"Soundings" (Blog)

  • Travel Quote

    I am just back from a life-changing safari in southern Africa.  Coincidental to the trip, I have been reading Paul Theroux's "Deep South."  I have read many of his books, and in the last pages of "Deep South" he writes: 

    "Travel has always been a way of defeating this sinking feeling, partly because travel is a form of escape, and travel itself--the elemental farewell--becomes the fugitive fantasy of a new life, travel inspiring a sense of hope.  I began my real life, my life of intensity and solitude and discovery, as a twenty-two year-old traveler in Africa, then elsewhere, everywhere, and that formed me as a writer, alert to every sound and smell and to the pulses of the air."


  • "For in war, the fate of the nation may be staked upon the outcome of a single battle, and in turn victory or defeat in battle hinges largely on the character and ability of a single individual, the Commander in Chief. This is necessary because only by concentrating the power of decision can unified action be assured, and without unified action victory is impossible. It is so also because moves in battle cannot be debated around the conference table and decided by majority rule; they must be decided swiftly by the commander on the basis of his own judgment and with full realization that each move, once made is irrevocable. To make such decisions requires extraordinary courage and self-confidence." - "Midway, The Battle That Doomed Japan, The Japanese Navy's Story" by Mitsuo Fuchida and Masatake Okumiya published originally in 1955 by the Naval Institute Press.

  • "I wonder whether you seek adventure when you're young because you're still trying to make a plot out of your life, to shape it into a story, and then you reach an age when life begins to tell the story for you." - Eric Puchner writing in March/April "Afar" Magazine

  • Quote

    I was listening to a radio program the other day. One of the hosts would not believe that the caller had a certain obscure medical condition. Admittedly, it was hard to fathom, and it didn’t fit into any of the predefined categories that our brains use to structure information. But I had just read an article in Sky & Telescope and thought: we assume science is a permanent fact. However, our knowledge of the human body and how to treat it is not static, it is evolving. For example, the new frontier in treating cancer is immuno-oncology. Twenty years ago, treating cancer by stimulating the body's own immune system would also have been hard to fathom. In astronomy there are new discoveries every year. Moreover, there are brilliant people who spend their lives trying to solve some of the mysteries of astrophysics. So we live with evolving science, and must be open-minded as Copernicus showed us in the early 1500s.

    Here is the quote from an article in Sky & Telescope about black holes:

    "We're terribly human people, and the psychology kind of took over," says John Kormendy (University of Texas at Austin)....  "Scientists get very sure of the things that they think they're very sure of.  And sometimes they've been wrong--and when they are, it's a hell of a job to change the folklore."

  • Hubble

    Astronomy is one of my hobbies; I joined the Amateur Astronomers Association of Princeton earlier this year. I have been reading slowly "Hubble's Universe: Greatest Discoveries and Latest Images," which turns out is a lot about photography. For example, many of the images include light from outside the visual spectrum and therefore some assumptions must be made to convert these light waves to a color so that our eyes may see them. Anyway, I decided to pop over to the Hubble page on NASA.gov--the images are mind-blowing: NASA-Hubble

  • "Traveling is the most powerful self-development tool available to humanity. The more you travel the more you learn through the diversity of other places and people, the more you understand how the world and mankind are the most beautiful treasures available to all of us.” - Manfredi de Clunieres di Balsorano, Chairman of Silversea Cruises

  • Upcoming Travel and Fall Colors

    I'm looking forward to visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park in mid-October to shoot the fall colors this year. I have been doing research for the last few days and cannot wait to get there.  I am also headed to Annapolis for a couple sailing events in October.  In addition, I will be at NeoCon East in Philadelphia and the Healthcare Design Conference in Houston in November.

  • 9/11

    It has been 15 years since 9/11. When a tragedy of that magnitude occurs, we find that we have no real words. Instead, we find our voice in music, art and often photography. On this profound day, may I suggest the images in this article on Huffington Post:  Huffington Post.  To this day, I cannot look at the photo of the firefighters raising our flag without a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.

    Now recently there has been debate about individuals who do not stand for our National Anthem. I have no problem with it; after all, freedom of speech is guaranteed by the constitution. In my opinion, calling out a problem with non-violent speech does not hurt our country. However, I will stand for our National Anthem so long as I am able. I will stand because other people no longer can. I will stand for those who battled and tried until they had nothing left. I will stand for women and men who run to help strangers, who stand in harm’s way in our defense, and for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we may live free.

  • "...the most important effect of travel is that it does in fact change a person's life and their perspective on the world. Often this comes at a very crucial time in an individual's personal development..." - --from "Safari" by Geoffrey Kent, founder of Abercrombie & Kent

  • The Traveler's Paradox

    I enjoy talking with people that travel a lot, whether they be sailors, scuba divers, photographers, or everyday people. When they tell their stories and chat about their adventures, their faces light up. Ask them where they are off to next, and you see a surge of energy. One of my sayings is: “If you travel, you know.” People who travel a lot understand immediately what that means.

    I am not a perfectionist. Instead, I see life as a series of trade-offs: some good, some bad with most of our decisions. Travelers also face trade-offs, and I call this “The Traveler’s Paradox.” Travelers are always on the move—off from this place to the next, excited about the prospects of the upcoming trip. When they arrive at their destinations, they see the locals or ex-pats meandering down cobbled lanes or dirt streets, loitering over long meals, chatting with friends on park benches in the middle of the day, patiently tying their fishing nets. The traveler is often envious, sensing the peace and quiescence of their lives. But the traveler’s life is different: the clock is always ticking. Whether their trip is measured in days, weeks or even years, there is a subliminal urgency to prolong the time, to maximize the experience. For photographers, the sense of urgency isn’t subliminal at all: our days are governed by the clock and the light. So simply put, “The Traveler’s Paradox” is this: the traveler is always going, but the resident is already there. We are always moving, planning, going. But the resident is already where he or she needs to be. Thus, their days are longer, their pace slower, their lives seem more peaceful. Travelers imagine what it must be like to live there, to walk home with baguette in hand, to loiter over meals, to sit on the park bench. And yet, we know we cannot be that; we have the traveler’s soul. When we start to settle down in our own homes, something stirs deep inside us. Before long, we are back planning the next trip; what will be the next adventure? We have to go over the horizon: there are places to see, and experiences to be had. And the cycle starts again. All the while, the residents that we envy are strolling down cobbled streets, playing dominoes in the park, and sipping espresso in cafés. We are going, they are already there.

  • Great Article

    Great article from my favorite magazine, The Economist, on consciousness and the intellect of animals:
    "Off Laguna, in southern Brazil, people and bottlenose dolphins have fished together for generations. The dolphins swim towards the beach, driving mullet towards the fishermen. The men wait for a signal from the dolphins—a distinctive dive—before throwing their nets. The dolphins are in charge, initiating the herding and giving the vital signal, though only some do this. The people must learn which dolphins will herd the fish and pay close attention to the signal, or the fishing will fail."
    For the full article read it here:  Economist Article