Spirit Sands and the Joys of Disposables

Spirit Sands in Spruce Woods Provincial park is a beautiful 4 square kilometer sandy region located about two hours west of Winnipeg. It's a very unique landscape, especially considering the surrounding area is full of trees and farmers fields. Between the cactus, shifting dunes and the heat radiating off the sand, you really get the feeling that you are navigating a desert. As you can imagine, walking through a desert you are going to get HOT. Throw in ten or more pounds of camera gear into the mix and you can expect to get sweaty. Hauling gear up steep hills of sand and finding grains in all the nooks and crannies of your camera bag can take your mind out of the enjoyment of exploring and photographing. So what is a photographer to do? Enter the disposable camera!

In an era of photography where gear and megapixels rule all, disposable cameras can often be overlooked. Before dismissing these plastic single use cameras, consider some of the benefits.

When you shoot with disposables you can forget about all the technical aspects of photography. You just point and shoot. There are no distractions from taking the picture. All you have is your shutter release and the option for flash. Making the image begins and ends at the press of a button. Having the technical aspects of photography stripped away, your mind is freed up to focus (no pun intended) strictly on the composition.

Twenty-seven exposures, that is all you get. This forces you to slow down, taking a more mindful approach to each image you create. This will help you make better pictures. These days, so much of image creation is in the post processing. The disposable takes this away. You are forced to live in the moment. All of your concentration will go into the creation of that image.

As I said earlier, hauling heavy DSLR gear on your back can be a literal pain in the ass. You can ditch that heavy gear and carry a disposable in your back pocket instead. When the physical tole of carrying around a ton of gear is lifted, it can make a hike so much more enjoyable. And when you are enjoying yourself, that will come across in the pictures you take.

Lastly, there is something about the aesthetic of the photos from a disposable. The soft focus of the plastic lens, the way the light refracts in the body and the grain in the film creates a picture that is very dreamy. A fragment of time recorded in a imperfect way. There is something I just love about this.

I'm not trying to argue that a disposable is better than your DSLR, however they can be very refreshing to shoot on. The disposable can help remind you of the joy of just pointing and shooting. No other distractions.

Now that I'm done babbling about how great these cameras can be, here are some of the pictures I took on one. The camera expired in 2008, but the pictures still seemed to work. Take a look at some of the photos and maybe this will inspire you to give one of these cameras a try. :)