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Ponder: If you’re traveling alone, how do you get yourself in your photos? Here’s a buffet of options.
1. Hold that arm out, grin at the wobbling lens, then click! This usually eats about forty shots before more of your face than your top hair tuft appears in the resulting photo. Furthermore, your big honkin’ head will inevitably totally obscure the cool tourist attraction behind you. Hypothetically, if you are trying to photo yourself in front of Angkor Wat, the three massive spires of the temple may come out as two tiny devil horns atop your head and one puny and gray unicorn horn.
2. Just take photos of other things and people and hope your soul comes through in the artful way you shoot your subjects.
3. Feign utter incompetence at trying to take that one-handed shot of yourself. (This will not be hard.) Do a “click!”, look at the resulting photo, then sigh loudly and tragically. Glance forlornly at all surrounding tourists. Make a big show of setting up the next one-handed photo and ensure that your arm wobbles like a delicate fern in the wind. Alternately, you could stop being so passive-aggressive and just ask for surrounding folks to snap that pic.
4. Stay close to Japanese tourists. They love taking photos, and they know how slick cameras work. They do! Inevitably, their guide will lead them (and thus you) to the best angle, then allow them ten minutes to set up their tripods and snap every permutation of photo. They will always offer to help you with your photos, too!
5. Steer clear, duh, of anyone who looks aching to steal your shiny camera, or, slightly less duh but still duh, people who look utterly electronically incompetent. One elderly Australian woman literally took twenty photos of my feet at a temple, all the while screaming: “I don’t see the photo! Where is it? It’s all black!” At last she gasped, “Ooh, I was just seeing black because I was wearing dark glasses. Whoopsie! Give me your camera again.” Thank heavens her husband had grabbed the machine by then and had managed to fit my whole form into a shot.
6. Try to have friends! Clearly, this is not always possible (sniffle sniffle), but the best photos seem to be when one is nice and relaxed– even extra creative or silly. When I tried to pull a “ta da!” pose in front of a temple, the entire flock of Japanese tourists taking the photo started chanting, “Ooohhh mama!” Sheesh– all I was going for was, “ta da!”
In sum: Try everything. Something is bound to work eventually.
Story: I was in Paris with some friends one day, and we were taking pictures of each other in front of the Centre Pompidou. This unbalanced-looking man came bolting across the street, insisting he needed to take a beautiful picture of all us beautiful girls together (on our cameras) so that we'd be able to remember this moment. We formed a tight group, clutched our cameras close to our hearts, and marched away. He seemed very disappointed. I wonder if that trick had worked for him in the past.