Photography is turning out to be digital art off late. For a long time, I did not understand art. Friends and elders visited museums, and stood frozen in front of a painting, while I stood confused. It did not make sense to me. I used to wonder if they were bluffing for the status quo. Turned out that they dint, lest I remained ignorant. But I kept tagging along in the hope that I would decipher the spell some day. As an homage to Earth Day celebrated on April 22nd every year, this article is going to capture Earth and its beauty as seen from outside the planet.
Why is art viewing considered to be an intelligent hobby?
To understand the intelligence behind art viewing, we need to understand what part of the viewer’s thought process, ends up demonstrating that intelligence? Here is my reasoning . . .
Is it the forethought? –
As an example, I have felt numb looking at some modern art paintings before. Until I figured that they showed the present day planet, several hundreds of years ago or later! That’s when I thought that conceiving an art piece is genius, and viewing it requires a degree of ‘intelligence’ in combination with perception & outlook. Unlike intelligence which is common to animals as well, the latter two, keep evolving with our experiences in life. And this is passive evolution. We do not necessarily try to change our perception, it just happens involuntarily although it could involve some strong influence.
Astronaut Scott Kelly’s images are a good example of what I am explaining in forethought. Scott spent a year in space (in ISS), and took pictures of Earth at various times, across the planet. While people fill their Instagram profiles with their life and their art, Scott got a little excited and filled it all with #EarthArt as he likes to hashtag them. Waters, deserts, Himalayas, volcanoes, aurora borealis (aka) the northern lights and all the magnificence of this planet lined up themselves lifting their heads and looking up, waiting to be captured by Scott’s lenses.
Look at this image from Scott’s gallery. It is the Bahamas.
If I saw this in a museum before learning about Scott, I would have walked past without a thought. Okay. Some one just took shades of blue and white and drew some kiddish scribblings. Is this art? Hello? But now, I know. I know why this is art. If it is about the planet, why is it not science? It is not. Think about it. It is an abstract expression of a mind. We observe things all through the day in our lives, and when we close our eyes, not everyone’s mind pictures so much beauty. To those for whom it does, it is indeed a gift. And that, is art. A vivid imagination of distant reality. And the planet view is just an example. To an artist’s mind, imagination is infinite. They can picture and paint the minutest and the mightiest of things. They may be able to draw their mind, who knows? I can’t begin to imagine or explain the vastness of their potential.
Is art viewing therapeutic? – I am yet to experience this feeling. But I have heard a lot of people feel a sense of calm and tranquility, doing or viewing an art piece.
Is it mysterious? – When you do not understand something fully, yet it sits in your brain like an iron on a magnet, refusing to explain the phenomenon, and not moving away as well, you just get consumed by it. You find it fascinating, and you wait to decipher it. And this anxiety with magic, could potentially drive you to acquire the intelligence to understand it. In this case, motivation is derived from the mystery of art’s beauty.
Note – To view more of Scott’s work, here is the link to his Instagram.
I am not here to praise the director and the crew for their fine detailing – from the unimaginable lush green and blue planet graphics, to the minuscule ‘Zoogle’ photos on the phones. Enough has been said, and proved by the Pixar guys. I am going to take the philosophical aspect of this movie because it is more than just an entertainer.
Have you watched it yet? If you have, then you already know what I am blogging about. I guess my question should have been “Have you been there yet? To Zootopia?” because I have been there and I’m just back. I do not wish to go back again, but I do wish I could live there forever! So you want to know what it is like? I’d rather say it is what all of us wished our place to be like. Because Zootopia is the much-needed city of a happy world, in this planet.
“Zootopia is a unique place. It is a crazy, diverse and beautiful city where we celebrate our differences. “
If this dialogue does not ring in your mind, about all of the diversity and the differences that the world is occasionally failing to recognize (don’t even celebrate), then you are probably not living in this decade. A lot of beautiful things are happening everywhere, no doubt about that! But at the same rate, there is declining acceptance and kindness like the top fertile soil getting eroded by pristine rain water flooding in ignorance.
And Zootopia comes to us as a rescue mission, reminding us of humane compassion, and the due kindness that is buried deep under the thick skin and the timid bones. When a lead character decides to explore, gone are the times when people advise; It is more vile now. She is infused with scary thoughts – she is asked to reconsider her decisions because,
“If you don’t try anything new, you will never fail. That’s the beauty of complacency!”
