Let’s face it, we are all highly social animals. And, we love our social media sites. They allow us to share our lives openly with our friends and families in ways not possible before the advent of the internet. One mind-boggling aspect of social media is photography. We all love to share photos. Our pictures are no longer gathering dust in dogeared albums buried on a shelf in a dark closet or in a sealed box in a damp basement. They are alive and online.
Social media is changing the way we communicate and the way we are perceived, both positively and negatively. Every time you post a photo, or update your status, you are contributing to your own digital footprint and personal brand. You are defining who you are. What is important to you. And, you are sharing your adventures in life.
Many people who go camping are also members of Facebook, the social media site with 2.375 billion members and with 1 billion mobile users. In fact, more than 250 billion photos have been uploaded to Facebook alone. That equates to about 350 million photos per day. You may say, “Hey, I don’t use Facebook!” While that may be true, but half of the internet users who do not use Facebook themselves live with someone who does. Of those, 24% say that they look at posts or photos on that person’s account. So, even if you are not a Facebook user, pictures of you are most likely posted there, whether you like it or not. So, resistance is futile. You might as well embrace it all.
If you see something that moves you, and then snap it, you keep a moment. A good photograph is one that communicates a fact, touches the heart and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it. It is, in a word, effective.
Many other popular social media sites compete with Facebook for users posting photos and they include Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Snapchat to name a few. Photos are everywhere. As always, psychology is interested in finding answers to questions of why we behave the way we do. When it comes to social-media sharing, five main explanations dominate the discussion.
- To convey our identity – perhaps one of the strongest forces driving our motivation to share is based on our sense of identity – more specifically, the desired version of ourselves that we want to project onto the world
- To nurture relationships – we often share content that captures a mutual interest, a shared experience, a private joke, or an idea for a future plan
- For an incentive – a recent study showed that 67% of users who “liked” a brand page on Facebook did so simply to become eligible for special offers
- To feel a sense of belonging – being engaged in an online community and receiving feedback for our actions can provide us with social validation and a greater sense of connectedness
- To advocate for great content – it may be just an amazingly beautiful image, something that inspired us, a source of learning, or sometimes we share something because we feel that others will love it too
Regardless of your motivation, we are sharing photos. We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us. Photography is truth. The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words.
When we go camping and explore all that nature has to offer, it is the perfect opportunity to capture images that personify our lives. We go camping for the experience. When camping, we create lifelong memories of fun times when communing with nature, travelling for adventures, seeing sights, spending time with our kids and grandchildren, or just to decompress from our hectic existence. Photography permits us to capture these moments in time to preserve them and to share them. What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.
To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.
So, if you want to take part, and share your photos, and you are not sure how to start, then the first thing that you need is a way to take pictures. There is an adage that says, “the best camera to own is the one in your hands”. Meaning, all cameras are good. And, buying a cost effective and functional camera has never been easier. There are so many choices that this abundance of options may confuse you, so allow me to help and frame the approach to select the ideal camera for you. Now, let’s not be snobs here and promote a preferred brand name or a level of technology. To me, it is all about “fit’ and finding the right photographic tool for your personal needs. It is all about you. And, not how much money you spent or the logo on the camera.
To begin, what sort of pictures would you like to take? Are they pictures of the kids roasting marshmallows around the campfire? Or maybe you want to capture travel log pictures to chronicle your trip? Perhaps it is to snap portraits of friends and family in different places? Or to take images of magnificent vistas and landscapes? Are you pursing photography for fine art images? Or, are you taking photos to complement your blog posts or Facebook posts? Most likely it is a combination of these pursuits and perhaps a few more. Maybe you are not exactly sure of what you want or need, so for now, you just want the flexibility to explore what is the best photography for you. If this is your case, then you need versatility in your new photographic device. There are different levels and capabilities of photographic tools, and they are all good. The main levels are:
- Smartphones and Tablets
- Sports Action Cameras
- Point and Shoot
- Super Zoom
- DSLR and Mirrorless DSLR
There are many good brands that all make quality products. When people ask me what equipment I use and what is the best camera – I tell them my eyes.
- Various Android devices from Google, Huawei, and Samsung
- And, many more, so it is hard to go wrong today
Generally stated, a good camera has a zoom capability that ranges from wide angle to medium telephoto. A sensor chip that offers at least 12 megapixels, and the more megapixels the better. It uses affordable media like a SD card. It can be recharged fast, is compact, and easy to carry. And, it allows connectivity to the internet and social media sites with easy uploading capabilities of pictures.
In my case, I passionately love photography, so I use a larger digital single lens reflect (DSLR) camera that has interchangeable lenses. I love airshows, so I use more powerful telephoto lenses compared to others. However, some of my friends wonder why I carry all this heavy equipment, so they use point and shoot cameras that are easy, fast, and perfect for quick snapshots. Taking pictures is savouring life intensely.
Most folks use the camera in their smartphone. According to InfoTrends’ estimates, 85 percent of all pictures taken this year will be captured on smartphones, 10.3% with digital cameras, and 4.7% with tablets. While I have seen people use their tablets, it has always puzzled me as I see them as clunky and clumsy cameras, not exactly ideal. But, if that is all you have to use, then it may be better than nothing.
If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff. By travelling and camping, it places you directly in front of more interesting stuff. Capturing the quintessential moments of our lives and the comforting, tranquil family photos while camping are vital to understanding the significance of our lives. These moments do not come around again, so savour life and create memories. With your photography you can relive these moments over again and share them with others to invoke a truer sense of community and belonging. So, remember, taking an image, freezing a moment, reveals how rich reality truly is. My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe life from my motorhome, and my camera is my passport.
Life is like a camera. Just focus on what’s important and capture the good times, edit the photos to satisfy yourself, and if things don’t work out, just take another shot.
About the Author:
Michael Martin has more than 35 years of experience in systems design for broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless and digital communications technologies.
He is a business and technology consultant. Over the past 14 years with IBM, he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He is a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX).
Martin currently serves on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and previously served on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V).
He serves as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology.
He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) [now Ontario Tech University] and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario. For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section.
He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has diplomas and certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology.