Do You have Photography Compulsion Syndrome? - Digital Photography School

Do You have Photography Compulsion Syndrome?

photo-compulsion-dps-06

Missed the sunset but sat in the cold until I got this bird flying over. 4 shots layered in PS.

“Photography Compulsion Syndrome” – tell me if you can relate to any of the following scenarios:

  • when traveling you’ve raced around at dusk, narrowly escaping a speeding ticket, trying to find the best spot to shoot the sunset
  • you’ve skipped dinner, or left your friends having dessert, while you go outside in the rain cause there was a great shot you just had to get
  • you’ve been on regular travel tours and were constantly frustrated because they never gave you enough time at the great locations or stopped at the side of the road for the old broken down buildings or because the “light was amazing”
  • you’ve lost images due to a card failure, a lost memory card, or a hard drive problem and have cried for days
  • you’ve yelled “Stop the car I’m going to have a coronary if I don’t get this shot!” to your friend or significant other
  • you comment on the lighting in a movie and notice when they use a graduated filter on the sky to make daytime into night and your partner rolls his/her eyes at you
  • you have at least 8 photography apps on your smartphone

If you nodded your head in agreement and related to any of the above, you too may have . . .

Photography Compulsion Syndrome!

But don’t despair, there is help available!

So keep reading, and please share your photography compulsion stories in the comments below. Only by forming our own support group and sharing can we find the help we need to conquer this crippling problem.

The other way to look at this is by using the following phrase: “You know you’re a photographer when . . .”. I know you may not consider yourself a “photographer” but you do not need to be a professional to have this distinction.

It’s in the blood. You can’t help but live, breathe and sleep photography.

It’s about passion. It’s about what makes your heart beat a little bit faster.

It’s about being excited when you get that shot you’ve always wanted.

Steel wool or fire spinning, something I've always wanted to do and finally got to try it.

Steel wool or fire spinning, something I’ve always wanted to do and finally got to try it.

So if you feel all those things about photography, you ARE a photographer. Don’t listen to what anyone else says, or labels set out my society or other people. They’re just that, labels. Being a photographer is in the blood, and the more you do it, the more passionate you feel about it. I often feel privileged because I “see” the world differently than others. Honour that in yourself and just embrace it.

The Stories behind the Syndrome

Okay so truth be told all of those scenarios are real and actually happened to me. This is how they went down and any resulting images.

#1 Chasing the elusive sunset

While traveling with a friend (who is also a photographer) on Prince Edward Island in Canada, we spent the day getting great images and had planned on arriving at Confederation Bridge to photograph it at sunset. The original plan had us arriving much earlier, having dinner and then scouting a location to get the best spot for the sunset. Well, that SO didn’t happen because we had stopped practically every 3 minutes all day, and we ended up literally racing just to get there. We really did get pulled over by the police for speeding (which I do NOT advocate by the way!), pleaded our sad story, and funny enough he believed us and actually escorted us right to the bridge.  We got off with a warning and we promised not to do it again. The image I ultimately got is below. Notice the location of the sun on the horizon. If we had arrived 10 minutes later we’d have missed it completely.

photo-compulsion-dps-01

The red earth of PEI is what I wanted to capture along with the 12.9km (8 mile) bridge at sunset.

#2 Missed meals and lost sleep

On the same trip as above a bunch of us had gone to Peggy’s Cove to see the famous lighthouse, then on to Lunenburg, NS.  It has started to rain so we went in for dinner right by the water. I quickly ate my dinner and skipped dessert and coffee to go out and shoot the streets in the rain and mist. The images I got aren’t among my favourites ever, but I think they are a bit haunting, and ghostly feeling. I would rather miss an hour of sleep, or a meal once in a while, rather than ever having to say “I wonder if”. Take the images, go the extra mile, leave no regrets behind.

photo-compulsion-dps-02

#3 The frustration of regular travel tours

In 2011 I took a 2 week tour of Turkey. The price was so good I couldn’t pass it up. I knew going in that it wasn’t a photography tour and I anticipated being frustrated some of the time, but I had no idea how much. Practically every day by 8am we were on a bus for our next destination, only stopping at gas stations along the way. We visited most of the locations at midday, amongst the biggest crowds and worst lighting of the day, and were back at hotel for the night by 6pm.

But to top it all off, we usually had very little time at the locations to wander around on our own. One such location was at the Roman theatre in Aspendos, one of the most well preserved in the world. After talking for 10 minutes outside the gate, we were taken inside where our guide talked for another 15 minutes. Finally we were set loose for a grand total of 15 minutes to explore this gigantic structure, I pleaded for more time! Of course I raced to the top to get an overall view, and literally ran around like a mad woman. I came back to the bus sweating, out of breath, and wishing I had another hour there later in the day. This is my favourite image of the theatre. I will go back one day I vowed!

photo-compulsion-dps-03

The solution of course to this problem is to join photography oriented travel tours where priority is put on being on location for the best light of the day. Where you’re given plenty of time on your own to explore and photograph and the schedule is flexible if the group votes for more time. I lead several such photography travel tours and are working on more (Nicaragua, Mexico and Africa to name a couple possibilities), as do many other DPS writers. Check out your options. See more of my Turkey images here.

#4 Image loss to do hardware failure or stupidity (mine)

After my Turkey tour my husband flew over to meet me in Spain for a week with friends in Barcelona. We also drove to France for a few days, and through a unique little country called Andorra and a teeny tiny town called Os de Civis in Catalonia. My friend had photographed it before and her photos made me want to go there, so she took us. It was spectacular, unfortunately I have NO images to show for it.

Upon returning home I had problems downloading and kept inserting the card back into the reader, even after getting the same error message 4 times. Eventually the card failed and all the images were gone and the card unreadable. Even data recovery couldn’t get them back. I literally still want to cry when I think about the 1000+ images I lost from that trip, it was heart breaking but preventable.

LESSON – don’t do what I did! If you get an error message, listen to it! 

So I can’t show you any fabulous photos of Os de Civis, but here’s one from Barcelona that I took on an earlier card. I lost about 1/2 my images from Spain and France on a 16gb card. One advantage of smaller cards is that if you lose them, or they crash, you lose fewer images!

Guadi house in Barcelona

Guadi house, Casa Batlló in Barcelona

#5 “Stop the car I’m going to have a coronary”

I’m obsessed with light and when I see good light I want to leap from moving vehicles to capture it. On our recent trip to the Oregon coast I wanted to photograph sunset on Cannon Beach and once again we were chasing the light. There was a magical cloud hovering over a hill by the beach, tinted in pink and golden light from the setting sun. I knew it was a fleeting moment and we were blocks from the beach and anywhere to park. I literally yelled to my husband “stop the car I’m getting out now”.

I didn’t get the shot I really wanted and was disappointed that I missed the sunset on the beach. But the beach was full of people and chairs, it looked like a wedding, and I didn’t have the right location. So I got out and took a few shots and got back in the car dejected. This is the pink cloud, but it was more more vibrant 2 minutes earlier. I am my own worst critic, I’m sure you can relate. How good a time I have on a trip is directly related to the images I come home with – you?

photo-compulsion-dps-05

So what do we do about this Photography Compulsion Syndrome?

Nothing! As far as I can tell it’s incurable. But it IS treatable by doing the following:

  • carrying your camera with you as often as possible so you never miss a shot, at the very least have your phone in your pocket always
  • photograph daily, the only treatment is frequent indulgence
  • look at other people’s photography, get inspired
  • share your compulsion with a friend, join a photowalk, camera club or take a workshop
  • get away from your every day scenery as often as possible, even if it just means taking a drive in the country, or visiting a neighbourhood in your own city you’ve never been to
  • share your images and stories with others with PCS, it will help relieve the anxiety

All in a little fun

I hope you realize this is all completely made up. There is no such syndrome, although it feels quite real sometimes. Are you as compulsive and compelled to take photographs as I am? Or am I completely off my rocker?

