Was that always there?

October 29, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Have you ever discovered something that has been right under your nose for a long time?  Today, I discovered my patio.  I mean, I knew it was there, I even decorated it with plants and furniture etc, but I never REALLY knew it was there.  Why?  Because we have our main patio in the back yard, and we never think about this courtyard.  photo copy

But here's the thing about Arizona - it's all about the sun.  In the summer, you avoid it, in the winter, you seek it.  That makes the orientation of your house very important here.  Folks like to have a south-facing back yard and patio, because it's sheltered from the sun in the summer and has full sun in the winter. 

We're not that lucky - ours is just the opposite.  But, it turns out that the builders make up for backward houses like ours by adding a front courtyard, so you can enjoy any sun orientation you want.  This finally dawned on me today when I went to sit out on the patio with my morning coffee, only to find it too cold.

photo copy 3 So, I went to the front where there is more sun, and enjoyed the start of my day there.  We had breakfast, and the temp was perfect.  What a discovery!  Of course, the down side is that now I have to start keeping the front clean, too.  I usually ignore it.  Small price to pay.

This revelation made me consider how set we are in our ways, and how reluctant to consider new ideas, or old ideas from a new perspective.  Sometimes you just have to get up off your comfort couch and move around.  I'm not sure if it's coincidence, or if my thought patterns were subconsciously impacted by this, but the other day I was reading an article about what to do when you are out on a photography hunt and you just don't see anything worth photographing.  The article made two points which I think are relevant to life in general.photo copy 2

First, don't just stand in one place and lazily use your zoom to find different views.  Move around.  Get closer, move farther.  The view changes as you do.  I am guilty of this technique.  Planting my arse in a spot and using my wonderful zoom to explore the surroundings.  The article suggested either getting several prime lenses (ie, lenses of different magnifications, but fixed - they don't zoom), or leaving your zoom on one setting and trying to compose with it set.  That will force you to move around. 

How many times have you sat in front of the TV to gather everything you know about the world, instead of getting up and moving around - going out, joining a discussion with some neighbors, attending a lecture, reading a book, whatever.  Easy enough to alter the pattern.

Second, the article asked if you've ever seen a photographer work?  They don't just walk around, wondering if this or that is a good shot.  Instead, they constantly lift the camera to the eye to check it out.  In other words, the view is different through the lens.  I suppose this is because it filters out all the distracting noise surrounding the scene.  Again, I think this same philosophy applies to life in general.  Life is a cornucopia of inputs and sensations, most of which are noise.  We often struggle to separate the value parts from the irrelevant.  Focus is extremely important when performing a task, or evaluating a policy or situation.

Anyways, I learned a lesson today.  My life can be richer if I decide to make it so.  I just have to start opening my eyes.


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