Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Details

Valve to where?
Bright Sunny Ocean View
We are on this cruise to see the full transit of the Panama Canal, but for the cruise line everyone on-board is a bonus, because they are moving the ship from a summer taking vacationers up to Alaska to a winter of cruising the warm aquamarine waters of the Caribbean. Called a repositioning cruise, it does not stop at the regular 'Cruise Ports', perhaps trying out some newer locations for future cruises. There are also more “sea days” or days where we steam all day without stopping. Some people avoid these cruises, finding them boring with all the days at sea with nothing to do (Even though the cruise directors always load on varied 'fun' activities). Having seen, done, or actively avoided these 'fun' activities, I will often take one of the sea days to really explore the ship with my camera, taking pictures of the many details that the rest of the passengers rush by on their way to the Spa for a special deal on some miraculous treatment, the daily bridge tournament, Rhumba classes, the 75% off sales on Alaska merchandise, or just to get those choice seats for the show.

Sweet Music of the Ocean
Lots of deck chairs
I look for the interesting shots, the water beading on the polished woodwork, the utilitarian hardware necessary to keep the ship running blending into the tourist glitz and glamor, the sun gleaming across the newly painted surfaces, or just the interesting shapes and patterns. You miss all these when you are rushing here and there, and taking a day just to look for them is a worthwhile endeavor. It is always easier to take your camera, as it help you focus on looking for the worthwhile photo, and the cruise ship is designed to focus your attention on the latest “Drink-of-the-day”, the latest not to miss activity, or the “too good to pass up” sale in the shops. They don't actually hide these interesting details, they just distract you from them to towards ways for you to hand someone your all purpose “cruise card” allowing you to spend some more money.

Ready for Dinner?
Patterns in the Teak
It is also interesting to watch people watch me taking pictures of interesting things. More times I have seen people look at me crouched down focusing a picture, and go back when I move on to see what I was taking a picture of. On one ship I found a wonderful picture of the setting sun glistening on a newly varnished deck chair, and as I left I saw a number of people look and then take a similar shot to be added to their vacation album. I know that one fellow never did understand why I was taking a picture of a pipe and control valve. I don't think he saw the same interesting contrast between the brilliant newly painted white wall on the green tint of the copper pipe and yellow rubber handle.
Morning Rain

Take time on you next vacation to try this. It works anywhere; just go for a walk looking for the details you do not have time to see when you are busy. It is one of the great things about retirement; you have time to spend a day on the details.

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