Sunday, January 11, 2015

Some Outdoor Photos From The Past Few Weeks...As Captured By Alex's Momma



Song:  New Beginnings

Group:  Future World Music


Alex's mother uses her point and shoot camera (Cannon) to take all of her photos.

All of the following photos were taken by her.



The above two photos were taken on the morning of Christmas Eve.
This snowfall had led to the ice on the roads which had made it so slippery
on Christmas Eve night when Alex and I had gone around the neighborhood
looking at all of the Christmas lights.


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The following 9 photos were when we had taken Alex to San Francisco 
for his testing and interview at the University of San Francisco.


On our drive to San Francisco as we crossed the Sierra Nevadas.




As we were entering San Francisco on the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge.

Alcatraz is the small island just visible on the right side of the photo.


The tower on the tree topped hill is Coit Tower.

It was made as a dedication to the firefighters who had fought the fires 
of the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906 (7.9 estimated magnitude).

The top portion of the tower resembles the firefighting hose nozzle of the day.


The top portion of the Transamerica building is also visible (pyramid shaped).
Although it is nothing when compared by height to so many other cities' skyscrapers...
it is the tallest building in San Francisco.



Pictures of Japan Center in downtown San Francisco.




Alex's momma had captured the sun setting as we were driving 
back to Reno from our day at San Francisco.

We were still in the East Bay area in this photo.


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Alex's momma had taken these final 5 photos at a neighborhood park...
a few miles down the mountain from our home...
a little over a week ago.

She had captured, what I call...
a Heaven's Gate Sunset

(When the sun is at its lowest point in the sky as it sets...
and that point lies between the lowest points, or the major opening...
of a set of mountains or of large cloud formations).


Alex's momma had started at the top of the park...


and began walking to the lower portion of the park.


She is near the bottom of the lower portion of the park here.



And here we have it...
a Heaven's Gate Sunset.

The gate in the photo is actually the
main gateway between Northern Nevada and California
(Highway 80).


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My wife and I, both, especially love sunsets, cloud and mountain formations...
along with other natural wonders.

Although my wife's camera is a simple point and shoot...
she wishes to update her camera soon.

When this happens...
Alex will inherit her present camera.

I would like to get Alex interested in taking photos of all which he finds interesting.



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What is wrong with taking photos?
(nothing...something is wrong with not taking photos :)


I have heard some arguments made against the taking of photos 
or other recordings of events.

The claim of so many of these people...
is that by concentrating on the taking of the photos...
a person misses so much of the, then, present.


This argument is unsound for several reasons.


It is based on several false premises...
and does not take into account the workings of the human mind.



The first false premise is...
 that the taking of a photo takes much concentration.

With the point and click ease of the majority of cameras...
and the heavily automated functions of all but the very few...
and especially with the large view screen on most cameras...
there is an almost instant and an almost uninterrupted view 
of everything at all times...
so you will have missed nothing.


The taking of the photos does not require conscious thought.

It is a subconscious reaction to a perceived interest.

In the event where it is a projected point in time where the event will happen...
the person is far more in tune with his surroundings...
and so...
is actually experiencing far more of the present than those who do not take photos
because he is paying attention to all of the clues which allow him to predict
the immediate future...and so, allows him to capture a fleeting moment...
because he is ready to capture the shot.



The second false premise is...
the implied argument that living in the moment is how a person should live.


This is to live life in the default mode
(this is how a toddler thinks).


A person who thinks in a wider scope...
and with the future in mind...
knows that only by having planned for the future...
may the present be fully enjoyed.

How is this so?

By allowing the future to motivate us...
and how the planning for it alleviates worry for the present...
only then will there exist the peace of mind to fully enjoy the present.



Which then brings us to the third false premise...
that of the implied argument that living selfishly
 is the only way to experience the present.


Why do I think this is an implied premise?

Because we take pictures not only for ourselves...
but for others to enjoy...
and not only for the immediate future...
but for the distant future.

Even had one only taken photos of beautiful scenery...
and even were no one else with you
because you had no children or family at that point in your life...
it does not mean that you would never have others in your life.

My father had taken many slide shots when he was a youth in the Navy.
He had traveled to many countries throughout the Pacific.

Many years later...
after he had married and had us...
I had seen his slides.

