April 26, 2004 - Taking Pictures at the Mission
The Mission is a must stop for any tourist visiting our touristy town. Itís featured front and center in travel brochures. All of the tour buses, on their way down from Solvang, unload their cargo in front of the fountain. The half-hour journey is ample time for digestion of Abelskiever and pastry. Spirits are high as the tourists unload to witness, and pay tribute to, the Queen of the Missions.
And what tourist stop is complete without a snapshot? The tourist, armed with cameras of all shapes and sizes, take pictures. They take pictures of themselves. They take pictures of each other. They take pictures of the Mission alone, and in concert with members of their families. And, they take pictures of the whole tour group; twenty or thirty close friends whose names they wonít remember in a month.
On Saturday, the dedicated staff of edhat.com was at the Mission to observe, count, and make generalizations about the people taking pictures of/at the Mission. Just as we arrived, a large Asian tour bus was repacking its cargo for the requisite ride down State Street. Weíre sure there must have been lots of cameras in there. Also when we arrived, there was a wedding going on - even to locals, the Mission is a very popular spot to tie-the-knot.
Despite the fact that the tour bus leaving and the wedding party was inside, there were still plenty of people taking pictures. And, as the expression goes Ö when in Rome (or at a Catholic Church), do as the Romans. So, the dedicated staff took out our own dedicated camera and started taking pictures, too. We mostly took pictures of people taking pictures. But being the friendly folks we are, we volunteered to take some pictures for people we didnít know - mostly couples who wanted a pictures of themselves together, but hadnít mastered the automatic timer feature of their camera.
See the pictures we took of people taking pictures
It seems that people have certain preferences when shooting the Mission. Some take the picture right in the front, some off to the side. Others go for the cross in the foreground, while still others prefer the more aquatic feel of the fountain. We witnessed one group of three people taking all four angles, changing out subjects each time. It reminded us of a fourth grade math problem.
We started our official count at 2:15 and finished at 2:45 just as the wedding was letting out. Counting photographers was easy, but counting the number of photographs proved a little more time-consuming. Thankfully, most of our subjects took a long time setting up their shots.
We counted 36 people taking 55 photos of the Queen of the Missions on Saturday. Not bad for half-an-hour. If you extend that for a ten hour day, thatís 1,100 pictures a day, or more than 100,000 photographs over the course of the summer. We wonder if the Queen of England gets that kind of coverage.
Porshgirl, who guessed 54 photos, and edhat all-star Edsup, who guessed 56 photos tied in the contest. Porshgirl won the tiebreaker with her guess of 32 photographers. She is the lucky winner of a $25.00 gift certificate generously provided by Left at Albuquerque. Just up the Camino Real is the Mission Santa Margarita, but Porshgirl will only need to go to 803 State Street to claim her drink.
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