Posts Tagged roadtrip

Fear of DOING

Posted by on Thursday, 17 May, 2012

img_1554Fear is the number one contributor to our sedentary lives. Comfort is the second. I realized this over the course of my past few years in Oregon, and was slapped upside the head with it this week as I prepared for a 3k+ mile solo motorcycle journey.

Simple little things began to peak their heads up and wiggle into my world. One of those was this article shared out by my friend Dayle on Google Plus: 6 Habits of Truly Memorable People (note how this is the habits of *memorable* people, not the typical ‘habits highly effective/successful’ people you normally see. Almost makes it more approachable as advice, doesn’t it… I mean heck, we can ALL be memorable in our own ways, and likely even think we already are to some extent… success on the other hand, is always something that we may feel is just outside our grasp and therefore not 100% applicable to us… But memorable? Yes, that is absolutely applicable and attainable!

In the article, there is a deep focus on DOING, and some on failing, but mainly that if you don’t do anything, well you’re not going to be interesting are you? Funny thing is, I’ve taken this idea to heart for different reasons over the past decade… not to┬ábe memorable, but rather to enjoy a life worth living. I’ve been trying hard to DO and not just be. I’m better at times and worse at others, but at the least it has always been a nagging motivator. As my friend Kerri would say: “Yes is more fun”.

But it isn’t that easy. And I know you know that too. Fear is a tough thing to ignore as we work out of that comfort zone and shift from *being* to DOING. But it *can* be done, and when it is, we often find that there was nothing to fear in the first place but our own misconceptions and worries (which by the way, aren’t effective for a single damn thing, so just let those worries and preconceived notions go now, we’ll all be much happier). We’re always better off for that new experience, even if it didn’t turn out as hoped or expected.

I can actually trace the beginnings of this shift back to 1997 when I was being interviewed in the third round process for the Orange County Sheriff’s deputy position:
During the panel interview (after the physical test and polygraph, just prior to the psych eval) I was asked what unique skill I possessed to make me successful as a deputy. My answer was driven by the only real experience I had at the time; my knowledge of human behaviour gleaned from voraciously reading and finishing 4 years as an English major. I’m sure you can guess how that answer was received. I was essentially laughed at (admittedly part of the interview process to put a candidate under pressure to see how they react) and mocked for thinking that books could help build skills to be a successful deputy. And to a point, they were right. I couldn’t just read and observe… I had to DO. Ultimately, I was happy to not get the position as a deputy trainee, as I recognized even then that while the training would be an amazing experience, the first five years of working in the jail systems would likely make me into a person I didn’t want to be. The lessons I learned about myself, through the process, however, were invaluable and I’m quite pleased to have had that experience, even if I failed at my end goal.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared of taking off for a week and riding 3k plus miles alone on my motorcycle. But you know what? I can’t let fear dictate my life. So I’ve opted to DO, and become, not just be. Not only does this trip scare me by the scale of it, but I’ve also let go of a lot of planning and left it open-ended, so I can be open and flexible to enjoying adventures as they come my way. Previously, I’d have over planned any trip like this, pre-booked all my rooms, mapped out specific routes and set rigid timetables. But having gone off-the-cuff during my August 2010 ride down to San Francisco and up to Crater Lake, I found that it was not quite as scary as I’d thought, and much more doable and interesting to go with the flow. Of course, this is also a trip into the wild unknown, on roads I’ve not see outside of Google maps (barring one 60 mile stretch of I-84 heading out east…).

Roll that all up together, and yes, I’m petrified. I’ve been petrified before and allowed that to prevent me from doing anything. I’m no longer okay with that safety which my mental paralysis provided. So, in the serendipitous spirit of “being memorable”, I’m going to DO. And take pictures while I’m at it… hopefully… if I can stop by bike long enough to get off and actually snap some. Sometimes my bike just doesn’t like to stop until I can’t go anymore, so we’ll see.

Baby steps, you know… who knows what the future may hold by staying on this path…

Why not join me on this “quest”… read the 6 Habits of Truly Memorable People and start living a little bit outside of that comfort zone. DO more and see what happens…


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A weekend in Vancouver BC, with photos!

Posted by on Tuesday, 26 April, 2011

A whirlwind trip to Vancouver BC was in the cards for last weekend. Not having more than a vague idea of where we were staying we embarked on the 6 hour drive up with no itinerary and no commitments. I packed my camera, of course, as I knew there would be some great photo opportunities.

We tackled BC like we tackle Portland and any other city we visit: we ate and drank our way through with reckless abandon. Ok, maybe “through” is a bit of a misnomer, as we seemed to gravitate to the Gastown district for 3 of our 6 meals in the city. We dined at L’Abbatoir, Irish Heather, and Salty Tongue… and drank at Shebeen Whisk(e)y House (which had Compass Box’ first bottlings of the Oak Cross and Peat Monster, so naturally I had to imbibe in the Oak Cross). All places stellar in their own right, even if the latter three of the four share a common kitchen.

In between our dining excursions on Saturday we ran about the Vancouver Aquarium, and found our way to three lighthouses: Port Atkinson, Brockton Point, and Prospect Point. The latter two light houses are found on the sea wall of Stanley Park which is also home to the Aquarium.

Out of 461 photos I shot over the course of our trip between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning, only 17 were really worth sharing. I’ll admit, however, that I am surprised there were even 17, as I was having lighting issues: either too little with too much motion, or far too much back-light from mid-afternoon sun. In either case, I hope you enjoy some of the following colour and light-corrected images I captured… as always, click the thumbnail to get to the larger attachment page, and again for an even larger version:




Stonehenge and a lesson learned

Posted by on Tuesday, 1 February, 2011

I’d had the great idea of showing off my new photography skills by taking a short road trip and then posting some stellar shots to this blog. Jean wanted to go see the full-scale replica of Stonehenge about a hundred miles away in Maryhill, Washington, and that seemed as good a choice as any to put my camera through some if its paces and get some interesting pictures.

I shot around 150 pictures over the day, at Stonhenge, and on the way back home. Using both my 18-135mm lens and the fish-eye adapter as well to bring some interesting perspective to my shots; I had some great images in my head and in my viewfinder. Alas, it was not to be this time around. When I dumped all the images to disk yesterday in preparation to post here, I discovered the images weren’t as clear as I’d hoped/expected.

After some quick diagnosis, the problem was clear (even if the photos were not). I AM glad to report that my understanding of basic photography skills are still tight, as I was able to figure out my issue within seconds of spotting severe grain/sensor noise. Sadly, it was due to a simple and total newbie mistake: I had my ISO kicked way up at 6400, a setting typically used for ultra low-light shooting. While this IS the Pacific North West and we have a lot of cloud cover, low-light is not how I’d have classified the skies on Saturday. Rather, I should have been shooting down around ISO 200 or 400 as the sun was out enough to warrant wearing sunglasses. Sure explains why my F-stops and shutter speeds were giving me some surprises, but I just chalked those up to not knowing my camera well enough. Silly me.

So, rather than boasting about my improved prowess with capturing still images, I get to post about how I now have another lesson learned. A lesson, mind you, that I learned years ago when I first started shooting film: ALWAYS check your ISO settings.

All that said, here are the best shots of the weekend. I hope to see better shots soon, barring any other newbie level mistakes. Note, these are all posted unmodified/untouched, aside from resizing two of them.