The Great Room at Hearst
I was able to get up through a somewhat secret door into the upper area of this room. It was a little sketchy up there with a sharp dropoff, so I had to keep my wits about me!
The greatest challenge at Hearst is getting set up, composing, and executing all the shots before the next wave of tourists come through. I was usually able to get this done, and there was always a gentle pressure to shoot fast and then move on! One time, however, I just could not finish in time.
They strode in and began randomly shooting away. I think it is so interesting (and somewhat depressing) to watch how tourists take pictures. Really, they are just "documenting" and "collecting". Why? This is an interesting question! These people are not dumb or vapid… They are not doing it because everyone else is doing it. But I do think people like to softly record their lives. They do the best they can, and I guess that is okay. I do get flummoxed that people don't go out of their way to take "better" pictures. They seem satisfied with lackluster, predictable, "scientific-documentary" shots that are just not interesting. Not that every photo has to be a work of art, but why not try a little? Why not do a few things here and there to improve your personal photography. It's not that hard to improve, and anyone can improve! I suppose I just get bummed out that people don't even try to improve… they just expect and then become satisfied with mediocrity.
Also at Hearst there is a "no flash" rule. Thank goodness! Of course, they do it to protect the works of art there, but I am happy that people do not use their flash because I normally see people do it in silly conditions. As far as I know, this "no flash" in Hearst Castle (and other museums) is a good policy. I always hear that flashes can damage paintings and whatnot -- is this scientifically true? Maybe it is. I know if you leave art in bright light all day that it can become discolored… but are a bunch of instantaneous flashes the same thing? I don't know… I'd love to see a full study on it if anyone has a link. As with all things, the policy certainly sounds solid, but I am skeptical about "common wisdom".
Personally, I would institute a "no Dumb Use of Flash" rule, which would tell people not to use their flash to take photos of things that are over 15 feet away. Like, for example, did you see the opening ceremonies of the Olympics? Thousands and thousands of clueless people using their flashes! Aren't any of those thousands of people somewhat curious --- wondering if the flash actually does anything? Or maybe this mass flash-delusion is only negatively reinforced by seeing all the other flashes going off? I don't know…. but it is interesting to think about.
- Trey Ratcliff
Click here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.
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