On a recent trip to New York City, I noticed for the first time what I believe is a new technology-driven travel behaviour: taking pictures of museum displays.
I've done this for years myself, but sparingly. Until recently, I'd never noticed others doing it, or very few.
On this trip, at the American Museum of Natural History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, everybody was doing it, constantly, obsessively.
They were doing it with tiny point-and-shoot cameras, with smartphones, with tablets held out in front of them, with big expensive-looking digital SLRs.
Some weren't really looking at the displays. They'd walk up to a painting, camera at the ready, snap a picture, often from an oblique angle if they couldn't immediately get a position in front, and then walk on to the next picture and repeat the process.
What will they do with all those images? What will they mean to them?
There was a time when photography in museums was absolutely verboten, and when it was allowed, it was flashless only. Now it's the rare museum that prohibits picture taking. All the major institutions I visited in New York allow no-flash, hand-held shooting.
I'm guessing they simply gave up trying to stop people doing it. It's easy enough to spot someone with an SLR, but far more difficult if they're using a little point-and-shoot or a phone.
Notwithstanding the idiots I saw who were obsessively photographing rather than experiencing the exhibits, there is a valid argument for shooting inside museums.
I don't know about you, but the minute I leave one, I've forgotten half of what I saw, including the stuff that most impressed me. Taking pictures is my way of preserving the memories.
And with modern digital technology, it's perfectly feasible to make very high-quality records of artwork and other indoor displays.
Many if not most recent-model digicams come with some kind of anti-shake technology, so it's possible to take blur-free pictures at fairly slow shutter speeds.
With my 18-200mm Nikon zoom lens, I can get acceptably sharp pictures at shutter speeds as low as a tenth of a second if I'm very careful and mindful of what I'm doing.
And modern SLRs in particular have largely solved the electronic noise problem - the extreme graininess in images shot at high light sensitivities. With my Nikon D5000, I can get acceptably noise-free shots at up to ISO 1250. And most of the museums I was in recently were so well lit, I could shoot at ISO 800.
If you want to make reasonable reproductions of two-dimensional artwork, do stand square to the picture and try not to shoot up or down at it. If you do it will cause distortion so that the resulting image looks more like a parallelogram than a rectangle.
Most camera white level meters will not be able to adjust for the artificial lighting in museums either, so colour in images of paintings - obviously fairly critical - will be badly wrong.
If you have a good photo editor, though, such as Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, the auto colour function will often do a very good job of colour correction.
If you're shooting three-dimensional displays, think about angle and composition the way you would in any other picture-taking situation.