I’m just having a little fun at my own expense, and hopefully you can join in with me and share your stories. Tell me about the one(s) that got away. What image did you miss that broke your heart? Or better yet, show me the ones you’re proud of that DID work out and you went out of the way to get.

Keep on shooting!   Cheers

Darlene-1-250x130

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category.

Darlene Hildebrandt is the Managing Editor of dPS. She is also a photographer and educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their photography skills through photography classes, and photography travel tours (join her in Nicaragua in November). Darlene has a FREE ebook 10 Challenges To Improve Your Photography and an online self-paced course, use the code "dps10off" to save $10.

  • sumukhee shankar

    Hi Darlene,

    I was really relieved today after knowing that I’m not only “obsessed one” as my friend puts it. I almost relate myself to all the cases you mentioned above and I almost burst out laughing at myself. Thanks for having shared your experiences.

    Cheers

    Sumukhee

Some older comments

  • Darlene Hildebrandt

    September 19, 2013 08:24 am

    @wanda yup I totally get it!

  • WANDA

    September 16, 2013 11:03 am

    we live out in the country and i do alot of yardwork on my days off with the company of Chevy and Brandy, my 2 little 4 footed buddies. it is not unusual for me to run into the house and grab my camera because i just missed a shot of them doing something sweet or funny or because i have found the latest weird plant or bug. alot of time i just carry it with me to photo them or the sun peaking thur the trees. i have a 20 min. drive to my job in the mornings and now have a habit of turning on my camera and setting it to landscape and just keeping it close for that unexpected shot. yes i have kicked myself over and over about the shot i missed!!. my husband asks me sometimes why i take so many pictures but the thrill of going thur my lastest shots and finding "THAT GREAT ONE" just takes my breath away!!!

  • Darlene Hildebrandt

    September 16, 2013 10:10 am

    @mark wow that's quite the story. The link to your image didn't quite come out right - try this
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/shelmar_images/9730122697

    @rachel that's awesome, I'm chuckling with you!

  • Rachel

    September 15, 2013 02:17 pm

    Hi Darlene, thanks for a great humour fillled article! Loosing data, skipping meals, abandoning people and yelling at people to stop the car are possibly my biggest symptoms.
    Thankfully I have only lost a large amount of data once (touch wood). It was at least 300 photos of a small gathering by my favourite band in Melbourne which was very cozy and extremely personal, to the point I got so close to them; the guitarist sat on the ground in front of the couch I was sitting on.
    Although the other three happen almost every single time I am in a car. If I am driving solo I yell at myself to pull over and tell myself and onlooking birds what I plan to do.
    I'm sure you have done this at one stage or other.
    Cheers, Rachel.

  • Darlene Hildebrandt

    September 13, 2013 09:03 am

    @govind, thanks, glad you see the humour in it and can laugh with me

    @william the card was sent to data recovery and it's been taken apart into little bits. So it won't it into anything anymore unforfunately.

  • Mark Allen

    September 13, 2013 03:28 am

    Hello Darlene!

    Mark from Wisconsin here. I have Photography Compulsion Syndrome really bad. As an example: We were on a short vacation in Door County, WI and I just had to get some night-time images of the stars. The only problem was we had rain squalls sliding through the entire time we were up there.

    One night, during an insomniac moment, I was on the balcony of our hotel and noticed breaks in the clouds with stars shining through. Yup, 3:00 AM and I was packing up gear to head to the end of the peninsula to attempt some image making. Yes, I did wake my wife, who thought I was insane, but came along anyway. By the time we got there the clouds were back and it turned out to be a nice drive in the dark.

    That was not the worst one on that trip however. We were on a bluff overlooking the lake watching the squalls form and slide through. It was a couple of hours before sunset and the colours in the sky were pretty cool. I was shooting a ton of images when I noticed this really cool, super high, cloud coming over the horizon line. I had to get out on the water to shoot this thing coming across the lake. One problem, we don't have a boat and the rental guy said I was nuts to think about heading out onto the lake with a storm coming straight at us. He, of course, was the voice of reason I didn't listen to. We found someone foolish enough to take us out.

    Wow! What a ride and what an amazing sunset! I've attached an image of the outing. If you look in the lower left corner, you can see the rain falling. What you can't see, and we didn't notice until almost too late, is another squall sliding through parallel to the one I was photographing. About one and one half minutes after snapping this image lightning struck the lake close enough to make our hair stand up. I'm super glad that fellow had a really fast boat, because that paralleling storm was very angry and chased us all the way back to shore!

    Cheers!
    Mark
    [eimg url='http://www.flickr.com/photos/shelmar_images/9730122697' title='9730122697']

  • William

    September 13, 2013 02:09 am

    Darlene,
    Just a suggestion. Since your card is not useable as is I have had some success in recovery by reformatting it in the camera it was last used with, then using Recovery Pro from Sandisk to recover the photos. It is supposed to work even after formatting the card. Reformatting should make it readable again, hopefully. You have to format the card in the camera and recover on the computer. I have done this once on a p&s camera card. Good Luck if you decide to try.

  • govind

    September 7, 2013 03:19 am

    I was laughing on reading this. Laughing since I recognize and identify totally with this.

  • Darlene

    September 7, 2013 02:16 am

    @Brian - first I'm honored, the best ever?! Wow thanks.

    "Photography IS the only and best time machine there will ever be. You gotta love it!" - well said! I do love it as do the other people that have commented!

  • Brian

    September 5, 2013 04:53 am

    Darlene, thanks for the tip on attaching pics. So here are some.

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/hunter08/8008192965/' title='IMG_2776' url='http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8459/8008192965_b3d0c5d659.jpg']

  • Brian

    September 4, 2013 08:22 pm

    This has to be one of the best articles ever! Some people are into the landscapes, some into macro, and some into sunsets. But almost everybody here can relate to this 'syndrome'. It covers just about everyone. That's the best thing about this 'problem'. This puts all of us on the same level.
    It's not what or how you take a picture, it's WHY you took the picture at all. And we can all say that. Somewhere inside a photographer is something that causes the passion to take a photo of the things that are, in someway, a part of us all. We scramble to get the shot while others never see what they are looking at. The entire world is a playground for a photographer and to others the world is just an address. Twenty four hours a day there is someone capturing the moment that will truly never be there again. There will never be a sunset that is exactly the same. The lighting on any one object is always going to be a little bit different changing the whole look. No insect will be at the exact same place, in the exact same position, and with the perfect amount of light.
    It takes a specific type of person to see the world and to see that it will always change, which in turn, brings out the overwhelming urge to realize that this photo, this opportunity will never be there or here ever again. The need to freeze time for that split second is in all of us. The world stops spinning every time that shutter catches that one spot in the ever changing cycle. Photography IS the only and best time machine there will ever be. You gotta love it!

  • Trish

    September 4, 2013 06:46 pm

    Darlene Hildebrandt Says:
    September 2nd, 2013 at 12:29 pm
    "@trish you have monsoons in AZ? I stayed there for 5 weeks and there was a big flood when we were there (January 2010)"

    Yes we do have what is called the "Monsoon season" from July pretty much thru September. The winter storms are usually rain (snow to the north) and can be heavy at that, but it doesn't take a lot to cause flooding here. We can have an occasional bit of snow tossed in with our winter rain too. Seeing saguaros and othe cactus covered with snow certainly was a photo op a few years ago. Of I went with some leftover winter clothing I hadn't given away yet and took some very pretty snowy scenes. Lately I've grown fond of the visiting lizard that appears on the patio on sunny mornings. Doesn't take much for me to fire up the camera. If it walks, crawls, slithers or flies, it's fair game..

  • Darlene Hildebrandt

    September 4, 2013 02:18 pm

    @Captain Photo thanks for joining us with our affliction!

    @catherine sorry to disappoint you. But I may make a t-shirt as someone suggested earlier so that might make it real!