That’s right! The fear of failure could creep in and stop you from trying in the first place. It is as spirit-less as this fact. You will stagnate. You will be left behind, if you don’t catch up and explore! That’s the part that is not mentioned.
“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself!”
Do not step back from an attempt just because you are a man or a woman or because you come from a specific country or because you wear a specific skin tone or because you follow a god of your choice or because of your DNA or because some one tried to plant this difference, as a defect in you. Because none of it matters. Who you are, or where you come from should not stop you from doing what you want to do, as long as it is constructive! This is when the rabbit reminds us,
“I came here to make the world a better place but I think I broke it. Real life is messy”
so don’t let it eat you up, alive! And in the process, make sure you don’t lose your mind to evil vibes because change starts from within, and it has a long way to go until it can be seen around. So until then, don’t waver. Don’t give in to negativity. Keep your mental immunity high and soaring. There is an advantage to positivity. It is more contagious than its counterpart. All you gotta do is hold onto it, and it will easily find its way to propagate and penetrate outside of you. So keep your attitude contagious and worth catching. Don’t break anything. Don’t break anyone. It takes a great deal of conviction and blood to create something. Until you create something you love, you would never understand the pain of watching it burn down.
What does the rabbit try to communicate when she is forced to believe that foxes are innately cunning, and lions are all innately wild? That, it doesn’t matter. With education, anybody can be enlightened. Ignorance is not always bliss. Demons and darlings are a part of you. You have the key to choose what you wish to unleash, and at what point.
“We all have limitations. We all make mistakes. And the more we try to understand one another, more beautiful our lives will be.”
So, think before you call someone a scared chicken or a filthy animal. There is so much to each, than what meets the eye! With all of that said, do you still think it is a movie for the kids?
Some days are streamlined. They go by like a nice breeze. While some other days are rampant. They suck the good in you, and bring out the wild. It was one of those days that tickled the sleeping dragon and created the wildest of creatures that blended together a bit of Simba the lion, a dragon, a woman and top it with some rage. Could it be more wild?
The result happened to be the state of extreme anger, irritation and silence. Loud loud silence. Supposedly, the darkest of the lords, peeps out, figures that the weather is perfect and casts a spell to unleash his kingdom. That’s it. The pillars of red rage, rise high until they touch the roof of your mind. The palatial windows and the golden walls mount themselves to edging finesse. The red carpet unrolls down on the floor without a foundation. Trumpets scream with roaring elephant voices. The devil thuds by, and takes his throne. And then, vexation reigns supreme.
It does not matter what caused this because there is not just one thing that you are going be angry at, in life. A lot of us often claim that there is not too many things that annoy us. “Oh that is the most annoying thing for me ever!” We all say that as a matter of fact. But the truth is, we get annoyed and angered at several points in our lives, no matter how many motivational quotes we read in a day. It is not always only “that” reason. So, what is coming up next, is about what happened next. Anger was seething and then this happened first.
With mounting rage that dint seem to think of the opposite way, this also happened.
And then they happened until the poor human was knackered . . .
Perspectives dint matter at this point; For she, was the wildest.
Karl : * Phone buzzes* Okay I gotta go.
Diana: Please stop this. Please listen to me. You are wasting your time. You have everything you need Karlo. Why don’t you just schedule the shoot?
Karl left without a reply. He had been waiting to start the shoot of his dream movie. His script is waiting for the right actor. No matter how many people told him, he would not compromise on the right looks. He had described the character in a way that would compliment the traits, and hence he could not imagine compromising on a different face cut. The looks were too important. More than just the looks, he looked for a certain spark and charisma in the person, to be able to pull of this role. Diana Miller and her Mr. were tired of trying to convince their son in using their wealth to bring in a big actor with the necessary changes in looks. It bothered them that their son had not established himself in a career yet.
After a bit of guessing, he stopped in front of the rusted pillar, and called the number he was shown. The call was unattended. He decided to wait up as he looked around, Nothing new appeared in the view, but the city gave him something new everyday. He was trying to think of an alternate climax, to answer the questions raised by Nora. And then he heard a knock at the door, she was beautiful. He unlocked the handle and lowered the window. There was a contagious peace on her face.
