"The future has many names. For the weak, it's unattainable.
For the fearful, it's unknown. For the bold, it's ideal."
- Victor Hugo
The kingdom of Middle-earth; you don't have to be a Lord of the Rings nor Hobbit fan to be completely mesmerised and obsessed beyond speakable words when faced with the pulsating beauty that this land possesses. To stand before the grand physique of Mother Nature, being bold is an understatement. To stand before all that she is, brings out all that you are. Do not be weak, do not be fearful, embrace all that is around you, and embrace all that you are.
A photo speaks a thousand words, let these photos speak a million.
In a land of such beauty, we need to learn to put down the camera and just let the environment around you merge with your soul. Breathe. Let your surroundings take hold of your clouded busy mind. Cleansing, crisp, in touch with your senses. No thoughts of studies, of careers,
of boys, of family. In this moment nothing matters. Just you, just you and your surroundings. You are in touch with the natural world and you are in touch with your soul. Every deep breath of awe is filling your lungs with life.
I wish to address a problem I recently realised that I have, and it's quite a serious one that I'm sure many of you suffer as well, the epidemic of the 21st Century. It is the disease of constantly taking photos, of over sharing, of never being in the moment. How is this a problem? What's wrong with taking photos? I'm sure we've heard enough people complain about it before. There is a majority of people, not so much myself, who take photos of appetizing food, except by the time they're finished with photos the food isn't even nice anymore, either hot food turned cold, or cold food melted. My problem is a slightly different one, instead of food I over-take photos of scenery to the point where I don't even remember ever enjoying the view, or any recollection of even being there.
With the camera we don't fully appreciate the surroundings. We are not cleansed, we don't experience the full therapeutic quality of the sublime nature before us. What I loved most about New Zealand was no doubt the majestic snowy white mountains, my absolute favourite spectacle to become mesmerised by: Absolute awe, 'jaw-dropped, bright-eyes-wide-open' type of awe. It's a favourite because these mighty giants are the rare things that are capable of making us physically look up. And in life we don't look up enough, from our phones, from our books, from the faces, from anything. And don't look up through a camera lens or phone. Look up with your naked eye. Unfiltered. Honest. Real. The glass has a tendency to remove the honesty of what we see before us. It feels like we're just sitting at home looking through a screen. Filtering the truth and reality. But no, you really are here, so take advantage of the experience and capture all the essence through the naked eye, straight into the soul and stored in your heart forever.
I guess this is why I love stargazing so much as well. Not because they look like a girl's best friend, but because they make you look up. The experience is wasted if you're just there to take photos and show others to make them jealous when you return home. Photos are just photos. Flat memories. You only get from the photos a fragment of what you truly experienced in the moment of capture. Make a real experience so there is a true memory lying in that photo. To be honest Taiwan is what I call a flat memory for me. I brought 4 cameras (including mobile phone) and 3 lens and for most of the trip I was looking through glass. There was no real memory with those photos except pretty scenery. Pretty scenery that can be obtained from Google. What truly is priceless is the memory of the feeling the place made you feel. So when you look back at the photo a flutter of the feeling returns. I look back and I hardly feel anything. And that is the saddest of all.
My wondrous adventure to New Zealand was a journey like no other, fuelling the curious thrill-seeking heart. One could not hold back but play 'I See Fire' by Ed Sheeren on replay throughout such a dream-like endeavour. New Zealand has been a dream, constantly having me question myself whether this is reality. In no exaggeration whatsoever, every turn, every glance, every blink of the eye leads you to something spectacular and photo-worthy. Hence why it is both a photographer's best dream and worst nightmare as there is such an overwhelming amount of photos I have burdened myself with to review after this trip (yes, sadly I have not yet completely cured my excessive photo-taking syndrome). These photos alone were from one day only, the most wondrous scenic day of all: Milford Sound.
I am by no means falsely magnifying how impressive this country, at least the South Island, is. My Instagram photos are proof (and these photos too). The initial plan was to travel to Europe but with my surgery we adjusted the plans and headed to the kingdom of Middle-earth instead. And no regrets whatsoever as I would recommend anyone who loves nature to visit this magnificent place, definitely before you die. It has opened my mind and changed my life forever, the way that travelling should do. The powerful snowy mountains has empowered me on such a spiritual level. It's like I can 'move mountains'.
However New Zealand was indeed scenic-overload, to ever think that was possible. The last few days we were so overwhelmed by the scenic paradise, we became visually and emotionally numb to it all. And I cannot say whether this was a good thing. To lose the emotion of wonder and awe is a repercussion such a place may cause. A sensation I prize my life over. Hopefully a few days back into the mundane of daily life will revitalise such emotions.
*I am aware in my Taiwan article (The Purest Love) I mentioned I probably won't be doing any more non-fashion related ones, but seriously, look at this natural wonderland.