  • Catherine

    September 4, 2013 08:42 am

    Aww Darlene. I am so disappointed to hear you made up that syndrome. Up until that point I was feeling relieved that I wasn't alone in my situation and there was a name for it. :-)

  • Captain Photo

    September 3, 2013 10:06 am

    Surprise. I am afflicted. 32 photography apps on my iPhone. Busted.

    The group tour you describe in Turkey is a no-no. My rule is to always either photograph alone or with another photographer as passionate about it as I am. I find that if I am with a group of non-photographers and I see something I must explore further, I will quietly lag behind with the intention to catch up with them later. This happens to me all the time and works out rather well. Usually they don't even notice I'm missing for several minutes and I get a text, "Are you okay?" You bet I'm okay and usually have another prize photo.

  • Darlene Hildebrandt

    September 3, 2013 07:36 am

    @Nola oh my, where do you live with cobras in the road?

    @brian - can I break something do you? You ARE a photographer! What is a photographer exactly? What is it to be a photographer?

    photographer [f??t?gr?f?] n http://www.thefreedictionary.com/photographer
    (Business / Professions) a person who takes photographs, either as a hobby or a profession

    From Wikipedia A photographer (from Greek ????? (photos), meaning "light", and ????? (graphos), meaning "written") is a person who takes photographs.

    So - if you take photographs, you ARE a photographer. Let's say someone was looking at one of your images and asked who was the photographer of this image? That would be you.

    I don't get why the distinction over the word "photographer" meaning you are a professional at it or make your living doing it. No it simply means you take photographs.

    As for your experience it sounds like you need to have some confidence in yourself. Rarely do I post an image and wish I had done more to it or shot it differently. Rarely, very rarely I'll look at one I processed years ago and wish I could go back and redo that part of it, but it's not very often that I do. Accept the compliments and realize that perhaps you do good work and people want to recognize you for it. Sometimes it takes others to see our own strengths and blow our horn for us. Good for your sister for doing that for you!

    To share an image go to the location of the image or gallery on a web browser. Go up to the URL bar and copy and entire enter there. It will have "http://www..." or something like that. Copy that and paste it in here.

    @dan ooh that does sound like a good shot. So go back to India!

  • Dan Miller

    September 2, 2013 02:16 pm

    Several years ago my wife and I traveled to North India and took a taxi from the airport to our hotel. If you have ever traveled in Delhi or pretty much anywhere in Asia, you know that the streets are packed with every possible means of conveyance from trucks and busses to cars to motorbikes with 4 riders to bicycles and pedestrians. All are competing for the same space with horns blaring and lines painted on the street are a mere suggestion.

    As our driver made his way through this mass of humanity and metal, I looked out the window and saw and ancient, flatbed wooden cart with wooden wheels being pulled along along by a tired old sway back mule. Stacked up on the cart were a dozen boxes of Sanyo flat screen TVs. The juxtaposition of ancient and modern was remarkable. Unfortunately may camera was packed my backpack and in a moment, traffic moved and the opportunity for capturing the image was gone.

    I learned from that moment to ALWAYS have my camera ready all the time. I will forever regret missing that image which in a moment defined Delhi for me.

  • Juan E Guzman

    September 2, 2013 12:30 pm

    The way it works in my case is that I would like to be in the passenger seat because, you see, I am the one doing most of the driving, most of the time. Since my photography compulsion sort of drives my fa

  • Darlene Hildebrandt

    September 2, 2013 12:29 pm

    @trish you have monsoons in AZ? I stayed there for 5 weeks and there was a big flood when we were there (January 2010)

  • Darlene Hildebrandt

    September 2, 2013 12:28 pm

    @Pauline - glad to have you aboard

    @Silva very well said thank you!

    @tom you share it with your brother? awesome. Yes Glacier park is stunning.

    @Leon great solution, now you're thinking!

    @Cheryl thanks yes I feel the piece of me die too

    @meri that's wonderful to get so lost, literally and figuratively in something you love. Dust and sweat can be washed.

    @ann - nice! hmmm maybe I'll build one! good idea the t-shirt thing

    @Diana oh that's heart breaking! One more tip - make sure you also back up your LR catalog file! The catalog is what holds all the recipes of all the develop work you've done on all the images. If you lose that you lose all your work. So back up your files and the catalog!

    @john I've done that! LOL good job making it work - you'll dry more easily than the camera that's for sure

  • Darlene Hildebrandt

    September 2, 2013 12:20 pm

    @sheryl yes more good tips! Unfortunately I wasn't traveling with anyone else in Turkey so it would have been just me and many times we were only in one place for a day and the bus took us from one city in the morning, to the site, then to the hotel. But yes my husband and I have done our own tours, we hired a taxi driver in KL (Kuala Lumpur) for a day, cost us $50.

    @amy yes I've had the same experience and have many out of focus photos of myself from those situations. I usually look for someone else with a fancy SLR and we swap, that seems to work out a bit better. My husband likes to play tricks on people that ask him to take photos. He does one of himself usually (the old reverse selfie) one that's tilted 45 degrees and one that cuts off their heads entirely. Those are his faves - and he does take them one nice one LOL.

    @lindsey all you need is ONE lens and one camera - whatever you have with you can work. It's not about the gear so don't get too hung up on that. But I went out to Kari Kari beach in Auckland, a 45 minute windy twisty road (I almost tossed my cookies when we finally stopped) I go there only to take one photo and my battery died. I didn't have another - first digital lesson learned, have two batteries!

    @c.r. you are for sure! I agree spray and pray is NOT the way to go. Hmmm, perhaps I sense another article coming??? I do love a good discussion and a little controversy.

    @Walton I can relate. However, it's also taken me a long time (25 years) to learn that sometimes it's okay to let go and just experience a sunset and NOT take a photo. WHAT, no?! Yes really. I spent 2 full days at the top at Machu Picchu in Peru, an amazingly spiritual place. We were doing a ceremony and sort of spiritual ritual the second day so I left my camera behind at the hotel on purpose. I can tell you that I would not, without a doubt, have had the experience I did if I had my camera. So sometimes you have to learn when to let go and be okay with it.

    @Rosa yes for sure. Or just doing your own thing.

    @Alison join the sunset chaser club with us!

    @connie those aren't silly at all, adding interest to a sunset is what can make it go from good to great

    @Marvin sorry but you're doomed like the rest of us. Just accept it and embrace it!

  • Brian Spratley

    September 2, 2013 11:33 am

    This is so me! I am so glad to hear that I'm not the only one. I match every single 'symptom' except the smartphone(mainly because I don't have a smartphone). I am definitely my own worst critic. My friends and family are wowing about my pictures, but the whole time I'm thinking "if I had just increased the aperture, or decreased the shutter speed, or adjusted the ISO, maybe it could have been better". That happens with almost every shot.

    Here's a funny story. I was visiting my sister for her birthday in Wichita Falls, Texas. Her, my two nephews and my niece went to do a little exploring. We eventually went up to a wildlife refuge up in the Wichita Mountains.. My nephew fell into a cactus and had a lot of fine spines in his palms and wrists. The nearest place was the refuge office and we took him there to get some help with getting them out(that took a couple hours and was all done with tweezers, one at a time).
    The refuge, of course had several pics of the wildlife, sunsets, and macro shots of the surrounding foliage and insects, waterfalls and the like. My sister just had to chime in and say "My brother has taken a lot of pictures like these". I turned around and she was telling this to the director! She also had to say "He's a photographer". I was so embarrassed! The director proceeded to ask to see the pics since they were always ready to get new ones for display. I tried to tell her I was not a photographer and that I just did this as a hobby, a hobby I am obsessed with. But, again she insisted on seeing the pics. I gave in, went back to the car to get my camera. As she scrolled thru them, I heard SEVERAL wows, oohs, and even I want that one for myself!. I didn't understand. I can always find something wrong.
    But, she then proceeded to ask for me to send them to her for the refuge gallery via email. And then put me on a list for guided tours that were set up just for photographers. I had to sign a form stating there would be no copyright infringement and a release form stating they would not be responsible for any injuries while on these 'photographer-only tours'. It was very exciting for a state wildlife refuge to actually quickly say that they needed and wanted pictures I had taken. But I still am feeling kind of weird about this because like anyone else here, I can always find something that could've made the picture better and I wonder why others don't see it also.
    But I owe all of this to my eight year old nephew who had fallen into a cactus. Thank you Danny. By the way all the needles were removed and he never shed a tear! I think he thought it was kinda neat getting all of the attention and for being so strong.

