All About Perspective

Little River Gorge Road winds through the western side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The Little River flows along side, a beautiful diversion from the slow traffic on the road.  Safely parked at a pullout, I lock the doors and tiptoe a few feet along the shoulder of the road.  Splitting a gap in the shrubs I carefully step down the rocky bank.  Here in the river bed the sound of flowing water easily drowns out the sounds of the road just a few feet away.

It’s just me and the river.  I close my eyes and listen to the rushing waters.  I skip thin, smooth stones across the water’s surface.  I capture some beautiful photographs of the braided cascades.

Refreshed and ready to move on, I collect my tripod and step towards the bank.  BAM!  Without warning my foot slipped to the right and I was on the ground.

Processing my situation, I feel no pain.  Slippery rocks can be dangerous, and have cut short many hiking trips – thankfully this is not one of them!  I carefully head back to the car to inspect my gear.  My camera isn’t as lucky as me – the lens is bent, and has seized in the mount to prevent removal.  I pack it away and grumble as I start the car.

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Frustration clouds the beautiful mountains rising outside my windows.  I knew better than to walk on river stones without protecting my camera.  But I thought it would be a quick photo walk with little risk.  And now I have a full day of hiking ahead without my camera to capture it!  Grumble.

A bag of trail mix offers to help.  I pull over and grab a handful of goodness.  The chocolate and fresh air help me find a different view of the situation.

My camera is out of service and needs repairs.  They will not be inexpensive.  HOWEVER, there are several worse alternatives that quickly come to mind – broken bones, broken glasses, missing teeth, or calling for help as I float downstream.  The cards I am holding are definitely better than those scenarios.  What else is true?  I get to spend another day in this beautiful park, with perfect weather, and have a lot of sm’ores waiting at the campground.  My situation sounds pretty awesome.

Perspective.  It changes everything.

This episode is a microcosm of my entire trip.  I left home burned out and lethargic, the daily grind having worn my patience and my nerves to the end.  I was going through the motions but feeling pretty crappy doing it, desperate for a spark.

Enter the mountains.

I leave behind my daily problems to navigate rocky trails and scan for bears.  Things that regularly seem important take a back seat here.  My eyes and my mind are free to wander, seeking out new inspirations and fresh ideas.  Fresh air and expansive views reboot my brain.  I feel energized and ready to be productive again.

Photography tip: perspective here works the same way.  A subject looks slightly different through various lenses, a higher or lower angle, or from a different distance.  Explore multiple perspectives to better understand your subject and create more intimate photos!

Back to the mountains.  I hike a challenging trail without my trusty camera gear.  It doesn’t take long to realize that I am faster and much more nimble, able to use both of my hands to scramble.  I float along the trail, covering twice as much ground as my usual pace.  I know that I can’t take professional photos, but today it doesn’t really matter.  I’m on top of Brushy Mountain, and the views are spectacular.

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As always, thank you for reading along!  Please comment below and support my art by visiting my website!

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