Nikolaj Have

How to capture the perfect moment in one single photo

❌ Spoiler alert! ❌

You can't 😬

Sorry for click-bating you there, but let me explain.

From the beginning

It was a warm summer night in the beginning of August. I sat outside after a nice barbeque dinner and enjoyed the weather while sipping the remaining of my wine.

It was a lovely sunny night! Time was around 8 p.m - but being in Denmark, the sun was still a good hour from setting.

I closed my eyes and thought to myself that this was one of those happy moments: The feeling of the warm terrace boards under my bare feet. The cold stem from the wine glass in my hand. The not-so-intense heat from the sun on one side of my face. The faint sound of the breeze in the trees above me. Distant voices. A lawnmower humming and a dog barking far away.

I enjoyed the evening sun and watched it go down behind the trees. It was beautiful! I felt blessed and wanted to capture this moment - so I did what I had done so many times before: Pulled out my phone and snapped a photo of the evening sky.

Here it is:

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I looked at the photo on my phone. While it wasn't a bad photo, I still felt the well-known disappointment. The photo was nothing like reality.

Photos are remembrances

Less than a week later, I read what Chad Moore wrote about this exact same thing (Update: Sad to see that he decided to shut down his blog. The link is therefore not valid anymore).

He described this as:

I took this picture today, June 07 2021 around sunrise. When I looked at the picture on my phone, I thought to myself, “this picture doesnt do this sunrise justice”. I continiued to ruminate… Maybe I need to be a better iPhone photographer… I am sure there are tutorials and courses for that… Maybe I need a better camera

I couldn't help smiling. We shared the same thoughts, but he came to the conclusion before me: Photos are remembrances and can only store a small part of that perfect moment you wanted to capture. It's just not possible to save the complete palette of senses and impressions into a single, flat photo.

But as our memories fades away over time, a photo can help us recall the moment – and keep it alive – maybe forever. ☀️💛🌾

Photo Life
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Published 11th of Oct, 2021
Content updated 11 months ago