Missed Moments and Photography Conundrum

I guess the photo above is a bit of a weird opening to a post, but it’ll make sense if you read the rest of this entry. I’m having a break from writing massive trip reports for at least a day or so and instead, I thought I’d throw in a totally random entry of babbling to change the pace of this place a little.

By the way, before I even start, I was walking through the city the other day and I noticed two blokes in separate, open top sports cars driving along. One was in a Porsche and the other was in something that was very shiny, which is the extent of my car knowledge.

What I found interesting is these blokes looked almost identical. Late 40’s, shaved heads and both sporting the biggest scowls on their faces you could ever imagine. I wondered why they both looked so miserable? Were they pondering a Ponzi? Bitter at going bald so young? Maybe feeling defeated, as all those years ago, they’d been dealt a short sausage? Money can be thrown at most things, but no matter how much you’ve got, you can’t do much if you’ve been issued a cashew in your trousers. Oh the humility.

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metal-box-pil-everest-hard-way-book

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Anyway, moving on and let’s have a look at the previous photo as it includes a couple of classic items. First of all there’s the original Public Image Ltd album ‘Metal Box’ sitting slightly worn, but the vinyl inside is still immaculate. By the way, don’t think too hard about this as it means nothing to this overall blog entry.

Next to it is a book that was released in 1976. It’s called (if you’re legally blind) ‘Everest: The Hard Way by Chris Bonnington. It tells the story of the first ascent of the south west face by a British team led by Bonnington in 1975. I was pretty young when I read it and it’s a riveting story of when an Everest ascent still had an unknown quality.

What was amazing were these absolutely mind blowing photos taken on the summit in what looks like late afternoon and the tops of hundreds of clouds sit below the climbers. The photos were widely shown in British newspapers and unfortunately the book only contains a few, but they’re truly shots taken above cloud level.

What does this all mean? Well, don’t panic as I’m getting to that. There’s a paragraph written by another legendary climber, Doug Scott, in relation to the photos that were taken, which I’ve always remembered. He says,

“…Speaking now for myself, there comes also the saddening realization that the view from the top of Everest which I now have in my mind’s eye is very possibly no longer the magnificent pure naked wholly coloured vision of the moment, but consequently wholly coloured by the slides I then took and have seen so many times since.”

Regarding photos, it’s an interesting thought, which I’ve always wondered about since I read this book all those years ago. I’ve had my share of great landscapes to photograph (mind you, I didn’t say successfully!) and yet a lot of the time I don’t remember the actual moment and vision I saw, but rather what’s confined to the pictures.

Does the photo help jog the memory you may ask? Well, not really, as what I see and remember is now confined to the dimensions of the photograph and not the entire vision of the moment that my eyes saw. I have my own ‘Doug Scott Everest problem’ and that’s the view at sunset from Mt Kosciuszko earlier this year. After a day of walking up, Mk and I reached the summit at the end of the day and it was quite dark, until suddenly the setting sun appeared above a large bank of clouds, which sat hundreds of metres below us. This was the result.

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bright-red-sunset-light-mount-kosciuszko

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bright-red-sunset-snowy-mountains

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The sky continued to get redder and redder, until the sun sat as if above an enormous blanket of cloud. It was quite mind blowing and in a way I wish I’d put the cameras down and sat to take in what we were seeing, instead of trying to record it via photograph. I was looking through the viewfinder and checking settings, when instead I should have just mellowed out and let my mind absorb the moment. Now, I’m feeling a bit like Doug Scott, as all I really remember is what’s on the photographs and if I shut my eyes to think about the moment I don’t really see anything different at all.

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last-light-red-sunset-snowy-mountains

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red-sunset-at-mount-kosciuszko

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Oh well, that’s the problem trying to record everything by photograph I suppose and I wonder if I’m the only one with this ‘missing memory’ due to a set of pictures problem? While I ponder I might as well add a few more of the blazing sunset that just wouldn’t stop.

