The Eye On The Cam

boat or barge moored on the river Cam at Cambridge

The eye can isolate something in way that the camera cannot. Yes, I know you can use a longer focal length lens that sees a smaller part of the scene, but that’s not what I am talking about.

What I mean is that the eye can take a small part of the scene it sees, and see it in sharp focus, and blur off or almost discard the rest of the scene.

This is quite apart from the fact that the eye has around ten times the discrimination of shades from light to dark compared to a film or a digital camera.

So with that in mind, take a look at the photo at the top of this post. The camera sees a jumble of things, all more or less equally. The only thing that matters to the camera’s ability to split up a scene is the depth of field, or the distance from front to back that is in focus.

In this scene, most objects are the same distance from the camera. The pieces of wood in the pile further back on top off the barge/boat are out of focus, so they are less prominent in the way we see the scene when we look at the photo.

Our eyes also give more prominence to colours like bright red. And I notice that little yellow pot right away. Still, the whole scene is a jumble of objects.

So let me tell you, though, that that is not how I saw the scene with my eyes when I approached. My eyes caught on something that stood out and pushed everything else out of the way. It was this – the round mirror with a view back up the way I had walked. The water by the boat was moving and the water in the round mirror was moving – and the view in the round mirror just grabbed my attention.

crop of boat or barge moored on the river Cam at Cambridge


  1. Love the mirror-effect David! Of course, you also had the benefit of the effects of motion (as reflected in the mirror) to catch your attention; )


    1. If this scene could only tell us it’s story… What an interesting collection of stuff here!!!


      1. The people who live on the narrow boats along the river are an independent bunch. And that’s a touch of that in the neighbourhood – in the houses that front to the river there. It feels a little like going to a rebel encampment when we walk down there, as though getting off the treadmill.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. You are absolutely right. I was halfway through writing this when that particular truth hit me.

      Liked by 1 person

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