The first time I saw the ocean was in 1994 on a family vacation in South Korea. Having grown up in a small town surrounded by the Canadian Rockies, being witness to a seemingly endless body of water stretching out in the horizon was a truly eye-opening experience. I still remember the bitterly cold winter wind that whipped around us as we stood near the shore, watching the water lap onto the sand in a crescendo of waves. Dotted along the shoreline were clusters of rocks, slick from the waves that crashed upon them but nonetheless occupied by excited tourists making peace signs for photographic commemoration.
I don’t recall the town that we traveled to that day, but I can vividly recall the sense of awe and wonder I felt as an 11-year old experiencing the ocean for the first time. In sharp contrast to the feeling of safety being surrounded by mountains, I was now standing on a beach with nothing around me but sand and a giant body of water. There was a sense of vulnerability being out in the open but it was oddly comforting as my ears took in the roaring of the waves and my nose became accustomed to that unmistakable “ocean” smell. Before then I had only been to a few lakes which paled considerably in comparison to what was laid out in front of me.
It was that first taste of openness that resonated the most. The wide open ocean symbolized limitless possibilities. In my mind’s eye, there is no end point to the ocean and it holds with it a sense of the unknown, waiting to be explored. On a superficial level, I simply loved feeling the ocean wind on my face and in my hair. I fell in love with the beauty of the water as it went about its natural course.
Since then, I have chased the ocean. My first foray into so-called adult independence (aka the “quarter-life” crisis I had when I was a naive 21-year old) took me across the globe to Australia and New Zealand (both surrounded by water), where I spent nearly two years on working holiday visas. Some of my favourite vacation destinations are along the coast – Vancouver, San Francisco – and the Dreamer in me wishes nothing more than to live a simple existence in a small, cozy house on the beach with a couple of dogs, wall-to-wall shelves filled with books while sipping lattes made by my engineer husband every morning.
Funny how reality has so far played out quite differently. Calgary is a lovely city but it’s nowhere near the ocean. In fact, I’m closer to the Canadian Rockies than I am to the coast. But one can keep dreaming of the idyllic beachfront home, right?
This post contains – for very obvious reasons – some older shots.
The photo below was taken at San Juan Island in 2012:
Here is the same scene, but vertical:
I don’t prefer one photo over the other; they simply offer different perspectives. The horizontal view evokes a feeling of sitting on a log in the sand and taking in the scenery while the vertical view is what I imagine the scene would look like if I were standing. Certainly not the most creative way to describe how these perspectives look but it’s how I immediately interpreted the compositions.
Do you prefer one over the other? If so, why? I would love to read how others view these photos.
*Note: The first photo was also taken at San Juan Island. It’s one of my favourite shots of the ocean because of the incredibly vibrancy of both the sky and the water.
This post is part of Blogging U’s Photo 101 Class, where I’ll be posting a photo each weekday with an interpretation of the given theme.