Sunday, August 18, 2013

Photo-of-the-Week #120 - The Eye of the Eagle, Hunting Island, South Carolina, February 2013

Have you ever had the desire to soar like and eagle and see the world from an eagle's perspective? Maybe it's just me, but the idea of soaring like that eagle epitomizes the concept of freedom for me.

This photo gives me the feeling or at least it's my interpretation of what the world looks like to the eye of the eagle. I have flown over some of the beautiful geography of the central part of the North Island of New Zealand and the vineyards of Napa Valley in California in a hot air balloon. It's an exhilarating feeling to just float a couple hundred feet or more in the air, so quiet and peaceful. Well, except when the balloon pilot has to fire the "flame thrower" to heat the air in the balloon to keep it airborne. I've also soared over the beautiful, scenic country that is south central New York State in the Elmira area in a sailplane. It's an amazing feeling. No engine noise, just the air rushing by as the gliding plane swoops, dives, makes tight turns and catches another thermal to recover it's altitude.

For those who are reading this and have experienced what I'm talking about, you know what I mean. I can see why either ballooning or sailplane soaring can easily become addictive. I wish I could say that I was truly soaring when I took this photo from the perspective of the eye of the eagle. Unfortunately, I was in a stationary location at the top of the Hunting Island Lighthouse. It was a perfect day. The temperature was perfect, the, the sun and the sky, the puffy white clouds floating by and the gentle breeze caressing my face, arms and legs.

To me - this was a living free moment. These are the moments of magic that makes one at peace with one's self, nature and the universe all at once. This is what I now live my life for, finding and experiencing these magic moments like seeing the world from the eye of the eagle.  


Boonie Boonster said...

Good examples of how to get that feeling. But they are expensive ones. Can you think of an inexpensive alternative?

Ed Helvey - Professional Nomad said...

Hi Boonie,

I can't say that I have any suggestions for less expensive alternatives other than buying your own hang gliding rig and soar off a high cliff somewhere. There will be an initial investment, but you can easily carry it with you and use your hang glider over and over again. Or, as I did in shooting this photo, find lighthouses you can climb and gain the perspective from the observation deck. You might also look for forest fire lookout towers that may still be open to climb. Near my hometown of Clifton, NJ there is Garrett Mountain, now a county park area. It's about 500' above sea level. There is a 70' high observation tower built just prior to 1900 at one of the parks main scenic overlooks. The observation tower is no longer open to the public due to disrepair, however, as a kid growing up in the area and even into my early days in college, the tower was open and offered an eagle's eye view of Northern New Jersey, Manhattan Island and on a really clear day you could probably see a little bit of Long Island and into Connecticut from that vantage point.

Those views are certainly less expensive (in some cases, free) than a sailplane or a hot air balloon. I would also suggest they are less risky considering that we had two minor crashes that could have been very serious to life and limb while hot air ballooning in New Zealand. But, I'll do ballooning and gliding again when the opportunity presents itself.