Sunday, June 04, 2006

Window shades


Detroit Metro International Airport, en route home from Seattle

The typical airport represents a bit of a conundrum for me. On the one hand, the express goal of the place is to get through - and out - as fast as is humanly possible. Long before you land at a connecting airport, you're plotting your journey through it: run up the jetway and into the terminal, fetch your luggage, do battle with the customs folks, clear security again, find the gate for your connecting flight, and finally avoid getting lost as you walk what seems like - and probably is - miles to the gate.

On the other hand, airports are the most rare of public spaces, namely those with a captivating sight at every turn. These places practically beg everyone within them to stop and appreciate at least one aspect of their sleek, efficient form.

But who has the time? Travellers are busy fighting time, other travellers and ill-trained airline and airport personnel in their quest to get where they're going. If they stop to smell the photographic roses, they risk spending more time en route than originally planned. I can practically hear the phone conversation when I call home to explain the delay to my wife.
Me: Hi sweetie. I'm going to be late getting home tonight. I missed my connecting flight, so they've put me on the next one to London.
My wife: I'm so sorry to hear that. What happened? Did your first flight run into thunderstorms again?
Me: Thankfully, no. But I was futzing around the terminal with my camera. I lost all track of time and, because I had the volume cranked up on my iPod while I was shooting, I didn't hear them calling my name just before the plane pushed back. Silly me.
My wife: Silly you, indeed. I'll leave a fish sandwich on the kitchen table in case you're hungry when you get home. Nice job setting priorities, buddy.
Okay, so I embellished the wife part a little. All right, a lot. She'd never do the fish sandwich thing. But this scenario does highlight the risks of stopping to capture scenes in an airport.

As you can see, I still managed to grab this late-afternoon-shadows-through-the-window image as I walked the long corridor to my connecting flight. It took just a few seconds to drop my bag and snap off a few images. The corridor itself can be a sterile, lonely place. But that afternoon, the warming sun on the window frame made for a geometry that I could not pass up.

At that moment, my head was filled with thoughts of coming home, of seeing my wife and kids after too many days away, of swapping an overwhelmingly huge and lonely space for the welcoming comforts of our home. The light caught my eye, as did the picture it painted on the long, narrow floor. So I had to stop, even if I only had a quick minute to take in the scene.

Your turn: What stops you in your tracks and compels you to take out your camera?

16 comments:

utenzi said...

Shapes sometimes will stop me in my tracks, Carmi. Less often would be really interesting textures or vibrant color. Most often would be shadows or mist/fog. Unfortunately those are the hardest to capture with a camera.

Michele sent me to see your latest post, Carmi. It's good that your photo didn't delay your arrival back home--and thanks for sharing it with us.

susie said...

Pics of baby boy, right now. He's quite the ham, and I love catching all of his "faces".

scrappintwinmom said...

Usually my kids. Lately, my pool. I took some pics of the "diamonds" in my sparkling clean pool -- see how you've inspired me? Back from Micheles.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Gatwick Airport in London is the worst one to land at.

Unusual incidents taking place, some which I won't be able to capture again.

Here from Michele's.

Matt said...

My first impression to the picture of window shadow before I read the caption of the photo was airport. Isn't that interesting how we might associate a certain scene with a certain place?

Sure, like many other travelers, I'm fighting time clearing all the lines and making my way to the gate, but airports never fail to fascinate me. I'm always shooting something while I'm at the airport: the madness of security line, the people rummaging through their bags for passports, the workers straightening up the luggage carts, the murmuring speakers annoucing gate changes,...

I took soooo many pictures at the Singapore Chang-I Airport, which has a rooftop swimming pool for layover passenger! In secluded section of the terminal there are "beds" where I can lay down for a while.

Killired said...

i love to take pix of everything but i'm not very good at it... i don't know if i'm not picking good subjects or not using my camera properly!

Rene said...

Flowers. I have a whole role of film that is nothing but pictures of hibiscus flowers. My kids do too. My 6 year old has pale skin, intense blue eyes and dark hair. I love taking pictures of her because the contrasts are so marked and so pleasing to the eye.

AverageMom said...

Nice shot! The kids can make me stop, just about anytime, to take out the camera. Before them, I really didn't ever think to take pictures!

Erin said...

Great post, Carmi. Your blog never fails to entertain and inspire me.

Lake Michigan on a sunny day always makes me reach for my camera. The pics all look the same but I just can't help it!

Here from Michele's today. :)

Deana said...

I was catching up on the photos this week. Great architecture shot at the airport. I love the hydrant and the honeycombs, I loved them all.

bobealia said...

Probably colours. Yes, bright colours especially contrasting colours side by side.
A fish sandwich doesn't sound like that big of a threat. Even if you were embellishing, she sounds pretty understanding!
:0)

Janet said...

You bring up a really interesting point. Some airports really do include sites to see. If you have a layover, it all works out perfectly, but somehow the moving platform and the "moving" exhibits end up working against eachother.:)

kenju said...

My grandchildren or flowers (which remind me of each other anyway).

kontan said...

amazing light. I love landscapes and clouds.

Jennifer said...

My three-year old. She ALWAYS makes me smile! :)

Pickalish said...

Thank God you admitted to embellishing the wife thing...I was thinking for a second I had warped back to 1950. Ha.