Saturday Evening Post #97: Learning to Isolate

Bettcha thought this was going to be about staying at home and virus stuff.


Someone once said, “Photography is the art of exclusion.”
Sometimes I’ve thought the viewfinder in the camera should have a little gilt-edged gold frame inside. So we can see what our masterpiece is going to look like enshrined forever on the wall
Because if nothing else, using a camera forces us to put our subject in the frame and exclude all else around, no matter how interesting it it might be.

And so I say to the viewer, “Look at this”, and they don’t get the option to see all the things I’ve left out. Unless of course it’s an handphone shot, with those atrocious wide-angle views. Then I get my feet in every shot. 🙂

I’ve quoted my great mentor, John Harris, a few times, when he’d look at a print or slide, and say, “You’ve got to look within the frame to see the picture that it contains. That is where the gold is.”

It’s a magic of pointing out the line, the light, or perhaps the movement that would otherwise have passed by and not be noticed, let alone photographed.

When it come to ‘seeing’, we are able to show not only what we see, but how we see it.  There is also another form of seeing.  I may close my eyes and say, “Oh, now I see.”

One thing I’ve noted from the lockdown is how much we are ‘story-telling’ people. I don’t mean making up some novella, but just day to day conversation.  Zoe, at my local coffee shop is Greek, her hubby is Irish. She was telling the other day of the ‘fun’ of organising that wedding to keep both sides placated. I had a friend who married an Indian lass, he, was Greek. Another amazing intertwining of cultures for the wedding organiser.  But we chatted back and forth (through our well adjusted surgical masks, -well hers was a handmade one) about the various aspects of the events. Building word pictures and picking up on each others view of the events.  We are story-telling people.

If nothing else for me, the camera has always been a tool of story telling. A tool, that opens, my eyes and the eyes of anyone who views my photos, of the wonders of this amazing planet. The astonishing creatures that we share it with.
The breathtaking sunsets, the wide open vistas, the ranges of mountains that roll on in increasingly rich blues into the distance.

As Bruce Cockburn, a Canadian song writer says,

I stand here dazzled with my heart in flames
at this world of wonders…
Red-gold ripple of the sun going down…
in this world of wonders.

I’ve noted, I fear, I’ve taken to becoming fascinated more by the gruelling events that we are living through. Shock it seems keeps me glued to the tv and the news blogs and podcasts.  The hard stories need to be told, some in the most graphic detail.  But, I’m not the one to tell them right now. I can close my eyes and say, “I see”.
To quote David Duchemin, “I know there is great beauty and wonder out there, all around us, and I’d rather live my life looking towards the light, then fearing the darkness.”

So I take my clumsy tools of light and time and try to bring my vision of the around and help others to share and experience new wonder.

To open our collective heart to the world.

10 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post #97: Learning to Isolate

  1. Very well written, David. I do like the idea of a frame in the viewfinder, sometimes it is difficult to envisage the image correctly.
    And, yes, we do tell a story with every image, sometimes that story includes the mood we are in when we clicked. We are social creatures, and to me, that is the hardest part of lock-down (right next to trying to home school two primary students who, and from anecdotal evidence from other parents and teachers, have decided they have had enough of school on line. They are desperately missing their mates. Sure we can zoom, skype, message, telephone each other but it is not the same as having a coffee or meeting anther bird nerd on the road. (Sorry, off on a tangent there).
    A lovely image to complement your narrative.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. G’day, All good.
      It’s been a tough journey so far, and I don’t think its going to get any easier in a fortnight.
      Just hope we can get some relief to move about. I don’t fancy another month or more locked to an hour up and down the footpaths.
      I do feel sorry for the kids, (my grandaugher is doing year 6). But I suppose resiliance is a great treat of the young.
      My hardrives are wearing out from constant scouring for a worthwhile pic or two to publish.



  2. This is an excellent piece of prose David on how we see the present and how photography ties in with our story telling. I did enjoy your story and insights. One thing I have noted about the Covid is that it has brought to the surface a level of creativity in people over a vast population, with our multi media platforms. Love the Hooded Robin shot also. I have been trying to relocate the Red-capped Robin again, but I think the smoke from last year drove it away. Spring is here now and there is lots of nest building and courting rituals in progress as the Nasho Park is buzzing and chiming. As things return to getting worse again here around about us Covid-wise we just try to keep our distance as best we can, and shop when we know it is quietest. You guys are like living in a war zone there. We missed out on the first and second WWs this is as bad as a third, as it affects the whole world, with the restrictions being like air raids taking shelter from unexpected attacks. Enjoy your week as best you can my friend 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ashley, thanks for the kind response.
      Doing the Saturday post is always a challenge of what to leave out, being frugal with words is not my strong point. Other times it does just seem to write itself.
      I’d love to know what is out in the field at the moment, Dorothy and I rely so much on local ‘intellegence’ to plan our forays.
      It will be like having to start all over again at one level.
      I’m not even sure, now, if we will get much of a relief at the end of the six week State of Disaster, if we then move back to level 3, then it will mean we are still self-quarantined only out for the Four essential reasons.
      It will begin to have shades of “ghetto” and we’ll be ‘ring-fenced’ by suburb. Time it seems will have to tell.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. !#@$%^ computers! I had a system upgrade the other day and for some reason WordPress is causing problems. I seem to be able to make a comment by filling in my details each time, but I can’t “Like” your post or comments. Sigh. Anyway, I did enjoy your musings on isolation of one sort and another. Let’s hope we can get back out there very soon now spring is well and truly on its way. Keep well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh, the joys of updating. I ended up partitioning the iMac drive and installing a clean Catalina, all seemed to work ok, but I’ll lose a few older programs, so at this stage have kept going with Mojave.
      Not sure if its a WordPress thing, sometimes WP does make life more complicated than it needs.

      I was getting a bit down over the past weekend, mostly frustrated by just getting too tired to bother doing much. Feel a bit better now that Chairman Dan has hinted at the road forward. I’m just hoping that suburbs with high rates aren’t ‘ring-fenced’ as some are demanding. My side of town is top of an very unwelcome list of active cases.
      I don’t want to see us become some sort of ‘ghetto’ with limited movements.
      Time will tell.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I still can’t “like” your blog piece, but at least I am now allowed to like your response, and what’s more, this time I didn’t need to sign in. I shall just put it down to one of those computing mysteries.

    It’s a real problem of whether we all need to be in it together, as our leaders keep telling us, or whether to let some have more freedom because of the lower risk of their becoming infected. Fortunately for me I’m in an area with very few cases. It seems to me better to let us all get out and about more in terms of the great outdoors, but clamp down on gatherings of any size indoors. I doubt people are going to be infected by going to watch BSKs, or spotting Tawny Frogmouths, but they are by going to nightclubs. Luckily for me, I have absolutely no interest in going to nightclubs! But I do want to get out and watch the birds doing their thing now spring is here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha!, no you’ll not catch me and my lens at a rockconcert, nightclub, sporting event or political gathering anytime in the near or distant future.
      I know I’ve said it before, but I would feel much safer in the middle of the WTP sewerage plant, than walking the malls of my local shopping complex. And certainly having a cuppa and sandwich on the shores of the pondages than sitting in the foodhall.
      I think Dan will do as good a job as most in getting us all secure going forward. Just have to wait to see what the following Sunday brings. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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