I dreamed I was a butterfly …

cloud beach twilight wave reflection santa-barbara california photofool

“I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?” — Zhuangzi 

When I am out shooting on the beach, I love to get lost in the light and the colors. It often feels like a lucid dream. Then I’d snap out of it and start to think composition, f-stop, shutter speed and which filter to use. More often than not, I feel like I am a butterfly taking photos. My senses and my experience perceive my surrounding as an illusion. Thus, when I photograph these images, they are also often perceived as illusions. The Zhuangzi quote above describes my experience perfectly … There’s no right or wrong in an illusion, everything is everything.

There’s a sunset watcher on the right side of the frame to show the scale of the scene. Having a person in the butterfly cloud formation also illustrates one of Zhuangzi’s ideas about the transformation of life forms …. Okay, I’m going too far now. I have a very long week and I just need to let my mind wanders for a little …

Just to be clear, except for minor level, curve and highlight/shadow tweaks in ps, everything in the image was real.

Here’s another butterfly cloud formation on Mono Lake that I caught back in 2006.

PS: I’ve been too busy lately to shoot anything new. I was planning to vist San Francisco last week and take some new photos, but never made it to the city.