Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Story Behind the Picture and "The Joys of Simple Life"

Pelican in Flight, Small Bird resting, Sea Lavenders, the bluffs of Torrey Pines from Del Mar
The picture above is my favorite shot yesterday. Maybe some of you may think it may not look as pretty or as scenic as the other pictures I took from the same place yesterday,
Mix of Wildflowers and Pelicans ( taken from the same trail as the picture above on the same day)
but a lot of the times, when I look at my picture, I look back at the story behind. The first picture above was taken without a sense of planning nor composition, unlike the next picture that follows it. While we were walking back to Torrey Pines, a small bird came flying and perched on top of that pole that is on our path. I knew if we will continue, the small bird would have to fly away from our intrusion. Since the bird was there first, I decided to stop, and enjoy the scenery around me. 
Ice Plant
When I stopped, I started observing more, such as the folding of the ice plant blossom above. It was windy and chilly, thus despite it was middle of the day, the flower did not fully opened up. Ice plants do not grow tall, they crawl on the ground. As I knelt down to take this blossom a picture, I saw a lighting up the gray sky and focused my attention there for a while. Still on the ground and looking up, I finally noticed a very tiny hummingbird perched on top of a very skinny branch of a tree bush. 
At first, the hummingbird did not look pretty, and it was simply resting there, I was not so excited to take a picture since I had a lot of hummingbird pictures already, and they were in action! But then, as the hummingbird changed direction of its sight and moved its neck to look in my direction, I saw the green changed to red! Then, it went back looking at the other direction, and I lost the red feather again. But to my surprise, the hummingbird kept on gazing back and forth, and it was like, "",
A Hummingbird showing its two distinct colors
maybe it tells, "you go....". Life is not all about going and running, it is also about resting and savoring the joys of every moment. It was actually the very first time I saw a hummingbird simply resting on top of the tree, sitting there still, not flapping its wings and producing sound, it was just there, quiet, and maybe, just like me, savoring everything that nature brings its way. How I wished at that point I had brought my better camera and zooming lens to get the details of the hummingbird, however, because of weight, and considering I am taking a very local trail, I left my better camera and brought with me a lighter one. But then, I told myself, sometimes, I do have those gadgets, but I do not have the same experience. What makes the pictures more meaningful for me, is the experience and the joy it brings while being there and while connecting to the world that shelters me. Thus, I did not think about regretting not having the right camera, instead I focused on the joys of being there, and enjoying the gifts of nature. Then, my eyes went back to the direction of the pole where the small bird was resting. I saw a California brown pelican in flight above the small bird, so, I hurriedly took a picture of the meeting of those two birds, one resting, one flying, one small, one huge, but all part of one world, frozen in the bluffs of Torrey Pines with a field of sea lavender and coreopsis. 
wild yellow Coreopsis and purple Sea Lavender
As the pelican flew over the small bird, it continued to the water where later it took a dive. As it plunged into the water, some fins came out of the water, and there they were, dolphins! We see dolphins oftentimes when we walk this trail (like 6 or 7 out of 10 times ), but it is always a joy to see them especially if it feels that the pelican lead us to the dolphins, and it is that small bird that led me to follow the pelican. 
Dolphins As Seen From the Bluffs
At that time, I was no longer doubting why i chose to take the easier trail along the coastal bluffs from Torrey Pines to Del Mar. Morning, I was still confused where to hike, do we go for a steep hike on mountain slopes, or do we take the easier slopes along the coast? However, for the past 2 weekends, we had been spending our time outdoors exploring the snow-covered mountain slopes, 

that, after 2 weeks of leaving the ocean behind, I was missing the soothing and powerful sound of its waves. I usually would choose hiking/climbing the mountains for a more strenuous cardio-exercise, since climbing the slopes up over several thousands feet really makes our heart beat so fast catching up for air as you go higher and the air thinner. Though water exercise is also a very good cardiovascular activity, however, it is still too cold for me to spend hours in the water right now. Somehow, when it comes to swimming and boogie boarding, I wait until it's summer when the water is not as frigid. But just like camera, where there are times I put behind the better one in favor of a lighter camera, there are times also that I no longer consider the amount of cardio-vascular exercise I would get from hiking. There are times I seek the peace and joy that is being provided by the sound of splashing waves in the sea. Thankfully, our coast in San Diego have a lot of coastal bluffs for us to go uphill a little bit, though it may just be going uphill over 300 ft compared to several thousands of feet climb in the mountains, but we compensate for the lack of elevation by increasing the mileage in the distance we walk. We usually would start our hike up the bluffs at Torrey Pines State Reserve, and continue it up to Del Mar ( Dog's Beach) and back to Torrey Pines, or Torrey Pines to La Jolla Shores. This walk would give us almost 10 miles of walk back and forth with about 400 ft elevation gain. However, during high tide, we prefer to walk to Del Mar than to La Jolla because the bluffs going to Del Mar are so close to the water that we oftentimes see dolphins. 
Dolphins and Surfer, Will Their Paths Cross? 
It is a joy to be walking on the wildflower lined trail, 
with the dolphins swimming in the sea, and birds flying back and forth above us and diving into the water. 
Pelicans In Flight
A lot of the times, nature bring us more than rest, it teaches us that with slowing down, we get to enjoy its many surprises and not miss the pure joy and happiness of the simple things in life.
Let me end this post with a quote from the lyrics of the song "Simple Life" by Karl Kohlase,
"Living life can be hard today, I have to say it's so. But I have learned if I stop and pray I get the grace to go. And I have found by slowing down I have more time to live the simple life."
I am singing now :) You can listen to the song here if you are not familiar with it, ( no, this is not a paid post, I just love the song The Simple Life), and this song actually was one of the inspirations of this blog, unknown to most.
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  1. Looking at your pictures, I say you're right. . . it was really another beautiful day!

