Saturday, August 09, 2008

Braving the elements

Hi, well we all know by now that I am an all or nothing kinda gal, but still, 3 weeks of silence is unusual. It's not that I've had nothing going on or nothing to say, but just that by the time I settle down at night, my mind is so fried that I just don't even have the mental energy to string words together or form a coherent response to any post I read. In fact I haven't even been doing much lurking this time, it has almost been like a kind of sensory overload where I just can't absorb any new information. So I hope no-one feels abandoned, neglected or ignored because I have not been returning visits and comments, I just really needed to recharge my batteries! And then, when I was ready to get going again, we had a whole upload hassle, which we are still trying to sort out. We have narrowed it down to a conflict between blogger and our adsl service provider, as we can upload on blogger with our cellphones.

There is so much to share with you, including a stunning whale watching expedition we went on last week, some spectacular sunsets, family news etc, but rather than try and fit it all in one post, and make it ridiculously long, I’ll just nibble away at it over the next few days. Apart from anything else, we are in St Francis at the moment, and I am blogging on my cellphone, which can get a bit pricey if you go mad with pictures and visiting blogs, so a modicum of restraint is called for!

Today is my favourite kind of day to be in St Francis.... it is cold and blowing a serious gale, but not raining. So it is possible to sit on the rocks near the lighthouse, being buffeted by the wind, and soak up the wonderful impressions being made on all one’s senses, before retreating indoors for the comfort of a warm cup of coffee and an English Muffin.

the lighthouse faithfully and sturdily doing its job, as it has since 1878, on days like this it really earns its keep!

Experiencing nature having a tantrum is both humbling and exhilarating. It is a sort of sensory feast that includes intense beauty, but not in the usual passive way that one experiences the beauty of, say, a peaceful lake or tropical beach. This also demands participation, in order to avoid being overcome by the overabundance of wildness.

Even taking photos involves more than the usual decisions about zooming, exposure and placement of focal point. Now it is also about protecting the camera from flying spray and foam, but at the same time not wanting to miss the wonderful scenes in the teeth of the wind.

It is about bracing oneself and trying to hold the camera steady whilst staggering on the rocks, as the wind attempts to tear one from ones viewpoint, and deciding at what point it is no longer worth the risk.

It is about seeing seething wildness all around, and deciding how best to capture the atmosphere it creates in a static two dimensional photograph, devoid of the accompanying sensations of cold, muscles all working against the buffeting, and the overpowering screeching sound that is pervading everything, and almost drowning the roar of the waves as they are shredded on the rocks.

So as you look at these photos, taken just after sunrise this morning, please imagine the soundtrack of any movie you might have seen, dealing with storms at sea or in the Arctic wastes, and add that sound to the mental images.

I often wonder about this compulsion to record every scene for posterity, this seeing everything through the lens of a camera. There is no denying the satisfaction of viewing one’s images later, seeing it all again, capturing a fleeting moment so that it can be seen over and over. But it also removes one from being “in the moment”. It takes away the sheer luxury of letting oneself be totally immersed in experiencing fully what is around one. So more and more, at times like this (and especially if it is a rare event that I may never get a chance to experience again, such as being in the boat right next to a pair of Southern Right Whales last week) I am trying to consciously stop taking pictures once I feel I have captured the moment as best I can, and then to just turn on all my other senses, look around and see the big picture, and to fully experience all that it entails. There is a world of difference between the two, both have their merits, and to do one to the exclusion of the other is to lose out. So this morning having photographed the wildness as best I could, I tucked the camera back inside my anorak, and just stood and fully participated in all the sensations of the storm. It was such a treat!

here's someone who really knows how to enjoy the elements first hand... a lone surfer making the most of the swell.


Firefly said...

WELCOME BACK. Nature sure threw a tantrum. Great photos.

dot said...

Glad you are finally able to post pictures again. Amazing shots!
Sometimes I wonder why we blog. I could certainly do more useful things. It's nice to take a break now and then.

sonia a.m. said...

Wonderful pictures! Loved all them but the photo of the lighthouse is really gorgeous! When I see lighthouses I remember my preferred painter, Edward Hopper.

Have a nice weekend!

Ali Honey said...

There is something wonderful about light houses. I'm glad you braved the elements to capture such amazing photos.

Nature sure has been throwing tantrums - here too!

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

Sigh... your photos are amazing. I so wish that I could abandon the mountains for a little while and visit the oceans...
I hope you are getting some much needed rest and all is well...
Mountain Retreat

Katney said...

Glad to see that youa re finally getting to the bottom of the problem. Hopefully it will finally be sorted out now.

Lovely storm.

Kerri said...

These are fabulous! LOVE LOVE LOVE that lighthouse and the surfer shot! We've missed you!!

Mary Jo said...

Wow! So wild, brave and beautiful!