While we were in Nepal, Wonder Boy, Frankenstein, Outside and I all took a chartered plane ride past Mount Everest. We had figured that this trip would be the closest we would ever get to the Himalayas and that none of use was likely to ever hike to Mount Everest. But a plane ride? Well within all of our skill sets.We woke up early so we could be flying at first light. I had seen photos from a friend’s trip and she had gone on a similar flight. Based on her photos, I was excited for the photography opportunities. I had my camera ready to go!
When we got on the plane, I was disappointed to see that my window’s view was partially blocked by the plane’s wing. But with careful careening of my neck, I could still get a wing-free picture. In between snapping shots, I tried to take in the view. To absorb everything I was seeing. But just like the window was blocked, my mental state was partially blocked by my singular focus on getting some pictures.
I’ve been going through my pictures from the trip and have learned a valuable lesson. While I was busy trying to take good photographs, I should have been more focused on the great view. Because you know what? My raw photos aren’t good. They are streaked and blurred by whatever was on my plane window. The plane’s wing makes many appearances.
Heavily edited in Photoshop, I have some that look okay. But I’m not sure any of my handful of photos match in beauty, even close, what I know I saw.
That leads me wondering if I got my money’s worth. Or at least everything I could have from the experience. I’m not sure. If I didn’t, though, it’s my fault. The flight wasn’t about what I could see through my viewfinder. It was what I could take in and embrace. That flight was about seeing individual homes in remote areas of the Himalayas. It was about getting as close to Mount Everest as I’ll ever be. It was about being in awe, and a little incredulous, of anyone willing to climb those mountaintops. It was about seeing Mother Nature in one of her finest acts.
That flight was about a singular experience. I regret that I wasn’t able to step out from behind my camera for a while longer and enjoy it more.
That’s a relatively inexpensive lesson for me to learn, in the grand scheme of things. The same thing applies to me hiding behind my phone screen being “social” or sitting behind a computer screen “interacting” with people. Not everything has to be captured and documented. Not everything needs proof. The experience might be so much better than any of that and all the proof I need is stored in my head.