The Spirit of Radio

These past few years I’ve often wondered about the effect a camera has on my time outdoors. I love looking at my photies when I come home, and I’ll treasure them for the rest of my life, but does the time and effort involved detract from the experience of actually being there?

At the Gary Numan gig I got my answer. There were folk all through the crowd who spend much of the show (in some cases the whole show) with a camera or “device” of some sort held aloft, snapping or filming, adjusting as they went. Now, if you’re looking at an LCD screen you’re not looking at the stage, the lights, the faces of the performers, you’re not catching the nuances of the musicianship, you’re not absorbing the spectrum of emotion coming from both the PA and the audience. You can’t rewind the show because you missed it either, are you compromising the experience just to get some rubbish footage of three quarters of a song on YouTube before anyone else? Yes, I think you are.

I’m in the mountains, I’m ascending, the clouds break and light streams through. I throw off my pack and get the camera and tripod out. I take a shot, I set the timer, run around the front and grin a bit, then I stand and watch for a while to see what the clouds do next, I have a drink, I have a munchie too maybe.
I know that when I’m not alone and I’m doing that stuff I’m slowing someone else’s progress as well, but I can’t remember any toe-tapping or folk sighing and looking at their watches.
Maybe rather than being a pain, stopping to take a photie is stretching that moment when the view is just perfect. Watching more intently, feeling the seconds tick by as the cloud slowly peels from the summit, or the sun slips over the horizon spraying the sky with ever changing colour. I don’t think that I would have half the memories and have caught half the moments that I have if I’d have kept moving. Stopping and fannying about with a camera would appear to be a good thing.

Happy now.

24 thoughts on “The Spirit of Radio

  1. Are you still using the LX3? above you say you use a tripod, what have you got (as it’s bound to be light!), Kate’s been thinking about getting one for ages but not found one that you’d want to carry any great distance.

  2. My lightweight pretensions are offset by my camera gear which weighs nearly 4.5kg [!] alone. I hear what you’re saying, particularly if you need action shots for Trail or whatever, thankfully nobody wants/needs to see my gargantuan frame blocking out the landscape :)

    But I find contemplating what/how I’m going to photograph make me consider the landscape and conditions. As my GF points out though, sometimes it’s nice to just sit and drink it in.

    But yeah, why go to a gig and film the whole thing? What could be worse that watching some shaky footage of a dot on a stage with crap sound quality?

  3. High winds tonight and untested Laser Photon Elite have delayed my departure until timorrow…

    Rob, it’s still the LX3, aye. The tripod is a cheapo, Velbon I think? It’s kinda heavy but it’s really small packing, similar to one MK Trail Blaze trekking pole, and it goes up to about four feet I think. When I’m doing the Trail stuff like the trip last week where I’m taking lots of shots of man-in-landscape I keep the camera attached to the tripod and stick it in my chest pouch or hang it from my pack strap. Minimising hassle is always good!
    If I could find something lighter at the same size I’d buy it, but lighter always seems to be bigger, bugger that.

    Vorlich, that 4.5kg gets you the shots though, point and click will always have its limits :o)
    It’s always interesting trying to get myself into a shot in the right place, it does take a few tries. Looking at the one at the top of the post, I should probably be about ten feet to the right, but my cuppa was getting cold!
    The one that’s the main shot for the route in the current Trail is one of my favourite photies ever, I got the mountains in and I’m just about in the right spot for once, a fluke.
    It’s great when I’ve got folk to point the camera at, much easier.

    Pausing and taking it all in is where it’s at. Camping adds to that effect for me, it removes time pressure and makes the day open ended. It really is the freedom to what you like and do it at your own pace.
    Well unless the wind puts you off for a day!

  4. No in answer to the question at the very top. Photies are great. Memories to look back on. To pass on to people. To capture special wee moments in time. And most importantly a time to catch your breath on the hills and see the amazing vistas that have opened up all around you. Some folk are more lucky than others at capturing those moments though!

    I’m someone who takes my camera everywhere – even to work [hah, you thought my pack for the hills was heavy!! :o)] Its coming into that time of year when the pinky orange sun will hit the Ochils just as its beginning to set around 3pm and i’ll stand at the meeting room window with my camera just to catch it – hopefully.

    My mum still has some Kodak 110 spools spools she has yet to get developed including a trip when my Dad and uncle went to Skye in the 80’s!! I prefer digital methods but its still good to get the huge box full of old photies out every now and again…

    Having only been to my first gig in 2005 (yes i seem to have discovered a lot of things 10 years later than most), I too take the camera to gigs to capture the moments and only recently videos – once i worked out that the way i was holding it meant the sound was dampened as my finger was over the microphone (a minor design flaw on the TZ7)! But that’s because I like to share it with friends on the other side of the world in Oz and a YouTube link is easier than emailing videos?! I try to choose my moments carefully though.

    Cameras are great though, and if anyone toe-taps or watch-gazes tell them to go home! :o)

    Now speaking of taking my camera to work… I’ll be needing a wee or medium sized pack to take to work when i get my new bike!! any recommendations? It’ll need to carry all my junk and useless items that I MUST carry every day! :o)

  5. oops another essay but I forgot to say that i went shopping today and luckily i had my camera as when I reached the 7th floor of the multi-storey carpark the sun was setting and i just had to get the camera out. A braw sunset over Glasgow it was… i’ll Flickr it later on.

  6. Ange, just how big and heavy are your ‘must carry’ items? Would you be better off with a pannier to carry everything on the bike rather than on your back? It’s much nicer riding with the weight carried by sturdy metal tubes designed for the task!
    (Do you have to cart a laptop to and fro?)

