Safety or selfie? Prioritise, say trekking experts

Tourists Should Do Their Homework For `Likes’
In today’s selfie-obsessed world, anyone who owns a cellphone is a photographer.This craze, when combined with a slippery holiday spot, though, is snuffing out lives.The death of 27-year-old lawyer Supriya Chavan while taking a selfie with her husband at Mandoshi Ghat near Bhimashankar on Sunday evening is the latest in a long list of such tragedies.

No place is out of bounds for these selfie-crazed youngsters -be it waterfalls, overflowing dams, hills, valleys, accident sites, sea shores or even roads with heavy traffic.

People don’t want to just enjoy a breath-taking spectacle, they also want to capture it and save it forever. Though this isn’t a new phenomenon, this social media-savvy , vain generation also wants to insert itself in these frames and show it off to their friends and family and get `likes’.

Mayur Shah, owner of Break Free Adventures group, says people should reflect on their priorities and choices.“They should know why they are doing what they are doing.These days, people go out to ha ve fun but also take photos, that’s where the problem lies,“ he says.

Investing in a good pair of trekking shoes, carrying the correct trekking gear and being aware of the geography of the area are a few points that trekkers should keep in mind.

Shah also warns against amateur trekkers who carry alcohol on such trips. “They see it as a one-off thing, where they only want to have fun. Because of this, they end up taking things lightly and land in trouble,“ he adds.

This want for the perfect selfie has gripped people like a fever, and they will go to any extent to get a photo, which can get them many likes on social media platforms. “Instead of using their phones to take their own photos, people should revert to the good-old way of asking others to take a photo of them,“ Shah says.

Experts say that seasoned trekkers who know how to spot slippery spots must go along with amateurs. Or, first-timers should seek their advise before trekking.

“Before setting foot on a rock, you should step on it twice to check if it’s firmly rooted and not loose. Similarly , fresh grass grows on passages that we usually take, and they must be avoided too,“ says Umesh Zirpe of Giripremi.

“During monsoon, rain reduces visibility beyond 10-12 feet, and people who are new to the area wouldn’t know what lies ahead. In such cases, unless you’re a regular trekker or are with a regular one ­ chances are you’ll get lost. Maps cannot be used either,“ Zirpe says.

Expert photographers scoff at amateurs and say that they should focus more on their safety. They say that people can use wide-angled camera lenses to minimise danger while taking selfies or avoid taking photos altogether at tricky spots and just enjoy the experience.

“There are many lenses that can be attached onto smartphones. Currently , those are available only for some brands, but are becoming widely available and are affordable. Some of them can be attached to the camera of a smartphone and function as wide lenses. One should avoid any potential dangers like the edges of mountains and maintain a safe distance while getting the picture he or she needs,“ says city-based photographer and blogger Aman Deshmukh.

Source : TOI