If you're a guy, social life is invariably going to the odd potluck with your wife's friends. (In the future, I look forward to many 'parties' with complete strangers who's offspring happen to be friends of my offspring.) Ah, adulthood.
Luckily, I've taken up photography. And really only because Mrs. Owl enjoys photos so much. Me, I'd be happy with the odd snapshot in a long forgotten manilla folder stuffed under old Transformers and not taken out until I'm moved into a slightly disused and alarmingly underfunded retirement home. But The Boss, she likes pictures, lots and lots of family shots and kids shots and shots with kids and family and, well. It goes on.
It's not like photography is not in the family. My dad was a big proponent of the 'candid' shot. Those shots taken just as life is running along. Unscripted shots of moments capture forever in quickly fading albums that no one will care about except for wives who'll dig them up eventually and just marvel, marvel at them. What he'd do is seem to have his damn point and shoot with him at all times. Usually we'd find him standing off in a corner, his right hand down by his side, kinda obscuring it with his leg like he was packing irons and this was a western, and we (me and my brothers) were the cheatin' card players soon to meet our grisly end. And then, BAM, he'd take a shot. The vast majority of these shots were utterly blurred and crap, but the very very odd time, there was magic.
This appeals to me. It's a very hackerish way of taking shots. That is, I'm not terribly good, but I' enthusiastic, and if take enough, one of those is going to be good. I think.
So, how does this fit in with awkward potlucks? Well, at one toddler's party and another potluck, I just made myself the designated photographer, looking all artsy and taking shot after shot. It's super effective at those awkward moments where you ask each other what you do, and how do you like it, and how did you get into it. It's a conversational shield, SHIELD I say.
And, sometimes, you get damned lucky and take some really great shots about which I can find nothing sarcastic to say: