I often find myself watching a little scene unfold before me that would me a wonderful picture. Nothing dramatic. Usually very calm moments of daily life.
A young girl of maybe eight leads two brahmin cattle down a dirt path between rice fields. She's topless and coils of rope cross her chest the way a bandito might wear a gun belt. Red dust streaks her black skirt and cakes her bare feet. Oh to snap a photo! But I don't. There is something about the act of capturing the moment that can ruin it. In this instance it would have involved stopping the moto we were speeding past on and switching lenses. By then, the moment has passed.
The monks are out gathering their daily offerings. They travel in pairs, identical bald heads, orange robes, orange umbrellas against the sun, bare feet on blistering concrete. In Thailand they were only out in the wee hours of the morning, but here in Kampot the monks like to sleep in as much as I do and we see them making their rounds at nine or 10 in the morning. I am obviously a tourist and to take their picture makes me feel like I am telling them I consider them a tourist attraction. I can rarely bring myself to take pictures of strangers, especially strangers who see me taking their pictures. It feels invasive and rude.
So more often than not, I don't take the picture. Part of me regrets it, but a bigger part of me is learning to simple see things and enjoy the moment and later the memory.