    I would add some images but I am not sure about how to do this. Maybe someone out there can explain how to find the URL for any specific photo.

  • Nola Lee Kelsey

    September 2, 2013 09:58 am

    Oh I so have it! What looks like my purse is actually a padded camera bag I bought here in Thailand - no lipstick, but I do carry a comb among the lenses. All my friends don't even stop the conversation now as I move around taking photos in restaurants when we have coffee together. Last week there was a cobra crossing the road and my son instinctively pulled the truck over as I leaped out. What kind of son knows to fling his mother in the path of such a thing? I've trained them all well.

  • Darlene Hildebrandt

    September 2, 2013 09:41 am

    @Mid good job on the husband training!

    @pete sounds like something I'd do. Love to see the images of the clover.

    @dorothy yes mourning lost photos for over 20 years, yes you had PCS I'm sorry to say!

    @dikki thanks and yes I had overheard a comment made by a by stander in Spain at Salvador Dali's house where we were waiting our turn for the inside tour. I found a cat sleeping inside a skeleton of an old boat. It has "do not touch" signs all over it, so I used Live View, lowered the camera inside the boat without touching it and got a shot of the cat. I heard the lady say "some people will take photos of anything including a dead cat, how sick!". They didn't realize we also spoke English but soon did as I joined my friend next to her and started chatting. The cat was NOT dead for the record.

    @alan42 yes that sounds like a reasonable alternative if you are on a tour.

    @Paul plak - odd, I've never heard of that happening. I regularly shoot to the end and it gives me a "card full" notice and won't take any more. Is it possible some other error happened and was coincidence?

    @Martha OCD love it! I'd have shot it too!

    @joyce I think it's good to remind ourselves we aren't alone in our obsessions or quirks sometimes. It's good to have our "peeps" on our side!

    @Julie which side of Australia do you live on? I have been to the Perth side once

    @lisa love it. See they learn quickly not to fight it

    @Lois you have friends, look at this list! Keep getting excited about it that's what keeps us alive. The others don't know what they're missing!

  • Trish

    September 2, 2013 09:40 am

    "@trish cool you used a Brownie. I have a few as collectors items, never ran any film through them. Where do you live with monsoons and tarantulas?"

    Believe it or not I live in southern Arizona. But we have lots of wildlife that live with us. I'm on the lookout for the mountain lion I've heard has been lurking about. At a safe distance of course.

  • Darlene Hildebrandt

    September 2, 2013 09:29 am

    @Gretchen - I'm glad to have provided you a little relief in your stressful day!

    @Sandi yikes! you've seen or heard about the guy that cut off his own arm right? Be careful and take a friend or tell someone where you're going. Glad you got out safely!

    @wanda nice solution. It isn't always practical though. My ipad only hold 16gb and I have four 16gb memory cards. Uploading 16gb of data into the cloud will take hours on the best connections, never mind in the middle of nowhere with iffy internet. I also shoot raw and unless I get an app to do so can't put those on the ipad or see them.

    @celyn - 22 photo apps, you win!

    @jan I always recommend having at least two copies of all files, 3 is better, one being offsite. So sounds like you have a good plan now and it's not over the top by any means.

    @geoff, yup "just watch the movie" is a comment phrase here too.

    @trina "catty wampus" I love it! Where do you live? Not a phrase I hear too often here.

    @dorna who needs vegetables! meh! LOL

    @ronpru yes getting left behind isn't too fun, I had that experience at almost every stop in Turkey. Vowed I'd never do it again.

    @trish cool you used a Brownie. I have a few as collectors items, never ran any film through them. Where do you live with monsoons and tarantulas?

    @dana you're here in Alberta? My local workshops are based in Edmonton but my tours are open to anyone coming from anywhere.

    @maria nice job and lucky you to also have a patient partner.

  • D Helman

    September 2, 2013 07:19 am

    I can relate, recently I have driven like a maniac across the Chesapeake Bay bridge (which I hate!) to find a place to pull over and shoot the amazing sunset in my rear view mirror and climbed a big hill in flip flops to get up on a bridge to shoot another sunset over the Severn River.

  • Darlene Hildebrandt

    September 2, 2013 05:05 am

    Wow I go offline for a day and BAM look at all these great stories! I'll get to read everyone of them soon, thanks so much for sharing!

  • John

    September 2, 2013 04:51 am

    once when in Milan it started to rain really heavily, i wanted to get a a good shot yet i all i was missing was a simple plastic bag to keep my camera dry while i shoot. frantically i began going into any shop i could find yet none could be found and it certainly didn't help that i spoke zero Italian. at last i got one at a butchers shop and ran out into a severe downpour talking photos with no rain protection for myself while everyone else was running for cover, i must have looked as if i was out of my mind yet i got at least one good shot anyway.

  • Ruby

    September 2, 2013 04:42 am

    On our engagement trip to Hungary, I had photographed Budapest - the Danube, the old town and the gorgeous hotel we had stayed in - The Gellert - along with its truly stunning underground spa. We then moved on to a smaller town in the south to visit friends of my husband's. One of them picked up my camera and started playing with it. I was nervous but didn't think he could really do much harm. He accidentally deleted ALL of my photos. And of course we didn't have time to go back through Budapest except to catch the plane home. Gutted.

    But I learned my lesson (I think). Your memories - the photographs you take with your mind - are the ones no one can take away. I spend so much of my time thinking about what kind of shot this or that will make that I fail to live the moment. I may have beautiful pictures of my trips but was I really there? It's a lesson I have to keep learning actually - something I have to keep reminding myself of.

  • Diana

    September 2, 2013 03:10 am

    My daughter and I took a trip of a lifetime to New Zealand/Australia several years ago. I was simply using a Canon Elph - being very new to the digital realm of photography as I began in film. I was very pleased with an assortment of documented shots and many super cool artsy shots. (Tiny little compacts can do some amazing things...and are so much easier to cart around on worldwide travel). I would love to show you at least one of those super cool artsy shots - but. Yes. They are GONE. For. Ev. Er. Why? Because, in the wee hours one morning - after just arriving in Australia - I was reviewing my NZ pics and learned all about what "FORMAT" means. I am now much, much wiser and totally get the differences between "erase" and "format" and "just leave the dang card alone until you get home". We learn our best lessons from the hardest hits. Usually. Now I back up everything in numerous ways and I NEVER touch the card to review work to please myself until I get home. External hard drive. Dropbox. Desktop files. LR catalog. Cloud. If you know of more ways, I'll add that to the list!

    I am still crying over lost those shots.

  • Ann Strober

    September 2, 2013 12:42 am

    I am going to have a t-shirt made with "I have photography compulsion syndrome" or "I am a compulsive photographer" or "I am a photography addict".

  • Meri F Clason

    September 1, 2013 09:21 am

    I think I've had every one of these symptoms at one time or another! Most recently, I took prairie backroads home after work and the combination of afternoon light, fields in the process of haying & the occasional thunderhead affected my time sense to the extent that the 50 mile trip took me 3 1/2 hours! I probably didn't create any great art, but by the time I got home I was sweaty, dusty and as happy as an old lady gets! If anyone would like to see what a beautiful day it was, some of the pictures are at flickr.com/dakotadreaming

  • Cheryl P

    September 1, 2013 02:49 am

    I can definitely identify with losing images. It's like a piece of my heart is broken, beyond repair. I live for what I do and love what I do, so its essentially almost like dying a little bit. Great article! Very entertaining and I can definitely relate to all of them!

