My camera is my most valuable partner in travel, but time and again, it leads me to a lot of misadventures. Here are my top three unforgettable moments.
(Almost) Stripped at The Strip
A couple of years ago, I spent a day at the Las Vegas Strip to take photos. For me, there was so much going on that it was like sending a child into a toy store alone with lots of money. I started shooting anything and everything that caught my attention, stopping every now and then to record a few seconds of video clips. When I got to the busiest part of the strip across from the Bellagio, I was in drowning in ‘shutter bliss.’
It was a windy day and I made the wrong choice of wearing a loose layered tank top with my jeans. If you’re passionate about photography, you wouldn’t hesitate to crawl, crouch, climb or do weird positions just to get that desired angle, and I was in an awkward crouching position on the street side when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and saw a guy in his early 30’s.
“How much?” he asked.
“What?” I stared at him blankly. His question brought confusion to my face as I struggled against the wind to keep my shirt in place.
Looking at my expression, he suddenly laughed and said, “Oh, I don’t mean it that way. I was asking how much would you charge, per hour, for a photo session?
I told him I wasn’t for hire and that I was already shooting for someone. The idea of going with a total stranger who stops me in a busy street for a photo session didn’t seem appealing, but I did learn a lesson to wear appropriate clothing the next time I went out on a windy day.
Rewind a few months, I was at this park in New Delhi with a buddy. Whenever we visit a new place, this buddy and I always go our separate ways and just meet afterward so he can go take his selfie shots and I can go shooting without him waiting for me.
I started clicking my way around the garden until I came to a section that looked like a courtyard. I walked into an open brick structure with cobblestone pathways adorned with intricately designed pillars and moldings. I kept walking and clicking, when suddenly, somebody from behind a pillar shouted, “Hey!”
Startled, I stopped in my tracks and slowly began noticing my surroundings. In every nook and corner, behind the pillars and shrubs, on the benches, and everywhere else were couples– young and older couples locked in intimate kissing. I seemed to have walked straight into a couple’s lair. Feeling stupid and embarrassed, I also noticed that most of the couples stopped what they were all doing and I became the center of attention.
I felt the blood drain from my face and I walked on air, almost stepping on more couples before I finally made it out of the maze in a daze.
No Photos Allowed!
Some years back, I was at the Asakusa Market in Tokyo mingling with the crowd and shooting photos as usual. There was a display of colorful fans that caught my attention and I went closer. I started clicking and the stall owner saw me. He said something and I paid no attention.
He motioned with his hands and started yelling. My Japanese language level is below sea level so I didn’t understand what he was saying. I kept clicking. Fuming mad and frustrated, the store owner marched out of his store and motioned me to follow him, all the while yelling in a string of angry Japanese words. He then pointed to the drawing of a camera with an X among the colorful fans. It dawned on me too late that I was taking a photo of fans with the “No Photography” icon in it.