Why Asians, And Many Of Us, Like Taking Photos

These days taking photos is something a lot of us like to do. It’s intriguing how some of us like taking photos of ourselves, taking selfies. Intriguing how some of us like taking photos of what we see around us, such as that city building reaching for the clouds, the unmoving calm blue ocean, family, animals or the homeless man shaking his booty for a buck.

6am. My alarm goes off. I groan, squinting a sleepy eye at my buzzing handphone next to my pillow. Slapping a hand over it, the shrill sound cuts off. An hour earlier to rise before work to watch and snap photos of the sunrise along the iconic Yarra River. I groggily stumble out of bed, put on my corporate clothes, grab my bag that I packed a few hours earlier and shuffle to the tram stop.

New dawn, new stories. Vivid sunrises know no seasons. Yarra River | Weekly Photo Challenge: Off-Season. Vivid.

New dawn, new stories. Vivid sunrises know no seasons. Yarra River | Weekly Photo Challenge: Off-Season. Vivid.

Whether we’re an amateur, professional or hobbyist with the camera, we find fascination in the sights and people around us regardless the season. No two of us have the same life stories and perspectives so in retrospect each of us carries our camera for different reasons.

For some of us, photography is escapism. Eyes fixed steadfast on our subjects, each gentle click of the shutter button carries us away from the shackles of mundane life. Enthralled by the vivid world in front of us, we forget about ourselves for a while.

Ironically, sometimes we feel the same reprieve turning the camera on ourselves. We selfie when we’re proud of how we look, this photographic “me time” ever so popular in Asia. Having a fair face is all the rage here, and so are doe eyes – putting faces on show is the trend there, hence the selfie trend. Not much of a surprise since parts of the Philippines and Malaysia take up four of the top ten spots in the “selfiest” cities rankings.

So some of us might take photos of ourselves to satisfy the inner narcissist in us. This morning, taking a selfie is the furthest thing from my mind at the deserted tram stop. A city-bound tram screeches to a halt in front of me and sleep-deprived, I stagger on.

We take photos to capture moments, creating mementos of time that were once lived. Mementos giving us a sense of connection to cultures around us. It could be a reason why some Asians eye their meals through cameras. Certain dishes are symbolic of prosperity and eating well is a sign of wealth in Asian cultures – food is language, food is pride, and showing off snaps of food is one way to flaunt social status.

It's always darkest before the dawn, darkest before a brand new day.

It’s always darkest before the dawn, darkest before a brand new day.

My stomach rumbles. No breakfast this morning, no photos of breakfast today. As the tram heads towards the river, my half-closed eyes peer out the window. A dash of pale red streaks through the navy blue predawn sky. What a tease, Melbourne. You beauty. My city…

We take photos of the world around us because we don’t want to miss a moment, don’t want to forget fleeting, priceless moments. Life waits for no one, life moves along and memories fade. Stifling a yawn, I glance at my phone. 6.45am. My jaw clenches as the tram grinds to a halt at a red light. Faster…it’s not every day I have much time to myself outside of a long hours number-crunching job. Maybe I’m becoming like my Chinese-Malaysian dad, yet another workaholic Asian parent working round the clock

…on a trip to Singapore Zoo when I was a kid, dad stood stoically on the path, blocking other visitors behind him and indignantly yelled in my direction, “Move a bit right! A bit left!”, holding up his point-and-shoot. All for a distant full-body shot of me in front of the giraffe exhibit. Desperate to get shots of the family on holiday. You got to do what you got to do to capture moments that matter….

And so some of us take photos because we want to say we’ve been there, done that, felt that. To remember how we felt.

Or not, since not all of us like taking photos. We might be afraid of offending someone by snapping a photo of them, someone who happens to think taking a photo of them in public sans their permission is intrusive (probably why some of Asian descent ask politely before taking photos of Westerners on the streets). Or we can’t for the life of us walk and press buttons on a camera at the same time.

Every hour, minute and second holds a different story.

Every hour, minute and second holds a different story.

The tram rumbles to a stop across the river and I alight. Barely feeling the crisp autumnal breeze batting my face, I jog to the bridge overlooking the water and MCG. Pass a man wearing glasses and a hoodie, leaning forwards on the bridge railing while looking skywards. I look where he’s looking, heart racing, and my eyes flicker wide open.

Clouds touched by the early rays of sunshine speckle overhead. A sight akin to an explosion of a thousand bags of red cotton candy across the sky. I fumble with my camera, point it upwards and press the shutter button.

Taking photos is more than just about creating memories. Whenever we take a photo on a film camera or DSLR, we freeze time and space. Capture a story, capture history. Holding a camera in our hands, we slow down when we take a shot: we see how the world turns, live the present and turn with the world.

Borrowing Martin Heidegger’s phrase and his notion of temporality, when we take photos, we are time. Holding a camera in our hands, we are at one with nature when we take a shot: in a split second the scene we shoot becomes past and we step into the future ready to capture the next moment, the future which instantaneously becomes the present at the forefront of our watchful eyes and camera lens.

The crimson sky bleeds into orange before I know it. I snap away in the same direction. Birds soar overheard towards the MCG, cutting into my shots. There’s usually much more going on during the darkest moments before dawn, every hour of the day, than we think. The sky’s not the only one awake this morning…

First light, new beginning. Endless stories.

