Life as seen through my lens…
Category Archives: Photography
It’s all to easy to look at your life through your own eyes and draw a totally wrong (or at least badly distorted) picture of it, where others looking at the same life from a different vantage point might well paint a totally different (and much more flattering) image. How you see something depends on where you are looking at it from. Seems too obvious to state I know, but I saw something today that really hammered this home for me.
I grew up in England. I lived about 40 years of my life there, and while I had the benefit of movies, television, and the Internet to tell me that other stuff was out there, most of my first 40 years were spent in a small but (mostly) affluent country that thought it was the creator of the modern world.
Almost 10 years ago I moved to America. The land of the brave and the free has a lot to offer, but it also has a very particular view of its place in the world, one that is not necessarily supported by historical fact or by much of the rest of the world.
I suspect I’m right in saying that everyone reading this has one thing in common – we all live on planet Earth. The blue and green globe that serves as our collective home seems huge. So huge that our minds cannot comprehend the distances between us and the other objects that share the universe of which we are a part. Many that occupy this planet think we are we own it, and that we are the most wonderful, powerful, intelligent living things in the universe.
I’m not one of those people. The universe is too big and full of “stuff” for it to be even remotely likely that we have the only planet on which sentient, intelligent life has evolved. Just look at the clear night sky – even if you have a lot of light pollution where you are you’ll see many many stars. Just how many of those stars have planets orbiting them? How many of those planets have the right conditions for life? All we can really do at the moment is speculate, but I doubt the answer is zero.
What got me to write this was seeing a picture on Facebook; this picture (courtesy of NASA JPL)…
The small bright dot upper-left of center is us. It’s the Earth. It’s this HUGE planet that we live on, and it’s how we look from Mars. A few pixels in an image of a sky as seen from another planet. You can’t even make out the continents, let alone anything that mankind might have done on it. It’s a dot in a sky full of dots.
Next time it’s dark and the weather permits, look again at the night sky. If you are lucky you might see a couple of the other planets that orbit the Sun with us – perhaps Jupiter or Venus or Mars or Saturn. But with those you’ll see countless stars, each of which could well have it’s own set of orbiting planets, and any one of them could be home to beings, looking up at their sky. They won’t see us or our home, as we don’t see them, or their homes, but they might, just might see our star, the Sun, and be wondering if there is anything there.
One day we’ll know. Until then, I hope more people on this planet get to consider their lives from a different viewpoint. If that were to happen more, we might, just might, have a chance to find out who else is out there, and how we can all help one another to live better lives.
We tend to fill our lives with “busy stuff” just to keep ourselves occupied. I am as guilty of that as the next person, but every now and again I force myself to get away from all that “stuff” so I can make time to enjoy the wonderful things around me.
On one such escape I found myself at the beach by Pigeon Point Lighthouse, a few miles south of Pescadero on California’s Highway 1. On this unusually warm sunny winter’s day I left my car at the side of the road and started walking along the trails that weave through the vegetation. Sprinkled along the trails are benches such as this one where you can sit and enjoy the scenery.
The view from the bench is perfect for reflecting on what is important – the ocean, the rocks, the beach, the wildlife, and the lighthouse – all metaphors for how we should all be living our lives. I could have sat there for hours enjoying the view, but then I would be missing out on much more beauty that the Pacific coastline has to offer.
As much as anything else, this little excursion taught me that I need to do this more often. Rather than just doing “busy stuff” I need to get out more and enjoy the beauty that this wonderful planet we all call home has to offer.
For the past 7 years my wife and I have been repeat visitors to this place. We’ve now stayed at Howard Creek Ranch Inn (HCR) 15 times and we will be back there for more visits this year. Why? Because it’s at the north end of Highway 1 on the Pacific coast, so easy access to everything that Mendocino County has to offer, but more importantly it oozes rustic charm, and with no cellphone or (reliable) internet service it gives you that much-needed occasional break from our hectic connected lives. Oh, and the breakfasts are wonderful too, as are the hosts (Sally and Sunny Griggs).
I took this photo of the farmhouse at HCR on January 1, 2014, but the timeless look of the place on a slightly foggy afternoon made me want to have a little post-processing play… Click through and view this full screen for best effect.
If you do happen to visit Howard Creek Ranch, please mention me to Sally. 🙂
As we have done for the last few years, my wife and I stayed at Howard Creek Ranch in Westport, CA, for New Year. It’s a wonderful place for getting away from things and reflecting on what is truly important. One of the things we were reminded of during this trip is the importance of clear communication, as without clarity the best of intentions can be seen as something other than what was intended. Even after 33 years it is possible to make incorrect assumptions, and that old saying of “familiarity breeds contempt” becomes shockingly true.
The old me would make assumptions about what was meant when something was said to me. That needs to change… along with many other things about me, and as I work my way into my second half century the time has come to do something to turn the old me into something better… not that the old me was bad, but there is certainly room for improvement, and I intend to start making changes for the better.
Along with that will (hopefully) come some more attention to my presence here on the Internet, and perhaps some changes in how I treat my hobby, with a view to making something more of my photography. Wile I don’t necessarily want to change careers, it’d be nice if what I did at least became self-funding, and to help that along I’m going to have to become more comfortable about putting my thoughts and creations out here on the world wide web.
I’m not sure what will come of all of this, but hopefully some of it will be good!
Given all of the recent news about a BIG pod of humpback whales in Monterey Bay, I made the decision yesterday to try and get out on a sailing with Monterey Bay Whale Watch to see this for myself. I was able to get on their boat that departed at 9am this morning, and I was not disappointed.
Spread over a sizable area of the northern side of the Monterey Bay we saw humpbacks scattered just about everywhere we looked. The guide on the boat estimated between 50 and 100 whales.
Humpbacks tend to keep a relatively low profile in the water – usually all you see of them is their blow-hole, humped back, and tail, and the most prominent sight for sure is the tail fluke as they dive (and we saw LOTs of this going on). We were lucky enough today to see some distant breaches (no pictures), and some “social” interactions such as tail and fin slapping on top of the usual surface, blow, arch and dive move of feeding whales. We also got to hear the whales, and smell their breath, thanks to the proximity of some of the whales as they surfaced.
It was a fantastic trip, and I am so glad I decided to go at short notice, for while we will be sailing with them on September 22, there are no guarantees all these whales will still be in the area then.
I have LOADS of pictures to go through, but here is a taster, straight out of the camera (apart from adding the watermark).
© 2013, John Krzesinski.
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