People dot the beach like so many grains of sand. A few weeks ago I was looking out over Ocean Beach from the Cliff House in San Francisco. When I first looked I was met with this spectacle. That got me thinking about the age old adage about grains of sand on a beach. And from that my mind took off on its own, not waiting for me to catch up.
It seems people and technology have been recalculating the size of the universe lately and we now know its much bigger than we thought. To put it in context I'm not even sure our planet would amount to a single grain of sand on this beach.
According to estimates there are about 200 billion stars in our galaxy. That would mean our star was one of the grains of sand on this beach. But that's just referring to our galaxy, the Milky Way. Now scientists say there may be one trillion galaxies in the universe. That basically hits it out of the park, so to speak.
It stands to reason then that there might be as many stars in the universe as there grains of sand on Earth. So that is even remotely true, then what's the point of ever trying to comprehend it? Just trying to fathom the grains of sand on this one beach is futile to say nothing for the number of stars in the universe.
So, for me, the only thing left to do is turn away from the beach and eat a bowl of soup. That's the one thing I can handle.
Sometimes I'll take a photo and then look at it a year later only to find it interesting in some way. Case in point, I was looking through my viewfinder when this boy ran across the field of vision with a bird looking down at him. It's easy to get these kinds of quick vignettes when you are prepared. By just being somewhere where things happen you will see unexpected scenes and events. This is not an unusual scene yet it reaches a certain threshold of interest. The setting, people, bird and pier all combine into a story somehow.
In truth there were a lot of people here, but by narrowing the view the lens the scene is simplified. Simplified scenes leave more room for imagination. That's not so say that scenes filled with a lot of details are't interesting as well, there is a place for everything. For instance big cities scenes often contain a wealth of detail.
A painter makes these choices and so do I as a photographer. Choices like simple, complex, action, atmosphere are all things to consider while composing. I've had this image in the back burner for almost a year before I decided to explore it in my digital darkroom.
My creative decisions are as fickle as the wind, and what I decide today will be forgotten tomorrow. That's the enjoyment of what I do. I can explore a new aspect every day and never repeat myself for the rest of my life.