One Major Challenge When Settling Home After a Long Absence
5 months, 1 week ago 18
Posted in: New Zealand, Seascape

One Major Challenge When Settling Home After a Long Absence

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Settling at Home After a Long Absence

Six months have passed since I penned the article Why I’m Giving Up Life On The Road, which received tens of thousands of readers. The topic, it would seem, is one of major interest among the photography community. I imagine, while many people are hoping to quit their day jobs and hit the road, it may have looked strange that someone who was living that lifestyle was essentially doing the opposite – heading home.

Being home has been a breath of fresh air. Once we found an apartment and got everything set up, it didn’t take long for my wife and I to find our groove, to develop some good habits, to develop some bad ones too, and enjoy our free time. I feel somewhat rejuvenated. But there have been one or two challenges along the way, which were to be expected.

One day, soon after arriving in the UK, I was watching the news. I felt a strange pang of nervousness when the news anchor spoke of the impending financial doom in the UK due to Brexit. Minutes before that I felt fine. Now I was in a mild panic.

Since leaving the UK, my wife and I have experienced an imperceptible change which became blatantly obvious as I watched that news bulletin.

We had slowly moved away from any consistent culture, never living anywhere long enough to become truly integrated. While at the same time, being distant from home meant that we moved free from many of the beliefs or expectations we once had. Our days consisted of watching and photographing sunrises and sunsets in some of the most beautiful parts of the world. Then we relaxed, explored a little, read and drank tea.

Watching the news, I saw a torrent of vapid fear-mongering in every story apart from a cute panda piece at the end. In fact in every newspaper, every news bulletin, and in the speech of normal people around me, I hear regular streams of negativity. We seem to be subsisting on an undercurrent of fear and stress that has somehow been accepted as a normal feeling of everyday life.

When I think back, I’m absolutely certain this is how it has always been. But being separate from everything for so long, enjoying our own bubble, living simplistically, I’d forgotten what this life felt like. I felt like I was physically being boxed in, like a caged chicken.

Even when we watch normal T.V., something I rarely do, I’m saddened by the sheer number of reality T.V. shows that lack any real talent and exaggerate any previous suffering of the contestants. While there are some great T.V. series’ being created nowadays (The Night Of, Fargo, True Detective etc.), regular television is so uninspiring. For example, in the UK we have an immensely popular show called Googlebox, which involves us, the viewers, watching people who are sitting in their living room watching T.V. Could anything be less inspiring or involve less creativity?

When we haven’t been surrounded by so much negativity, and pummelled by the same uninspiring T.V. shows over and over again, we tend to, in my opinion, lead richer lives. Every time we read the news and feel worried, we have the potential to make our world that little bit smaller. Reading about knife crime might make us worry that little bit more about our safety, or the safety of our children, affecting where we choose to go, or how we choose to feel when we do go somewhere.

Maybe I’m just a sensitive chap. Maybe most people can watch the news or hear of terrible things and not be affected by them. I find it very difficult to disassociate from the things I’m watching or listening to.

With that in mind, my wife and I made a decision to stay clear of the news. While I don’t mind the occasional moan, I can’t imagine swamping myself in the daily knowledge of stabbings, children dying, economic crisis that will happen any second, or threats of war.

Some may say I’m choosing to become one of the uninformed, ignoring the important topics affecting our lives. I’m happy to accept that charge. However, when I sit and watch any news program, the vast majority of the news is not something I have any control over, like a young man in London being stabbed, tragically. And for the supposed ‘important topics’, we are often just educating ourselves on one side of an argument, since these broadcasts are rarely unbiased. And ‘educating’ is a very strong word, given the limited information we are given in these bulletins.

Instead of watching mind numbing television, we could watch shows like Planet Earth II, which have the capacity to educate, inspire, and give us a new appreciation of the world we share. It’s a lot better than watching a dating show where all of the contestants are naked, and the single man or woman has to choose a potential partner based on their genitals (that’s a real show).

As Rachel and I made the transition back into ‘normal’ life in the UK, it became obvious that we had to be conscious of the things we do to avoid being dragged back into a mindset that we’d happily forgotten. We’ve kept things extremely simplistic, avoiding the news, not channel hopping, reading more, seeing loved ones, going for morning walks along the coast, and avoiding social media. As with everyone’s lives, we aren’t living a perfect existence, but we have to at least try to keep that more positive, open mindset we seem to have accidentally acquired over the years.

