It was another early start and with everyone medicined and fed by 4:30, all the bad news I could read was absorbed and so like all good boys and girls on Christmas Eve I wanted to make sure I didn’t fall onto Santa’s naughty list.

Idleness is definitely sufficient to warrant being put on that list, so I decided I would continue what I had started yesterday down at Lake Parker.

You see, I had begun yesterday with very long exposure shots while it was still well before civil twilight. And this time by going extra early I would be arriving some time between Astronomical Twilight and Nautical Twilight.

Right now, I can imagine most of you reading this are hearing about these twilights for the first time. For clarity, Astonomical Twilight is the first hint of the horizon being lit by the sun and it happens when the sun is 18 degrees below the horizon. Nautical Twilight is where things on the horizon start to pick up some kind of definition and it occurs 12 degrees below the horizon. And of course, you know by now that Civil Twilight occurs at 6 degrees below the horizon and is technically the point where it is bright enough to begin common acts of labor without artificial light.

Am I not a wealth of useless information?

Anyway, I climbed in the car and it was a little after five when I hit the lake shore. My eyes could not pick up any definition of the horizon but my first shot still managed to show it.

I am using very long exposures and at this time of day, I am running the camera on a 30 second exposure. So it pulls in all the wonderful colors that our eyes can’t quite detect.

I will add yesterday’s shots first and then today’s shot at the end of the blog, so you will see what effects the different timings had. Hope you enjoy!

I am holding back one shot from yesterday because I want it to be my New Year shot. It just spoke to me and also it is my favorite shot of the year. Keep your eye out for it.

Hope you enjoy these images!

Anyway, because I got there extra early today, the access to the boat ramp wasn’t open. So I wasn’t able to get to the pier like I was yesterday.

I headed straight away to the second-choice spot on the lake edge about half-way down the lake. From here I get a clear expansive view of the lake but when I got there, I realized that a new building that was recently put up on the opposite side of the road is casting too much light from its parking lot lights.

Why all these places have to have parking lot lights on all night, I will never understand. The amount of light-pollution we experience because of it is ridiculous, not to mention the extreme energy wastefulness.

These people just give lip-service to the whole green initiative.

But anyway, so I stood there for a moment and wondered what to do. This place definitely had the view that I wanted but strong lights behind me would reduce the likelihood of getting decent shots on long exposure.

I was determined to stick with the long exposure plan so I compromised the view in order to be able to get away with exposing for 30 seconds. I could have stepped it back down to 10 or 13 seconds, but then I wouldn’t have gotten the smoothness on the water and lovely tones of violet that the earlier twilights can deliver.

Compromise is a crossroads that we all face many times in our lives. Authoritarian despots never compromise and go through a life that is defined by them always getting their way.

Getting your own way may look on the surface like an optimum situation but the truth is that it presents us with a very narrow path in life, with little scope for learning along the way.

There are so many fools who believe that their way is always the right way and like the old oak in Aesop’s Fables they don’t bend when the winds try to take them on a different path. As the fable tells us, it is the reed that freely bends with the wind that survives.

We can be so adamant in what we want or what we need, that we refuse to see any good in a compromise. Confidence in our own position to the point of no compromise is a fool’s position and in today’s polarized view of the world, it is unfortunately becoming all too commonplace.

Over the ages, authoritarian leaders are easy to spot, and each one has been viewed by history as being an intransigent asshole that piles misery on those affected by their leadership. The world’s best leaders were those that understood the art of compromise. Compromise fosters harmony within groups or people or nations. It leads to long-term stability and peace. Authoritarianism results in animosities and division and either during their lifetime or immediately after their fall, causes fractures on a seismic level.

On a non-political level, compromise is also the cornerstone of healthy relationships and marriages that are built on compromise are the ones that last the ages.

There are those who think that compromise is essentially giving up a want or need in order to agree something with another.

But “giving up” is the wrong expression. Compromise is adapting to variables from a person or a circumstance and moving forward in a slightly different manner. It is a very real opportunity to learn a different viewpoint or a different taste to your own. And in many situations, you find that the compromised path turns out to be better than your original intention.

Garth Brooks “Unanswered Prayers” from the 90’s is a wonderful spin on this … give it a listen, if you don’t already know it.

The American way of life doesn’t embody much in the way of compromise. It is very much a land of opposites. Red and Blue, Black and White, Us or Them. The “importance of winning” ethos that is taught in sports to children has for many generations fashioned polarized views on almost every topic.

In Europe, governments have been built on compromise for almost a hundred years. Multi-party governments have formed coalitions in order to rule a country, with no single party every getting exactly what they want from the deal. Similarly, drawing a game (a tie) in sports (soccer for example) is a regular occurrence, with no need to fight on until the death when we have a winner and a loser. So the kids are taught early on that coexisting with others of different views an ambitions is an effective path forward and they become a generation of compromise.

It is difficult as a person living in a country of polarization to adopt compromise within their own life as a viable way to live. Authoritarianism bleeds from the top down and results in higher percentages of broken relationships, disharmony in communities of different persuasions, and increased gang violence among younger people who have been bred to choose one side or the other.

But unfortunately, compromise must begin with the person, grow to the community, and ultimately become a government’s method of ruling.

Each of us not only has the chance to benefit personally from compromising and learning along the way, but also inspiring others to do so. This becomes the kernel of change from which a more harmonious society develops.

… just a thought!

and now today’s shots