Today I went to a museum with my kids and my in-laws.  And about halfway through the drive there, I realized I forgot my camera.  Thankfully, my in-laws remembered theirs, but without my own camera, I felt like I was walking into the museum naked.

I take a lot of pictures.  My memory is terrible, and I need the tangible memories provided by a photograph.  Thanks to the invention of the digital camera, I’ve been known to take 50 pictures just to capture a single moment.  I figure I can always go through them later and edit and crop and pick the best one.  I have neatly organized folders of photos on my computer and clearly labeled photo boxes and albums.  I am one of Snapfish’s best customers, and if you asked me to find a picture that was taken on a specific date of a specific year within the past 20 years, I could locate it within minutes. 

I love that I have these pictures, but sometimes I wonder if I’m missing out on living in the moment.  I’m so busy snapping pictures that I see the world through the eyes of a camera instead of through my own.  And sometimes I wonder if my obsession with capturing the moment for posterity is actually a hindrance to the enjoyment of whatever we’re doing.  How many times have I asked the kids to wait before opening a Christmas present so I could position myself in the perfect angle for a picture?  How many times have I posed the kids for the “perfect” picture instead of just letting them create their own perfect picture?

So I’m thankful that I forgot to bring my camera to the museum today.  I know that if I had had it, I would have been taking pictures of my kids petting an owl instead of really watching their faces.  I would have been juggling my huge Nikon on my shoulder instead of lifting my daughter up to see the animals.  I would have been capturing the fun instead of living it. 

And I love that I lived that fun today.

What do you think?  Would you rather live in the moment or capture that moment to relive it later?


13 Comments on Living in the Moment

  1. I found myself nodding as I read through your words… I find myself on both sides – wanting to simply live the moment, and also capture the moment to remember…

    I think this factor is also magnified by our relationship with the Military Family. Moments when my husband is home are precious – and in my mind, NEED to be photographed for our young children to remember and be reminded with.

    And too there are times when it's better to just leave the camera be – like the last few days or hours before a deployment when emotions are high and the tension is nearly palatable.

    So I guess in answer to your question – Yes I would rather live in the moment – but I feel in some ways I must capture these moments in photos to share with our young children.

  2. I understand loving to take pics, but sometimes I feel like people start to plan activities based on the pictures they'll take. And with so much time behind the camera I think you DO miss out on moments. I take a lot of pics myself, but some of my most special moments are unrecorded because I was too busy living them!!

    Love this post:)

  3. I've tried both ways over the last couple of years, intentionally. In retrospect, I've decided I'd rather have the pictures. Or, I've never regretted having pictures from an event or activity, but I almost always regret not having them, because my memory is so bad. Now if I can just get SoldierMan to cooperate….

  4. I feel like this happens to me too. I really want to capture moments but it can be hard when you are taking pictures of it all too. But then events where I didn't take pictures I don't remember as well and wish I could go back and at least take a couple.

  5. Girl…I am the SAME way…only I NEVER print my pics. I am horrible about them. I always say that I'm going to, but then never do. But as for living in the moment…I wonder the same things at times. I am always trying to "capture" the moment, but I never actually get to "enjoy" the moment when it is happening. I'm telling you…we are so connected…were your undies on inside out today too?

  6. I'm completely torn on this – truth is I've never really thought about it. You have my mind jumbled now haha.

    Im a big "moment capturer" I like being able to relive moments that I've had through pictures. I don't ever feel like I'm not enjoying the moment, maybe thats because the pictures that I like the best are ones that are mid-action, . Instead of trying to create a perfect picture, I'll just take pictures and see what comes out. If I ever feel like I'm not having fun because I'm too busy taking pictures, I'll put my camera away and just enjoy what's going on. I'd rather enjoy it, then recapture something that I wasn't fully enjoying.

    The times I regret are those that I don't have enough pictures of. With my bf and I having been seperated for the past 9 months, I wish we would have taken more pictures during his two week leave. Infact, the next time he comes home, I probably won't be putting the camera down haha.

  7. I think there has to be a balance and that balance is probably different for everybody. And, I guess this is why we hire photographers for those "really" special events!

  8. My biggest fear is alzheimer's. I blogged about this very topic not too long ago! I take pictures of EVERYTHING! When I was a Junior in High School I went on a retreat to Mepkin Abbey for a week with a few other students and two teachers. My religion teacher caught me taking pictures of everything, from sunrise to sunset, and one night at dinner asked me to go for a walk with her. We were out at dusk and she caught me taking pictures of everything and she took my camera away from me. She told me I could have it back in 24 hours. Those 24 hours were so amazing, and I think I got more out of them, because I allowed myseslf to experience things. Not just capture them.

    I thnk for whatever our reasons, we get caught behind the lens of life, instead of enjoying. I still take pictures, just not nearly as many. I often find myself saying "I wish I had my camera" and in those moments, I stop, and take a few breaths. I allow myself to make the mental image.

  9. Well, I'm a photographer, so I'm a bit biased! LOL! BUT, I find that having a camera makes me actually *see* the details like the looks on their faces, the soft down of the feathers, and maybe that quick hug Holden gave Hollis when he thought no one was looking. The camera actually keeps me in the moment. I'm not looking at my email or letting my mind wander off to work. I'm watching my children far more closely than I otherwise would.
    The trick is to stop worrying about the perfect posed shot and just let it happen. Almost every one of my favorite shots of the boys has been completely unplanned and an unexpected surprise. (-;

  10. I love to take pictures too. I am always lugging around my Canon and trying to snap those perfect shots. But I don't try to arrange them. I definitely let the moments happen organically and hope that I'm there to capture them.

    I'm glad you were able to get out from behind the camera and enjoy your time with your kiddos at the museum.

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