First light, new beginning. Endless stories.

Certainly a multitude of stories lie in a single photo. And no two photos are entirely the same because no two seconds in this world are the same. As Melbourne-based photographer Ading Attamimi said, each photograph “capture(s) a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”

The orange tones in the sky blend into peachy hues, then baby blue hues. I turn my camera off and look around, just in time to see the guy leaning on the bridge straighten and walk away. In such a big world, often we are small, surrounded by the imperceptible powers of nature. I turn to go to work. And pause. Shivering in the crisp autumnal air. Heart racing no more. Alone. I raise my camera again. Work can wait…

We take photos to tell stories. Discover, relive and share stories that not everyone gets to feel. The subtle ones especially.

Do you like taking photos and why?

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214 thoughts on “Why Asians, And Many Of Us, Like Taking Photos

  1. Your vivid shots are beautiful. My iPhone just can’t catch the same colors.

    I love taking scenic photos, especially pastoral ones. I use them as desktop photos and screen savers, to remind me the world does not begin and end with the paved-over desert that is Los Angeles. Elsewhere, there are green, tree-covered mountains.

    The photos don’t show all the deer flies, ticks, and mosquitos. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Autumn. I really like playing with cameras. It really is a distraction from writing and blogging, I must admit that…and I enjoy it…loads… That doesn’t help at all.

      You must take very good photos of landscapes and nature around you – if you can stand looking at it on a computer all day, it’s probably very good 🙂 Sometimes I like looking at photos as per the reason you mentioned – to remind myself that the world is more than a room with four walls.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sandy. “select my reality as well as to document” Such an interesting way to describe why you photograph. It sounds like you take your time to look at wherever you are and then snap photos. That’s my style. Sometimes when I’m with a group of people, I don’t even mind getting left behind taking photos.

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  2. Hello Miss Mabel, how are you little sis? Hope the writing is coming easily and you are feeling inspired and positive and on track with your goals. 🙂

    I love your photos, and your description of the feelings around taking a photo too. I love taking photos, and for all different reasons, but mostly to capture the emotion I felt in that moment, snapping that smile, or glint in a persons eye for ever is magic. I think we are pretty lucky having access to amazing online photo galleries, being able to capture all the magic moments and have a keep safe straight away.

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    • I am not too bad, big sis! Writing is progressing, but the go-getter in me tells me I can be better 😉

      “snapping that smile, or glint in a persons eye for ever is magic.” It sounds like you are a very observant person, and good at observing body language. Which is an excellent skill for capturing in-the-moment kind of shots.

      Oh yes. Online photo galleries. Not only a space to keep photos, but share them with others and share the cheer.

      Love your travel and food photos, especially the close-up ones. Close-ups are something I find hard to do – always coming out blurry. I can learn from you 😀

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  3. What a beautiful post. Not just about Asian people but all people. I enjoyed your narration. Feel free to write more autobiographical work of this style. Great visual shots as well.

    Glad Melbourne inspires you! 😀

    I think escapism is noble. All the glorious things humans have done in the name of art and more, often for the sake of escapism and wanting more from the daily grind…

    As for Asians, this piece isn’t even about the usual stereotypes of tourists and V for Victory’s.

    Here is an interesting interview with American comedian – with an Indian background – talking about his new book which explores Japanese dating culture among other things. Apparently in Japan it’s not culturally appropriate to take selfies even for profile pics. I find that amazingly frustrating. And totally opposite of China. Not about the aesthetics of photography, but an interesting take on different Asian cultures you may find interesting:

    http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/ob1ioq/exclusive—aziz-ansari-extended-interview

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    • Thanks, Ray. I’m glad you say that because I really didn’t want this entire post to be about Asian people. It was a piece I enjoyed writing tremendously…I love writing in this style but often find it hard to pick a specific moment to write about. Annoying.

      V for Victory signs camera-posing…I completely forgot about that for this post (same goes for not grinning for the camera but smiling with lips closed). That sign means different things in different parts of the world. At one point I was thinking of doing a post on that but decided not to roll with it. No inspiration there.

      Then again, taking photos is one thing. Posing for them is another thing altogether.

      That is such an interesting video, thanks for sharing. Had no idea selfies are frowned upon as profile pics in Japan. Probably a cultural thing. Don’t know if anyone can tell that my gravatar is a selfie…

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  4. a very beautiful day in the making and lovely pictures, mabel.
    a very interesting and eventful journey to work.
    why i like taking photos? i am asian 😉 , and ditto all the points you mentioned, except for the selfies.
    cheers,
    ken

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    • I took a detour to work the morning of the exploding sunrise. And that day was actually April Fool’s Day. What luck 😀

      Thanks, Ken. I am sure if you ever decide to selfie, you will be good at it too. Selfie with a phone is one thing, selfie with a DSLR on a tripod is another altogether. And who says you need to show your face 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Those are some awesome photos of the sunrises. love the colors. I take photo because it just my way to express myself creativity. I always dream that one day I might take a photo(s) of something important that will be part of history.

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    • “I take photo because it just my way to express myself creativity. ” Nice way to put it. Photography as a means to let our inner creativity shine, especially if we’re a visual person. Every day has it’s significance…and I’m sure you’ve captured shots that are important to you 🙂

      Thanks for the support, Mikey.

