layers of ordinary

Here’s what I’ve noticed
taking pictures this sabbatical summer—
at sunrise on the Blue Ridge Parkway,
and at sunrise on Sandbridge Beach,
and at sunset along the Thames.
looking at Parliament and Big Ben,
Westminster, the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge
the L’Arc de Triomphe in the evening,
the Seine, the Eiffel Tower,
the canals and windmills of the Netherlands,
the distinctive house fronts of Amsterdam,
the massive cathedral of Cologne,
the vineyard and castles along the Rhine,
the quiet Main and the Römerplatz in Frankfurt,
the Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel castles on the fairy tale road,
the castle of Heidelberg on the Neckar,
the Black Forest,
Zürich, the Zürich lake and the Limmat River,
the Alps, the mountain lakes of Austria’s Lake District,
the rolling hills of western North Carolina,
the Brooklyn Bridge,
the Manhattan skyline:

as beautiful and/or as impressive
a sight as a site may be,
it’s not just that view you need
to get a great picture.

You need something else.
You need something more.
But nothing extraordinary.
That’s what’s kind of interesting.
You just need more ordinary:
clouds, weather, a particular time of day,
light, a flock of birds, an expression, a texture.

A truly great picture, it turns out,
is just configurations of different ordinaries.


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