Slow the Circles Down

If you have read some of my earliest posts, you may recall that I have issues with going backwards.  I arrange my life around maximum efficiency whenever possible by minimizing repetition, back-tracking, and wasted motion.

There are some consequences associated with this.  For one, I tend to focus on the goal and not on the journey.  The very physical consequence is that I frequently run into things.  I think this may also serve well as a metaphor.

Another consequence is that I often move on completely and usually without regret.  Been there, done that.  I’m over it.  Time for the next adventure.

But every once in a while, something sticks and I don’t mind going back to it over and over.  The Tennessee Aquarium is one of those things.  Every time I go, I discover something new.  Someone is awake who was sleeping last time.  Or the absence of someone else allows me to see others for the first time.  And there are certain exhibits I never tire of.  I have to refrain from block tackling all the small children at the display where you can touch the stingrays–the darn kids are always in my way.

When it comes to shooting at the aquarium, it remains a challenge.  Trying to shoot through glass is always an interesting proposition.  Between the distortions and the bright reflections in the glass, the dim lighting, and the movement of the creatures, it’s a wonder anyone ever gets a shot of anything.

Using a flash helps if you have the right angle.  I admit I love watching people with their little automatic point-and-shoots standing directly in front of the glass and getting frustrated when the image they get is the flash bouncing off the glass.  In my defense, I only get a chuckle out of this because they’re usually doing this right in front of a big sign that says “NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY.”  It just seems like karma.

I, however, usually opt for no flash in the aquarium.  This is for several reasons.  First, I’d rather end up with blurry pictures than disturb the animals (anymore than they are already being disturbed).  Second, I still pretty much suck at using a flash.  And finally, I really want to set the flash up off-camera, but that doesn’t work well in a crowded aquarium.  Try to imagine me carrying my umbrella stand around and yelling at small children when they bump into it.  Does not make for a good time.

But, when we took Pat’s family there during their visit, the otters decided to make an appearance.  I find it fascinating when looking at the otter shots that the otter moves faster than the water.  Where the water splashes are frozen, the otter blurs.  None-the-less, I couldn’t help but share my blurry, badly framed shots of the otter doing a back flip.  That was just too adorable.

Maybe next time I’ll catch a stingray jumping out of the tank.