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  6. Hi Mabel,

    Those are lovely shots! Don’t they speak eloquently why we take pictures? No longer do we believe in carrying a picture in the mind’s eye, like Wordsworth did…we want to capture the moment not just for us but the real value of pictures can be felt by the posterity.

    I have always been a picture freak and those were the days when we had to load a film in the camera and wait for the right expressions and background and then another long wait for the film to be taken to the photoshop to get the pictures…some of which would be so disappointing! Only the other day we were discussing this that the smart phones have revolutionised so many things besides making every Tom, Dick and Harry a photographer!

    Thank you for a double treat…never seen such a beautiful sky, except in photos as dawn has always been my favorite hour of sleep. Loved those reflections!

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    • I had to google Wordsworth. So he’s an English poet and writer. “the real value of pictures can be felt by the posterity.” Such an eloquent way you put it. Taking photos to capture the little details of the world around us and then sharing it with others so they can learn something about the world from the photos.

      Very glad to see you admitting you are a picture freak. Me too 😉 Ah, those film cameras bring back memories. I had one of those in primary school and always struggled to put the negatives the right way in the camera. Fun times!

      Thanks for supporting, Balroop. Glad you enjoyed the post and photos. It’s refreshing to be back after a month’s break. Hopefully I’ll be back here soon if book writing is nice to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yes! I have been wondering why you are not posting your weekly post! Though I was away on a fun trip, I kept track of my favorite writers and missed you.

        William Wordsworth has very aptly shared in one of his poems the beautiful sight of ‘Daffodils’ when he says:
        “For oft, when on my couch I lie
        In vacant or in pensive mood,
        They flash upon that inward eye
        Which is the bliss of solitude;
        And then my heart with pleasure fills,
        And dances with the daffodils.”
        You can read the whole poem to understand what I am trying to convey.

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        • I also wondered why you were so quiet over the last two weeks. And then you came back with such an amazing post and photo!

          Thank you for sharing that poem. I have never heard of it. It’s a touching read.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. I video’d the homeless man shaking his booty for a dollar because you just can’t capture that much manic enthusiasm in a still image!

    As with many others who follow you, I love your photos. I wish I took more photos through my life. So many memories I would love to have in hardcopy. I keep many photos of important people and important memories from my life stuck on my wardrobe door. The display covers my entire door top to bottom. I love the feeling I get when looking at my photos, the emotions linked to those memories come back so easily when I look at my photos, like I’m really there.

    Too often I’m too busy enjoying myself and forget to capture it, looking back later thinking to myself ‘I wish I had a photo of that’

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    • Taking photos – and the exploring-the-world-part that comes with it – inspires a lot of what I blog about. Seeing homeless man doing his dance on the streets and taking a photo of that not too long ago and seeing so many others do the same, I took that as a sign it was time to write this post.

      Sticking photos on your wardrobe (and any other place around your house), I suppose it not only reminds you of those who matter to you and all the memories you had, but also reminding you of their place in your life. I’m the complete opposite – no photos of people or places around my room. There are times when looking at the past makes me sad, and the sparser my room, the better the writing ideas flow.

      You’re awesome for not taking too many photos. Sometimes the best moments can only truly be felt, and hence captured with the heart for eternity, by losing yourself in the moment, sans camera.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes! Life without the lens, especially for those who lived in the old days, were still lives well lived. Some moments can only be lived sans camera; if you capture it with your lens you can’t really experience it in full..

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  8. I like to take picture as I love to capture the moment and view it at a later point again. Due to this I run sometimes into trouble as I have my camera for pictures and another cam for videos making the decision making often too hard to decide what kind of format to use 🙂

    I must say that I have never taken any selfie. The only pictures existing of me are the ones other people have taken with their cameras or phone. I prefer much more photograhping landscapes and other people

    Liked by 1 person

  9. For many of the same reasons as you. Walking back through my blog is like a wander through my life, though not totally accurate because I don’t show the tedious bits. Maybe that’s it- the photos are the bits you want to hang onto. Thank you very much for a great article, and for visiting my blog. You have a lovely city 🙂

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    • “the photos are the bits you want to hang onto” What a lovely way to put it, Jo. I couldn’t have said it better. In more ways than we think, photos document our lives and so many small moments. Thanks for the nice words. Melbourne is a beautiful city. Looking forward to seeing more of your blog and photos 🙂

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  10. Mabel! This post proves you are going to write an amazing book! It was so effortless and I can see why you said it was different – it was more like a story – fiction blended with non fiction almost. It was beautiful and I absolutely loved the quote from Martin! When you take a photo you become time. It just reinforces the importance of capturing the moments so you can remember them always. I am so proud of your writing! Xxxx

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  11. Beautiful images, Mabel! Oh i love taking pictures but more on my surroundings and nature, not about myself 😀 You mentioned interesting points and I agree with all the mentioned – excellent observation! Personally I love taking images because then it makes me notice the details and it helps me to observe something. I always learn new thing from the subject that I captured 🙂
    Thanks for great post, it helps me to think why I am doing photography.

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    • You really do have great skill taking photos of marine life and architecture. So true. Photos helps us notice the details around us. Sometimes we learn a bit more about the world when we are looking back at photos..and I never tire of this even if I have a few hundred to look through 😉

      Thanks for stopping by, Indah. Appreciate the love 🙂

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  12. My interest in photography started in high school. I would use an Olympus SLR and attach it to the eye piece of my microscope in my home laboratory. I’d kill things in the backyard or grow bacteria or section plants and spend hours photographing them.

