A case of being in the right place at the right time with the right camera. This picture captures how I have felt as of late…light shining through darkness, beauty, hope. (taken on 31 December 2008 at the Agra Fort in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India)
Tuesday 24 June 2008 — Palmer, Alaska, USA
We had a long day ahead of us. After a stack of delicious blueberry pancakes prepared by his mother, Ray finally finished packing up “Dora” the Ford Explorer. A few hugs were exchanged, goodbyes said. We drove away from his life in Alaska on a cool and cloudy summer morning, bound for a destination a few thousand miles away. The first stop was 12-hours away by car. Only one road exists to drive in and out of Alaska. It was quiet those first few minutes in the car, but eventually we settled in for the journey. We passed the Matanuska Glacier, mountains, through taiga and approached the border with the Yukon Territory. There were long stretches of road construction and patches of extremely bumpy road, warped by the frost and cold temperatures that cover the area most of the year. Settled in for a long ride, but still full of adrenaline, I could not help myself from snapping many pictures along the way–while the car was in motion.
Long road trips through beautiful country can present a problem for trigger happy photographers such as myself. My eyes glued to the road and land around me, I have a continual string of inspiring scenes. In recent years of travel, I have acquired a skilled technique to ensure roadside stops are made less frequently. One may only have a few seconds before a stunning mountain scene fades away and there may not be a place on the road to pull over. Thus, when a passenger, I have my three cameras nearby to pull out as inspiration strikes. The necessity to be quick must be balanced by carefully preparing the shot, although sometimes rapid fire works better. While I have used my 35mm cameras for this, the digital is optimal for such craziness, as the rate of misfire is high.
Sometimes it works very well, like the photo below. Driving into the night, we pressed onward to the city of Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory. After moving through a rainstorm, the clouds broke to reveal the clear blue sky and open country. Distant snowcapped mountains towered over the horizon. I took this from the car sometime around 11pm on the 24th of June. For an inhabitant of the lower 48 states such as myself, it was fascinating to experience the midnight sun.
Walking was just the spiritual practice I needed on Saturday. Pike Place Market is one of my favorite spots in the city to go and walk. On Saturday I walked meditatively through Pike Place listening, observing, tasting, smelling…the market is a fascinating place to be. Tourists swarm all year round, flocking to the famous market, cameras ready for flying fish and the storefront of the first Starbucks. I go for inspiration–to smell fresh flowers, fruit, and fish all at once; to hear four languages spoken in the same space; to watch the flow of people in a small area; to hear the song of a street performer; and to walk freely, without expectation.
Some people practice meditation via walking. This is a good way to exercise the spirit and come back into an awareness of the body. For me, I occasionally do something additional to this form of prayer: I bring along a camera (or two). I alert my body and mind to the world around me, using my senses. With the camera I intuitively look for beauty and signs of God’s presence–or just snap away at something that catches my eye.
Here are a few scenes that caught my eye on Saturday…