  • Leon

    August 31, 2013 09:46 pm

    My partner and I love to go hiking and plan our vacations around it. While we normally walk at a pretty good pace, our hiking is slow because I stop every few minutes to snap pictures. This really annoyed him. So, my solution? Another camera. Now, when I stop, he snaps his own shots. A true relationship saver.

  • Tom Jolliff

    August 31, 2013 02:08 pm

    I share the affliction my brother, which is cool.

    Living in Oceanside, CA I am constantly looking west in the evening and chasing another unique sunset photo. Glacier National Park.... breathtaking.

  • Silva

    August 31, 2013 09:34 am

    Hi there Darlene, I have felt like I have suffered from this for thirty eight years now, however it has accelerated since I retired from teaching photography at the Tec and spent more time sitting in paddocks, bushes and canoes with a camera.
    I cannot get over the euphoric feeling I get after hours in the freezing cold watching an Albatross land,- or the stinking heat getting bitten by sandflies watching the Osprey fledglings first flight.
    Thank you for your wonderful article, it was just so succinct, yes it’s all about light and the love of subject. I feel deeply that if we bother to get out of our comfort zone, magic happens. I am so addicted to that magic.

  • Pauline

    August 31, 2013 02:44 am

    Thanks Darlene for the diagnosis! Nice to know I'm not alone and in good company. ;)

    "How good a time I have on a trip is directly related to the images I come home with – you?"

    Oh, yes indeed!

  • Marvin

    August 31, 2013 01:55 am

    Thank you for ruining my hope of future curement...I thought this ailment would wear off...I just bought my first real camera (Nikon D7000) after many years of being too cheap. In 3 months I have travelled across part of the US, and also went to the Dominican Republic = taken 4k + pics! Apparently, there is no hope for me either.

  • Connie

    August 31, 2013 01:09 am

    Pretty sure I have this disease.
    Yesterday while sitting in the bathroom with my 2-year-old, potty-training granddaughter, she was talking up a storm and using her hands and had the cutest facial expressions. I sat there thinking, next time we do this, I'm bringing the camera or the phone in here with me because this is just too precious.

    I have also chased many sunsets. I live just a few blocks from the Mississippi River and if I happen to be out somewhere or just sitting on my porch and notice the sky getting pink, I head off QUICKLY with the camera and try to get the shot. I've also done silly things to add interest to my many sunset pics: gotten down on the ground to get the ducks in the foreground, pushed an empty swing, focused on a single weed, etc.

    Yep, I have this disease.

  • alison

    August 30, 2013 09:27 pm

    Love this! I am constantly chasing the sunset and making my family crazy1

  • Rosa De Cyan

    August 30, 2013 08:49 pm

    Regular travel tours is not de best idea and the low price that you pay does not compensate. Between regular travel and privacy travel (or photographic travel), you have adventure travel: few people, you can spend more time and middle price. I believe that now you know that :-D

  • Walton Ciferri

    August 30, 2013 03:41 pm

    Those symptoms were just the beginning. It's to a point now that if I grab a camera when I leave the house, nobody wants to go with me. I will sit and wait, and wait, and wait for that one shot....which mostly never comes. I will most likely slow a group down with my unabated persistence in shooting anything and everything that catches my eye. I kick myself each and every time I see something and dont have a camera handy. My cell has tons of photos, but none the quality of a well set DLSR.

  • C.R. Bennett

    August 30, 2013 02:36 pm

    The guys that absolutely kill me are the ones that say they are in it to "capture the moment" or to "be in the moment." These are the guys I love to tease with quips like, "What are you taking? A movie?" You know, the kind that will blow a 30-shot rapid sequence on a frozen 200 year-old Tibetan Monk in the midst of morning meditation. Now these are the guys who should be shot. My goal of every shoot is to learn something new, whether it is a technique or a camera function I haven't figured out. Now every Tom, Dick and Harry points his camera phone in the general vicinity of a subject, sprays and prays and takes one shot out of a movie, does a Quickfix and he thinks he's a photographer because his friends give him warm fuzzies for his "vision." That is the kind of crap that makes guys like me who STILL takes perfect single-frame 230 mph Indy cars one right after another NUTS !

    Now who is the better photographer?

  • Lindsey

    August 30, 2013 01:39 pm

    I completely made my kids late for, ironicly, picture day at school to trek way off the beaten path to photograph an amazing sunrise. They roll their eyes and say, "here we go again, another picture!" Lol. Also, my nightmares these days come in the form of being on my dream vacation in New Zealand and not having any of my lenses. Yikes, that makes me sweat just typing it. Lol

  • Amy

    August 30, 2013 01:13 pm

    Thanks for a fun article that describes me too! I am frustrated (to the point of STILL talking about it 2 years later) with pictures taken by other people. You know, the ones where you hand your camera to a complete stranger to take pics of you with family members while on vacation. I had the shot set up in my lens and all ready to go only to have the guy hold the camera for a landscape shot when I was set up for a portrait shot. Even after asking him to hold the camera the other way he wouldn't do it, thereby cutting off the top half of the sign behind us I was trying to include.

    i have also moved people, complete strangers, to show them how much better their pictures could be if they "just move over here first".

    Thanks again for the fun stories :-)

  • Sheryl

    August 30, 2013 11:55 am

    I "suffer" greatly from this syndrome, but to be honest, I'm not looking for a cure! I have a solution to #3, though. We look for really great deals on travel tours, but at each destination we skip traveling with the tour group, and either hire a private guide and driver (which is usually inexpensive), or in countries where we are comfortable driving, we rent cars and wander at our own pace to the sights WE want to visit, which are often not on the itinerary. When traveling the Greek Islands and Turkey, we hopped off the ship and rented cars (the cost was LESS than paying for the ship's excursions) at each port. In South America and countries like China and Cambodia, the cost is minimal, and you have all the time you want at the places YOU want to visit, and skip being herded around like cattle. You just need the spirit of adventure that matches the severity of your "Photography Compulsion Syndrome".

  • Lois

    August 30, 2013 11:11 am

    Its so nice to know I'm not alone! I get pumped when I know I am going shooting or even editing my photos. I am definitely obsessed with photography.

  • Lisa

    August 30, 2013 08:46 am

    Number 5 is me all the way. The first stop I yelled to my husband "Stop" while we were driving down the road, he totally freaked out. That was 25 years ago, so he now is use to be yelling stop, and calmly pulls over so I can jump out of the car and take the required photos I sooooo needed to take.

    Like the other individual that commented, it comes in waves. For days, weeks, months, I'll bring my camera every where. But then go a few weeks without my camera, and unfortunately, end up taking pictures with my phone. Using my phone is just not the same as my camera, but I'll still take pictures with it. Better then nothing is what I say.

  • Julie

    August 30, 2013 08:16 am

    I do believe I have this disorder also???? My husband and daughter are very patient, but even so I still manage to stretch their reserve. On a trip to WA a few years ago, before buying my SLR and really getting into photography, my daughter cried to Dad from the back seat of the car "come on Dad, lets just leave her there!". I was on the roadside taking just another wildflower pic using a small point & shoot (which stopped turning on at all by the end of the trip!!!). Got hundreds of flower pics from all over, but did reach the point where I thought it unsafe to ask to stop the car one more time, especially along the highway. I think they would have left me there, on the other side of Australia!!

  • Joyce

    August 30, 2013 08:06 am

    I'm so glad to know that I'm "normal" :) Thank you very much for this article - I saw a lot of myself in it as I'm sure many others did too!

  • Martha Weaver

    August 30, 2013 07:52 am

    My grandson said I have OCD. When my son asked what that was he said, "Obsessive Camera Disorder."
    So, same malady, different name.
    My accusation came when our son and his wife took us to a great restaurant on a mountain outside Jackson Hole Wyoming. The sun was setting, highlighting the Tetons out the large picture window by our table. The wine breathing in the carafe was reflecting the candle light and my daughter-in-laws glass of fine wine. I pulled out the camera to capture the perfect shot.
    Now, I ask you, How could anyone with OCD resist that!?