Besides my great enjoyment of them...
I had seen how much my father had greatly enjoyed 
re-living his experiences through his slides.

It was through these experiences of my father's slide shows
 that I had developed a deep desire to see the world myself...
to experience the great wonders of the world...
and to record them for my reminiscence...
and for my future children's enjoyment...
 and as motivation for them in life.


By not taking photos of others...
or for other important people in our lives
for them to fully enjoy at later times in their lives...
is to not only rob them of experiences captured in great detail...
or of great things in the world to see...and thereby motivating them in life...
it is a demonstration of the caring of the photographer for that person.

How so?

How not?

It is not what a person says...
 it is what a person does that truly tells of his intents and desires.

It is not only for ourselves that we live...
if we are to truly live.

By taking photos of your children or other significant others...
or of areas of great beauty for them to enjoy...
it indicates you deeply care about them.



Another false premise...
is the implied argument that our memories are infallible.

Anyone who has looked back at events... 
as re-experienced through photos or other recordings...
knows this intuitively.

Through the photos...
 the event...
once again...
comes alive.

However...
the part which is telling...
is the realization that the event had long been forgotten...
and had been gratefully re-lived through the photo.

A rich memory had been brought to the forefront of the mind...
only because of the captured moment.



This brings us to the way the human mind works...
ways which are not considered in the original argument
against taking photos for fear of not experiencing the present.


------------------


Now...
before I go on...
again...
I am neither highly educated...
nor am I an expert in anything.

(Although I have a Bachelor of Science degree from a University...
...it is not considered to be highly educated compared to all of whom
have earned a Masters or a Ph.D...
especially since I am still amazed that I had graduated at all  :)  

The below is just what makes sense to me...
using tidbits of information from here and there over the years...
and coming to a soft conclusion using common sense
(realizing that I do not have hard evidence...
and so, coming to the most plausible conclusion with the information I have).

Although I have an interest in science as a whole...
I have not read this in any neuroscience text...
and I do not have an ultimate authority to which to point...
or quote.

However...
I am quite sure what I say could be mathematically supported
as to the physical storage necessary for the brain to do otherwise
than something similar as to what I state below.


Here is my reasoned argument:


The human mind stores memories...
not as a whole unit...
but in separate segments...
by function and by category and priority...
and in separate locations.


All memories are...
are encoded directions as to quantity, quality, and timing...in a particular order.

Even though there is an extremely large area for memories...
the brain is neither large enough...
nor does it have the necessary dedicated storage areas to fully remember
everything one has experienced as a whole hard copied recording...
especially considering that all of the sense's recordings
(of which the visual would take the most memory)...
would have to be unique and synchronized.


What the brain does...
is to automatically encode directions as received by the senses.

 The code is the instructions for the stimulation of certain areas
of the brain (the brain has the hardware and the default instructions) which...
 through the great number of synapses...
the number of differing areas...
and the possible permutations of...
the differing quality of signals and the order of signal layout...
all lead to the ability to store information as instructions...
instead of an actual chemical or electrical imprint of the everything 
in a physical area of the mind
(as would an old time film video do).

Think of the brain as an automated orchestra.

Think of the senses as microphones.
The senses convert the smells, touch, taste, sound, and vision...
to electrical signals...just as microphones do...one for each of the senses.

Within the electrical signals...
are the quantity, quality, and the particular timing and mixture...
 of that which was perceived.

A playback is the re-stimulation of the areas of the brain as directed
by the imprinted signals.

The automated orchestra gets the electric signals to play...
which would then be the representation of the original experience
as directed by the encoded directions.

The orchestra plays the same music...
it sounds the same...
but the song is not a crystallized hard copy of the original...
merely the re-playing of it as per the instructions.


The problem which would arise if every memory were at the forefront of the mind
would be that there would be such a large amount of information to search through...
even though it is categorized by similarity...
that the memories upon which decisions were made...
would simply take too long.


So...
it is by necessity that information is prioritized...
and often...generalized...
so as to allow us to make timely decisions...
and to remember particularly poignant memories.


My point is...
unless one has a photographic memory...
although the memory is still there...
because the mind prioritizes memory recall by... 
strength of signal input...
frequency of signal input...
or is somehow an anomaly...
which would then make a category / subcategory search quick and easy...
it wouldn't stand out so easily in the mind.

Especially if it were similar to many other memories.

