Sunday, October 23, 2011

Back from Oz

We arrived back from Sydney yesterday morning. I'm always amused by the return flight when you arrive hours before the time you departed - a fun quirk of the International Date Line. Getting to experience the same Saturday twice makes up for the disappointment of losing a Friday on the outbound leg.

Purposely didn't do much yesterday - reserved the day to deal with jet lag. Took a leisurely walk at Rio Del Mar beach to the cement boat, took a look at some of the photos from the trip, and didn't do much else.

One photo has captured my attention. It's a photo of an flower that was growing in a nondescript spot behind a retaining wall at the hotel we stayed at on our last night in the Southern Highlands.

It was a pretty enough flower, but it wasn't likely to get much attention growing in anonymity where it was. And I don't know enough about flowers to even identify it. Anyone know what type of flower it is? [Update: The consensus appears to be iris.]

Something about the flower drew me in, so I popped off a few shots using my Olympus FE-370 point-n-shoot. I left the Canon 30D at home this trip. I figured this was my sixth or so time to Sydney... What was I going to see (and photograph) that I hadn't seen (and photographed) multiple times before? Why bother lugging around the 30D when the point-n-shoot fits so easily in my pocket?

I decided to take a different approach this time. I wanted to see what sort of photos I could get working within the limitations of the point-n-shoot. It doesn't have the resolution and clarity of the 30D. Its lens is inferior to the 30D's. Its lens can't zoom in the way the 30D can. Its macro capability is inferior to the 30D's. Its low-light capabilities are lower than the 30D's.

But rather than use the 30D's superior capabilities as a crutch, I decided to work with what I had. I had the point-n-shoot's limited capabilities and my eye as an amateur photographer.

Many of the photos I took with the point-n-shoot this trip were sub-par. Many were blurry. Many were washed out. Many just didn't 'work' for a variety of reasons. But some did work - one in particular.

BTW... When I said above that one photo captured my attention, it wasn't the photo above. It was this one...

To fully experience this photo, please click on it to see it enlarged.

This is the very same flower as in the first photo above. But whereas the first photo is a snoozer that does a gross injustice to the flower, this photo is vibrant with color. The photo is primarily yellow, but it is an explosion of yellow. And all the intricate details that are absent from the first photo command my attention in this photo. When I took the photo, I didn't even notice the cheetah-like pattern on the lower petal. The more I look at this flower, the more I see.

While all of the above is interesting to me from the perspective of photography, there's a deeper message in this whole experience for me. Beauty is all around us. Beauty can be found in new places and in new experiences, but beauty can also be found in the same old places if you're looking for it. Using the same old eyes that I've been using for decades but with a different perspective, I was able to see and experience a new beauty.

One last comment in closing... Earlier this year, we completed our goal of setting foot on all seven continents. That had been a personal goal for fifteen years. It took a long time to achieve that goal, but the years of stubborn (and some might have said foolish) dedication to that goal paid off.

When we landed at SYD the morning of October 15th, we accomplished another travel goal - to step foot on all seven continents within one year. That goal didn't take fifteen years to accomplish. It only took nine months.

So why that latest goal? Did the vacuum created by accomplishing the first goal leave a void that had to be filled? Or was it simply the pragmatic realization that this was likely to be the only chance I'd have in my life to achieve that latest goal? A little of both, I suspect. Regardless what the exact reason was, underlying all my travels is the desire (as I've written about previously) to show others that life can be an abundant experience - an experience that too often passes us by.


  1. Heeeeyyyy there! Great post! It's kind of a personal quest of mine to find beauty in the mundane, cuz I kinda live a vanilla life here in Suburbia. It's tough sometimes, but worth the effort. I think a lot of people would be a LOT happier if they took the time to notice the good in life that is, in fact, surrounding us all. It's all about perspective, baby!!

    Love, love, love the picture!! Not too shabby for a point-and-shoot! The flower is an iris, and they come in several different colors.

    Gotta say it again: Love this post!

  2. That's two votes for 'iris' (one vote via your comment and another via email), so I'm going with iris. When I think iris, I typically think the purple/yellow variety.

  3. After reading this post, a friend familiar with our travels observed, "I hadn't realized that you had visited all of the continents in the same amount of time as it takes a human to gestate." I love the comparison of goals and gestation.

    So what should my next travel goal be? India? South Africa? Swindon to drive the Magic Roundabout (see )? Outer space?