Of Radiance and Lameness

“Radiance” Some insane light at day’s end. Balanced Rock, Arches National Park, Utah USA

Driving long, empty stretches of highway alone often lends itself to contemplation and introspection. If I’m not listening to audiobooks or music, I’ll sometimes but not always reflect on some of my shortcomings and how I can improve myself as a human being. Those who know me might find this to be surprising, but I do find that examining yourself – from the outside looking in – can be quite illuminating.

In the process, I think I’ve identified two major personality defects in myself that are somewhat troubling. One is a general lack of patience while the other is the fact that I get bored too easily.

I address the former defect by consciously trying to relax and accept frustrating situations that are beyond my control. This is a challenge and a trial to me but still well worth pursuing. For example, tourists in busy national parks tend to swarm into the scene I’m trying to photograph – all while seeming to have far too much fun in the process. At times like these I feel as if I should carry with me a rectal thermometer to gauge and monitor the onset of becoming an old fart.

Then I remind myself that they are, after all, entitled to be there too and I quietly accept the situation for what it is and wait for them to leave. After all, it’s difficult to justify a disdain for tourists while pretending you aren’t one of them yourself.

The latter defect has no known antidote of which I am aware. So instead of fighting it, I usually feed and propitiate the beast it by giving in and letting it have what it wants. In addition to a strong antipathy toward boredom, I do all I can to not be boring. That means that sometimes instead of agreeing with a conventional line of reasoning, right or wrong, I’ll happily play the contrarian or sarcastically protract an argument for its own sake rather than be bored or boring. In some social circles it’s called being a smart ass but it’s how I sometimes amuse myself nonetheless.

So when I wrote on my Facebook page yesterday that Balanced Rock in Arches National Park is the lamest photographic icon in the world, or something to that effect, I wasn’t necessarily feeding the aforementioned demons of ennui, although some of the comments and outraged private messages I received did amuse me greatly. That was well worth the effort.

George Carlin once quipped, “Somewhere in the world is the world’s worst doctor. Has to be! Process of elimination. And what’s truly terrifying is that someone has an appointment with him tomorrow morning.” George wasn’t disparaging doctors. He wasn’t even putting down the world’s worst….well, maybe he was a little bit. The point is that the world’s worst doctor could still be a pretty damn good one, there just has to be a best and a worst if you’re ranking them.

And so it goes with photographic icons. If I had to rank iconic scenes in U.S. National Parks, I would put Balanced Rock at or near the bottom of the list. It just doesn’t do much for me, especially when compared to Yosemite’s Tunnel View or the Tetons’ Oxbow Bend or the dozen or so other vistas that dwarf the bizarre phallic-looking rock formation that draws carloads of tourists with iPads and smartphone cameras in tow. It’s not a matter of respect for nature, as some accused me of lacking, it’s just that I have really good taste, that’s all.

Oops, I think I’m doing it again.

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Posted in Essays, Images | Tagged , ,


  1. Posted April 28, 2014 at 11:28 pm by K.C. Goshert | Permalink

    Love it Richard…The journey is the ultimate destination 🙂

  2. Posted April 29, 2014 at 12:00 am by Lori Cannon | Permalink

    I like seeing the world thru your eyes Richard:)

  3. Posted April 29, 2014 at 1:23 am by Stephanie Samrow | Permalink

    Richard, You are a mess lol!

  4. Posted April 29, 2014 at 2:06 am by Stephanie Samrow | Permalink

    Richard, You are a mess lol! Please trust I AM laughing in great amusement; because I am! Why were you there Richard???! Your comments struck me as “grumpy”, lol, (not mean) just (this again!). Had no idea you were entertaining yourself 🙂 though I could see your amusement. Bored huh? You are gonna see bored when you block me. 🙂 You know when life gives you lemons Richard, make lemonade. It will never do any good to tell God He wasted a rainbow because He gave you really good taste. LOL! He has really good taste too, lol, you see with it everyday! Enjoy your work and your days Richard. Oh! and by the by I may, lol, never comment here again. Accidentally sent the first comment and that Richard is a bad lil sticker!!! Now it’s gonna do it again? Your gonna block me! LOLOL! God bless -Stephanie aka Konstantopoulos 🙂

  5. Posted April 29, 2014 at 2:19 am by Frans | Permalink

    Thanks for this hilarious blogpost Richard!
    I had a good laugh and haven’t been bored a second 😉
    Best regards from Spain

  6. Posted April 29, 2014 at 9:08 am by Leusy | Permalink

    I love it. 🙂 I would argue that a lot of the people suffering from the same self prescribed shortcomings as yourself are the folks that do the truly noteworthy things! Anyway, relatively new subscriber to the blog, but I’m really loving the posts. Thank you, and keep it up!

  7. Posted May 11, 2014 at 10:43 am by Liz | Permalink

    I agree, everything has a ranking, including rock formations. For me its the Grand Canyon, it’s just too big to for me to love! I have visited it several times now and I still don’t feel in anyway attached to it.

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] the funniest things (even making fun of himself) as in his recent blog post entitled  Of Radiance and Lameness. Besides his somewhat twisted sense of humor, intriguing images are the main focus of this […]

  2. By Favorite Images of 2014 on December 28, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    […] National Park, Utah, USA (April 27, 2014). Lucky shot in a lame location. Not a whole lot of skill or vision was necessary to capture this scene. Still, I can’t help […]

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