  2. The posture of the hummingbird is so elegant. Your angle make it looked like an eagle. :)

  3. So delightful to see all those flowers and birds at Torrey Pines!

  4. A beautiful day, indeed!

    Lucky you, you get to enjoy the immensity of nature every day. Nature has its way of making us lose ourselves in its midst. And thereafter find ourselves again but this time inspired, enchanted, still, and with a joyful heart ;)

  5. I picture myself in the midst of those black eyed daisies. The rainfall we got really made blooms come early.

    What a beautiful day to be outdoors!

  6. What a wonderful, philosophical post, betchai. You made so many good points and the pictures were just amazing. I'm glad you did your coastal walk, even if it didn't give you a vigorous cardiac workout. You get plenty of exercise so I think an occasional less hectic pace isn't too bad and we are the beneficiaries of the lovely scenery and trly incredible photography.

    I loved the contrast between the brown pelicans and the little hummingbird. It's funny - I've never seen one at rest but I guess they do need to rest sometime. Usually, their wings are going a hundred miles an hour and you know they have to get tired!

    Dolphins are always such a thrill and I imagine surfers love having them for company!!

  7. "Life is not all about going and running, it is also about resting and savoring the joys of every moment."

    "What makes the pictures more meaningful for me, is the experience and the joy it brings while being there and while connecting to the world that shelters me. Thus, I did not think about regretting not having the right camera, instead I focused on the joys of being there, and enjoying the gifts of nature.".....these are my favorite lines of yours in this post Betchai which is a post that i so love dearly! I am now listening to the song.."so glad that i have found the simpleeeeeee lifffeeeee" so beautiful! relaxing and oh so joyful! i love all the photos here most especially the pelicans! and the red green hummingbird! the wild flowers....oh the ice plant! the dolphins..everything! i notice however that you didn't post one where i could see your lovely smile that never fails to brighten our day:)...thank you from the bottom of my humble heart for opening my eyes to the "joys of simple life" me you will always be "wonderwoman" yah Betchai!

  8. Oh! Now I know why you name your blog The Joys Of Simple Life! Never really thought about it till now! I like the simple life. No rushing, no stress.

  9. I like your first two photos : )

  10. reading this post, i understand yr blog more n what motivates u. btw u r beginning to think a little like Rainfield haha ..esp the stop go stop go bit haha

  11. It's a wonderful thing to be living so close to nature.

  12. i so agree with your philosophy Beth, you are such a great inspiration to us all!

  13. What beautiful photos. Your bird shots were amazing!

  14. Nature always bespeaks beauty and the wonders of creation always evokes simplicity yet a profound sense of appreciation of our Creator.

  15. I hate to disagree with you but I think I like the three pelicans above the wildflowers the best. They are all awesome as always. I can tell you enjoy your hobby so much.

  16. thanks all.

    @ Melissa, I understand, because if I do not know the story behind, I will like the 2nd picture best too with the three pelicans above, like what I mentioned, that shot was planned and composed. The first one however was not planned nor composed, I simply froze the moment where all the other connections came in to bring about an inner sense of joy. The first picture made me stop to see everything that followed thereafter.

  17. Another great set of photos. Love the birds on flight.

  18. I like all of these pictures, but I like the first one the most. I actually think it is even prettier than the others. The lighting of the day almost seems to tell a story all its own for that one.

  19. Hi betchai, I'm back!

    Everyday's a beautiful day even if there are some instances wherein that day becomes such a drag.

    Beautiful photos too, as usual!

  20. These are fantastic pictures, Betchai, but then again, I said that every time I see your photos because they really are just fabulous..150% honest!!

  21. I'm 27 and I would like to do photography. I would like a really good quality photography camera but it's not too expensive. I would really like a $300-$500 camera but i know that might be impossible to find with great quality but what camera do you think is the best for me to use but its not too pricey? Thanks

  22. the joy of simple life is fantastic.the given story is so cool.thanks for this post..