I find it almost amusing that this is my topic of choice as I type this on my iPhone when I should be sleeping. We have no wifi access in the house so why not use my data plan? My life revolves around digital as I manage that aspect of a marketing department, my attempt at a personal social brand, my dog’s Instagram… I take pictures with a DLSR camera that I am still learning to use. I find recipes for dinner on Pinterest, pay an app for an at-home gym program that I typically avoid using and go to Dr. Google for the answers to all my ailments and daily musings. Unplugged – not in the least.
Yet I need to write things down in a list or on a calendar or else I’ll forget them. Everyday there’s a little bit of me that tries to hold on to the past, before cellphones became attached to our bodies and we shared notebooks between classes with our best of friends to write to each other (#nostalgia). There are times when I have to look away from the computer, move to the corner of my office and stretch or stare out the window at the trees because my eyes are so strained. And there are moments when I am outside where the beauty of the moment can’t be caught on a cellphone or any Nikon.
My eyes, ears, skin, all my senses wander, wrapped up in a moment of awe realizing that I am seeing something that will never be able to be caught on camera – real three dimensional images with real depth and color that never come out right on the computer. Because there’s no wind on your face or the sound of water moving or the dead silence of looking over your first cliff of the Grand Canyon while there’s thousands of tourists around you. There’s no gut wrenching twist at the pit of your stomach when you drive into your first real mountain range where the earth surrounds you over ten thousand feet higher than the tallest mountain in your home state.
The feeling of experiencing something for the first time, with friends, by yourself, a moment of pure love or joy is what good photographers are constantly trying to capture. But you can really feel it without something blocking your face. It only makes sense, right?
I have a mission for myself and my wellbeing to unplug every now and again. I urge you to do the same. Don’t take your camera on a waterfall hike, turn your phone on silent and shove it in the bottom of you pack or (OMG) leave it in the car if you’re anywhere with friends, and leave that damn selfie stick at home if you’re going to a National Park. Make your eyes be the sole lens you will look though on your entire journey. Practice being present in the moment and really take the view in. Really feel it. It’ll be the most beautiful picture you will ever see.
(I’m serious about the selfie sticks.)