Karl: That’s right. Come on in.
Her: Sorry if I made you wait for too long.
Karl: Oh, don’t worry about it! We good to go?
Her: Oh yeah. (as she adjusted to tighten the seat belt)
She pulled down the sun visor and slid to see herself in the mirror.
Karl: Is the AC good? Or do you feel too cold? Feel free to turn it up or down as you please.
Her: Sure! I am good, thank you!
And there was shush for the next few minutes. Karl usually dint engage in unnecessary conversation during the ride. If they asked something, he would just respond and kept the talking to a minimum. After all, movie-making was his passion.
Her: So, how long have you been doing this?
Karl: Eh about a year now.
Her: Is this your first job?
Karl. Um .. no . . .
Her: Oh! So what are you otherwise ?
Karl: (Hesitant) I am a filmmaker. Wanna be, I mean. I just do this for paying my bills.
Her: (adjusting her hair) Oh! (the voice dragged and faded)
That was a condescending response Karl had not expected. Whenever he mentioned about his passion, people only came back with excitement and curiosity. But here was this passenger who dint seem to find it amusing. For a change, he decided to find out.
Karl: So, what’s your favorite movie till date? I mean I am sure you have more than one, but may be one among your top favorite.
Her: Eh? I don’t have any. *Smirks*
Karl: Any? You mean not one in specific?
Her: Hmm .. kinda. I don’t have any favorites. I don’t like the concept of movies or movie-making as such.
The car’s tires screeched at Karl’s sudden brake. He was just about to miss the red traffic lights. But he dint.
Karl: You don’t like any movie at all? Maybe not a lot of genres?
Her: Nope. No genre. I think movies are a waste of time.
And she continued to swipe her phone. Disinterested. Even in a conversation that involved movies. “Waste of time!?”. Karl had met people who were choosy about what movies they watched. But he had never heard that from some one. Someone who strongly considered the art of movie-making a waste of time. Interestingly, he dint stop low to brand this person, but genuinely made attempts to understand that perspective. He looked at her. She checked the mounted GPS to estimate the TOA.
Karl: Why would you think it is a waste of time? I mean it is an art, isn’t it? Being able to show the world about the endless possibilities and happenings.
Her: Sorry I dint mean to sound rude, but I just don’t find it worthwhile.
Karl: Sure. But, why so? If you don’t mind me asking . . . (looks at her approving) If you can laugh and forget your worries for 2 hours in a comedy movie, don’t you think it is worth your time?
Her: Eh . . . It does not matter what the genre is. I just find it redundant. Movies are not original. Movies are inspired from life. I mean there is nothing new that a movie could offer, or rather there is nothing you would miss by not watching movies. It’s all there in life. More is to life, in fact!
So, that was the perspective, thought Karl. What would make a movie worthwhile? What is there in the movies that is not there in life? Are movies just a reflection of life and nothing more? He was stumped. It was a valid argument and a deep one at that. Karl felt like stopping the car and setting up the plot for a discussion head over. But he was playing the role of a Uber driver, and could not break the company’s policy. But it bothered him that he could not express himself. The journey could not go on like this. Amidst all this urge, he was happy.
Karl: Have you ever acted before?, he smiled.
And it was a blockbuster . . . Lydia was loved by the people.
Lydia: Thank you Karl, she assured smilingly.
Karl: Pleasure is mine, ma-am.
He hung up the brief call and waited outside. The car arrived and he boarded the front seat. Karl continued using Uber, only as a passenger this time. It dint matter to him. He decided to stick to it. Only perspectives mattered. Old habits die-hard.
Here comes the third and my last post on the Oregon travelogue series. You can read Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven’t. The third part is Triangle Lake. Google provides this image which is a bird’s-eye view of the Triangle Lake.
Now, people don’t normally visit or bookmark this place as a part of their travel. It lies in the middle of nowhere, and is on the way to Siuslaw National Forest. That’s how we “bumped” into this beauty. From high up the hills of Siuslaw’s peaks, this forms a nice pretty view of the “valley” like all usual hikes. But what struck the chord for us, was the time of the day. It was dawning and the sun had not risen yet when we hit this road. We were mostly sleepy except to peek at the alertness of one who was driving. It was too early to be hungry but the outside air was fresh nevertheless. I was the passenger in the front and tried to keep myself awake to keep the driver awake, for the safety of the vehicle. Yes, there was no doubt I was trying to rant and ramble despite the calm morning. That kinda reminded me how difficult it could actually get, to talk when you don’t want to. Talking is also difficult man. I mean how do the RJs do it so well at 6am? They also take it upon themselves to wake people up to rise and shine. Talent indeed! My friend totally got my vibes and played along because all the rambling helped putting off the sleepiness and sluggishness.
