Full auto mode

I admit it. There are many times I leave my camera in full auto mode, relying on its skills above my own to determine best exposure, shutter speed, and aperture. But these two pics from this morning shows what the camera believed to be the best settings to capture the moment and my own … auto versus manual.

I am not even remotely pretending that my mind is more intelligent than the processor built into the camera and that is truly far away from what my message is today.

Seems to me that many of us go through life allowing so many of our choices in life to be made by others. We look to conform, to fit in, and in many ways it makes our lives easier. By allowing “life” to choose for us, we don’t have to think. We don’t have to risk being wrong. Or being ridiculed. But then, whose life do we end up living?

Broad brush-strokes of conformance are ingrained into us at an early age … go to school, get a job, get married, have kids … no one ever says “rip your clothes off and run naked down the beach” (well, no one sober anyway).

And yet maybe there are moments when running naked down the beach is exactly what we need.

I guess what I am trying to say is that sometimes in life, we are the best situated to tell exactly what we need. So adjust that exposure, stretch out that shutter-speed, and pull in the aperture. It can all serve to bring our lives more into focus, make our moment more dramatic, and enrich the colors of our lives.

Take control this week. Throw your life off auto and live your life your way.

See you at the beach ?

Sunrise destination

From the car park to Lake Hancock is about ¾ of a mile and an hour before sunrise, the trail to the lake winds through an old oak forest. Even with a full moon over my shoulder this morning, its random disappearances behind clouds made for a nervous journey. Visibility was about ten or fifteen feet ahead of me and the occasional grunts and growls coming from either side in the darkness made me hasten my steps to lake’s edge.

I could kind-of make out the sky-line but, down on the ground, vision became almost entirely faith-based. Wild hogs, alligators, bobcats … the danger lay either side as the goal of catching the sunrise on the lake drove me deeper into the darkness. I heard the call of Osprey up ahead as they sensed the near arrival of dawn.

I was determined … mine were the first human steps on the trail this morning and my cobweb-covered face bore witness to that as I finally made it to the lake itself.

The sunrise was wonderful but those are not the pics I choose to add to this email. This little collection are near-darkness shots that my camera captured on my way there. Yes, the sunrise was my destination but sometimes the journey to our destination becomes the most memorable part of our experience.

Regardless of what you believe your destination may be, life is your journey and I hope you get to appreciate the journey this coming week!

Yield to nature …

… is what the sign said on the trail this morning and there was never any doubt in my mind that I would contest right of way with this guy (first two pics).

It was a dull grey start to the day and one that wasn’t likely to produce any bright and shiny pictures. But as I wandered the trail, so many of its natural inhabitants chose that moment to cross in front of me, it made the whole experience more than worthwhile. At one stage, a twelve of thirteen footer  tried to come up the bank beside me but when he saw me, he slid back into the water and just watched me for a while (the third pic).

All of which made me think about our role in shaping the environment that these poor creature live in. I recalled a boatman on Lake Kissimmee last year telling me how they keep a running count on alligators in the lake and when it gets to a certain number, they round up the “excess” and sell  them to skinning factories. I recoil from the thought almost as much as the poor gator this morning recoiled from me.

If there is ever a day of reckoning for what we are doing to the world’s creatures, I truly hope I am not around to pay that tab!

The fact that there is even a sign on the trail telling us “Yield to Nature” is a shameful reminder of how little respect many of us have for it.

But on a happier note, by the time I left the trail this morning, my soul felt like it had been at an all-you-can-eat buffet of natural beauty. It was stuffed, happy, and sleepy. ?

May your soul experience the same feeling this coming week!

Tension is rarely a good thing

… in the workplace, in the home, in social settings … tension is something that is generally frowned upon.

But yesterday I came across it while on a work break at Lettuce Lake. A flower from a Button Bush had fallen into the waters and while science can successfully explain away each resulting shape and shimmer, I choose to look at it with different eyes.

If I was the hundredth visitor to that specific place, I am confident in saying that I am likely the only one that took the time to truly examine the scene in front of me. And isn’t that a shame?

This wondrous world we live in is continually offering up moments like this if we only take the time to stop and open our eyes and hearts to them.

Stopping to smell the roses is a familiar theme to my emails, I know. But the reason I stepped away from the office was that it has been a grueling work week. Not a bad one but one filled with tension … and camera in hand, this is how I chose to relieve it.  

So strange to think that one tension helped to relieve the other!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Mother of nine

… I came across this little family as I recently hobbled my way back to the car.  As I stood there, camera in hand, I couldn’t help but think how we vilify wonderful creatures like these, in order to justify our own treatment of them.

We animate them as violent, cold creatures, and portray them as serious threat to our children. And then we steal their environment, kill them in the tens of thousands, make a sport of it, watch them die on TV, and turn their skins into fashion accessories … not to mention those who proudly collect and display alligator skulls in their homes.

It is a distinctly human trait to kill for reasons not related to food, one that I will never understand.

So as the small crowd gathered around me as I took these pictures, there were “oohs” and “aahs” galore for the pretty little collection of babies. But scarcely a word for the mother who lay there protecting her young, exposing herself to danger and willing to give her life for the cause. She will stay as protector for the first two years, bringing herself close to starvation while making sure her babies have something to eat. Yet some 80% of alligators never make it to maturity. Yes … only one of these nine babies will make it ☹

I have had several close encounters with alligators on the trails I take and while one or two uncovered the fear of them that I too was taught, I was never in any real danger. In fact while writing this morning’s email I reminded myself of the terrifying growl that I heard when got within four or five feet of a  12 to 15 footer some time back ( https://youtu.be/CFh67UuOBVk ).

And so while I admit moments of fear, I guess the main message I have is that when we build characters up to a point of phobic-fear, it can undermine our own ability to understand them and even interact with them. There is a difference between being fearless and being reckless. I am working on the latter but thankfully I am making real progress on the former.

Have a wonderful week!