Sunday, June 12, 2016

Weekly West Coast 2016 - Comfort Zone

I've mentioned that taking photos for this project helps to get me out of the house on days when I might otherwise stay on the sofa.  It also gets me out of my head. Instead of mulling and worrying and pondering and completely missing out on the world around me, I'm learning to pay attention. I'm noticing things I might have missed if I had been focused on my thoughts.

Recently I've been finding that taking pictures is forcing me out of my comfort zone.  I'm also discovering that my comfort zone, much to my surprise, has become uncomfortably small.  It's been interesting to notice what's worrying me when I'm taking a photo.

The pictures below aren't the best, but they're all ones that caused internal discomfort on some level.  I'm pleased that I took them anyway, though in most cases I'm not particularly pleased with the results.  

Oooh. This is a good one.  It's not a good picture, but the taking of it set off all kinds of alarm bells  The local first-responders were lined up on both sides of the road collecting donations for Fort McMurray.  I stopped, made a donation, and asked if it would be OK to take pictures to share. Absolutely terrifying on so many levels.  When my phone's battery died after three pictures I was thrilled to have a reason to make my escape.

That this one caused discomfort surprised me.  I had never seen a flowering palm tree before, and I wanted to get pictures.  The tree was in that vague strip of land between the sidewalk and the road.  Who owns that land? That the tree might have been on someone's property had me worried that I should be asking permission to take photos. Thankfully the verge-police did not come and arrest me.

Oh, the moral dilemma of taking pictures of people without their permission. Even though I knew that my iPhone's camera wouldn't allow us to identify these people, I was still worried about the ethicalness of taking and sharing this photo.

This one was taken in my own front yard.  I had to lean way in to get close enough capture the water droplets on the leaves.  The whole time I was doing so I worried about what the neighbours would think if they saw me.  Not only was it a weird thing to do, but no one needs to see my butt from that angle.

This picture didn't turn out anywhere near like I thought I might, and I probably would have realized it at the time if I hadn't been so concerned about what passersby by would think of the strange woman taking pictures of a ditch...

...or of a puddle.

The whole time I was taking pictures of this thing I worried that someone would question me as to why I was taking so many pictures of it. 

I had to step off the well-marked pathway and into the landscaping to get this picture.  Such a scofflaw! The path is there for a reason.  Not to mention that I looked like a crazy lurker-woman skulking in the shrubbery.  

This was taken from my car before 6 am. I was wearing a ball cap and gloves.  Could I have looked any more suspicious?   I kept expecting security to come  take me away.  I'm sure my anxiously glancing all around added to the illusion that I was casing the joint. 

I was mesmerised by these gravity-defying stacks of rocks in front of my workplace.  Still, the whole time I was taking pictures I was worried that anyone seeing me would think I had created them and accuse me of interfering with the landscaping. 

Sometimes I wonder if I'd be less self-conscious when taking pictures if I was using a camera instead of my iPhone. My Dad, who is a very skilled photographer, rarely gets questioned about his intentions when he's out taking pictures.  With all his gear he looks like a photographer. There's no subtlety about it.  People know he's taking pictures because he's a photographer.  I worry that I look like a criminal, or a crazy lady, or a nincompoop. Still, if I had all his equipment I'd worry that people would expect me to know what to do with it.  What if a real photographer saw me and realized I don't know an f-stop from ISO? I think I'll save my money and stick with my iPhone.  


  1. And does it really matter what others (strangers at that) think of us? Why do we spend our precious energy with us concerns when we could live in the moment and deal with the questions of strangers when they find the courage to ask us what we are doing ;-) Nice to stop in and see what you are seeing and thinking Laurie.

  2. "Deal with the questions of strangers when they find the courage to ask us what we are doing."

    There is so much to take away from that statement Linda. Thanks so much for sharing it. I'm going to carry that thought in a pocket of my mind and pull it out the next time I'm worried about being questioned about my actions. So grateful for that.


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