The Passage of Time

It is interesting to be somewhere in the back half of one’s life on this spinning planet. The passage of time brings physical changes. I often wonder who that old guy is in the mirror staring back at me. I think I know him… then wonder if I ever will discover and understand all that I could about him.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 30-110 mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 49.3 mm, efov 133.1 mm, f/8, 1/200, ISO-400, extension tube used

I suppose it is an easy task for us to look at ourselves, and others, as fitting into neat, predetermined slots, and apply corresponding labels to our attributes.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 100 mm, efov 270 mm, f/5.6, 1/30, ISO-3200

It is always prudent to view ourselves as individuals with unique talents and experiences. To see the potential that is still within.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikkor 30-110 mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 71.6 mm, efov 193.3 mm, f/5.6, 1/80, ISO-1600

As long as we are breathing and have our mental faculties there is always something new to learn. After all, some pundits claim that knowledge is doubling every 13 months, and that pace is accelerating. My brain isn’t keeping up with all of that. Choosing where to focus one’s efforts becomes more critical as the passage of time continues.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 100 mm, efov 270 mm, f/6.3, 1/80, ISO-3200

Some folks fear their later years. Their life energy is seen flowing rapidly past into a dark abyss.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 100 mm, efov 270 mm, f/5.6, 1/15, ISO-1600

While none of us can stop the flow of life, we can choose to live it creatively, doing our utmost to make the best of each day we have. Tomorrow is… just a promissory note.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikkor 30-110 mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 49.3 mm, efov 133.1 mm, f/5.6, 1/60, ISO-1600

Everything that we are, and all that we experience, is always moving closer to our final moment here. That is not a morose thought or perspective… just acceptance of the truth.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 @ 100 mm, efov 270 mm, f/5.6, 1/125, ISO-3200

Life isn’t about worrying how much time we may have left. It is about living in the moment. Appreciating those we love. Touching the lives of others. Making a difference during the time we are still here.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 32 mm f/1.2 @ 32 mm, efov 86.4 mm, f/1.2, 1/320, ISO-160

Each of us has the potential to leave our mark behind. The legacy of our actions.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor 30-110 mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 89.9 mm, efov 242.7 mm, f/9, 1/40, ISO-400

All we need do is take control of our direction. Plot our course. And drive like there is no tomorrow. Top down, wind in our hair, radio blaring… because one day our tomorrows will come to an end.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikkor 30-110 mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 110 mm, efov 297 mm, f/7.1, 1/25, ISO-1600

As the passage of time continues, let each of us view every day as a burst of new opportunities. Let’s all live fully… moment by moment in the vibrance of our passions.

Technical Note:
All photographs in this article were captured hand-held using camera gear as per the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO PhotoLab, CS6 and the Nik Collection.

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7 thoughts on “The Passage of Time”

  1. Tom,

    I’ve always been an admirer of your ruminations ever since discovering you in Photography Life some years back and I must say, this is the most spot-on rumination you’ve ever had to date.

    Well, one thing I’ve learned from my beloved dogs is to learn to live in the moment. Tomorrow is not promised and yesterday is past. Photography-wise, it could mean embarking on preserving the here and now so the future generation can look back and learn (the reason why I embarked on a personal journey of documenting the elders of a mountain village up north here in the Philippines as a way of giving back, giving the past a face as well as a future, and using photography to accomplish something bigger than inflating my ego). The beauty of this craft we share is that the memories they preserve have the capacity to outlast our temporariness.


    1. Hi Oggie,

      I absolutely agree that our photographs can serve to document moments in time, and preserve those moments for future generations. Documenting the village elders not only preserves those memories, but honours them as well. Any moment that we live without purpose is wasted.


  2. My father used to ask: “Have you noticed that the quality of mirrors has gone down in recent years?”
    I also like to have a little fun with people, and will ask them: “At what age are you middle aged?” A lot of people will say somewhere between 50 and 60 (only a few know the correct answer). I then point out to them that in the United States, the average lifespan for the American male is around 78 years, which means that middle age is only 39 years. Yes, a lot of people live to be 80 or more, however the actuarial tables are far short of 100 to 120 years. A lot of people are quite surprised to realize that they are on the downhill slope. Remember, at the end you should be able to say: “Wow! What a ride!”, so don’t put off making sure you can say that.

  3. Wonderful and wise words! From time to time I like to watch a video about older people doing amazing things or have an amazing attitude. There are some great ones on youtube that I have watched. These older people give me the inspiration to head into each day with a passion for life.

    Daphne Selfe the world’s oldest supermodel at the age of 86 lands new campaign-Extraordinary people – YouTube —

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