Can you keep a secret? I am at an RSPB reserve called Bowers Marsh just outside Pitsea. I am grabbing a swift but needed 30 mins of comparative quiet. Silently, in peace, I’m pondering the picture above and the way we see the world. It makes me a little, not sad, but grateful? In our lives, we get to see so many really good and cool things and as a photographer that works outdoors most of the time, I get to see so much that most people would just take for granted, simple things.
Next to me is a lady with a canon “eos” something and a huge lens and we start chatting about the birds she can see, and I pitifully explain that I never bring my camera here as I always visit during work hours. The question comes “are you working today?” Yes, I am. She takes a few images then walks away. Later I catch up with her and we both stand engrossed watching a Kestrel sat on a fence.
She leaves and I sit next to the salting looking over the water being blinded by the sun as it reflects off the water. Watching the Gulls swimming around knowing that the indistinct dots 100 yards away are other birds that I can’t see, let alone identify.
Gulls are quite unremarkable; in fact, we take them for granted. They are there stealing our chips wheeling and diving while screeching raucously. Hang on they are flying. How fantastic, just look at the way they twist and turn, how they dive and climb and how they crash into the water with a plume of spray. A quick shake and flap and they sit swimming on the surface looking all pleased with themselves. We have seen this all before so its nothing special. Well, actually, yes, it is.
Recently I was at Clumber Park, not working. I took the chance to escape from my relatives and vanished into the woods. Wandering around with no particular aim just looking before I went to get my camera.
During my sojourn, I came across a patch of diamonds. They were glinting and sparkling on the feathery grass. They had attached themselves to cobwebs as well, iridescently shimmering and twinkling in the sun. There had been a heavy, misty rain, this had settled onto the grass and cobwebs. When the sun came out, just at the right angle, the whole patch burst into a cascade of colour and light.
Not far from this visual spectacle were some silver birch trees, about mid-way through autumn colour. The colours were stunning but I felt the trees looked mournful, the silvery-white trunks were upright and slender, but all branches divided and divided until just fine twigs were left, just drooping under their own weight, holding onto the lost summer in one last gasp of glory.
To me, all of these were WOW, but other people just walked by ignoring them engrossed in phones and children.
So many of my hikes are filled with wonder and amusement, simple little things like birds flying or wet grass captures me. They make my day.
This also poses problems for me, as a photographer. Simply put what I think of WOW is not always apparent. I know the exploding sunrises capture people’s attention, and yes, they are wow. But the simple things in life are just as interesting and still shout “stop!” look at me. Sometimes I take an image, a wow thing to me and it just does not work. But to me, at that time: –
There is a place alongside the river, not going to say where, but all the locals know it, where there is a bend with some trees, it‘s a tranquil spot. Not really there is still traffic noise but not bad. It is, however, possible to sit there and enjoy the river flowing by making its slow but steady way to the North Sea. To sit be quiet and just be.
So, I have 2 questions.
Do we spend so much time hoping for those WOW moments that we miss loads of really cool things? Do we become desensitised to them always seeking bigger and better experiences only to end up disappointed?
The latter would be worse than the former. Imagine not going wow at a glorious sunrise. Yes, I will haul myself out of bed at unspeakable hours to walk along the river and hope that I see a wow. But if not, then there are a million little wows to fill my day, to make my day.
To finish I would ask another question. Rather than just walking from one point to another, lost in your phone or whatever thoughts you have, could you just stop and look around and see, even for just a moment? Imagine the excitement of a child seeing something for the first time.
I think what I am saying is don’t take life for granted.
My Instagram page is HERE
Many thanks for reading