    My next big photography gig occured in Darwin when I was a member of the diabetic foot infection team. I shot the clinical photographs of the patients before and after surgery. I have some great shots of purulent infections and then the amazing results we would get with surgery and long term casting. At the time I was using a Nikon SLR.

    When I moved to Canberra, it was social media and food photography that sparked my interest again in photography. I started with an iPhone, then a Canon point and shoot and now I use a Nikon DSLR.

    I’ve now started exploring the world outside of food and using a Sony mirrorless I’m enjoying the world around me and the joys associated with post processing RAW files.

    I’m not sure if it’s because I’m Asian but I feel comfortable carrying a camera everywhere I go.

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    • It sounds like you’ve been eating and breathing photography for your entire life, Gary. What a wide variety of subjects you (you’ve) photograph too. Like your gastronomic photos on your blog, I’m sure your shots from the home laboratory and the clinics were just as clear. I have faith in you you were able to battle around the indoor lighting.

      The is certainly a world outside of food, but don’t forget as I said in the post, “food is language”. Food makes the world go round. Love your work on capturing food.

      Don’t know about you, but I feel naked if I don’t have at least a point and shoot camera with me. I only use the camera on my Samsung phone as a last resort.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Point and shoot cameras are getting so good now and many of them provide RAW files as well as JPG. I think it won’t be long before DSLRs are left to people who want to shoot in studios or do landscapes with big tripods. The quality of the smaller lighter mirrorless and point and shoot cameras is getting so good.

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        • So true. I am very fond of my Canon G7X point and shoot – it shoots JPEG and RAW and best of all lets me in anywhere.

          The lighter the camera, the easier to move around. Who doesn’t like that 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  13. Beautiful photos and it was fascinating to read your thoughts on photography.
    I love to capture moments of beauty that may inspire me to write. i would never do selfies as I’m too ancient and wrinkly but I love to see other younger people captured as they always look so happy.
    Great post.

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    • I am sure you look good in photos. You just need to smile 🙂 I too find inspiration from photos. Sometimes looking back at photos we’ve taken on a lazy day, we might learn something new.

      Thank you so much for your encouragement.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I used to take a lot of them. But then I felt it sometimes got in the way of “being present”. Now I don’t as much anymore. If I am with the moment, I have lived it. And that’s often enough. No photos necessary 🙂 but being Asian, I still savour capturing big events. Thank goodness there’s always other friends or family members snapping away!

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    • I do take many photos and have to agree with you, sometimes I fear focusing too much on fiddling with the camera or positioning the subject just right. However, I’ve learned how to shoot without looking at the screen…which sometimes doesn’t pay off. I suppose the more you use a camera, the more it feels second nature to you.

      I’ll admit it: when I’m in photo-taking mode, I go into a trance and don’t speak very much. People think I’m weird that way.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I have to admit, before I restarted my blog, the only times I take photos were when I was traveling. Well, I suppose it is for the “been here, done that” reason. Lately though, I think 90% of my photos were taken with this thought: “Hmm, this would be something that I can blog about.”, I don’t think I have been taking photos for myself anymore..

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    • I don’t know if there are many people in Malaysia who like to stop in the streets and take photos. A lot of people do that in Melbourne, the city. Come to think of it, there are days when I do go out because I feel like I’m running out of photos for my blog.

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  16. Nice pics going with your narrative on taking pics, Mabel. Why do we take photographs? Only to freeze that precise, treasurable moment from the fast changing and continually evolving patterns in life’s kaleidoscope…best wishes..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Raj. You said it. And life is certainly a kaleidoscope, twisting and turning and tumbling forever changing shape and colour…endless beauty to be discovered and captured.

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  17. Beautifully written and composed post Mabel & I love those dramatic sunrise shots. It’s amusing that you posted the day after Sydneysiders flooded social media with our pix of the wonderful rainbows we had that afternoon, very timely.

    I think smartphones have democratised photography, we can all do it now.

    I think perhaps they are also changing the way we look at the world around us and how we communicate, it’s like you have to be visual to get any attention online. Not that I mind, I love looking at people’s photos. Also love taking them, capturing ‘wow’ moments when I can. Like other commented on this, I’m often trailing behind my friends taking pix.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rainbows in Sydney. Lucky you. We had a few of them last week in Melbourne. Very pretty but unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a shot. Always a treat for the eyes.

      “smartphones have democratised photography” Well said. While visual elements do help in telling the story, sometimes I can’t help but think they play apart in distracting us from reading and focusing.

      Sometimes, there are moments that are best experienced with our eyes and nothing else 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        • Leaving smartphones in our pockets – easier said than done. But we have to try. Sometimes I feel it’s rude to hold up smartphones to takes photos when it’s in front of someone’s face and we’re blocking their way.

          My Spam Folder ate your other comment. It’s all good now.

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          • Ah, i wondered what happened to it. 🙂 I hardly ever take photos with people in them that I don’t know for that reason, unless they’re at a distance.

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            • I don’t usually take photos of people, but they happen to be in the way…but I just snap away and sometimes the look on their face is priceless – they look shock and look apologetic for being in the way.

