Being There – thoughts about living just for the moment

28th September 2015
What is best - being there and living for the moment, or making a photo of being there? Tricky question.

In the early hours of this morning we had the much-publicised Super Moon combined with a total Lunar eclipse. A very rare combination that will not occur again until 2033. Someone asked me if I was going to get my telescope out to watch it. Or take a photo?

No, I replied. I’m just going to be there.
luna eclipse against black night sky
I sat on a garden chair under the stars and watched it taking shape. And it really was something special. The most amazing thing is how small the full moon appears when it is cast in the earth's shadow. We get a false idea of its size in the sky because we normally only see it when it is bright.
text only 'sorry I didn't take a photo of it' against blue grey background

Historic flypast

A couple of weeks ago here in the UK we were treated to an historic and much-publicised flypast of antique Spitfires to mark the 75 years since the peak of the Battle of Britain in World War Two. It was an extremely rare get-together of these wonderful old machines, and to see them like this really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was fortunate in being close to the route on the day. Someone asked if I was going to take a photograph.

No, I replied. I’m just going to be there.
group of small airplanes, spitfires, against sky
It only lasted a minute, as they flew by. So fragile and old! I thought of those who flew them long ago, how brave they were and what it meant to them.

No regrets

Now, I’m not complaining - I don't mind people doing photos, all those open-mouthed sparkly-eyed selfies or group shots set against a backdrop of famous landmarks or spectacular scenery. I don't have any problem with people setting up special instruments to record things and ‘keep the memory forever’ as they say. It’s just that I have come to believe that if one is so very busy preparing to record something, with always that social-media exclusive in mind, one often misses the event itself. The observer becomes caught up in all kinds of cares and worries. Suddenly it is all over. You have the picture, but the memory consists only of the struggle to make it, not of the event, of how it felt.
Living for the moment

Me - I like being there – totally, 100% there. Calm and observant. That's what is called 'living for the moment,' I suppose. No regrets about leaving the camera behind. The experience and the memory remain vivid that way. And then it really does last forever, because … well, because I was there.

Who's there?

I found this on Twitter ...
group of excited and observant people with cameras and phones
The elderly lady in the lower left was the only one in the crowd without a camera or smartphone to record the exciting event (whatever it was). I don’t think she was just watching because she wasn't smart enough to work the technology or that she wasn't clever enough to point a camera. I think maybe she just wanted to be there.
Authored by Robert Stephen Parry

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