Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Looking back on a crowded beach

Seeking refuge from the heat
Grand Bend, ON
July 2013
This photo originally shared on Instagram

Seven years ago, we went to the beach on a hot July afternoon. As I often do, I slung my camera over my shoulder and took a walk in the sand.

Eventually I ended up at the end of the pier, as I wanted - indeed, needed - to get out and away from the crowds. I do this often: wander to the edge, then peer back in. You see big pictures when you do. And occasionally small ones, as well.

Thanks to the benefit of hindsight, scenes like this are now beyond cringeworthy. But even then, in the Before time when global lockdown was the stuff of science fiction, crowds weren't my thing. I'm an introvert, and we tend to prefer to keep to our own quiet, unencumbered spaces.

Hence this photo, taken with a long zoom lens, the perfect optical tool to reach into a scene from afar without actually having to interact with anyone in it. Photography as anti-social enabler? I'll take it.

My crowd-hating nature notwithstanding, there are thousands of stories playing out within the frame, most of which we'll never know, which is as it should be.

Frankly, not every story needs to be told. Often, it's just enough to grab a slice along the way.

Because you never know when looking back may bring comfort. And you never know how long it'll be before you can return.

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