              Liked by 1 person

  18. Great article and beautiful photos. (I suggest you get up early 3 times a week… for us 😉
    All of your articles are well written and they make me think. A lot. Sometime I forgot to come back to comment — sorry. And I have been thinking about this one since I read it. I kept asking myself why do I like taking photos since I read this. To be honest (sometime it is not easy to be honest 😉 , I think I am fascinated with this device called camera. Even though I was the one who took the photo, quite often, I was surprise at what my camera had produced (nothing to do with the quality of those photos, by the way ;-). And as long as it keeps amazing me, I will keep shooting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the more we use a camera, the more it will feel like a second skin to us. Sounds like when you are taking photos, you also make it a point to see the world with your very own eyes…maybe eyes on your subject and you keep clicking away unknowingly. That happens to me quite a bit 🙂

      Thanks, Helen. As for getting up early 3 times a week, I may need a bit more convincing… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Both your images and your writing are beyond perfection!!! You have SO much talent for someone so young. OH if I was your age …. OH, Mabel, grab with gusto all you can. Your photography is professional level. Your writing the exact same. I take photographs as a means of therapy, a means of getting into the Moment and feeling Bliss, a means of expressing myself in a way like no other. My eyes seem to catch things others’ don’t see. I really enjoyed this post, my friend. Just brilliant, and I mean that!!! Love, Amy ❤

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  20. Stunning sunrising shot! You have made a big leap, Wow!!! Taking photos has becoming a never-ending challenge. With the DSLR/ lens and software make it so easy to learn and improve. Besides, the social media and network make photos easy to share. I think it’s probably is more than capturing a moment or memory. Great post. I love these shots, Mabel!

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    • And with the internet, we can learn how to use our cameras in different ways from one another. So many kinds of shots we can learn to take in a matter of hours.

      Thank you, Amy. I really wish I had more time to play around with my Fuji mirrorless. These shots were taken on my Canon G7X, manual mode.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I’m a photo shooting junkie. What I do find interesting now…is that everyone in general loves taking photos of anything, people..alot less uninhibited. Let’s blame the iPhone.

    What’s noticeable to me are Asians straight from Asia who strike up corny poses in such an innocent way they don’t realize how ridiculous and staged some of the poses look.

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    • Oh yes. Smartphones can make the average person a photographer just like that. Some baulk at iPhone photography but at the end of the day, it’s still a mode of creative expression, a form of art to get a shot that speaks stories and emotions.

      I’ve always liked you photos, Jean, especially of the artwork you share around your town. Very tastefully done.

      Corny poses? There’s the V for victory or peace sign, the pretending of picking up gigantic buildings…I think I get your drift.

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  22. Did you take these photos Mabel? They are beautiful! By the way, I think I finally fixed the comment thing on my new blog, lol! (but I only say I think….)

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  23. Great shots, wonderful colors and vivid in-the-moment-narrative. I never considered myself a photographer or photo-taker because my brother took it up in high school and was quite good with it (local paper used his pics and he did yearbook photos, too).

    But I remember my friend Yuko saying, “You’re a writer, you’re a creative person, so you are probably a good photographer, too.” Those were really door openers for me, permission and confidence-building and so I started to be creative and have fun and I started taking better photos.

    Taking pictures is just FUN. And I take them because I like to notice things. Which can be a bit of a conflict, sometimes I want to be in the moment without the distraction of a camera. Do you know what I mean?

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    • I am sure your brother will gladly give you some photography tips if you are keen on learning. Photography is always fun, you know, and you said it in caps 😉

      So interesting to hear Yuko say that. Good writer, good photographer. I wonder why. Maybe it’s the creativity connection, and the ability to be able to visualise stories in our heads.

      Many times I do think I might experience a moment better without fiddling with my camera. For instance, sometimes I keep adjusting my camera because the shots are blurry. Then again, there are quite a lot of times where I don’t look at the camera screen when shooting.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. stunning captures of sunrise, Mabel! beautiful! oh i just love taking pictures for the many reasons you mentioned – capturing special moments, freezing time, immortalizing beauty, posterity, etc. but most of all, for me it is fun, it makes me happy. 🙂

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    • Taking pictures to “immortalise beauty”. Simply amazing way to put it, Lola. You said it, and owned that phrase. Now that I think of this phrase and photography, it sounds profound…immortalising history 😀

      Fun. That’s the most important part of it 🙂

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  25. Mabel, the shots in this post are pretty spectacular. Mother Nature was on your side that morning and painted a wonderful scene for you to capture!

    It may come as no surprise to you, but I love taking photos. I guess it is kind of like an art, like a way of expressing myself. I can’t draw but I can capture wonderful images by looking through the lens of a camera. Also, I love taking close-up shots as you can see the texture and the little details. I know a lot of people photoshop pictures so much that they change the look of the picture completely, I never do that. I may adjust the brightness and sharpen the image, but that is about it.

    People taking selfies and using selfie sticks can be seen everywhere in Taiwan these days. Also, many Taiwanese like to do a duck face when capturing a selfie and make their eyes bigger and their skin whiter. For us, the selfie was not really a new concept for my husband and I as we have been using our tripod and the timer on the camera to capture images together since we got our first digital camera [which was 14 years ago.] And I still prefer that way because you can set frame the photo the way you want to.