  • Paul Plak

    August 30, 2013 07:33 am

    Never try to add one extra photo onto your memory card when the counter says there's space remaining for exactly 1 shot. When I was in China 10 years ago, I only had a small 2MPixel camera to record the visit, and I bought 4 512k CF cards (that was a lot, back then). Day 1 and 2 of the trip were the most interesting days far away in the country, and I was quite happy with many of the 300 pictures I took. Some of the places do no longer exist today, like the orphanage my adopted daughter came from. Yet in the evening back at the hotel I made that fatal mistake of taking the last photograph the counter on the memory card seemed to allow, instead of switching to card nr 2. Obviouly there was some memory overrun, and the card reset itself in some strange way ... Back at home two weeks later, I tried everything, but all I could recover were two test photos taken at home before departure. I didn't actually cry, but it still hurts today ... fortunately we were there with many people, so would could share our photos together on CD'-roms later, so I still have some souvenirs. But not the ones I shot myself ...

  • Alan42

    August 30, 2013 05:49 am

    If you are dedicated to taking photographs on package tours I have a way to get more time. When you arrive at a site, ask what time the bus will be leaving. Research the site in advance then skip the lectures and go off on your own to take pictures. This often allows you to get away from other people and take pictures in not so heavily populated areas. Just be back to the bus in time for departure.

  • Dikki

    August 30, 2013 05:25 am

    Darlene i can so relate! I used to grab my dog Doc and haul him with me to the next town 3 miles away because we had to catch a sunset. He never criticized me or complained he was excited to go for the ride! I knew how to time it pretty close and we got (me and my dog) some wonderful shots. My friends tease me and say my camera is attached to my hand and often they give me a quizzical look and ask, "what are you taking a picture of now?" They just don't see the beauty in the flower petals or clouds in the sky or an old decrepit barn, etc. We are our own breed and we are unique! Thanks Darlene for sharing and your Turkey pictures are beautiful! Keep on clicking everyone!

  • Dorothy

    August 30, 2013 04:55 am

    I once shot more than 36 pictures (should have been my first hint since this was an old 35mm) of the best non-posed animal and children pictures. Alas there was no film in the camera, and those shots will forever remain there. OH by the way this was more than 20 years ago, and I am still mourning the loss. Does this count asPCS?

  • Pete

    August 30, 2013 04:13 am

    I got up at dawn and flopped down in a wet field waiting for the light to get just right so I could get a shot of a dew covered purple clover.

    Well Worth It!

  • Mid

    August 30, 2013 03:14 am

    Guilty of all of the above except for the tour situation. Have never been on an organized tour, but on unofficial ones with family or friends, that's totally me. I DO live, breathe, skip meals, lose sleep, excuse myself from company if I see a great shot, especially sunsets!! We frequently drive up to Lake Michigan, and my husband has gotten over being annoyed finally and asks if I want him to pull over or slow down... he's very well trained now! Grin
    Thank you for a great article and for helping me see I'm not alone!!

  • Maria

    August 30, 2013 02:44 am

    #5 is definitely me. Sometimes I make my husband drive me around various places so I can look for photo ops. He stops the car when I ask and waits, patiently, for me to finish there. Then, we continue on looking for more ops.

    The other night, I absolutely knew that the sunset at the beach was going to be spectacular! As soon as he came home from work, I was at the door ready to go, right then. We got to the beach at just the right time. We had time before the show started to walk around and take pics while keeping an eye on the sun. As soon as it went behind the hill, the sky put on an amazing show of color and texture and reflections at low tide. It lasted about 30 minutes. I love the photos that I got. Two of them are in my Etsy shop called WhatISeeMH.

    One other thing: I impatiently wait for the time to get my new photos into Lightroom so I can see what I got and start playing with them. I have to do it right away, before anything. If I have to wait, it drives me crazy!

    That's all.

  • Dana M

    August 30, 2013 02:17 am

    I have definitely done some of those. Thankfully my SO has a touch of the photography bug so he doesn't mind, in fact he usually encourages me! (Although the movie this is a bit of a back and forth, I'm usually like "oh look at their lighting choices" and he is like "that's not a realistic explosion! And those weapons are made of foam")

    Also, I was so shocked to see that your photo tours are based out of Edmonton. I was all like, "I will check them out so I know what to look for in my area" I guess that makes it easy for me :D

  • Trish

    August 30, 2013 02:08 am

    What a relief to know I am not alone......I've had this syndrome since I got my first Brownie camera 60+ years ago......

    My favorite, close to home photo spot, was a near vacant gated community that left the "Construction Gate" wide opened.....so I would go in there almost daily for sunset, mountain, monsoon, lightning, wildlife shots. It was pretty much wide opened for shots in all directions. Finally after a few years the gates were locked up.....the nerve of them.

    I do carry a small camera with me all the time and have 2 tripods in my car.....have slowed down a bit, but still go chasing rainbows during the monsoons and anything else that catches my eye.....but that danged tarantula will not smile for me. :-)

  • ronpru

    August 30, 2013 02:01 am

    Know what you mean about regular tours. My solution is to hang to the back of the group and shoot where I have been. The next group is usually not in view yet. Once I lagged too far back and got lost in La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires! Used the review on my camera to find landmarks to navigate back to the entrance (and bus). The tour guide was not happy. Tough!

  • Dorna

    August 30, 2013 01:58 am

    I have no food in the house and my camera sits calling me. Finally I head to the grocery store with my list and my camera. Two hours later I return forgetting half of my list but I have great shots of vegetables. Yes.. This is compulsive!!

  • Trina

    August 30, 2013 01:50 am

    I can relate to so many of those symptoms.... my poor husband has slammed breaks on many times I as was exiting the car....
    Last week we went to the Oregon coast and first day out my camera quit, we drove over a hundred miles to check the batteries and make sure that was not the problem... camera is on its way to be fixed now. I had packed a Rebel for DH to use, luckily.
    Went to one beach out of Florence to get some sunset shots...did not bring the tripod...got some good shots but went back the next night WITH the tripod.... to reshoot.
    We quite often eat VERY early or late dinners so I can shoot sunsets when we are on vacations...

    I love to shoot sunrises also, one morning it was shaping up to be a beaut and DH had parked his new truck kind of catty wampus behind me...he had been warned about this. I'm running out the front door camera in hand and he is right behind me fearing his new truck will get hit in my haste.... he never did park that way again lol I did not hit his truck :>

  • Geoff

    August 30, 2013 01:47 am

    The last but one is me all over, my wife must say more than once, every film we watch, "just shut up and watch the film" hahaha

  • Darlene

    August 30, 2013 01:41 am

    @penny oooh enjoy! NZ is fabulous take time to explore some of the smaller places. Coromandel area is so pretty on that side. Make sure to visit the touristy but fun Rotorua and the hot springs there.

    @geoff yes exactly why I'm planning my own tours now!

    @Dan great story and great image!

  • Jan Lotus

    August 30, 2013 01:39 am

    Dumped my entire catalog for 2012 on an external HD, then deleted off my over full PC. External failed. I am still sick over it. Now back up to 2 ext. HDs and sometimes a cloud account. I have more redundancy than I can handle. Finding files is sometimes a nightmare. :(

  • G Dan Mitchell

    August 30, 2013 01:34 am

    Oh, I think there really is such a syndrome, despite your disclaimers.

