Tuesday, May 16, 2006

f 16 and be there

I have spent many a happy day with my head under a cloth while focusing my 4x5 camera. Those were the days I used to go to workshops with protoges of Ansel Adams where our mantra was, "f 16 and be there." The 16, of course, referred to a lens setting, but it was the "be there" that was important.

Every second of every day there are wonderful things to see on this planet. Be it on the water or atop a mountain, there is a constant evolutin of images created as the angle of the sun and the clouds modify the light. So often I would expose a sheet of film and, as I looked around, saw an even better image just off to the side.

The point is that some somewhere, at any time, there is a breath taking site available for photographing. But you have to be there to get the shot. If you sleep in that day, you miss the amazing golden glow of the sunrise on what in the next few moments would be an ordinary looking hill. We called that the golden moment, and you had to be there at the exact moment. Actually, you had to be there before sunrise so you could have everything set up and ready to go as that moment came and went. The problem was, and will always be, that you can't always predict when golden moments will appear. All one can do is make one's self available and open to seeing those moments when they do occur. You have to be there. This is true of all moments whether they are visual, audio or tactical experiences. You will miss them all if you are not there.

It is the same with life, and it is the same with sea kayaking.

Never mind the season or the weather or the time of day. There is aways water somewhere worth paddling. It may be a local river, lake or pond. It doesn't really matter...unless you're there to experience the moment. And, if you are, your mind can record, not just the image, but the feel of the surge and wind and every other sensory input that is available only to those of us who go out onto the waters of this planet.

Sleep in, get lazy or decide it isn't worth going out because it might rain and you miss that golden moment that will never come again.

So, with apologies to Ansel Adams, "Get your kayak, and be there."


No comments: