Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A stunner of a day

The Instagram caption for my photo above describes the day today: “Absolute stunner of a day in Auckland! First day in AGES without a cloud in the sky, & warmer, too.” It ended up being the first truly spring day yet, really.

I left for today’s first errand late this morning, and I thought it was a bit cool. In fact, I actually thought to myself how unusual it was to still be wearing a jacket this late in November.

But then I noticed the totally blue sky, and the day started to warm up. When I went out again in the early afternoon, it was quite warm: I didn’t need a jacket anymore. Had I not been so busy, I’d have taken advantage of the day by going and taking some photos. But, the beautiful day was a surprise, and I had things to do.

That’s why I took the photo above from our deck—although I realised afterward that anyone can post a photo of the harbour or whatever, and tourists certainly do. This is what someone who actually lives here sees as an everyday sort of thing.

The blooming plant in the lower left is a cabbage tree (Cordyline australis), endemic to New Zealand. A little farther along on the left is a tree fern—I’m not sure of the species, just that it’s not the silver fern. Tree ferns are endemic to New Zealand, too, and there are several varieties. That particular one has a trunk that’s probably more than 2 metres tall (more than 6½ feet).

Over the years, I’ve shot many photos and videos from that same spot on our deck. For example, this cabbage tree is the bottom photo in a post from March, 2015, and the group this cabbage tree’s part of were in Day 5 of my “Nature photo a day” series earlier this year.

My first video from this post is from nearly seven years ago, and was just a quick camera test. The point where it stops is where the cabbage tree is now: It hadn’t grown that tall yet (the ground at that point is a full storey below the deck):

This particular tree, and the others in the group, were first in one of my videos the middle of last year, “Rainy Day in Auckland”:

And again on New Year’s Day this year:

The point of this isn’t that this tree is special, or even that particular view is, but rather that it’s great to be able to revel in the ordinary, and to celebrate what nature and life just hand to us without us having to do a thing. There’s one other thing, though: Sometimes what’s at hand is great.

I don’t have terribly fancy video or still cameras. In fact, most of my photos are taken on my iPhone 5C. I’ve been using smartphones to experiment and learn to take better photos ever since I posted about doing that in December 2014.

Through this, I’ve found that using what’s available is a great way to focus on what I’m trying to create. Personally, I think the challenge of the restrictions from not having “perfect” equipment doesn’t restrict creativity—it unleashes it.

The same thing is true for the scenes around us, too. There are numerous ways to look at the same view, and depending on how we approach it the scene can help convey any number of ideas, feelings, and emotions.

So, having limitations doesn’t have to be bad—it can be strangely liberating.

Mostly, though, a stunning day like today just makes for something awesome to be enjoyed, and I certainly did. It was a stunner of a day in Auckland today.

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