Still Learning To See

When things don’t look right…

So much of what I see is filtered by a brain long conditioned to recognize patterns. If that were not the case, my bet is every day would be a confusing and time-consuming challenge to get through.

I had a fascinating experience last month early one morning walking in the dunes of Ludington State Park. In the distance I noticed a dead tree that for some reason didn’t seem quite right. It was just a bit too thick on top. This is what I saw:

Dunes-9569You may be asking “What tree?” It is on the top of the dune just to the left of the top of the large green Jack Pine in the middle.

Because I did not have binoculars with me that morning, I used my camera’s zoom lens to “get closer” (a great technique I often use when birding) and this is what I saw:

Dunes-9568Clearly that dead tree did have something in it! I’d been seeing an Osprey in the area the day before but, from this photograph, couldn’t ID this bird.

Using the electronic zoom on my camera (a Pentax K-7), I further zoomed in on the image and, voilà, it became very clear not only why the tree looked different but exactly who was using it for a perch, a Bald Eagle:

Dunes-9568-2For me this was yet another wonderful lesson about “seeing!” How much of life I simply pigeonhole and, too often, basically ignore because it fits a “normal” pattern. When the brain says “Whoa!!!,” it can be useful to stop in order to see things more closely.

By the way, the Eagle continued to fly by, often quite near, for the rest of the week, a delight to see every time.




This entry was published on August 26, 2014 at 8:31 am. It’s filed under Abstract, John Snell, Patterns, Photograph, Summer and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “When things don’t look right…

  1. Dona Dugay on said:

    Hey John ..nice piece.. Having explored those dunes I learned that those trees have roots that can go down a hundred feet or more.. They often were there before the sand built up and just kept growing as did the sand over time.. Amazing to see Bald eagles there now! Keep up the good work!

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