From photographer Winston “Rocky” Rockwell: Sometimes we see things that give us pause, make us stop to reflect, or just plain wonder. This is one of those photos. It’s an image I took a few years back on a trip to the Oregon coast. While strolling along the beach in search of photo opportunities, I saw a young man carrying a small metal bucket walk down the beach to the water’s edge. He put down the bucket, waded into the surf, pulled a wadded net from his pocket, and began casting it into the waves, fishing for smelt in the shallows.
Smelt are small fish, typically not more than 8 inches long, but they’re quite tasty, and they school near the shore in spawning season, making them popular with pelicans as well as people. Most folks catch them with long-handled dip nets, but this young fellow chose a more time-honored technique, casting a surf net as primitive peoples still do in many less-developed, poorer parts of the world. No fancy metal dip nets and plastic coolers here… a simple net, carried in a pocket, and a pail at the edge of the surf were all he needed.
So what was it about this scene that made me pause to think? Simply that here was a young man, from a well-to-do nation, with all the options of our high-tech culture at his disposal, yet he had chosen to fish for his supper using a technique as old as… well, almost as old as fishing itself! It made me stop and ponder for a moment, and reminded me vividly that sometimes, the “old” ways are every bit as good as our new-fangled modern methods.
There is much to be learned from those who still do things the way they were done in years gone by, and in some cases, we just might find, as this young man obviously has, that the simplicity of the past still has a place in this busy, fast-paced world of ours.
I watched this person fishing for perhaps ten minutes, during which time he managed to haul in a dozen or so small, shiny fish. Some he put into his bucket, others he let go back into the surf, perhaps to grow a little for next season. And as I turned back to my walk along the beach, I did so with a fresh perspective on some of the things I’d learned over the years, old ways of doing things that might not offer the instant gratification of modern technology, but which were actually more satisfying in the end. Maybe our grandparents were onto something…
You can see more of my photographs at www.northwestnaturalimagery.com. Here are the camera and settings used to capture this image:
Camera: Canon EOS 30D
Lens: Sigma EX 80-400
Focal length: 250mm
Shutter speed: 1/1000 second
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