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    • I’ve been following your blog for a while, Constance, and I must say I am enjoying how you’re incorporating more and more photos in your posts. You really do have an eye for street photography – and very impressive that your shots are very clear and not blurry, of both inanimate street objects and people. It always looks as if nothing is in your way of your shot when you take photos! 😀

      I wonder why some people like to do the duck face. So cute that you and your husband selfie the professional way. I need to learn that from you. First, I need to get a tripod!

      Thanks for your nice words. This was also the first sunrise I’ve ever seen 🙂

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  26. This was really interesting and your photos are stunning. Those colours!

    I am one of those who really dislikes taking photographs. I do it when I travel so I have some record of where I’ve been and what I’ve done and particularly if travelling with the family to make a record for the boys but I’d really, really much rather just Be There. Taking a photo is like breaking the Fourth Wall to me. It takes me out of my fantasy that I am a local experiencing the market/seaside/city square, etc like any other resident of the city and turns me back into a tourist.

    It has been interesting having the blog, however, as I am more inclined to take photographs where I previously would not because I want them for a blog post (like when I run). And I’ll admit that it’s kind of nice to be able to go back and relive the moment visually. Such a mess of contradictions!

    Like

    • “I’d really, really much rather just Be There.” Love how you emphasise Be There. An important thing to do if we want to experience the culture where we are for what it is. I’m sure you remember a lot of your travels clearly because of that. I have to remind myself to stop snapping photos non-stop when I am in “photo-mode”!

      Thanks for the nice words. Melbourne certainly is a beautiful city.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Never been much of a photographer apart from the occasional cute cat photo or blurry concert photos 😛 As for me, I’ve always been more of a sketcher, painter…I used to take funny little pictures for my art assignments in high school, either to draw it later or tinker with it on the computer and turn the picture into something completely different to convey a feeling…emotion…I still have a few funny little zoomed in pictures of a fallen petal, a gate, a statue…I would write short poems to go along with them or I’d edit them on the computer. I suppose that urge to edit has not left me *cough*instagram*cough* but I never saw myself as a photographer.

    Interesting article. I adore the pictures you take, they are so crystal clear, so crisp. I love them.

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    • Usually at indoor concerts you have to crank up the ISO setting so that enough light can enter your camera and you get a bright shot. The trade off is that this makes photos grainy, like the Lindsey ones I took :/

      Drawing is similar to photography, in that they are both visual artistic mediums and you work in layers all the time. I can’t draw at all, and admire your drawings and creative fonts, and also your Instagram edits. You are more than welcome to draw for my book 😀

      Thank you for your encouragement.

      Like

  28. Yes! I love taking photos, Mabel, adn you have best defined my reason why: to tell stories. The humble travel blogger in me believes that those stories need to be told because we will never know whom can inspire. There will always be someone out there who can relate to, if not appreciate, them.

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  29. Excellent shots of that stunning sunrise Mabel. Taking photos is my way to give gratitude for the beauty of nature and the love in my life. You’ve described it all so well. I do prefer scenic and animal shots and no selfies. 😀 Awesome post. ♥

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    • Thanks, Sonel. That is so interesting to hear, that you take photos to give back to the rest of us and the world. I love your animal shots…and your s-s-spider shots even though I fear spiders. You make them look friendly. Am getting used to them little by little.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, it’s more fun sharing it with others than keeping it to myself.

        I am very glad to hear that Mabel and I do love your photography. You take excellent shots. 😀

        hahahaha. Glad to hear that too. They truly are friendly little things, especially the Jumping Spiders. I do adore them. 😀

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        • That is so true. A lot of the time I think to myself: “What good is a photo if I keep it for me, tucked away in my hard drive?” Might as well share and spread the love and beauty in this world.

          Thanks, Sonel. I’ve got a lot to learn about photography, such as close-up and macro shots, like the ones you do so beautifully.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I totally agree Mabel. It’s always good to share and as I don’t like travelling or do any travel, it sure is fun doing this ‘virtual travelling’. So keep on sharing please. 😀

            Same here hon and maybe one day I will have my dream camera. Until then I will keep on learning with my little Fuji. You are a great photographer, but there’s always something new to learn regarding photography. Thanks for the compliment. I know you will take amazing shots. 😀

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            • Your Fuji sounds like your trusty sidekick. Your photos are nothing short of amazing in my opinion, always capturing the action around you. My camera is little too…it was a pricey impulsive buy but I don’t regret it 😉 Always appreciate your lovely words, Sonel. Thank you.

              Liked by 1 person

  30. I really liked the way you have conceptualized the whole story and the manner you have presented the text in the context of photography. Yes, you are right photography today with the advent of digital technology has become child’s play and we all love to see instant output and in today’s life when everything is instant, photography couldn’t have lagged behind. Earlier perhaps we had so much of time to do things, and being close to nature and life was slow, we never felt to capture things the way do it today.

    Photography is an art and such fascinating hobby to be engaged, it keeps us momentarily engaged but creates momentum moment to reflect in future. Yes, you have beautifully paraphrased the words; in split second moment to mementos and present to future and future becoming present.

    So much things to observe around us while taking the photos, the surrounding has a personality and it keeps changing during the day, sunset to sunrise the hues and shades keeps changing and you have beautifully captured those lovely facets of nature.

