By Susan E L Lake
For those of us who must view the world through a bus window (not the best way but the only option for some of us), the question is always “which side of the bus is going to get the best pics?” I can tell you from personal experience it’s NEVER the side I choose. It’s much like check out lines at the grocery store . . .
As a result, the great shot of the Taj Mahal or even the reindeer in Norway grazing on a lawn is likely to be on the OTHER side of the bus. Shooting through a sometimes dirty bus window across an aisle and past the folks sitting near the “good” side isn’t a very successful option.
So what’s the solution? It’s not to dash from one side of the bus to another as tempting as that might be. Instead I’ve found crowdsourcing to occasionally be a wonderful compromise. Folks love to show off their great shots and when I encounter one of those “wish I’d gotten that” images, I ask if I they would consider sharing it with me. Since I rarely if ever encounter anyone who is actually making their living doing photography, I’m not asking for them to “give” me their livelihood. Instead they are usually thrilled that someone actually wants one.
If one is “showing off” with an apple device (iphone or ipad) using airdrop is a quick and easy way to do this. If that’s not possible, there’s always texting or email as a transfer method. I do keep some homemade business cards that I carry in a card case which makes it easy to just hand that off with maybe a note of what image I want.
If someone airdrops the image, I try to make a note of their name so I can assign proper credit. If one is using an apple device, “pulling down” the image reveals a line with a caption space. I put their name and details there.
I assign these crowdsourced trip images to a separate folder when I’m sorting trip images just so I know these aren’t “mine.” But again, I’m not a professional who is publishing photographs that I must certify as my own work. If I were, this would be more important.
Crowdsourcing doesn’t have to be done with complete strangers. A recent visit to North Carolina with family was a great example of ways to use this option. In one instance my husband and I had gone to a museum and I forgot to take a photograph of the front showing its name which I wanted as part of my trip record. My daughter was going the next day so I asked her to capture it for me. When I looked through her pics from that day, I realized she’d also got one inside that I hadn’t so I asked for it too. My son-in-law takes great photos and I often ask for some of his also. And even my granddaughter (who knows how much I love flowers) shared some of hers from a garden I had been unable to visit.
Since photographs are all about “memory” for me, you may wonder why I’d want crowdsourced photos of places I hadn’t seen. And it would be a good question. Everyone will have different set of “rules,” but the one I use is if the image adds something to my own memory (such as a brief glimpse through a bus window), then I want it. In my granddaughter’s case, I was at the Biltmore with her and wanted to go to the garden but couldn’t. Having flower pics were a wonderful consolation prize and gives me a reason to promise myself a visit in the future.
Many of us over the years have purchased post cards of iconic images as a reminder of places we’ve been. Adding someone else’s photographs to my own is somewhat the same. It’s always more satisfying to take the shot yourself since your “eye” is going to be different from someone else’s, but there are times when it’s a great compromise. Give it a try.