    We all do have our stories. I have many. Too many, perhaps. This is one reason that I most often travel alone when shooting - that way I don't have to explain or apologize for my occasionally bizarre and obsessive ways. ;-)

    A favorite was a few years ago on one of my regular trips to the eastern Sierra to photograph fall color. I usually camp, but this time I was in a cheap motel in Bishop. I got up well before dawn, but with no specific plan as I went out into the dark - perhaps heading up into the mountains above town. I turned out onto the higway and thought I could see a bit of Sierra wave cloud in the near darkness. It hit me that a little, obscure lake out in the desert valley an hour away might just be interesting at sunrise if this cloud developed, and I actually envisioned the exact spot from which I could shoot.

    Needless to say, my vague plans were instantly replaced by the irrational idea of driving - and, uh, a "brisk pace" - an hour up the east side of the range, turned onto a side road, and trying to outrun the sun rise. I arrived near the lake just before the sun came up, grabbed tripod camera and lens and nearly ran to the shore of the lake, quickly set up... and had just a few minutes to make the photograph.

    (The resulting photo is here: http://www.gdanmitchell.com/2011/10/19/sierra-wave-clouds-above-owens-valley-dawn)

    No way that was going to happen on a tour or with friends/spouse along! :-)

    Dan

  • Geoff

    August 30, 2013 01:33 am

    Some really nice photos here Darlene. The house in Barcelona is a lovely image.
    I sympathise with your experiences in Turkey. There's nothing worse than the feeling, or realisation, that you've missed the best viewpoint due to lack of time. You travel half-way round the world to see Efeze or Pompei - for instance - only to be told by the guide that you've got an hour to explore the whole city. And then the sun goes behind the clouds, or a group of tourists walks into your image and dawdles...
    A good reason why serious photographers should never go on guided tours...

  • Celyn

    August 30, 2013 01:27 am

    I have parked my car and grabbed my camera to run down the side of the road to capture a hawk in flight. I've set my alarm clock to get up in the middle of the night to get the "perfect" shot of the Super moon. I have twenty-two photo apps on my phone (not including the basic camera app it came with).

  • Wanda Montano

    August 30, 2013 01:23 am

    thank you for letting me know I am not alone, lol. We just did 3 weeks in Italy, and I deleted about 500 pictures when we came back, but I wanted to make sure I had all the various shots I wanted -- and it worked. Hubby thought I was nuts for taking so many shots, but the beauty of digital is that you can.

    Regarding the SD card issue, I too was worried about losing images. Here's what I did -- sometimes as many as 3 times a day. I have an SD card reader that allowed me to download the SD card to my ipad, and then the ipad went to my cloud account, and voila, total back-up of the images. No concerns about losing the SD card or a damaged card.

  • Sandi

    August 30, 2013 12:54 am

    I think that the one time when I really realized that I had a problem was when I was on a solo trip to Sedona, Arizona and decided that I really wanted to try out some night shots...you know, some great star trails with some of the fabulous red hills in the background. So, I bought a spotlight flashlight to bring along and realized that I probably needed to charge it before using it for the first time, so I plugged it in about 2 hours before I left. That put off the time that I was going to leave to 2AM. I'd found the trail that was going to be absolutely perfect for a night hike (not too many hills, not too scary) earlier in the day and headed that way. When I got there, there was a gate across the road stating that the way was closed for the night. So, I looked around...and jumped the fence, backpack, giant flashlight, tripod and all. The first bit of the hike was a little scary. I decided that I didn't want to get caught, so I didn't turn on my flashlight until about 1/4 of a mile from the fence. Once I turned it on, I was home free and arrived at my destination pretty quickly. Unfortunately, I found out that 2 hours charge on my flashlight wasn't ideal. Once I had everything set up, it died. I got one photo where I painted the mountain in front of me...and it wasn't great. So, I was standing there in the dark with scary noises all around me, you know, howling, hoots, rocks moving...and I didn't leave. I just kept plugging on, taking photos, praying that at least one of them in the hours that I was there would turn out. Once I had hit the point of uncontrollable shivering (this was in January), I finally decided that it was time to go. Thank heavens for powerful cell phone flashlights! OK, maybe not POWERFUL, but, you know, workable. I didn't have to find my way back in the dark. I can't say that my first night photos were anything great, but I did learn a valuable lesson that night and that is that I'm a wee bit crazy.

  • Gretchen

    August 30, 2013 12:52 am

    Excellent and entertaining post! Just what I needed for a morning when I am feeling overworked and overwhelmed, and wondering why I ever picked up a camera in the first place. BTW - it 's merely a rumor that I had my cameras surgically attached......Thanks again for this lovely read!

  • Penny

    August 28, 2013 09:38 pm

    I can very much relate to those situations and I also see the world differently from everyone else - my brain is constantly in photographer mode. Landscapes are one of my favourite subjects and I am looking forward to travelling to NZ later in the year and photograph to my heart's content!

  • Darlene

    August 28, 2013 03:59 am

    @Russ - nice! I'd love to see that photo

  • Russ

    August 28, 2013 03:34 am

    Guess I have a number of these issues.

    We had a nice evening meal going in Seward, Alaska, on our 40th wedding anniversary trip to AK. I happened to flip open The Photographer's Ephemeris on my iPod between ordering and the salad. Suddenly I realized the sun would pop under the clouds in the west in a half-hour lighting up the mountains across Resurrection Bay. I told my wife to hurry up, I have to get back to the hotel and down to the beach.

    I captured the most beautiful aperture of sunset across the water and on the mountains that evening. Yes, we are still married.

  • Sarah

    August 27, 2013 05:25 am

    Guilty as charged! ;-)

  • Darlene

    August 26, 2013 01:01 pm

    @Bob no not at all is it a bad thing, a little tongue in cheek though! I'd love to see the image from that story with the sunset and the horse?

    @justin I hear ya, that's called overdoing it or burn out my friend. ;-)

    @rosanna welcome to the club!

    @kitty wow 1973 and it's still sticks in your memory! Yup sure is a good lesson we need to listen to our gut and just do it no matter what - no regrets later.

    @john yikes I haven't experienced that so much thankfully.

    @Samuel - yes there is hope, never give up trying!

    @Ralph TMAX - loved that film! Never was a fan of the BW400CN film - I prefered to process it myself and the real silver films like TMAX or Ilford HP5, so I onlyused it when I was in a crunch to get something fast. Yes I used to push and pull my film to the limits - once shot TMAX 3200 at 6400 and the other extreme 400.

    Funny thing is many of the people reading this probably have never shot film and have no idea what we're on about. LOL!

  • Ralph Hightower

    August 26, 2013 08:32 am

    Forgetting to set the ISO:
    My wife and I went out with friends boating the lake. I finished a roll of ISO 100 film, Kodak TMAX-100, and loaded a roll of ISO 400 film, Kodak BW400CN. I found that Kodak BW400CN has an ISO latitude of 100 (unintentionally) to 1600 (intentionally).

  • Samuel

    August 25, 2013 11:39 am

    I often want yo go back go the one spot where the sun starts to shine through the misty fog, but now I am threatened with trespass if I go there again. I am frustrated so I went out to a large natural lake and got some good photographs of sun and mist over the water. So wherever their is a frustrated block there is hope.

  • Darlene Hildebrandt

    August 25, 2013 07:16 am

    @Jason - nice! that's what it's all about and we'll do it again!

    @glenn - oops my bad! Typo, sorry about that. Yes Os de Civis was so charming, I'm still torn up about losing my images of that town.

    @lisa welcome to the club Lisa!

    @Tim yes good point and you're probably right, I am off my rocker! But isn't it fun!?

  • John D.

    August 25, 2013 01:59 am

    I've added 12 TB of hard drives in the last 6 months, now running 17 TB of disk space comprised mostly of pictures and videos. Do I need help?? I would like to add that their seems to be another growing group of insane people which I call the "iphotographers". I've been to events shooting and have had these people shove their phones or pads right into the front of my camera trying to get the shot I was going for. They also seem to be oblivious to others around them as they stand in the way getting their shot and without moving, start designing their pic's within the free apps in their phones and uploading their pic's and while I am asking if they can move which I get the "just a minute" response. I've even had my camera which on a tripod doing a time-lapse, picked up and moved so a guy with his iPad could get 3 feet closer to shoot a sailboat 300 yards away. Seems this virus (Igottagetapictureofthat) is spreading everywhere and no telling where and what devices are going to have a camera added to them.