    This is topic very close to me and I can keep going on on on…the convergence of writing and photography brings a new dimension to our imagination and it facilitates expanding the horizon of our thinking and visualization. How technology can infuse new freshness and new perspective into the art of writing and both rub on each other, with good photography we enhances our food for thought for writing and good writing activates our senses and we look at things from different angle and that what makes photography better and better…

    Thanks so much for bring a thought-provoking topic and the way you have treated it is a treat to me and I am loving it…
    take care!!!
    😀

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    • “child’s play”. That is such an interesting way to describe photography these days. But so apt. Anyone can pick up a lightweight, portable camera and start shooting instantly. How we see the world, we translate that into our photography when we compose the shot and press the shutter button. It is simple as that. However, if we are the more creative kind and know how to manipulate the camera to our commands, we can create photos, a world imagined in our heads. Think long exposure kind of photography.

      I think you said it way better than me: “in split second moment to mementos and present to future and future becoming present.” Moment to momentos. Sheer brilliance train of thought there.

      The world is a fascinating place of surprises, each second different to the other and once each second is past, it’s past. It’s probably why I like to have a camera in my hand, ready to shoot whenever I am out and tend to walk slower than a lot of people around me. In silence, too. This might sound silly, but to me, the world is my candy store 😀

      I really loved your recent post on writing and photography and how they complement each other. Photography, not just a means to document the world, but also a source of inspiration, source of creativity that bolsters connections in the end.

      Thank you for your kind and inspiring words as always. Much appreciated 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, camera is a wonderful gadget to play with our creativity…it needs to be teased, it needs to provoked, it needs to be challenged, otherwise creativity goes to slumber the moment we stop questioning and stop querying.

        And it is never easy to test our senses and train it taste the best, to do so it is what we need to keep playing with different tools and trying new ways of doing things. Yes, the manual mode of camera gives us so many options to explore and experiment, the more we do, the more we learn, and the very process pushes our creativity to newer highs and higher orbits of excellence.

        Indeed the world is fascinating place of surprises and it keep surprising us, the more we question, the more answer we get and the more better we know the world around.

        Photography captures those beautiful moments that we can reflect and enjoy life in its moments not always the present but the past through the beautiful pictures.
        My pleasure to always have such beautiful conversations with you…
        ;D

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        • “the very process pushes our creativity to newer highs and higher orbits of excellence.” Brilliantly put. The more we experiment and try things we have never done with our cameras – our even any art form – there is no guessing what creative brilliance will manifest. In terms of photography, long exposures have always fascinated me…such shots depict reality with a touch of imagination in my opinion.

          With photography, the questioning tends to come when we sit down and look at our shots. Taking photos on the fly, often we are relegated to being in the present, observing and catching stories that float our way.

          Indeed. Beautiful conversations with a beautiful mind 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  31. Pingback: Burning Tires in Urbino | litadoolan

    • Thanks, Jane. That is a great quote, and I think so too. We can always go back to a photo and uncover stories we might not have seen with our eyes in the present – we go back to the past and bring it back to the present in a sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. An excellent post, Mabel. You expressed so clearly why we like to photograph the world around us. When I see or experience something wonderful, I’ve always felt that my brief moment of appreciation is insufficient. I’m left feeling incomplete, almost frustrated if I don’t do something more–write about it, tell a friend, paint a picture, take a photo. So much of life is too big, too full of meaning to be passed over in a fleeting moment.

    This morning as I was cleaning house and listening to NPR (National Public Radio), I heard a physicist who was discussing time say that the past and future exist; the present does not. Talk about fleeting moments! Anyway, I don’t know much about physics, but I do see why we want to capture the scenes we see. You did a wonderful job of capturing the sunrise. Your photos are breathtaking.

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    • Thanks, Nicki. I really enjoyed taking photos of the sunrise, and stopping in between snaps to look at it with my own eyes. It was very brief – about ten minutes in total.

      “my brief moment of appreciation is insufficient.” Interesting. Sharing the moment with others or recreating it, we pass on a bit of our perspective of the world to ours and may they make meaning from it.

      Also, interesting argument by the physicist. Maybe the present is the most fleeting of all moments. Food for thought. Thank you for sharing that.

      Like

  33. Lovely post! What an amazing shots the ones from the river, wow!!
    I looove to take photos, mainly because there are places and moments I would like to keep forever in my memory… I want to “save them” with me, and to look at them whenever I miss it 😀
    I love photography, and I appreciate when I find great photos from other people, because sometimes is hard to capture certain moments!

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  34. Best photos I’ve seen of the Yarra River. Well done. And what a great dawn you captured. This must have been a wonderful start to your day. 🙂 I take photos for fun and inspiration. Photos are a great trip down memory lane later!

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  35. What a lovely post, Mabel. We certainly like to capture the moment and when we don’t we regret it. I love the image. it so beautiful and captures the subtle differences in each moment of light. I guess that’s why Instagram is so popular, we each have our own view of life and there it is in our instagram feed. Nice commentary on a social trend.

    Like

    • Thank you, Lisa. You are very kind. So true. Everyone is sharing photographs on Instagram these days, both professional photographers and amateurs. Photo editing apps have also taken photography in a new direction too. So many ways we can present the world to others through photography.

