted by Scott Ackerman on May 03, 2011 10:10am

Great shot! Outstanding light control. And of course, good words to remember.

Posted by Dawn on May 03, 2011 11:17am

Yes, she does have a way with words... just as Matty as a way with the camera. Another fabulous shot!

Posted by Michael Tuuk on May 03, 2011 9:29pm

Spent a week in Paris last year with my wife and went through the same struggle. I decided ahead of time that it wasn't a photo vacation and while I brought the camera, I left the tripod behind. Missed some great shot opportunities but gained other great memories. Great shot of the cafe!