Well, you may not have missed me, but I missed you. My travels this month (and I travel light, mind you) kept me away from posting here the past two weeks. Much has happened, and much I am still digesting. It's what a rail journey across Canada can bring to you: the romance (and tedium) of long-distance travel with all the glorious sights, smells, and tastes you need to stay awake past midnight. Good coffee helps.
It puts me in mind of that conversation I've been holding in my head for many years, the one where I muse over the subtle distinctions between traveling and wandering, and why a curious tourist like me would fret over such things. But fret I must, because I'm sure those distinctions may very well inform the way I see and photograph my surroundings. Traveling, I submit, suggests a plan, a purpose, a destination. I take my Fuji and lenses, square my jaw, and set about the task of a modern-day Lowell Thomas to share my own personal joie de la découverte. Without the narration, of course. But trust me, it's fun.
Wandering, on the other hand, is something altogether unique. When we got to Montreal, for example, my wife and I checked into our little hotel in the old French Quarter, and from there simply walked around and explored for nearly a blissful and mindless week. This is iPhone territory, mes amis. With only the sketchiest of plans and absent an itinerary, the veteran wanderer is free to react with virgin eyes to the amazing, beautiful scenes encountered at every turn. Or maybe that's the virgin wanderer with veteran eyes? No matter. The traveler is a grown-up, the wanderer is forever a child.
A painter has the ability to linger over an image for a long time and be fully involved in it, an opportunity not as easily accorded to the photographer. So for many of the photos I took while visiting these wonderful places, I'm going to try to practice what I preach. Step back for a while; let an image rest in your mind and come back to it with fresh eyes and new perspectives; put a part of yourself in there, make it personal and yes, even intimate. Let it tell a story.
Trust me, it's fun.
Good coffee helps.