Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Riding: Other Ways Home

I know, without a doubt, that my life would be more ordinary if my movement through the world was limited to the comfortable confines of a car.  A satisfied grin marked my face as I scrambled around in the gravel along a line of dumpsters. Looking out beyond the Vespa towards Tussey Ridge, sitting on the ground, I was happy.

When was the last time you sat on the ground by yourself?

At 57 years old I'm still curious and get excited by strange things I see. And maybe more excited that I actually see things.  And concerns for appearances and behavior are mostly in the past leaving me free to roll around on the ground in a yellow and black riding suit to take a picture regardless of who might see me.

Riding the Vespa changes things.  Changes what I see and do.  And for the better.  In a car, the commute to and from work is painfully ordinary, a trip from A to B on the shortest route, radio playing, mind wandering, arriving at a destination startled and wondering how I got there.

It's almost never that way on the Vespa.  I always know what happened. While riding I'm a man in full possession of my senses of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste.  It's good.  Life's richer on a Vespa.

Even amidst a village of dumpsters.


Circle Blue said...

It's that way for me on my Symba as well. It seems the car is built to insulate and protect me from my surroundings. And, I let it. The Symba? It places me in my surroundings. It is all right there. And, if I saw something I want to take another look at, that something is an easy U-turn away. Yep, it is different.

David Masse said...

Very nicely put Steve. I try to practice many of the lessons you offer so selflessly. I guess I'm going to have to get down and dirty once I get back to my commute to see if I can get better pictures to share.

I doubt very much though that I'll be able to coax images out of my camera as good as those that you post week in, week out, no matter how intimate I get with the ground.

Sergei Belski said...

Beautiful shot!

ToadMama said...

And just why were you sitting on the ground by the line of dumpsters? To catch the cool photo, I hope. Which would make it all worth it. :-)

Steve Williams said...

Circle Blue (Keith): You and I have the same experience, especially in the ability to turn the scooter around and go back to lok at something. I can't remember too many occasions where I turn the van around to look at something...

Steve Williams said...

David Masse: For years I felt pictures needed to be made at eye level -- bring the human perspective to the image. Along with that was the notion that horizons always had to be level. And of course the no cropping law that many photographers were afflicted with by reading about Cartier-Bresson.

Along with the Vespa came a disregard for convention and more freedom making pictures. And seeing the world.

So have fun getting down and dirty! Just be careful. Don't get run over in the process.

Steve Williams said...

Sergei Belski: Thank you. Your pictures continue to inspire me though not enough I admit to haul the big DSLR around with some long lenses.

That recent shot you did with the white silos is gorgeous. I seldom see that kind of environment or that brilliant light.

Maybe I do need to drag the D700 along with a 300mm lens sometime.

Steve Williams said...

ToadMama: I got down on the ground so I could find a vantage point that eliminated some distracting junk just over the hill past the Vespa. From ground level it was just the mountain.

I wasn't collecting dinner or anything!

Phil said...

I always said that learning to ride a motorcycle made me a much better car driver. You become aware of all of your surroundings, not just that endless black ribbon straight ahead.

Steve Williams said...

Phil: I agree at least so far as riding has made me more aware of what is going on but the car has a way of lulling you into a false sense of security.

I love the phrase you wrote: "...endless black ribbon of road..."

Can I steal that?