Saturday, December 26, 2015

Veni, Vidi, Sticki

I don't understand why folks get so worked up about selfie sticks. 

For the most part, people use them to include the photographer so no one is left out of a photo. What's wrong with that? Some places have banned selfie sticks out of safety concerns and requests from visitors. I'd be more concerned about concealed weapons. Maybe there will be a movement to require people to have a license to carry a selfie stick?

Yes, I know they can be dangerous (I suppose one could poke out another person's eye), but for the most part, I find them rather harmless and useful. No, I don't want to be in a mass of selfie-stick users, but I avoid large crowds for the most part so that's not much of a problem for me. Here's a USA Today story about deaths resulting from using selfie-sticks. Seems like more folks die from selfie-stick accidents than from shark attacks!

I've seen a lot of photos of people using selfie sticks at family gatherings during the holidays. Shouldn't the holidays include everyone?

While in Europe earlier this year, I didn't see a single selfie stick in London and a few in Paris. To be honest, I had never heard of them and really didn't know what they were other than some device to take photos. But in Roma, they were all over the place, especially with street vendors hawking them at the various tourist sites.  

I think people like to use selfie sticks to show they were at famous landmarks, something they can use as proof that they were indeed at those places. A selfie stick comes in handy when you're by yourself for that once-in-a-lifetime image or when you want to be that image with another person.

I've heard arguments that it's part of our narcissistic society, with people wanting to focus on themselves rather than on the spectacle. I argue that folks simply want to be part of the scene, something they can view in future to bring back pleasant memories.

I love photography and own several cameras as well as a smart phone with a camera. I can tell you it's easier using a selfie stick for a good photo rather than trying to align your arm at the right angle and get what you want in focus. I also own two tripods and a remote for my cameras, which also have self-timers, but most of the time it's difficult to use them for spontaneous or unplanned photos.

I've read that some folks recommend just handing your camera to someone and let them take the photo of you. But isn't that kind of an intrusion? Maybe being a nuisance to others? I admit that I've done that, usually with me also taking a picture of them with their camera. A nice trade off.

But what if you don't know anyone at the landmark? Do you take the chance of handing your camera to a stranger, and then watch them off to the races? Or what if you ask someone and they promptly tell you where to stick your camera -- and it's not on a stick.

Yes, I own a selfie stick. I purchased it after I returned from Europe. I've only used it once, just to see how it works. I plan to take it with me on trips for those occasional shots of me and my wife. I'll try not to poke anyone's eye out or crack them on top the head. Just keep your distance and you should be safe.

Any opinion on selfie sticks?

Until the next time....

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