Pictures Don’t Lie (They Stretch the Truth)

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The Crab Nebula is cooler looking than it sounds.

There are many expressions used to represent the usefulness and necessity of images. Sayings such as “seeing is believing” have been around for as long as we can remember. Such sayings are applicable to all things in life, even science and theory. How can we believe that microbes exist without seeing them under a microscope? Faith is one thing, but hard evidence is hard to ignore.

Vicki Goldberg is an accomplished scientific photographer and critic. During the span of her career, she has seen many wondrous sights, molecules, macrophages, and the Crab Nebula. Doesn’t it all sound so science-like and interesting? Of course it doesn’t, it sound horribly boring. Photographs of such things however, are certainly something to marvel at. Without such photographs, how could we ever truly understand such complex (or simple) life forms or galaxies? Sometimes however, images alone aren’t enough. In Even Scientific Images Have Trouble Telling The Truth, Goldberg talks about how more often than not these images are edited. Don’t worry; they aren’t edited to hide fat or blemishes, rather they are edited to improve the photograph. Nebulas are recolored, as the photograph cannot capture the colors correctly. These edits are made in order to help people to better understand what they are looking at.

While editing pictures of molecules may help the viewer to get a better look at it, sometimes manipulation goes too far.  In The Boilerplate Rhino, David Quammen talks about how nature documentaries don’t do nature any justice. Quammen states that the dramatic soundtracks and slow motion effects present in such videos detract from the true nature of the situation. Often, these videos take animal encounters out of context, and add a bit of flare to them to add production value to the documentary. Quammen seems to think that it has a negative effect on the films, and I would have to agree with him. Seeing nature in person is unparalleled, and cannot be replicated by watching it at home, even with an epic soundtrack. In nature, there is nothing but the chirping of birds, the rustling of leaves, and the sounds of dying zebras being mauled by a lion. These sounds in themselves are part of nature, why drown them out for the sake of a John Williams score? Nature deserves to be viewed in all its natural glory (no pun intended). However, the case can be made with Vicki Goldberg and her science photographs that sometimes editing can be helpful. I suppose it’s about how you choose to edit an image, be it for understanding, or drama.

The Most Beautiful Place in America

One of the most beautiful place in New York, and perhaps even the entire United States, is the Adirondack Park. Tall pine trees for miles, large mountain ranges, deep blue lakes, there is no place I’d rather be than up north in the Adirondacks. I consider myself lucky, because for the past four summers, I’ve called the Adirondacks my home. My summer job is a camp counselor at a boy scout summer camp called Camp Russell. I would personally consider Camp Russell to be the most beautiful place that I have even been to. Sure, it’s located on the beautiful White Lake, and settled in a nice Forrest, but it’s beautiful in another way too.

Camp Russell is great, because this is where we are training our youth to be leaders. Not just leaders, but kind, fair, knowledgeable, and skillful leaders. It’s a beautiful thing to see kids better themselves, and it’s great to play a role in that. Some of the kids we get at camp come from very poor families, or broken homes, and camp is a breath of fresh air for them. The best experience in the world is knowing that you’ve made an impact on a young mans life. To me, that’s more beautiful than any lake or forest.

That being said, the camp itself is absolutely gorgeous. Like I’ve said, it’s located on a large, beautiful lake. At camp, we have our own waterfront for boating and swimming. We even have a floating dock, which is great to lounge out on and check out women. I mean, it’s good for life guarding and protecting our future leaders (seriously though, there are some beautiful girls on that lake). The camp itself is split into three sections: the water front, the main camp, and the CA or “Conservation Area.” The main camp is great because all of the buildings look rustic. They even have hand-carved totem poles built into the buildings that act as support beams. It fits right into it’s surroundings, everything is rustic and old looking, which is perfect. We have a wide open field for playing games, and more importantly attending flag ceremonies and eating meals. The Conservation Area is an entirely different story. It’s basically one square mile of pine trees. We have trails back there that go over huge rocks, through some cool swamps, and by neat little lakes. It’s great to just go back there and truly admire nature.

Like I’ve said before though, the lake is gorgeous. I’d say that it’s where my friends and I spend most of our time (and not just to check out girls). There’s just something alluring about the lake, and it’s hard to describe. When you sit down on the floating dock, or even on the banks, you just don’t want to get up. It’s a kind of place where you just want to sit down and let time pass in front of you. In a world where everyone’s in a hurry and chaos is a lifestyle, it’s good to just sit by a lake once in a while, and stare out at it as time rushes past you, like a wave breaking against the shore.

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