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Camera Incompetenta

(Hey, you know what's a science thing? The exosphere, that's what's a science thing.

And as of this week, it's also a Secondhand SCIENCE thing. So that's nice. Have a looksee.)

I'm not a good picture taker.

Usually, that means that I'm not good at remembering to take pictures. It just doesn't occur to me, in the face of some awe-inspiring spectacle, to yank out a camera and start snapping. In a lot of ways, this makes me a terrible tourist.

It makes me a tremendous candidate to be visited by a UFO, probably. Those things don't like any sort of photographic evidence. But as a tourist, I don't often bring back any slideshow-worthy pics.

Come to think of it, that probably makes me an excellent tourist. But my family does complain when I go somewhere interesting that they don't get to see any of it.

So when my wife and I left for Greece two weeks ago, I promised to come back with actual photographs of the places we was visiting. And indeed, I took nearly two hundred pictures -- more than a dozen per day, on average. Now that I've returned, I've uploaded them all to Google pictures. And I've discovered something:

"My pictures are worth approximately two words apiece. And one of them is 'meh'"
I'm not a good picture taker.

I mean, I'm not a terrible picture taker. I don't portrait when I ought to be landscaping. My thumb and other body parts are usually -- usually -- not hanging over the lens when I shoot. I don't own, use, or condone the existence of a selfie pole.

(Seriously. Your souvlaki belongs on a stick, people. Not your Sony Cyber-Shot. Get your shit together already.)

Anyway, I thought maybe I had taken some decent photos. Then I uploaded, and the sentient robot overlords at Google turned on some sort of "auto-edit" feature, and adjusted every single snapshot on the server. This digital doohickey fiddled with contrast and colors and all sorts of other photographical things I don't understand very well. It all felt sort of... violate-y, frankly. Like Google shoved its F-stop right up my aperture. Or something.

But worse? Every single picture it futzed with, which was every single one of them? Better.

Compared to the Googlified versions, all my pics are dull and flat and gray. Yawn, the Parthenon. Ancient Mycenean ruins, snore. Oh, the whitewashed rooftops of Santorini, ho hum. My pictures are worth approximately two words apiece. And one of them is "meh".

Meanwhile, the magic Google ones are postcard-perfect. They pop. They're cropped. I've been airbrushed out of most of them, somehow, and they're ridiculously attractive. It's infuriating.

Just don't tell my family. They don't need to know Google is the one taking all the good vacation pics.

For that matter, don't tell my wife. Or next time she'll take Google on vacation and leave me at home, sitting in my underpants on the couch for two weeks,

And nobody is taking pictures of that. Thank goodness.

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