I see

ocean viewers

For most of my life I have been aware that the world doesn’t always align into reality, to match the vision I have of it.

This is not uncommon – especially when we mortals are young, we often let our expectations guide our actions and reactions – so we are often living a life that is ruled by everything in reality that we didn’t see coming.

However, for myself, I’m not talking about misaligned expectations of what I think people ought to be like, or that I anticipate people, in general, to behave ‘a certain’ way, and when they don’t I feel like my worldview is completely off the rails…

For me, it’s hard to put into words…it’s apparent in almost all facets of my life – but perhaps it’s best explained through the lens of one of my greatest passions: photography.

There are times when I have an idea…a vision…of a particular photo I want to take. It’s in my mind’s eye, just as vivid and ‘real’ as anything you might ascribe to a memory you’ve had of a place you are super familiar with.

I become obsessed with making that photo a reality…Sometimes it involves a place I’ve never seen or been to before. Sometimes it involves a human or animal I’ve never seen before. The thing is – I’m not just being creative or imaginative…I’m not simply thinking of an idea that I think might end up looking good. I am seeing it. It’s 100% real, and I am not happy until I get to see the collision of the reality I am perceiving with the resting reality that fills up the background for most other humans.

I don’t think I have any special photography skills. I’m not some sort of prodigy. I certainly have no place teaching anyone the basics of lighting, composition, field of view, or tripod stick placement. All I do is line up all the impossible conditions, to make the images I already know exist, come into existence in this world.

This makes it all the more maddening when I know I am aligned to take a picture of a particular person – but I don’t ‘know’ them yet, or they live in a far off land. Or when I am confident of an encounter with a particular animal, but I have no clue where to seek it.

Currently I have an image in my head of a Mojave Desert Tortoise. I’ve gotten very low to the ground, and there’s this wonderful ‘bigger than life’ perspective, as this ancient fellow purposefully stalks forward, and I catch him with a highly contrasted blue sky against a harsh reddish-orange ground.  I’m pretty sure this about the time of year when tortoises go underground and partake of their version of hibernation – so I have to just let this image exist within my alternate future memory… it’s an incredible itch that I can’t scratch, yet.

Stuff like that happens to me CONSTANTLY – with work, with people, with road trips, with music… It’s how I see things.  99% of my creative endeavors are nothing more than me trying to find a way to convey the reality that I have already witnessed in my mind.

I have no clue if this is ‘a little odd, but not super unusual’ or some sort of unique brain condition… All I know is that storytelling and artistic creation aren’t just hobbies or ways to express myself – they are how I stay sane.

I’m the sensical turtle and I just scratched an itch by writing this.


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