However...
a photo is a trigger for the original memory.

It allows the mind to match quickly and easily by exact visual detail.

As a photo is unique when considering
the possible combinations and the mixture and timing of the information
and the matching of the new coded visual information...
to that of the old...
which would then bring up the complete code for all of the other encoded
information for all of the senses.

The instructions which are a match are sent to stimulate the same areas
as those which were first stimulated when they were first perceived...
in its entirety. 


--------------


I thought it necessary to try to impress upon people
as to the actual fallibility of our memories as we gather experience...
as it is by necessity that we must categorize and generalize information
so as to make it functionable in a timely manner...
and in doing so...
of how we lose many of the details...
or of the actual memory itself...
until triggered by a similar stimulus
(a photo would give an exact visual stimulus).


Why did I think my explanation to be necessary?


Because I am constantly amazed by how many times I have heard the...
 'missing the present by becoming distracted with a camera' (non)argument.

I am even more astounded by the great lack of people...
especially by young adults (who have every reason to take them)...
who fail to photograph unique events or locations...
especially if they are parents.


However...
what really blows my mind...
is when I overhear people at vacation spots...
especially at particularly beautiful spots at the location they had spent
a lot of money, effort, and time, to reach...
and to not take photos of them...
and then to mindlessly claim that...
"once you've seen one mountain (lake, ocean...etc) you've seen them all".

How could they not realize that this very statement defeats
the very reason for their going to that particular location in the first place.

If it is important enough to travel many hours and to spend a lot of money to see...
it is important enough to record the future triggers of all the senses...
not only for their future selves...
but for others to enjoy...
especially when their children and grandchildren
may get great enjoyment and become more highly motivated in life by...
not only knowing the value that beauty plays in life
(through the value that you had placed in it)...
but (in the case of young adults)
it also tells them that you had thought of your children and grandchildren...
even before they were born.


On our recent snow train ride...
I was positively astounded by the great number of people...
especially by those in the skyview railcar...
who never took out cameras.


I can only surmise that so many travel through life
not caring about the future.

They think that there is always more to experience...
and that it is okay to let old memories fade.


My argument against such a way of thinking:


If this were a sound way of living...
then only the most recent...
or the most standout memories throughout life...
would be remembered.

It is to allow oneself to have lived a short life.

How so?

As life is made rich through the richness of the memories re-lived...
and it is made long and satisfying through these same memories...
to have only the relatively few easily remembered memories...
without the visual triggers which would then bring out the full
detailed instructions of the original experience...
details and whole memories become lost.

A life not filled with many rich memories...
is a life which seems short and unsatisfying.


Again...
this premise is easily supported by looking back at previously long faded memories...
the ones which had been triggered by a look at old photos...
and which had been brought back to life in full detail
precisely because of those photos...
and without which...
would have remained long forgotten.

If you have ever experienced this...
then my case is made.



Conclusion?
(I know...yay...finally! :)


While many of us remember many of our memories...
by default...our mind generalizes experiences (and so, many of the details are lost)...
and fades the past (except those which are exceptionally emotionally charged)...
and as that which is remembered loses much of its great detail...
it loses much of its accuracy.

A photo is a trigger for the original instructions of the experiences...
and so, they may be re-lived in great detail...
and in far greater numbers...
especially as we age.


So...
instead of living life with only the greatest hits in your movie catalog...
and the rest being old and faded...and with many more being hopelessly 
unsearchable as the result of disuse and the ravages of age jumbles the filing system...

live life with many triggers of the full and accurate experiences
which would then become a holographic re-living of those 
times which would have otherwise been lost...
and of which could also be shared with others...
thereby enriching their lives.


Huh?


Take lots of photos  :)














2 comments:

  1. There have been times in the past when I later wished that I had taken a moment to slow down and reflect on what I was seeing rather than just rushing to take a photo and leaving. But when I do enjoy the moment, I love having the photos so that I can re-live the moments later. I'm also finding that writing a blog and publishing photos help to make me more aware of these moments as I'm in them, and in that way it actually enhances my appreciation of them, not only later through memories, but at that very instant as well.

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  2. But that is just it. The problem is the rushing, not the photo taking. Take in the moment first, get a feel for the shot, try to capture THE shot. By searching for the shot that captures the feel, you will have experienced the moment before having took the photo. This is what shall make the photos so special.

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