What does have to do a photographer travel time with Einstein’s relativity?
Absolutely nothing, but blogs need fancy titles and lately seems all photographers are quoting Einstein 🙂
Also if my travel time is much slower than the speed of light and I do not need to disturb Einstein, I was making a trip last month and I noticed how the sense of time changes as soon as I enter an airport.
Going across the Ocean with some overlays requires around 24 hour from the moment I go out to get the cab to go to the airport to the moment I get to destination. Every single time I think about it I feel tired and I perceive it as a very long time.
When I enter the airport everything changes. I’m in travel mode and the time seems to expand or compress, different moments bring a different perception. Going thru the security and from gate to gate is done in hurry (also when you have plenty of time) and the time runs fast, when you sit aboard on the tarmac it seems an eternity until the plane departs from the gate, than for me is a moment, I look out of the window and let the pilot side of my mind enjoy the taxiways, I read the signs, look on the map the chosen runway, follow the movement of the flaps and the noise of the gear and in what I perceive as few seconds we are flying and I feel at home.
My face is usually pointed at the window looking for the beautiful landscapes. I often fly from Turin (TRN) to Munich (MUC) or Frankfurt (FRA) and one of the best views in the world is to see the Alps. If I’m at the right time I can see the sunset and all the mountains becoming dark from the lowest to the last ray of sun on the top of the Monte Bianco (White Mountain), the tallest in Europe.
Arriving to Munich there was a perfect rainbow under dark clouds, between ponds of sunlight on the cultivated fields. Over the Greenland flying toward the USA, the contrast of the dark blue water with the white ice is always surprising. From Chicago to Tampa we were flying over a carpet of fall colors and the smoke from some fires created a gentle cover over the hills. In the Midwest the spots of the farms, with their bright colors and the long shadows of the silos, ask to be watched.
That time flies, literally, until I hear the noise of the engines move to a lower frequency and we start the descent. The pace of time changes, there are actual things to do like a check on the bladder and eventually use the restroom before the belt sign goes on, then the half hour of the approach seems to expand, the descent is slow and the waiting for the moment of flare and touch down is composed of long seconds.
The wider expansion of time is between the arrive at the gate and the moment you finally walk out of the plane. It’s few minutes, sometime after 11 hours of flight, but still seems longer than the whole trip.
Then, the routine starts again to get the connection, sometime with a night at the airport, sometime with a short interval. And the time continues to expand and contract.
I always think I will use the camera to make the time go faster, I usually never do it. I did it partially on my last trip, it was my first trip with the small and light Fuji XPro2 instead of my heavy and huge Canon 1Ds mkIII. It worked, I was able to choose to expand or contract the time using my camera.
In the last trip I noticed something: the world seems to escape the travel time, everybody is on the smartphone. There is no more contact between people. Every trip in the past I met someone new, at the airport, on the plane, sitting at a bar having dinner. This time when I was looking around I was watching mostly at people with their smartphone.
I took a picture on the beach that express well all this, not a nice picture, I missed the focus (yep it happens!) but still an icon of the modern time.
I like to enjoy the travel time, I like to feel the time expanding or contracting based on the reality around me. Now for most of the people the travel time follows the regular click of a crystal inside a smartphone, all the same constant clicking with no option to be modified. A smart time without any chance to be relative while traveling much slower than light.
I will continue to look out of the window and use my dumb flip-phone, for me is much more fun. I like my dumb human elastic time much better than the constant oscillations of a quartz. I like to feel human also when the time becomes slow and I feel tired after 24 hours traveling, it’s part of the game, part of the fun and how I find new images in my mind.