Saturday, March 8, 2008

Wandering thoughts

This is a wandering post, just thinking out loud about the issues, problems, questions, and all the stuff associated with developing a photography guide to Mt. Rainier National Park. Nothing great or important, sorta' a bunch of mental postit notes and list of things to do.

In way, this essay is like a photo-hikng trip. You pack everything you think you need or want, and sort again to leave some stuff behind when you realize the backpack is simply too heavy. And then you tighten the laces and start hiking. The problem with photo-hiking trips is that you're always hiking too slow and looking around too much, and stopping too often. You all too often don't get to your destination, turning around at a certain time to get back before it's dark.

When you do photo-hiking trips you have to choose to either hike to your destination to photograph there and on the way back or photograph for a time and turn around. It's less an issue if you do overnight backpack trips where you have a 2-3 day trip with a destination which allows you time to photograph whenever and wherever you want along the way or way back. These trips are usually for a photo opportunity at the destination.

For personal reasons I stopped overnight trips long ago, and while I keep revisiting it, it's not what I like to do. But I don't have a problem hiking 8-12 miles round trip which does get you quite a ways into the backcountry. Not as far as multi-day trips, but enough for me most of the time. This does mean, however, I have to decide if the destination or the places in between are more important, which then dictates what photography equipment I take.

And again, I've wandered on the trail about the trail. The photo guide. That's the problem I'm stuck with right now, too many things to do and to little time to do them all, unless I stretch it out over a few years - which was my goal anyway, but you have to prioritize things. And I want to design the on-line guide to do more than just report. I want to develop it so it becomes a book and still provide avenues for a different on-line presence and presentation.

Whenever I sit down with the table of contents, I just go, "Whew.", lots to do. I have to just keep in mind it's a 3-5 years projects, minimum, so I have given myself the latitude and flexibility as life and other matters sneak in the way. And I want to improve the presentation and use of the guide with newer Web tools and technology, but that's the choice of either learning enough to do it or pay someone. The old money versus time argument.

Add to that I still learning my digital and large format camera system, trying to develop my photography into a small personal business and work on my Website, among other things. I retired two years earlier than planned, and don't regret it, but it's seems I'm busier than I was working. That's not true, because when we work in a job we defer or just don't do most of what we want to do if and when we have time. Something we forget to mention.

And along with that, I have the one thing I wanted most of all, time. I'm basically a lazy person. My brother Greg was the driven, disciplined and motivated one in the family. Mostly we were opposites in almost every aspect of our being and our lives. And yet when we had opportunities to talk, all that dissolved and the love of brothers was all that mattered.

And it's why time is so important to me now. He died far too young and didn't have the time to do what he really wanted. And after watching my father late in his career and in retirement, he blew his time for many reasons, mostly due to a declining health. He had tremendous opportunities to do what he wanted and just didn't. He puttered his remaining years away, slowly drifiting into nothingness.

And so I vowed not to do that, but to have and enjoy the time, however spent, but focused on my passions in life. And I'm no different in thinking up any number of things to do, it's a matter of doing some as best I can and want to accomplish. And if it's just sitting dow and wandering in my thoughts around a photo on a Saturday morning (listening to NPR), so be it.

And the photo? It's one of my personal favorites, because it showed me nature is always about life, but also death, and it started me thinking and eventually doing better photography. I go back every few years to see this tree and sit in this spot. The tree eventually reached the grounded, rerooted and spawned a new tree growing up alongside it.

Our life and nature isn't that much different.

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