China 2012 – Rumination #1 – The Eight Precepts of Chinese Tourist Photography

I hope this doesn’t come across as petty or small-minded.  I’m amused by this behaviour, but not in a bitter way. In fact, at certain times, like climbing The Great Wall, it provided some much needed relief and cheer.

So here goes:

  1. First of all – and this is the most important precept of all – if one of us isn’t in it, it ain’t a @#$%ing photo. Get that through your head right now.
  2. Quiet, secluded places make for poor photography; always choose a crowded place where people are moving from point A to point B, thereby providing a dynamic element to your photo. Your ideal photo shoot lies somewhere between points A and B.
  3. Now look for a restricted area or bottleneck in traffic to shoot. Your photo just improved by several orders of magnitude.
  4. Don’t trust that new fangled auto-focus; take your time to focus and frame your shot. Remember, true art requires patience, planning, and care.
  5. The best lens for this type of shot is at least a 400mm telephoto. This necessitates that you stand waaay back from your subject, making the invisible line between camera and subject a lengthy perpendicular bisector of segment AB and an imposing barrier to polite oncoming traffic.
  6. A long focal length will also translate into an extremely restrictive depth of field, making it almost impossible to bring both your subject and the landmark behind him/her into proper focus. (see # 4)
  7. Now it’s time for your subject to do his/her part. It’s important that he or she assume a pose, preferably one that involves extending the arms. You might try thrusting elbows out and throwing hands up in a double peace sign. When at a loss, you can hardly go wrong with both hands extended fully to the side in the “I’m the King of the World” pose.
  8. Take one shot and examine it with your subject. If it fails, repeat. If it passes, exchange roles and repeat the entire process.

Enjoy your masterpiece. You’re welcome.

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