    If you really do just want a small, light rucksack then, ptc*, what’s the current incarnation of the Gregory Iso called? :)

  7. Ange, I like the photies, all very familiar!
    I saw the same sunset from the Pizza Hut carpark in Clydebank. Hey, junk food is fine, it’s the weekend.

    Carrying a camera all the time is a good idea, I use mine at work a lot, but it’s the time it’s at home I’m saying “Oh, I wish I had a camera”.

    One of the good things about this rather bizarre week was finding that after 30 years of going to gigs I still enjoy it as much I always have. I’m maybe just a little further towards the back of the crowd these days…
    It also persuaded me to buy tickets to see Kiss next year :o)

    The Gregory Iso is a good call, test the one I’ve got and see what you think.
    There’s some changes for Gregory in the UK, we’ll need to see what happens there.
    Panniers are a good call for commuting, makes you wider and more noticable in traffic and you can get more reflective surfaces on there.

  8. Weekends were made for junk food. I treated myself to a crepe filled with Nutella and marshmallows on the way back to the car. It was cold by the time i got home and had my dinner though.

    It always works out that you might see a great photie when you’ve not got the camera.

    I ain’t planning on riding the bike to work in the darkest of dark nights – i’m a fierty :o) But I’ll get a shot of that bag and see…

    Kiss! (that’s Gene Simmons right?) Oh. No. :o)

    Have a good trip and mind… take that camera. :o)

  9. Just got in from a gig, just seen Snow Patrol at the Palace Theatre in Manchester, Elbow jumped out of the crowd on to the stage to sing along with one of their songs.. Ace! Anyhow totally know what you mean about the people and their cameras. The thing that winds me up is people who snap hundreds of photos and never even look at them again, so many people stand in my way at gigs videoing the gig and they never ever look at it again, and why bother its so tiny and bad quality!

    I think us outdoor folk really treasure our photos, we taken them home take out the bad ones, name them, label them and share the best and back them up every once in a while. Most of these snappy happies with their mobile phones hardly do a thing with them once they are taken.

  10. Sorry but you don’t know for sure these people at gigs never(!) look at their photos again?
    I love gigs, I love the outdoors, I love taking photies of both and I love looking at photies of both. I also take photies of lots of different (some may say weird) things and I treasure each and every one of them too. I don’t find this annoying, what I do find annoying at gigs is that folk get pathetically drunk, stagger around the venue all night and probably miss most of the main event. Aye folk with cameras are ok.

    …and btw my camera doesn’t half take good videos – in HD quality no less (if I knew how to work that function)… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hX3srTaH-80 :o)

    you’ll have to excuse the slight shakyness but I was overcome with emotion at being able to take this footage of one of my favourite songs/performers of the whole year and to capture the moment to treasure for a lifetime!! ;o)

  11. Interesting one this. I don’t take pictures myself as I find I do get distracted from enjoying the ‘journey’ itself. I’m too busy faffing with the camera to really look around. However, I’ve never had a problem with others taking pictures on the occasions I go with friends – it gives me more time to look around and savour the moment.

    So, I think I’m simply saying keep carrying on, carrying on. The thing seems to be to stop and look around, with or without a camera.

    Obvious really…

  12. Kiss, have you seen em before. The stage set is one of the best ever. Might go myself to Manchester, ticket touts stand by. Funnily enough when i last saw em in mid 90’s i smuggled a big camera & lens in and got some great black and white close up shots. The beauty of digital now you can take it anywhere and check and ditch the naff results instantly. It’s great looking at your old snaps and dredging up past memories & looking out at the rain & wishing you were back there for about the next 30 years.

  13. Hey folks, it’s funny how typing up some thoughts strikes a chord one way or the other.
    As long as we’re having fun it’s all good.

    Coops, the first time I saw Kiss was in 1983 at the Glasgow Apollo! Brilliant it was, I loved when they reformed with the original line-up in make up, magic, just like the 70’s videos.
    We’ll see how they do next yrear with two imposters :o)

    Photies? Aye, it’s a joy right enough. Any doubts I had were crushed last night. More soon.

  14. “As long as we’re having fun it’s all good”

    Not wrong there; after watching other people have fun on the big screen at KMF and having spent last weekend being with sick kids I’m looking forward to finding me some of that white stuff. Where was the camp It looks a very ‘cosy’ spot.

  15. “Sorry but you don’t know for sure these people at gigs never(!) look at their photos again?” Fairy Snuff, maybe I am wrong to guess that most do, I can only go on experience of my own friends who I have who go to gigs all the time, of the several friends only two would ever look at those pictures or videos ever again or know even how to get them off their phone.

    Great piccy that Pete! Bit brave going out in the Photon this time of year? How did it cope?

  16. There’s a wee bit to talk about there, I’ll do gear round up in a couple of days. I had a bunch other kit out for the first time.
    The Photon’s really intersting, it’s both better and worse than the Comp in various ways.

  17. Kiss at the Glasgow Apollo in ’83, yes I was there – and in Manchester in about ’96 when they came back in make-up and someone has bought me a ticket for next year which cost as much as the whole trip did in ’96 – ouch, but I’ll be there and I’ll love it.
    Petesy, take all the photos you want, mate (I’ve missed my ptcworld fix as the last few hours of catching up tonight have demonstrated to me) as they brighten all our days, and take as long as you want faffing – it gave me the time to catch my breath as well as the scenery around on the one trip I managed out with you this year.

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