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red-sunset-snowy-mountains

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red-sky-setting-sun

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That’s my first photography conundrum done and now I have another. Does anyone delete photos that didn’t work out? I keep everything even if they’re dud pictures for a couple of reasons. I wonder in a hundred years time how historians will view the day to day, photographic view of the world when most pictures are locked away on hard drives and discs. I don’t print any digital photos even though I keep saying to myself I should.

A lot of the times I find some sort of flaw in the pictures I take and think I’ll print some photos when I take better ones. Somehow that day doesn’t seem to come. With a digital photo an unflattering one can be deleted from the camera and be lost forever, but I sometimes think there might be something on that deleted photo, which might mean something to someone in a hundred years time. I’m drawing a long bow here, but that’s the way it goes when I start thinking about this and now I can return to the first photo taken in this blog entry.

I was in the driveway early in the morning and noticed a great looking sunrise. Even though the blight of suburbia was all around me in relation to telephone poles and wires, I thought I should snap a quick photo. As I did so, a bird landed on the wires in the centre of the picture. I imagined a zoomed photo of the bird with the great light behind would make a pretty good image. I zoomed and clicked at the same moment the bird took off. This is the result.

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missed-bird-power-lines-suburbs

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As you can see the photo of what it was meant to show is a complete dud. In some perverse way I kind of like it though and it’s something I couldn’t remotely attempt to replicate. A moving bird in the side of the frame? In some way this should be binned, but this is the type of stuff I keep. Who else does this I wonder?

It doesn’t always include things in nature as the next photo shows. Being a bit of an old cycling fan I was pretty happy to see Cadel Evans win this years Tour de France. All those late nights staying up over the years hoping he might win, seemed to be worthwhile now and I really didn’t think he would ever get it done.

He returned to Melbourne briefly and a sort of victory ride to Federation Square in Melbourne was organised. Being a city worker I thought I should slip up there at lunchtime to have a look. In fact, it was a little crazy regarding the size of the crowd and one would have had to get there a few hours earlier to get close to the barriers. My height gave me a bit of a view, but as he rode by I just stuck my camera up in the air and clicked a shot with the thought I may have got it right in regards to timing. In the end I clicked a second too soon as the photo shows.

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cadel-evans-melbourne-city-square-2011

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Well, I sort of captured him, although you do have to initially scan your eyes across the picture to find him at the far left. It’s a stuffed photo, but again I kind of like it as it reminds me of the difficulty I was going through to take it. What’s weird though is looking at other things in the picture, such as the left hand with red nail polish and black sleeve to the right of centre. It looks like a big hand, but who does it belong to? None of the heads in the photo own it and it’s assumed the person should have a bit of height to them owing to the size of the mitt. No idea, unless they were lying on the ground?!

That’s my final thoughts on this photo business. One is if I’m presented with a spectacular view that may be only momentary, I’ve got to get my eye out of the viewfinder and just look at the scene instead and the other is keeping old stuffed photos is fun. I kind of like looking at the failures and they still give me a chuckle like the next couple.

I was trying to capture a blue Superb Fairywren, which if anyone has tried to take a photo of then they know they absolutely zip about. They’re in one spot and in a flash they’ve moved and it’s hard to see the actual movement. They’re there and next second they’re in a different spot and I end up wondering how they did it. Anyway, I was trying to photograph the one below.

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superb-blue-wren

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Okay, I was behind him with the camera zoomed right out and the photo wasn’t much chop. I could tell he was about to move side on though and I was ready to capture him properly. I waited a second as he turned side on and I snapped and this was the result.

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sand-sticks-beach

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Yep, his speed was way too quick for me and I now have a photo of some empty ground, which means nothing unless it’s accompanied with the initial picture. It’s another dud, but I find it quite humorous and I’ve kept it as it’s my example of how quick the Fairywren is. How could I delete it now?

This is just touching the surface of my ‘failed’ photos, but that’s it for me and I wonder how many other picture conundrums exist out there? I’m back to another trip report later in the week…