Several of my first experiences of the world are etched forever (and exclusively)
in my mind: the unfathomable immensity of the Grand Canyon; the jutting monoliths of Stonehenge; the gleaming white marble of the Taj Mahal; and the belching orange fire of Hawaii’s Kilauea Caldera. After a lifetime of vicarious marvel via books, film, and photos, I believed I was prepared to view (and photograph) each firsthand, only to be humbled by the experience.
Experience. Not a scene or view to be photographed, but a three dimensional, multi-sensory, memory-etching moment. Standing on the rim of the Kilauea Caldera that night, I knew my camera couldn’t convey the significance of being firsthand witness to the newest rock on earth bubbling beneath celestial pinpoints that began their journey thousands of years ago. So I was content to just stand and appreciate before engaging my camera to capture the two-dimensional memory-trigger you see here.
Am I frustrated by my inability to recreate reality with my camera? Of course not. In fact, I appreciate the things my camera does differently than my eyes, but that’s a thought for another day. Right now I just want to stare at this image, remember my first volcano, appreciate the way my camera has guided and refined my experience of the world.