      Like

  36. Dear Mabel, a very nice and reasonable explanation for the love of taking photos. I cannot say more because you have mentioned all the things I can think of. With me, my camera is my savior, it gives me confidence to stand out and face with the evolving world that we are living in. Back to the time before I own a camera, I was so misery when gorgeous scenery passing by and I could do nothing but regretted

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    • Your photos are amazing, Khan. You certainly know how to use your camera well. I have always thought using cameras in Asian cities are a hassle, one because of congested streets and two, for security reasons. But maybe it’s different these days – it sounds like it where you are ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  37. A very well written post! And you pictures are beautiful!
    I am not so good at taking pictures, but I still like to take some. And I am very happy when they turn out good 😀
    My sister is very good at taking pictures, and she often get irritated at me because I do not care as much taking one, as she want it like that and that. I also have friends that are like that, so I often let them take the pictures when travelling for me.
    But I love to look trough the pictures afterwards and the memories they bring back 🙂

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    • Thanks, Hanne! I really enjoyed writing this and taking the sunrise photos 🙂

      From what I see on your blog, your photos are great. Very nice! I usually like to be ahead of a pack of a group of people I’m with, either going out with friends or in a traveling group. That way no one blocks my shots 😀

      Photos do make good memories!

      Like

  38. Helpful post bc I actually was never sure why people were so camera-happy (I’m obviously not visual and I avoid selfies like the plague). WP photography blogs have given me deeper appreciation for the art and the rhyme & reason to it. And that is well said, M, that every dawn is a new story. Love it.

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    • I wasn’t even sure why I took photos until I wrote this post. I really admire photography blogs on here too. So much thought goes into each shot, so many ways each of us can read a shot.

      Like

  39. I love documenting what I see that’s worthwhile to share. I do sometimes flip through my own blog..like a photo album because I’ve selected some good/memorable shots with accompanying test. Happy thoughts and memories.

    I’m sure you’re pleased with the sunset/sunrise photos.

    Like

    • Sharing is caring. Sharing comes from the bottom of the heart, kindness, and I guess that’s why we share photos – to share our world and lessons with someone else.

      Must be interesting when you look back at your blog. When I look back at the photos on my blog, I always think I could have taken the photo in another way…

      I hope to see and take photos of another sunrise just as beautiful as this one.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I seldom think about how I could have taken a certain photo better. Maybe that’s a sign that you should invest in a 2nd camera with more features. Have you taken wedding photos for friends?

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        • I actually have a mirrorless camera apart from the point-and-shoot I used to take the sunrise shots…both of which cost close to $1,000. I really want another but I feel I’ve invested enough money for now…

          Never done wedding or event photos. I feel least confident capturing these occasions (I like landscape) but maybe some day.

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  40. Magnificent photos, Mabel. So much beauty in the early morning if we are prepared to get up. And, yes, work can wait. It’s not every day the city and sky together put on such magnificent displays. “We are time” – I like that.

    For me photography is about ways of seeing. And each of us see differently, which is what makes it so interesting.

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    • Thanks, BB. Yes, IF we can rise early enough in the morning. Never easy but I hope I can do it again…and hope that when I do luck will be on my side 😉

      Photography as a way of seeing. I like that. Take a photo and then look at it again later to see what we have seen…or think we have seen.

      Like

  41. I really like the photos you chose for this post. I enjoy taking photos, and I would say there are a lot of different reasons that I do, it just kind of depends on the situation.
    Two other notes, I’m not sure when you changed the header of this blog, but I like it. Second, I just realized I am not following this blog, will fix that now 🙂
    Cheers!

    Like

    • I love your bird photos, Amy. You always capture them so well in their element and they are always a pleasure to look at, especially the close-ups. True, why we take photos depends on the situation. Some of us do it because it’s a hobby, some of us for work.

      The new blog header was put up not too long ago. It took ages to put up (CSS code and me do not get along). Glad you like it. I love it. Thank you 🙂

      Like

  42. What a lovely post Mabel – and apparently I am late to the party as I had to scroll forever to reach the bottom of the comments!!! The photography is beautiful, as are the reasons we all shoot. I for one am drawn to your last reason. I believe the best among us are simply telling stories with our work, especially for those who may never get to experience things first hand. But EVERYONE can enjoy a glorious sunrise, no matter where they are, whether they shoot it or not!

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    • Never too late to a party, Tina. Parties here never end 😉 Interesting to hear why you like taking photos, not many chose that last reason. I always love visiting your blog for the variety of stories you represent – from your backyard to birds to the rest of the world. You certainly are a storyteller, Tina, through the photography that you do 🙂

      Like

  43. I love how you said ” some of us take photos because we want to say we’ve been there, done that, felt that. To remember how we felt.,” and I agree with that because sometimes the photos we take are so ordinary, but to the person who captures it, its a memory, a pause in time, a place he wants to revisit over and over again…
    Such a beautiful post

    Also I absolutely love your header image, its soo adorable. One of the best I’ve seen..
    – Sabrina

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    • Such a great point, that “the photos we take are so ordinary” yet can hold so much meaning to the person who took it. It could be a simple photo of a dish we ate – a photo of food that we shared with good, loving company. Sometimes a photo reminds us of moments, and those who matter to us.

      Thanks, Sabrina. I love the header too. A talented illustrated called Anna/Pinodesk drew it for me 🙂

      Like

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