Monday, March 21, 2016

Bird's Eye View #SOL16 Day 22

From my seat in the middle, I practiced pointing and clicking. I knew the plastic holder in which I was required to secure my phone posed a challenge both in terms of access and my ability to snap photos.

Mindful that psychologists caution us to live in the moment of our experiences rather than rely on photos as surrogate memory vessels, I warned myself not to obsess over difficulties with the phone. 

I needed to check my reasons for documenting my experiences with photos. Do I take pictures to remember? Do I take pictures to share my experiences on social networking? 

Linda Hinkel, who studies the effect of photography on memory, says we're less likely to recall details of an experience when we over-expose it to taking pictures. She cautions us against the "photo-taking impairment effect" that results when we use pictures as memory devices, and she has the research to support her conclusions. 

"As soon as you hit 'click' on that camera, it's as if you've outsourced your memory," she says. "Any time we ... count on these external memory devices, we're taking away from the kind of mental cognitive processing that might help us actually remember that stuff on our own," explains Hinkel. 

To really remember my first helicopter ride, I'd need to concentrate on the journey. I'd need to live in the moment. I'd need to fix each scene in my memory and work to make each stick.

I want to recall the details of my bird's eye view excursion, so I also need to record the event, not just with photos but also with words. 

How often does one get the opportunity to explore Ohau from a doors-off helicopter anyway? 

My husband Ken sat to my right, our piolot Nathan to my left. I nested in the middle. Perched in the helicopter, I secured my seatbelt and soared.
We took flight over mountain peaks.
We spread our wings into canyons with majestic hidden waterfalls.
We flew past crashing waves of the north shore, a surfer's paradise. 
We retraced the flight pattern the Japanese flew when they bombed Pearl Harbor on that day that lives in infamy.

Years ago I read "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" by Richard Bach. I remember seeing it in Waldon Books when it first came out in 1970, picking it up and admiring the beauty of the cover and the lyricism of the language. I bought the book with money I received from my twelfth birthday. As I read I knew much of the book's significance escaped me. 

Today I thought about Jonathan and his desire to soar beyond the limits of ordinary gulls. That passion and drive spoke to me long ago and resonates with me still. 

"Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly."


  1. A good reminder as I, too, am quick to pull out the camera. I do need to remember to see the moment through my own eyes more often, and to work more at capturing the moment with words.

    1. Me, too. The irony is that we remember better when not photographing but photograph so we remember.

  2. I wrote a slice with the same title yesterday! Thanks for the reminder that sometimes we need to just be present.

    1. I thought about changing the title. I'm not sure why I didn't. I try to make the titles to my posts unique.

  3. Beautiful! So glad you were able to enjoy this experience.

    1. Thanks! It was really cool. I definitely want to take more helicopter tours.