As the darkness to the right of the car was strongly endorsed by the tall trees, the driver’s side of the car slowly started opening up to some light. The day was beginning to light up, but nothing seemed to exist beyond scanty trees to our left. There was nothing. From nowhere, we saw trees and hills continuing out of invisibility. My rant stopped. So did my friend’s. For a second, I was wondering if I were awake or asleep and dreaming. It did look dreamy. I was fighting off those early morning blurs but holy, my vision was super clear like 3 minutes back! I dint want to distract my friend on the wheels, but I could not contain the excitement. With the speedometer wondering why we were not on par with the designated speed limit, we were covering the road but the invisibility had worsened. Thankfully, the road was not obstructed. If you think I am exaggerating, take a look at this pic that was captured before it got fully blown into white silence of invisibility.
That was the limit. We needed to put the pieces together and solve the puzzle. The other two sleepy-heads in the backseat also woke up to our loud curiosity. Obviously, they couldn’t sleep after. The element of fog, mist and mystery is the underrated Triangle Lake. We drove ahead into the parking lot and pulled up the car facing east. No no, my sense of direction is not sound. The sun was coming out, and that is how I was sure. All the dew drops in the leaves, and the birds in the trees had braced up for their morning work out of leaning down and flying high. Untouched beauty danced in front of our eyes like this . . .
What might have otherwise been an ordinary lake on our way to a destination in our road trip, turned out be a show-stopper! Perhaps, all of us needed to revisit the chapter of perspectives and aesthetics in life. Never undermine anything in life just because something dint seem glamorous or attractive on the outside. Maybe the sun and the stars had not aligned to give you the best view. More so, maybe you were at the wrong place at the wrong time. That does not make the place any less pristine. That doesn’t make the actual view any less beautiful. When you visit a place, get into its soul and understand its character. And it will offer you more than you can imagine. Apart from surreal views and calm, the Triangle lake obliged to give us some amazing pictures like the ones below. There is so much symmetry in there. If you observe closely, you would not know if the subjects are looking at the camera or away from it. I guess the sun and the mist did the magic on this beautiful day! It was magically intuitive . . .
More often than not, photographers plan their mind, and plan trips to capture the beauty of this planet. I guess places offer you, what they wish to show on the very day you are present there. They are characterized by terrific mood swings. Until we understand that, we will remain the most ignorant species on Earth. One more on the perspectives . . .
I am going to spice this up with some pictures for Oregon is a photographers’ paradise. Of course I can’t do justice to the 3 GB card of images, but my favorite few that would show the place well, is posted here. This blog post is the next part of my Oregon travelogue series. Refer to the first post here if you haven’t read it yet.
Part 2 of the three-part Oregon series is Siuslaw National Forest, a treasure in the bustling rainy state. Located on the midpoint of the northwest capital Portland and Eugene, Siuslaw stretches across with its sand dunes and vegetation,backed by the water-bed of the Pacific. En route to the forest, we halted at a small dock area that had a lot of recreational boats and other water sport activities. It was meant for private boats and jet boats and thus people seemed to rush to the area right in the morning to secure a space for their boats. The day dint feel too hot, probably because it was not even 9 am, and the fact that we were so close to the waters, chilled the air. We were the only car looking for a petite parking lot surrounded by thumping RVs. Every time I spot an RV on the road, my bucket list pops up in my head to add the same old unfulfilled item. RVs trailing the boats on the road are a scary scene, that leaves the smaller cars speeding past them as though they are trembling in fear of the RVs size. Here is a picture that summarizes the first leg of the day, where I am already lost into the morning scene.
