Friday, July 18, 2008

Time to recalibrate

One of the joys of living on an island (though I know there are many daily commuters who don't see it this way) is the thrill of riding the ferry. Perhaps because I don't actually go into the city that often, I view the ferry ride as a major treat and the ferries themselves as... well, friends.

We know many of them by name, after all these years, and definitely prefer some to others. The Sealth, for example, which used to be primarily responsible for the Sidney BC and Friday Harbor runs, has very uncomfortable seats. The Elwha has an unfortunate tendency to rock and roll rather alarmingly in a high wind. The Illahee, with her round windows, etched glass and oak pillars, is utterly charming; the tiny Hiyu a sturdy perennial favorite, now retired. The Tacoma, for all her size, still manages to have quite a bit of character.

The one pictured here, I believe, is the Wenatchee; she looks particularly charming against the sunset with the Olympics in the background -- but then, so do they all.

Given that we distinguish easily among ferries, it's not surprising that we distinguish also among friends: this one is not always comfortable to be around, this one is a little unstable, this one is charming, this one is solid, this one is a character... But these are all judgments, and can change as the people change or as our moods or circumstances change: what we think of someone depends a lot on the lens through which we are viewing them.

I am contemplating buying a new camera, giving up on my Nikons and moving to another brand. So I am spending time with a wonderful site called the Comparometer, which allows me to compare images produced by the various cameras I'm considering. But here, too, my judgment is not necessarily reliable.

It turns out that my monitor wasn't properly calibrated when I first began viewing the images, so the Canon that had looked good in the reviews didn't seem to produce very good photos and I had decided to choose another brand. Once I re-calibrated my monitor, however, the Canon images appeared superior to those of the other camera I had selected, and I decided to go back to my original plan.

I think our brains work a bit like a monitor in our decision processes, and can easily get out of calibration due to various kinds of stress and confusion in our lives. Taking the time to meditate, to be quiet, to clarify our thoughts is a bit like re-calibrating; it's a way to return to center, to establish a baseline from which our judgements can be more accurate.

So if a former friend's behavior suddenly begins to offend you, or if you find yourself being extremely critical of large numbers of people, it may be there's nothing wrong with them at all; it's your own mental calibration that's a bit off. It may be that you need to take some quiet time; to consciously remove some of the negative filters you may have inadvertently installed; to stabilize and balance your inner vision; to recalibrate.

Just a thought...


Laurie Brandriet Keller said...

And an excellent thought it is. You have my attention! Thanks for a beautiful photograph and insightful post. I love the mild green of the ferry against the colors of the sky. And really adore the way your mind works!

Diane Walker said...

Thanks -- and I LOVED your dreamy cadillac photos! How did you get that effect?