They say a picture is worth a thousand words but often I believe it’s the other way around. Its a picture that evokes a thousand words and while picture can tell a story, that story is heard differently by each viewer. Only words can bring to each viewer the unique experience of the photographer. That person behind the lens who lives the story of the picture.
As evocative as any photo is, it still it falls short of communicating the moment. Don’t you agree? No?
You, Dear Viewer don’t know how I sat waiting in those few minutes before capture, watching the growth of the shimmering reflection of the moon on the constantly moving water. You won’t know that a few moments ago that reflection didn’t exist.
I know the story you see, the story of the picture not taken. Had I captured that other shot, you Dear Viewer would have experienced a different scene, and perhaps developed a whole new story, or experienced a different memory. But instead, you have this one.
This one where the daylight has already been transformed into twilight and then quickly into night and the sea has moved from vast deep blue to another-ness. Now the water is defined as an unending deeper darker beauty.
While around me Dear Viewer is a bewitching mixture of light and movement and sound that is paradoxically, synchronous. There is a story to be told by the path birthed of light. A path not carved until the moments leading up to this snapshot. Yet, now the story is suddenly defined by that very transcendence.
All it took was a scant few minutes and our thousand words change.
Dear Viewer, have you ever pondered on that shot not taken? The one two or five or ten minutes before this one? Or are you only wrapped in the beauty of the moment that you witness?
This shot may suggest to you the reef right at the very end of your line of sight. There in the background. What you will not experience Dear Viewer is the sound of the waves breaking over that reef. Sadly, you will not experience the awe on realizing that though the reef is over a kilometer away, the strength of the water is powerful enough for the sound to carry into your ears as you sit in your place of solace on the sand. The power within the sound is somehow subdued by its familiarity. For you know that though they beat and break, its because they are waves and you trust that they shall remain distant and non threatening in spite of their power. Here from my vantage point that sound is but a distinct reminder of the constancy, not the danger or power of the ocean where tide and wind are sometimes cruel master.
Is the story different from that which had formed in your mind?
Does the size of the moon and its distinct shades move you with wonder at the smallness of your place in the world? They do to me. From where I sit that moon seems ready to fall out of the sky. And that would not be surprising for it is clearly yearning to be closer to its brother ocean. But sadly, it can only longingly look upon the seas from an ever growing distance. Now, it is already a hair’s breadth higher in the darkening sky than it was a moment ago.
Yes, sister moon doesn’t seem that far away. Surely, thousand of miles of space cannot separate us for the moons light is so powerful. Iron fist in lamb skin glove this incandescent power. Moon’s light touches the ocean after all and shines upon the cloud that dares to walk across her path.
Do you hear the sound of the wind cutting through the palm fronds Dear Viewer? Do you know its whipping and lashing in different directions, swirling across and behind me as it beats across my exposed skin? Do you stop to wonder how it is that wind which you cannot see can result in such distinct and different levels of sound? In the tree above, in the ocean in front, as it flaps my trouser, as it bends around my ear? Unmistakably disparate sounds all from a single source strangely culminating in a harmonious reconnection.
Would you have guessed at the crab next to my leg, slowly making its way across the sand? Distracting me as I tried to focus, and did you know that it only stood still once it heard the distinctive click of the shutter?
As I reflect Dear Viewer, I find it strange that despite all this happening around me, its not wind or sound on my mind but just the light. That powerful luminosity emanating from that not-so-near orb in the sky. So Dear Viewer after all the words, are we in the same place after all, with your view and my words? Was it never a choice after all? Did the picture capture all that emotion, feeling, sound and physical experience? Perhaps it did, but perhaps even the beauty of Half-Light sometimes we still need a 1000 words.