My Daily Trees
Kirk McElhearn and Jeff Carlson’s Photoactive podcast last week was a fun, wide-ranging conversation with Rick LePage. The main topic was printing photos but they also discussed a growing trend to strip GPS information so photo locations would not be mobbed.
People are lining up at well-known photo sites, waiting their turn to take selfies or take photos of a scene they’ve seen photos of on other people’s sites. Look one way and you see a lone person taking a selfie as they lean over a gorge, but turn the other way and you see a line of folks waiting their turn. It’s like documenting a scavenger hunt for experiences.
We miss the beautiful sights and experiences of daily life because we are looking past today and imagining a great experience tomorrow. We overlook the view from our deck while we dream of the view from the North Rim, but it’s the view from the deck that feeds our soul today.
The trees I see every day easily fade into the background as I scurry about. But if I focus on what I see now rather than where I’ll be later I see the world I’m alive in now.
I wonder what happened to cause the hollows I see in so many of the trees? It’s amazing that the little that’s left of the trunk can support the structure.
And doesn’t this look like an alligator’s head?
Photographers often suggest taking photos of your daily world to see it in a new way and experiment with images. I see my trees in all lights and weather and it’s pretty easy to manage a photo shoot if I can just get myself out of the recliner and out the door. I don’t have to stand in line or worry about where to park. And I might learn something.
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I haven’t taken to podcasts yet, but this one seems interesting. I looked at their websites, and found some entries that might be useful. On the other hand, it would be really useful if I learned how to use the Photoshop, Lightroom, Nik programs I have on my computer. So many projects, so little time.
I did check my camera to be sure GPS settings couldn’t be displayed, and they’re not. I’m careful about disclosing locations even with some of the flowers I photograph. When I posted the snowy orchid, I mentioned ‘east Texas,’ and the ‘piney woods’ but nothing more. There are orchid collectors out there who wouldn’t think a thing about trying to dig some up, and even those who only want to see them can trample colonies.
Your comment about your trees reminded me of my favorite quotation from the Swiss naturalist Louis Agassiz: “I spent the summer traveling; I got halfway across my back yard.”
I’m not a heavy podcast listener either, but I’ve found photoactive to be interesting. It’s often as much for the interaction between the people as for any detailed information or instruction – disembodied voices aren’t really my preferred way of learning complex material. My main gripe with podcasts in general is that you have to invest a significant chunk of time to find out if you are really interested. I can scan a piece of writing much more efficiently. With all that said, I enjoy listening to McElhearn and Carlson, typically as I wind down just before reading and going to sleep. They get me thinking and frequently give me some ideas for something to look into later. Of course, those ideas often go onto a project list that I expect is as long and unmanageable as yours.
I turn off GPS whenever possible. The only things I’ve found it useful for are map and weather apps, and I try to have location data turned on only for the brief time I’m using the apps. I’ve received photos from other people that had location data embedded and I often wonder if they know that they are advertising their home address or the location of the party they attended. Like you, I periodically review my equipment to be sure something hasn’t been inadvertently turned on.
I learned to navigate the world long before GPS was available and never think about asking a GPS system for the best route. I enjoy looking at a map, even if it’s a map on a screen, and plotting my course. Then I turn things off and work from memory and feel as much as possible. At the very least, it makes me pay attention to where I’m going.
I’ve used GPS in the car exactly once, in Kansas. The friend who was traveling with me said it was time I entered the modern era. We were looking for a cemetery out in the country, and the unit would have done all right, but it didn’t know about the washed out bridge. A farmer in a pickup truck did, though, and he drew us a map on the back of an envelope he found in a pile of papers on his dash. We had a nice conversation, too.