Month: January 2019

Camera Bans in Museums Violate the Concept of Art!


castle edit 2

Castle in Germany: No photography of any kind allowed inside

In a number of museums, cameras and filming are not allowed – and the restriction is not limited only to flash cameras. Every attempt I make at grasping the logic in this results in failure. In some instances, it is argued that if people have had a chance to see what the place looks like in film or photograph, the motivation to visit in person will be gone. Yet these museums allow film crews of travel television shows to visit – eliminating any validity in this argument. If being able to see the place in advance in photo and film reduces peoples’ desire to visit then why not restrict ALL photo and filming? On the contrary, I think being able to see a “teaser,” which is all a photo or film can give you – it will never be quite the same as an in-person visit – only makes people even more motivated to visit.

Enjoying a destination on film or photograph is a very worthwhile experience. I get tremendous pleasure out of binge-watching “Rick Steves’ Europe” or thumbing through picture books of exciting destinations. But comparing that experience to an actual visit is akin to comparing apples to oranges. They are not the same thing.

It has put a great damper on my experience visiting a place to find out I cannot capture the experience in photos and film. Sure, I can “remember” what I saw, but not in the same vivid way I can relive the experience watching video I filmed live. Memories may last, but memories fade. That which is digitally captured can be enjoyed and shared throughout a lifetime.

The enjoyment and sharing of digital media which captures our travel memories inspires and promotes travel. ALL museums should be open to allowing cameras, and should also educate their staff on camera equipment. More than once I’ve had museum staff think my stabilizer was a “selfie stick” and ban it for that reason, because selfie sticks are not allowed. This only further displays a lack of understanding of the photographic arts, and appreciation of it as an art form. If anyone should appreciate an art form, shouldn’t it be a museum?

Yes, it’s true that some flash photography can damage sensitive works of fine art. For this reason, I can understand a ban specifically on flash photography. Other forms of photography should be allowed in these cases.

Video and film of travel excites the sense of sight, and, in the case of film, sound. But it cannot capture that which we experience with our other senses. We can never truly be immersed in a place without exploring it in person, first hand. Photos and film, while a very enjoyable indulgence, and great introduction to the places we are considering visiting, can never replace actually going. Why do so many museums feel threatened that this will happen?

I think it’s more about museums making money in their gift shops than a concern about losing future visitors or damaging the art. The one argument that probably does hold true is that if you took a picture of something in the museum, you are less likely to buy the postcard. But if this is the concern then why not just offer a photography “pass” for an additional charge?

Camera bans in museums disrespect the whole concept of art. Great art promotes interactivity with its viewer: reaction, response, discussion, and sharing. It’s all about the iconography or message. Art is not ultimately meant to be hidden away and forgotten, but exposed and contemplated, and endowed with as many divergent viewpoints as possible! Ironic that so many museums don’t “get” the whole point of art (or, worse, don’t care)!

I want to challenge the museums that currently ban photography and filming to reconsider. Readers please leave your comments below whether you agree or disagree!

Back to my travels soon – I’m still away from my home office (and most of my photography equipment and media) attempting to sell this house out of state, where what I anticipated to be a 3 day venture has morphed into over 3 weeks!

Hope you are having a great new year!


New Year, New Travel Resolutions!


Dubai, United Arab Emirites: on my 2019 Wish List

Another year, another opportunity to make new plans and goals for achieving your travel dreams! I have my own laundry list to work through, which I wanted to share here. Hopefully this list will give you some ideas, or inspire you to come up with more of your own! Please comment below if you have some additional travel goals for 2019!

Sign up for TSA PRE and Global Entry

I’ve been considering how much time I “wasted” waiting in line at airports and cruise ports in 2018, and all of the ways in which I would have preferred to use that time. I also thought about the stress involved in getting through security checkpoints – something that can put a damper on your travel experience before it ever really begins. That’s why I want to enroll in TSA Pre and Global Entry this year. With TSA Pre, you don’t need to take off your shoes and other clothing items, separate your electronics and liquids, or – best of all – take as long getting through security. Global Entry is specific for international checkpoints at airports and cruise ports to get you through faster, including the availability of VIP lines to save time. To take it a step even further, I could enroll with Clear, which allows you through security in even faster lines using retinal scanning and fingerprint identification. But at a minimum I want to get set up with TSA Pre and Global Entry.


Fly Through Airport Security Before You Fly!

Be more “loyal” to my loyalty programs…

I’m a member of a number of loyalty programs – hotel, airline, cruise line, casino… but I’ve had a bad habit of delaying those coveted rewards by “playing the field” instead of remaining loyal to my favorites. While I won’t exercise 100% loyalty to any one company of each type, since variety is one of the great pleasures in travel, I will make a greater effort to be more loyal to my favored brands and rack up those rewards faster!

Become more fluent in more languages…

Due to time constraints, language study has been an ongoing challenge. My ultimate goal is to become a polyglot. I need to make a better effort at carving out more time in my schedule for accomplishing this goal. The extent to which some understanding of the language in a place you are visiting enriches the travel experience is not to be underestimated. It immerses you in the culture in a way that stumbling along in English just can’t. Your interaction with the place, and its people, is so much more authentic.

Pack lighter!

Travel writer Rick Steves, my mentor, says that no one ever got home from a trip wishing they’d packed heavier! ( I couldn’t agree more. Practically with each trip I have gone on I have realized this more and more, and improved my travel experience significantly the less I am burdened with belongings that aren’t ultimately important in the grand scheme of my adventure. I’ve never found myself in a position where I couldn’t pick something up that I needed, or an adequate approximation, later in the destination. And I wasn’t fighting sore muscles and achy joints from day one, or wasting time at airport checked-baggage carousels when I could have been sightseeing!


Seoul, South Korea: a Must-See 2019!

Visit new continents!

It’s my goal to finally visit East Asia, the Middle East, and South America this year. South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, and Peru are high on my wish list. And one of these days I’m determined to take a cruise that gets down to Antarctica! (Will this be the year? Stay tuned!)

Take longer road trips…

I took a LOT of road trips this year, many due to circumstances other than the intention to travel. I enjoyed every last one of them – even the repeat trips – because there is always something new to discover. In my opinion, the road trip is the absolute best way to see the country, and I can’t wait to see even more of it that way. There’s something about “accidentally” finding a hidden gem that is completely overlooked by most that creates some of the most memorable journeys of all.


Tucked-Away Victorian Village in Petoskey, Michigan

Don’t overlook smaller towns…

This goal goes along with road trips – because road trips provide the perfect opportunity not to overlook these smaller towns. You never know what you’re going to find out there that’s off the beaten path! I had some amazing experiences this year in some of the most unexpected of places!

Hunt down deals more aggressively!

In my haste to lock in travel arrangements I often didn’t do as much research as I could have to find the best deals. I would like to be more diligent about that this year – and use the money I saved for one more trip than I otherwise would have taken! I posted a blog a while back on saving money on travel you can read here!:

How to travel MORE for LESS: Build Your Budget Travel Game Plan!


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I hope you have an amazing, travel-filled 2019!