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Better Living Through Disposable Cameras
by Timi Siytangco
Beach  walkersWind  SurferI am usually a person of considerable planning. To guarantee a positive user experience, if you will. In a new city I will study a restaurant guide each time I plan to go to dinner. My apartment is half-furnished after 10 months as I continue the search for the right set of mahogany stained solid wood shelves.

You'd think recording the experiences of travel would go this route.

Unfortunately, the purchase of a good camera is still on my medium-term (6-9 months) shopping list. Fortunately, Kodak makes a series of 24+3-exposure waterproof, disposable cameras with flash and battery, and stocks every drugstore and souvenir shop in the world with it.

And so these trusty gadgets note much of my leisure travel: following the black-and-white wavy tiles of Macau's Lisboa square, people-watching in Bintan, the Bay Area's diverse landscapes. (Note that these are all outdoors.)

View  of  Lake  TahoeWith a disposable camera I can point and shoot without worrying about shutter speed and lighting and (god forbid) focus. (Just remember that objects in the viewfinder are farther than they seem. Much farther. In fact, if you think you're close enough to your subject, step a foot closer.)

Chilis  for  saleIt is also the size of a mobile phone and better built to survive -- no, thrive -- in many of nature's elements. All my just-ascended-from-a-drift-dive shots are taken with a waterproof model. (When was the last time someone brought a real camera, or a mobile phone, on a dive boat with barely room enough for your fins and keeps you a mere 2 feet above the water?)

And then there's the post-travel heart-stopping suspense of waiting for prints, and the disappointment of having photographs that don't quite measure up to the real thing. With a disposable camera, none of that health risk! You get what you pay for, and you know it. (Actually, with one-hour photo service you only pay for the shots the machine thinks is worthy of a print.) You have complete emotional detachment from prints that purport to encapsulate religion-inspiring vistas in a miniscule 4x6-inch area.

The  beachWith a disposable camera in my backpack, I am assured of a planning-free, thinking-free, stress-free travel experience. I will have very few photographs worthy of hanging on a wall. But I need only to look at my all-blue snapshots of fan coral to remember the peacefulness of being surrounded on all sides by water.

Unless, of course, I decide to take the emotional plunge and invest in an underwater camera...

Copyright: 2000-2004 Mikey and Lou Samson