A Sense of Place

I've been fortunate to have traveled to some far flung locations in the pursuit of my photography.  Having read quite a number of Robert Heinlein's science fiction books, I've come to know and love the feeling of being a  "Stranger in a Strange Land," Heinlein's seminal book about the first born human on Mars who returns to Earth and creates his own religion based on "water sharing."  The specific feeling that I craved when I traveled was to feel as though I was an astronaut, awestruck in witness of an exceptionally foreign and exotic landscape that necessarily reordered your sense of scale and personal perspective.  One of the places that fired that feeling for me in real life was The Pinnacles of Western Australia outside of Perth. These stark limestone spires randomly thrust out of the desert sands, so close to the Indian Ocean, like alien sentinels awaiting human contact.  The combination of the arid desert, the kangaroos bounding about, and those silent and craggy monolithic spires created a theatrical sense of place for me that inspired me visually but also inspired my time-released interest in  the artfully written word and its descriptive power.  Another such place that affected me deeply was Uluru or as it was once known as, Ayer's Rock in the Red Center of The Australian Outback.  A towering mountain of red rock that glows fire engine red at sunset, but at other times during the day would change chameleon-like with the prevailing meteorologic conditions. I stood spellbound by the image of clouds racing across its massive corrugated surface.  I had the opportunity both times I visited this hunk of sacred rock to climb it to the top.  I was a much younger man on both occasions and the climbs seemed relatively easy.  Although it may not now be possible, I think I would value even more fully a climb to the top now at age 62 with all it's bittersweet implications.  The sensation remembered then was that of being on a giant sailing ship overseeing an ocean of desert 1500 hundred feet below.  These experiences have informed me and are signposts and touchstones that show the way to other extraordinary life experiences.  They have also informed my writing.