  • Kitty Allen

    August 25, 2013 12:32 am

    In 1973, while driving with family to run an errand, we passed a scene that was awesome. I can still see it in my mind. From a hill, looking down on a field of corn in rows. A red tractor was in the field cutting down the stalks of corn. Great lighting, composition and colors!!!! The driver of the car would not stop then, saying that on the way back from the errand we would take the time to stop. Well, on the way back the field was all mowed down and the tractor was no where to be seen. I still regret not forcing the issue and getting that photograph.

  • Tim

    August 24, 2013 10:56 pm

    You're off your rocker, of course

    I take one shot every day, on principle. Even so, I've learned never to delay an opportunity - even something as simple as a stunningly green sycamore leaf on dark tarmac will be run over, shredded and disappeared 10mins later by the time I return with the dog. Carpe diem!

  • Lisa

    August 24, 2013 09:45 pm

    Hello, my name is Lisa and I have Photography Compulsion Syndrome...... :)

  • Rosanna

    August 24, 2013 09:38 pm

    Made up? NO!
    I do believe this syndrome exists! Only 2 nights ago I was upset with myself for missing the photo opportunity of a beautiful pink sunset. Obviously I suffer from #1 the most.

  • Glenn

    August 24, 2013 06:26 pm

    Nice shot of Casa Battlo, but Gaudi is misspelled.
    Os de Civis is a very nice village, we found it while exploring the mountain roads of Andorra. The funny part is there was no signs saying that you are entering Spain so we thought we were still in Andorra since both Andorra and Catalonia speak Catalan. When we drove back we saw the sign for entering Andorra then realized that we were in Catalonia before.
    Beautiful area in the fall with the mountains and leaves changing color. Glad you enjoyed your trip and sorry to hear about your misfortune with your lost photos.

  • Jason Racey

    August 24, 2013 11:58 am

    From July to October at least once per week I find myself about 7000' feet in altitude, 5 miles from my car, 150 miles from home at 10 pm having just shot another mountain sunset. I've walked hundreds of miles by headlamp. Gotten home at 2 am on weeknights. Crawled into work half-dead. It gets pretty brutal by the end of the season. Life in disarray.

  • Darlene Hildebrandt

    August 24, 2013 11:51 am

    @tod thanks that was the point! Too much serious stuff, need to break it up a little.

    @joel thanks and congrats on the new system! Do you also have something for storing offsite? The other piece is that what if your house burns down or something happens and it's all in one place - you still got nothing.

  • Joel

    August 24, 2013 10:17 am

    Great article! I can relate to much of it.

    However, I went and bought myself a RAID10 array and have 4 harddrives (2 duplicate 2 others) to help avoid the harddrive crash issue. :)

  • Tod

    August 24, 2013 08:02 am

    Thanks for the fun article, it really made me laugh.
    I got introduced to photography by a dear friend who does pro portraits etc, I think she has created a monster and i'm more obsessed that she is. But i think we all have these crazy stories, if we didn't i don't think we would be doing the whole photography thing right.
    Keep up the good work

  • Justin Wondga

    August 24, 2013 06:14 am

    It comes in waves. There are weeks, sometimes months, where I want to do nothing but shoot, post-process and publish/post. I want to bring the camera along everywhere I go, even for a Slurpee run to the 7-11, so I don't miss a potential photo-op.

    Then there are this days and weeks where I am happy to peruse other photographer's works, admiring their images and soak in some inspiration.

    Then there are those days where I'm content with using a smartphone to take pics.

    Then there are those days I only wish to use the two blue cameras in my head, preferably at a big screen, complete with a bag of popcorn and a wastebasket-sized container of soda.

  • Alan Williams

    August 24, 2013 06:10 am

    Thank you, Darlene, for showing my wife that I'm NOT "CooCoo for CocoPuffs" as she puts it, and even better, that I'm not alone!

    I had most of what you describe happen to me on a single trip to the Olympic Peninsula in 2011:

    The worst was after being up for almost 30 hours, we get to Ruby Beach just a little before sunset, and miracle of miracles, it's not raining! The adrenaline woke me up and I got several really nice shots.
    They looked even better on my laptop that night, and after I copied them over, I deleted them off my card to make room for the next day's shots.
    So the next day I'm out snapping away, and I notice my card is getting slower and slower. After transferring THOSE shots, I format my card. Problem solved.
    That night, I had to see the sunset shots again, so I went to look for them, but couldn't find them anywhere. In my fatigue, I had pulled up two copies of the same window (showing my card and not my laptop), and I deleted them. And of course, after formatting the card, they were unrecoverable.
    2 years later it still gets to me. So I hereby volunteer to be the president of the local chapter of your support group. :-)
    Thanks for the chuckle on a Friday afternoon.

  • Bob Friesen

    August 24, 2013 05:44 am

    You make it sound like this is a bad thing! I think this kind of singleminded passion is what sets us apart from the rest of the world.

    My story......I was to have dinner with my father before he left for a 4 month winter vacation. I was out looking for a suitable silloette for a sunset image as the sky was starting to redden. I found an interesting grove of trees (this is in November, no leaves) and watched with delight as the sky slowly turned a blood red. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, a horse started grazing perfectly framed within the tree trunks and branches. My phone also started ringing, which I ignored and I spend the next half an hr shooting until it was too dark to continue. I missed most of dinner, but one of my images was shown by our national news station and won their weekly prize. My dad did forgive me later when I showed him what I had been doing. Most of my family now accepts the behavior associated with this kind of "living in the moment"

  • Darlene Hildebrandt

    August 24, 2013 05:09 am

    @Lindsay, I know right?!

    @Mridula yes very frustrating. That's why I'm building my own tours now with flexible stops at all locations!

  • Mridula

    August 24, 2013 04:53 am

    I so identify with your number 3. And almost all my trips are like that. Also I ended up in monsoon in Nepal. I was supposed to get high peaks. All I got was clouds and rain. I can't tell you how much I cribbed. The only good bit is I live in India and I can go back to Nepal again. But I vow never in the monsoon.

    http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/2013/08/phewa-lake-pokhara.html

  • Lindsay Berger

    August 24, 2013 04:27 am

    I have often said to my wife that I just need to get outside to shoot the moonrise, sunset, bats, a comet, meteors, etc. and then dash out the door for a couple of hours.

    I recently got into a fight with my best friend on a fly-in fishing trip when I wanted to investigate a set of rapids between our lake and the next lake. We got there after a hard rain fell, and got some shots that I was very happy with. Before that he had to explain very sternly to me that he was there to fish, not to go sightseeing.

    Some people just need to get their priorities straight!

  • Darlene Hildebrandt

    August 24, 2013 03:14 am

    @ted LOL no I know me! Wanted to make sure I wasn't the only one with this affliction

  • Ted Dudziak

    August 24, 2013 03:11 am

    Dang! Do you know me? :-) I often go back to the same location having composed another shot or two. Also, I often retrace my steps as well as turnaround. This of course slows down the rest of the folks with me but they soon realize that they can admire the location more as well as socialize amongst themselves.

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

Receive a FREE SAMPLE of our Portrait Photography Ebook

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

Sign up to the free DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed

Sign up to the free

DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download

GET DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS Feed

Sign up to the free

DPS PHOTOGRAPHY COURSE

  • Guaranteed for 2 full months
  • Pay by PayPal or CreditCard
  • Instant Digital Download
DPS NEWSLETTER
DPS NEWSLETTER
DPS NEWSLETTER

DPS offers a free weekly newsletter with: 
1. new photography tutorials and tips
2. latest photography assignments
3. photo competitions and prizes

Enter your email below to subscribe.
Email:
 
 
Get DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS feed