My wife and I just returned from a vacation to San Francisco / Carmel / Monterey Bay and we learned that 66% of people cannot be trusted anywhere near a camera. Lots of pros and even hobbyists sometimes worry that camera technology is getting too good and soon anyone will be able to take great pictures. I now have first hand experience that there is absolutely nothing to worry about.
It’s not always practical to set up a tripod just to get a vacation snap of yourself and your significant other, so it’s not unusual to ask someone nearby to take your picture in front of some landmark. The landmark in question this time was the Golden Gate Bridge. We weren’t looking for someone to make fantastic art; we just wanted to capture a memory of the visit and prove to any naysayers that we did in fact cross the Golden Gate Bridge. Little did we know that this would be such a difficult task. We positioned ourselves with the bridge to our left and asked a kind looking stranger to take our picture. She did, and this was the result:
Ok, the exposure is bad and that’s not her fault since it was set in auto mode. It is her fault that the Golden Gate Bridge is missing from the picture. We could have gotten our picture taken in front of an ugly rock wall anywhere so why would we not want the Golden Gate Bridge to be included in a picture taken of us at the Golden Gate Bridge Viewpoint? We checked the picture, but were too embarrassed (and shocked) to ask her to retake it. So we wandered away until we were out of her sight and asked a second person to take our picture (after popping up the flash). The result? This:
You have got to be kidding me. Ok, again, our fault for standing in front of the reflective, ugly sign, but the bridge is literally just centimeters out of the frame. Is this Twitter’s fault? Can I blame iPhones or television? This is the digital age, you can see exactly what the picture will look like right on the magic screen on the back of the camera. Fine, time to find someone else…again. This time I specifically asked to include the bridge in the photo. The third time was the charm:
Finally! I’m sure I have higher standards than most when asking somebody to take my picture, but I don’t think including the tourist attraction I’m standing directly in front of is asking too much. I wish I knew if the crappy picture taking was caused by a lack of caring or a lack of skill. I don’t know which is worse. Maybe if I had handed them a camera with more megapixels…