We are determined to continue to exist in a bubble of our own making, worrying to some degree about things that we find important, while enjoying the simple things.

Moving home has given me more respect for the time we spent travelling, during which I had no idea how much I was changing. In the article where I wrote about giving up travelling, I said:

“But what is left at the end of everything, is a married couple who find comfort in a cup of coffee at a nice little cafe, or a morning tea (much of our day involves tea and coffee) at a lake somewhere, watching sunrise.”

As time goes by and we continue to deepen our roots back home, I need to keep reminding myself of this, should I find myself in a life needlessly complicated and filled with other people’s fear, and lack of inspiration.

________________________________________________________

How I Created The Image – Before/After Post-Processing

moeraki before moeraki after

The Cool Bits -Technical Info

Processing Time: 15 minutes
Exposure Blending method: Luminosity Masks in Raya Pro
No. of Exposures: 2
EV Range: 0, +2
Aperture: f/11
ISO: 200
Focal Length: 14mm
Lens: Nikon 14-24 f/2.8
Camera: Nikon D800
Plugins: N/A
Luminosity Masks: To blend exposures
Edited on: Surface Pro 4, Intel i7, 16GB RAM, 512SSD

Workflow Explanation – Moeraki Boulders

This image was created using Raya Pro – The Photoshop Plugin.

A beautiful morning at Moeraki at sunrise. This scene is composed of two images, one for the sky and one for everything else. After a couple of contast adjustments and a virbance/saturation boost, all that was left was some dodging on the rocks and water, and a gentle vignette.

It was a very simple image to process.

Feel free to check out a recent video tutorial I created on how to Dodge & Burn non-destructively: PS Secrets 24: How To Dodge & Burn Effectively in Photoshop.

And this is a video on creating a unique vignette: Quick Photoshop Secrets 9: Awesome Vignette For a Moodier Scene.

Finally, the image was sharpened and resized using the new sharpening tools in Raya Pro 2.0, which is released on the 23rd of February.

As always, I hope you found this useful.

Jimmy

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  • Albert Bronson

    I feel your pain, Jimmy. I cut off watching the news after the American election results were known on November 8 and I feel better for it. In fact, I can’t even watch comedians making fun of Trump and his hangers on. They aren’t funny; they are depressing. In some ways, I always envied people who were uninformed and who didn’t care about the world outside their personal bubble. I didn’t think I could be like that, but I can, and I feel fine.

    • http://throughstrangelenses.com/ Jimmy McIntyre

      I feel like your situation with Trump perfectly mirrors, and is related to, our Brexit – both equally sad, but life goes on. The less we get bogged down in it, and enjoy our time, the better.

  • https://adrianevansphotography.wordpress.com/ Adrian Evans

    well said. i try and avoid the news and the these awful tv shows these days, coffee and google is me caught up in the mornings. All the best :)

    • http://lois-bryan.artistwebsites.com/ Lois Bryan

      yep.

  • http://lois-bryan.artistwebsites.com/ Lois Bryan

    Completely understand. I take breaks from it all myself … I think more and more people are doing exactly that. I frequently have the idiot-box on in the background, but I’m actually spending my time working on images on the laptop. ; ))

  • nidrig

    Thank you for this honest article ! I broke from the news and mainstream and find sometimes difficult to relate to those who didn’t because we have nothing to share, beyond the fear and negativity produced by the medias.

    Btw, it is known that the constant exposure to the news stream, violent and horror movies is producing post traumatic symptoms, as our mind makes no difference if something is happening to us or someone else. If it’s one thing we should educate ourselves about, it’s how our mental/physical/emotions are connected and make wiser choices regarding what kind of “food” we’re feeding our mind with.

    • http://throughstrangelenses.com/ Jimmy McIntyre

      I’ve had the very same experience of not being able to relate to those who still feel passionately about the things they see in the news. I actively try to avoid any discussion on certain subjects, because I can’t muster the same level of anger or frustration at certain events.