After a trailer of the coast’s beauty, we got back on the road heading towards the actual national forest. We dint quite know what was up ahead the curves but isn’t that the intention? Get on the road. Turn and twist as it bends. Enjoy the views. Explore what it offers. Road trips are similar to life philosophies. You can’t always plan until the last psi of your tire. It is best enjoyed when you take it as it comes. Guarded by tall conifer-like trees, we were clueless as to why the roads were narrowing up the hill. But the kaleidoscope views that the bridges and the tunnels offered us, was beyond description. Here’s your sample.
One by one, the scenery on our two sides, started to withdraw themselves, as though the curtain was raising to the actual show. Few trees stole the view and I wouldn’t blame them. City planners have tried to come up with legible boards like the one that reads ‘CONGESTION’ in the picture below. Trust me, it is an irony. You feel more liberated and freed of the city’s congestion here.
By now, out seats had pushed us to the front, and we were holding ourselves from falling off to maintain the car’s balance on the road. World’s calmest ocean had readied to show herself to us, the minuscule fellow species, and the grand opening of the coast muted our senses, unlike a conventional stage show. Here is the spectacular moment for you, that took our breaths away.
Sand Dunes –
As we breathed loud to get our stamina back, we saw a bunch of sign-boards alerting us of the sand dunes ahead. For a moment we thought we were going to drive amidst the dunes, and we were thrilled that we would get some fun views like the ocean roads. Little did our minds work at that time. Sand dunes are heaps of loose sand that gather in hoards and hoards across a vegetation. The sign boards were advertisements of the ATV companies that would allow us to rent or take a ride with licensed ATV drivers. We drove to the farthest one in the stretch and finally decided to shed our laziness to get off and see what it was all about. After some splendid views, no one was ready to move, awaiting more such views. But this laziness did not last long as our group’s name was called to board the vehicle. What we enjoyed for the next 30 minutes was sheer fun driving in the highs and lows of the dunes, racing against other vehicles and motorcycles. Contrary to our intuition, it was freaking cold in there, with sun-god shining yellows and whites on our heads. After spitting the last of the sand granule out, we decked up to the treasure of this northwestern national forest – Cape Perpetua! But before we head there, here is a glimpse of the mossy sand dunes for you!
Cape Perpetua –
Cape Perpetua, according to the geographical definition, remains the hub of tides and erosion. The park ranger at the visitor center, had told us that the timing and the day was perfect for high tides at the Thor’s well. If we reached the Thor’s well in the next 4 hours, cinematic high tide splashes would be welcoming us. It is funny how exotic locations are considered cinematic. Creators use cinema as a window to the world, and show landscapes from life. To the viewers, dreamy locations come from the celluloid.
Anyway, the short trail to the rocks of erosion, were covered with fresh berries, and thick leaved plants and herbs. The affluence of rain water and moisture were extended up to the last lamina in every leaf. Another tunnel in the middle of the forest, made us wonder if Oregon is all about hibernation and fighting open to sunshine. The tiny berries seemed to fight the thorns, one ovule at a time before blooming into rich fullness in red and green. The camera loved the location, and started to act like a human, capturing the nuances of nature like an ordinary human eye. A yellow flower, focused out in the picture is a classic example.
The diverse landscape and all of the vastness that Oregon offered me, made me think that anyone who visited this place, would learn to appreciate life, nature and all of the bliss around. I don’t think it spared the engineers who built the roads to the coast. The first view from the flat roads is that of the lofty mountains. As you keep driving, the road elevates and the sea becomes visible. I had never seen the coast from an elevation like that, ever before. On top of it, mountains on one side, with ocean on the other, just visit Oregon I say! And the engineering marvel of the road smoothly tilts the farther side of the traffic for a seamless view. So your scenic view does not get obstructed or overshadowed by vehicles on the opposite lane. Did the engineer’s aesthetic sense just get refined in this heaven? Or was it the mountains that asked for a better view of their wavering neighbor?
After having waited for every other wave, like a seashore, we still wanted to stay there and never go back. It would have been at least an hour since we had talked to each other. Nature silenced us. Rather humbled us. We gave each other a hesitant look after the pop up of google flight reminder. We wanted to undo that act and continue not talking to each other. We hated each other for an unknown reason at that moment. Maybe it was the splashing waves, or the towering mountains. Nobody stopped us though. But we had to go back! To our lives, to the routine and the challenges. To face them better this time. To live life!
But Siuslaw let us take one last look as we parted the forest, trust me we remained silent for longer . . .