Sunsets Over Lake Crescent and Reflections on Using Technology

August 15, 2016

Nearing sunset, Lake Crescent

Nearing sunset, Lake Crescent

“Some of my favorite definitions of wealth include the number of sunsets the family sees each year.”
— Mary Pipher, The Shelter of Each Other: Rebuilding Our Families

On two of my evenings at Nature Bridge, I took the time to walk to the Lake Crescent Lodge to watch the sunset.  These moments, and my early mornings on the dock waiting for sunrise, most closely approached what I expected from the retreat — time to settle, sit still, and quiet my thoughts, and rediscover my groundedness in the world.

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While painting was my personal focus for these days away, I was very happy with the photographs I took, too.  I got so many good ones.

It was perhaps a bit jarring for my colleagues on retreat to see me on my iPad so frequently, but I use this technology to help me manage my photographing work.  I took over 300 photos while I was at Nature Bridge, and I have learned that it is overwhelming to edit and caption so many photos at the end of a trip.  So I use my iPad as a handy tool to upload, edit, and caption my photos in small batches as I go along.  So for me, this was not a retreat from the tentacles of technology.  But I can see why people might wonder why I was on my computer so frequently when I was surrounded by all the natural beauty of Olympic National Park.  Perhaps watching me made visible all the time and effort, hidden from viewers, that I put into my photography and this blog.

One of my new friends asked me how much time I spend on the computer every day.  I suppose I am a bit embarrassed and a bit defensive about how much time I do find myself looking into a screen.  More time than I care to admit.  But I don’t have a cell phone, so I am not tethered in quite the same way as millions of other people.  I don’t have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest accounts.  But I do depend on my iPad for email and for uploading and editing photos.  So, yes, I am on the computer a lot.

She also asked me why I take so many photos.  Well, that’s a good question, too.  I take photos because I love to photograph!  I think I am good at it.  It gives me pleasure to share my images with readers of my blog.  But most important, I suppose, is that — like drawing and painting — when I look with a photographer’s eye, I see more attentively, and that gives me a deeper appreciation for the world.

These words of Frederick Franck about drawing, apply for me to photography as well:

“SEEING/DRAWING is not a self-indulgence, a ‘pleasant hobby,’ but a discipline of awareness, of UNWAVERING ATTENTION to a world which is fully alive.  It is not the pursuit of happiness, but stopping the pursuit and experiencing the awareness, the happiness, of being ALL THERE.”
— The Zen of Seeing: Seeing/Drawing as Meditation

While being on retreat did not turn out to be as contemplative an experience as I had expected, I do appreciate being prompted to think about the choices I am making to spend time with my camera or paintbrush.  It’s always good to look at habits and decide whether to continue and recommit, go deeper (to the exclusion of other activities), or let go and find new pursuits.  I’m still committed.

 

 

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5 Responses to “Sunsets Over Lake Crescent and Reflections on Using Technology”

  1. E. Bancroft Says:

    A lovely post, Rosemary. I really like the play of light on the bottoms of the canoes — nicely captured! I also appreciate the Franck quote about the ‘discipline of awareness’.

    You made a comment in a recent post about anticipating daily life in retirement after so many years of scheduled days…. I am just finishing my first year of retirement and feel somewhat uneasy at having let things unfold as my whims dictate. In an attempt to bring greater definition to my days, I tried to list my priorities: which is more important to me — books or films? photography or painting? walking or yoga?

    If you could only take one on a trip, would it be your camera or your sketchbook?

    • Rosemary Says:

      I would definitely take my camera. Since I paint a lot from my photos, I wouldn’t really be depriving myself of painting — I can do that at home later.

  2. shoreacres Says:

    Computers, cameras, canvas, and brushes all are tools. Choosing which to use depends on what we want to achieve.

    I don’t use Facebook, Pinterest, and so on, because I don’t see them as tools. They certainly aren’t amusement, and they don’t feed my spirit — so away with them! I haven’t yet found a reason for a smart phone. If I thought it would provide something I can’t get any other way, I might consider it, but so far I’ve not felt the lack. I did buy a Kindle, and I’ve downloaded two books, but I’ve not yet read them, and the device mostly sits on the shelf and runs down its battery. Poor, neglected thing!

    Of course, things might be different if I had more disposable income, but I don’t, and the monthly cost of a smart phone would be a burden. So, there’s that. But I still manage to take my photos, read my books, and write my blog, and that makes me happy. That’s enough.

  3. Anne Timlick Says:

    Rosemary, all parts of your post today speak to me! your reflections, the Mary Pipher quotation, your photos~ each is layering in a sense of kinship with you.
    I’ll come back to this one- with warm gratitude


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