  • http://www.bradtruxellphotography.com Brad Truxell

    Great article, Jimmy. I can somewhat relate to your fear and anxiety over the negativity in the news. As an American, today, we are about to embark on a very scary, unknown territory with our new president. The amount of hate, and negativity has myself and my family a bit stressed.

  • http://www.laurinovakphotography.com/ Lauri Novak

    I have not allowed myself to get caught up in television for years. I didn’t pay anything extra for more channels, don’t watch much news as it’s just always negative. I watch enough to stay informed as to what is going on in the world but not enough to let myself get emotional (one way or another) about it all, I get too fired up otherwise. Like you said, I have no control over much of what goes on.

    When I was in college I was into politics, interested and active. Those years learning about and seeing what goes on – or what doesn’t go on – made me completely step away from politics as well. I won’t discuss it. Period.

    Life is so much better when you focus on the beauty of the world around you, focus on the things you can control and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing. This is true in life and in photography – do you. Be you. Stop comparing and seeing where everyone else is heading or what they’re working on. Focus.

  • Conrad

    It’s nice to here other people feel the same way about the news and media as I do. It’s get to be to depressing. Great article Jimmy!

  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/rick-deacon/ Rick D

    Great article, I can totally relate to this Jimmy. I stopped watching any form of regular TV years ago, it just doesn’t interest me, but instead angers me that this is what a good proportion of the population consumes. If I do ever find myself with a remote in hand I always look for documentaries in some form. I have the same issue as Nidrig below, I often have little to say in some social situations when the subject turns to current affairs or last night TV shows, but I’d rather be the quiet introvert who only engages on subjects of my interest than someone who is influenced by the absolute garbage that is broadcast through media!

  • Tomas vdW

    Hi Jimmy, just letting you know I greatly enjoy your articles that blend (ha) both personal stuff with informative photography talk. Thank you!

  • Steven Dimock

    I applaud your decision to limit the news and “reality tv,” to live in a self created bubble.

    Your pangs of concern are very relate-able. I own a small motel and am a photographer. Every time I hear the news and, in particular, with the recent change in our countries “leadership,” I find myself filled with dread. I have friends in India who are experiencing the same thing due to demonitization.

    I appreciate your sharing your thoughts and experience and I appreciate your solution.

  • Stu Jotham

    This article rings true on so many levels. I hate the news and like you have said, some people may say that we are uninformed but I say we are focusing on what matters….our lives. When we start to make our lives better and become more positive, this in turn will rub off on others hopefully. I much rather spend time with someone who has experience in life over experience from the internet or tv shows. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching a couple of series here and there, but when it comes to news and reality tv, I feel like my soul is being suffocated. I hope you guys continue to do what you do and I am sure the itch in your feet will return soon. Thanks for sharing your honesty and I can not wait to get the new update on RP :) Stu

  • Deb

    Hi Jimmy, thank you for the article.
    Chanced upon your blog and love the honesty that is grounded and liberating.
    Keep the articles coming!

  • Garry Pycroft

    A very interesting discussion. Very thought provoking, and leads to questions about the human psyche and ultimately an aspect that feeds back into photography ! What takes our attention ? What makes us want to explore an event or an image, isn’t it often tension ? And our daily TV news is a constant feed of tension. Yet why do we feel compelled to return each day. If the goal of the news was purely to provide us with the critical updates of the day then surely they would not have to comply to a constant 30 minute slot. The duration would be a function of the events and importance. The “filler” is typically more tension.
    I moved away from the TV and now purely rely on the BBC website. I find it the most impartial source of news and I select what I consider of importance and want to understand further.
    Good luck in the transition.

  • Joe Aveni

    JImmy that is beautifully written. Keep the faith and thank you for your great photographs that add beauty to world so in need of some. Hope that you enjoy being home.

  • Frank Lammel

    Very interesting post, Jimmy. I also try to avoid all of these negativ and just mainstream news since about 5-10 years now. Just following sports, technician (my profession) and photography news 😉 Reading this post and the comments is the first time I met people who did the same. I never thought about the background why I quit reading news etc. I guess it is, as you also mentioned, something between “I can’t change it” and “it slows me down” or maybe just because I wouldn’t follow the mainstream. On the other side it is difficult being part of for example a family celebration without being prepared for all of these negative mainstream discussions. Especially with some contentious topics like refugees we have here in Germany. Thank you!