One Major Challenge When Settling Home After a Long Absence
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
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
Focal Length: 14mm
Lens: Nikon 14-24 f/2.8
Camera: Nikon D800
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.
This entry was posted on Thursday, January 19th, 2017 at 11:53 pm
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