I had sleep problems over the last weeks, that sometimes still happens but last night I slept very well. That means I woke up with much power and happiness. It’s a Sunday and I wanted to start the day slow but when I booted up the PC, I noticed the date and it came into my mind that it is election day. I am talking about the elections to the city-state parliament of Lübeck. So, I looked for the polling paper and found it near the TV. After breakfast and shower, I shut the PC down and went outside to go voting. I’ve been one of the early birds. But on my way back home, the good spring weather pleased me so much that I made the plan to go hiking. I took my camera bag, a small bottle of water, and a tomato for the first kilometer (laugh).
What I noticed very often is, when you walk into the nature, whether it is a larger green park within the city or the nature reserves outside of the city, you always find super friendly people. In the streets or districts it appears as if all people either look at their smartphones, or they show an exhausted face because the day must have been hard. There are some exceptions, but most of the time you don’t talk with strangers, it’s like there is absolutely no reason, or they all are still stressed on a Sunday from the hard-working week or any other trouble in life. In the nature or parks it’s totally different and I am not the first person who noticed this, I once talked with a friend about it who replied “Yeah man, I noticed this too!”. You could argue it’s the nature, but it probably has more to do with the fact that the strangers with activities like walking, running, cycling, photographing, fishing are more relaxed and open-minded because their activities help them to retain a balance, hence a clean mind. We all have trouble, like I mentioned, I fought with sleep problems recently.
But especially when something is not working well, you sometimes need to get out there, doing something, and often it really helps. What I really find interesting outside is that you don’t even have to plan to approach other people, and neither do they. It just happens, and sometimes it’s small talk and other times you even talk an hour with two strangers because it is interesting. That happened to me today again. There was a park bench near the river and an old couple sat there and the woman said to her husband “Oh! Look! The photographer!”. It was funny, because she said it on a way that it did sound like they waited for a photographer to show up. They then asked me if I could take a picture of them with their smart phone, with the modest remark that the boats should be in the background. I said “Sure, I can do that!”. It’s not the first time that I was asked something like this on my way, in fact it happens several times a year when I am outside with the camera.
They see the big camera, and with my 70-300mm Tamron attached it kinda looks big, and then they think a photographer will certainly take a good picture. They usually trust you enough to give you their mobile device in the hand, but not enough to let you take a higher quality shot with your DSLR to receive the pictures via email. But that’s fine, I’d do it either way because these situations help me a lot since I suffered and sometimes still suffer from social anxiety. It’s not a too big issue anymore, but maybe because I am not running away in these situations. Also why shouldn’t I do it? They just want something that will remember them of the moment, or they want to share it with friends via social media. So, I took a couple of shots with their phone and asked them if the photos are ok and they were pretty happy. They thanked me but the old man asked me what type of photography I would be into, and so we got into a conversation.
I answered that it totally depends, I like to take photos of anything my eyes find interesting but today I would have my longer lens with me because I would like to find birds near the river. He then told me that he once worked with farmers all across Schleswig-Holstein, and he also mentioned some nice places in our city that I already knew. He was never into photography, but the conversation was now more about places with animals in general, and it was interesting to listen because he got around as he mentioned. That’s what I meant when I talked about parks or nature, the people are more open-minded, and a discussion is nonchalant and extends on its own. We talked about the good weather for a moment and they told me where they have been today with their e-bikes. I asked them questions because I never had an e-bike but I find it interesting. The woman told me a lot of things about it then.
You get my point, the whole conversation developed itself and we went from one topic to another, and everyone had something to say. We were standing there for at least 30 minutes. These are the situations with strangers that I find very comfortable. That’s why I said I barely experience situations like this one within the districts, it almost always happens in the nature or the parks. I think people are much more relaxed there, they want to enjoy the day and they are not disinclined to socialize. I wished them a good day and they wished me the same. I continued my walk with a smile. When I go outside, it’s probably because of the photography or any other interests, but these situations are very pleasant too because it shows that there are still humans that want to connect with others without using their mobile devices or social media. It remembers you that this society is still alive, it just depends where you are at. Ironically we had this subject too.