I’ve been back in Buffalo for one week now. It’s Saturday, the first day I’ve had a chance to really relax since my return and I’ve been spending some time going through the photos I took on my trip.
I shot this image on my last night in Newcastle. The next day I took the train to Sydney where I rested my head in an airport hotel before my flight home the following morning. This picture reminds me of the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull. My grandfather gave it to me to read on a flight from Omaha to Seattle to visit with him and his wife one summer when I was 15. He said it would be a quick, yet inspirational read for my travels. Although it spent almost 40 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list when it originally came out, the book, written by Richard Bach, received mixed reviews and several critics found it to be a little naive. Even so, I enjoyed it when I was 15. And I often think of it when I encounter seagulls in my travels or near my home in Buffalo which is close to Lake Erie.
I found this fantastic (and ridiculous) review of the book that really gets at the heart of why I still think of Jonathan Livingston Seagull fondly:
An animal fantasy about a philosophical gull who is profoundly affected by flying, but who demands too much of his community and is cast out by it. He becomes an extremely well behaved accursed wanderer, then dies, and in post-humous FANTASY sequences—though he is too wise really to question the fact of death, and too calmly confident to have doubts about his continuing upward mobility&—he learns greater wisdom. Back on Earth, he continues to preach and heal and finally returns to heaven, where he belongs. – John Clute, for The Encyclopedia of Fantasy
“Why is it that the hardest thing in the world is to convince a bird that he is free, and that he can prove it for himself if he’d just spend a little time practicing? Why should that be so hard?”
On my last evening in Sydney I decided to go for a walk after a long and productive day at work. By the time I started out, the sun had just started to set, but the light was still suitable for “Magic Hour” shooting. I wandered around Darling Harbor and quickly took a few snaps before the light changed and night time began to slowly fall all around.
I decided to head in the direction of the Sydney Opera House next. This is a walk I’ve taken many times during daylight hours, and even in early evening once during a visit in 2013 when I met colleagues for drinks at Opera Bar. But something was different this time.
It was about a 40 minute walk to the opera house from my hotel and by the time I approached Circular Quay it was dark. The walkway by the water leading to the opera house was illuminated by globed street lamps and light pouring from the many restaurants and bars along the way. When I finally arrived, I was fully in awe. I really felt like I was at the center of the universe in that moment. Like so many of the evenings during my time in Australia, I was totally alone, and yet in those few moments, I felt like I was connected to everything. I took a number of shots before heading back and I’ve compiled a medley of some of the images below to remind me.
After my weekend in the Brisbane CBD, I made my way to the Redlands area right outside Brisbane for a very busy work week. It was a quiet area and I was too busy to get out much for sightseeing. It was a great week, with an amazing group of people. A memorable moment from my visit was when I noticed this tiny gecko clinging to the curtain in my hotel room.
I’m sitting in my hotel room on a rainy Saturday morning in Brisbane the day after Cyclone Marcia made her mark on the city and surrounding areas. I’m working up my motivation to go out and explore in spite of the soggy mess. In the mean time, here are some blanck-and-white Instagrams from Bendigo, where I spent the weekend and 3 work days this week.