Out Your Front Door

It is a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your front door.’ So says Bilbo to his kin in a mischievous tone that seemed intended to entice him out that same door. Adventure was the promise Frodo saw in the twinkle of his uncle’s eye. Does going out your front door seem to hold this same promise? More to the point, did it ever hold that promise?

For a photographer, adventure is part-and-parcel with capturing great images, though it doesn’t necessitate dragons, wizards, or even a zip line. This photo was taken on a leisurely walk to the dining hall at the camp where we have lived for the past five years.  This walk crosses a bridge over one of the two creeks that run through the property on their way to the farmland across the highway. As you can imagine, we have crossed this creek many times during our tenure here, and we often comment on the effort it takes to renew our eyes to the beauty that surrounds us every day.

This shot represents that effort. It is a ten-minute long exposure taken through a Hoya® proND100 filter on my old SMC Pentax-F 28mm prime. The camera was covered with an Optech® Rainsleeve™ due to the rainy conditions, and this made a cursory glance at the settings more difficult. The first ten-minute wait proved fruitless because I hadn’t noticed that the mode dial was still on manual instead of bulb mode. It was immediately apparent, though, when I saw the blank rear display. This error in no way reflects poorly on the product, but rather on my impatience with the process. After getting everything set correctly, though, and waiting for another ten minutes, I finally got the shot I was looking for.

Looking is easy; seeing is hard. Looking simply happens when our eyes are open. Seeing engages the mind in the process. Seeing is harder. This is often what stops us from being more fully alive. The rush that sweeps our minds away is the idea that we need to get more to feel more. This is so far from the truth. Truly seeing our world; the natural realm all around us, and the people who move past us, is the key to retaining and invigorating our humanity. It is not easy, but what worthwhile endeavour ever is?


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