I have found that as I get older, memories of my life, my country, and the world, are getting pushed backwards at a faster rate than time is actually moving forward.
Over the past 5 or 6 years, quite often when I beckon memories of things from when I was 5 to 10 years old, or even 15 to 20, it seems like I am reading a history lesson from the 1800s or before.
When I call up visual memories of simple things like eating supper, going for a ride in the car with my family, playing outdoors or going to school, the way people are dressed, they way we spoke, the cars we rode in, it all looks like an old movie made about an even older time. I don’t feel like I am remembering my youth, I feel like I am viewing an ancient time that needs to be read about in a history book.
Cars that I took for granted, including my first four, are now classics, with the first two being classified as antiques.
The world has indeed changed. .
Most of the technical world we live in today was science fiction when I was young. Writers and movie makers actually fictionalized some version or another
of everything we have today. The “information highway” including mobile communication devices (remember Dick Tracy‘s wrist worn picture/phone?), were all dealt with in fictional entertainment. They had no real world idea of how any of it would work, but a great abstract concept of what was possible.
Health science has certainly moved forward, but sometimes I am surprised at how little.
We have done a great job of creating drugs and devices to make life more comfortable for people who are afflicted with a variety of maladies. Of course, those same drugs and devices, have created billions of dollars for lawyers. We are good at treating symptoms, and enriching lawyers, but just so, so at curing and preventing.
The health horrors of my youth were polio, and tuberculosis (TB). They seemed to be eliminated years ago but then I see that both still exist not only in third world countries, but also in segments of leading nations.
Maybe the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Same Mountain, Different Decades.
El Capitan mountain in Guadalupe Mts. N.P. Texas, is a small mountain in the grand scheme of things. At least when you look at the Rocky Mts., the Sierras, or the Cascades of the American west. Even though Guadalupe Mts. N.P. in Texas is under photographed, El Capitan does get its share of shutter clicks because it is the only prominent peak in the area.
My second trip to El Capitan was in February of 2006. I spent several hours photographing birds and plants in the park while I waited for the afternoon to appear, so I would at least have a little sidelight to work with. That would produce some texture and some contrast between the blue sky (bluer in the afternoon), and the red earth (redder in the afternoon). I also was waiting for some afternoon shadows created by that sidelight, as to give some dimension or depth to my pictures.
Here I wanted a foreground counterbalance to the mountain and some nice rocks proved invaluable. I got close to the rocks with an 18mm lens for a good composition, but of course, El Capitan was diminished. The mountain was part of the image but not a special part of it. I was okay with that because this was meant to be about the entire landscape, not just the mountain.
Sticking with my 18mm lens I found a prominent Agave plant to set our point of view of El Capitan off to the other side. The shadowy plant also helped to contrast the rest of the image. Some rocks used in a less significant way than in the first image, created sort of a path to the mountain for our eyes.
As the day wore on and the light began to get even more colorful, and more to one side, the texture began to pop and I elected to feature the mountain. With a name like El Capitan I wanted a few images that showed reverence to his majesty. I used a short telephoto lens and also hiked closer to the mountain.
Compositions like the one above may produce a view of the mountain that everyone will like, but you will never get any applause for such a straight up composition. To me, single mountain comps are no more but no less significant than those wide angle shots that make the mountain a part of a whole scene.
I had been to Guadalupe Mts. N.P. before in the early 1990s. That time, I drove through the New Mexico and Texas deserts at night in an attempt reach El Capitan just before sunrise. Despite my total ignorance of “the lay of the land” so to speak, I hit a good spot and could see the mountain just before the eastern sun bathed my subject in the first light of the day. I had set up my tripod and 6×7 Pentax film camera just in time, and as the sun lit the peak, I took a hand held spot meter reading from the top left area of the mountain. You see that first light below.
This almost looks like a different mountain from the earlier pictures and that is because our view from this location, has a broadside perspective. I am also much closer to the peak than in my 2006 images.
I went on to make many wide angle landscapes with a lot of care in the compositions, but none ever showed the first light’ colors as this one did.
Knowledge and intellect are important components of making pictures. They are useful in exposure, composition and every other aspect of creating images. That said, never ignore your instincts. Much like decorating a home, make your pictures a part of you. Of course, do not rearrange the landscape as you might your home.
Check your own time capsule, you will be surprised.
Time does march on. Righteous, productive change is a necessity of life.
I’m a “show me” sort of a person, but in recent years, I’ve finally come to realize that there are some things that require faith. Faith is the only way to walk with God. Your faith, plus His Grace.
Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
I believe that the verse below, spells out the essence of salvation. It puts it point blank to where it comes from. It lets us know, once and for all, that we are not “little gods” who earn our salvation, but mere humans. Only God, can save you. It is a gift waiting for those who will claim it, but it can only be claimed through faith.
Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace, ye are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
God Bless, Wayne