My Eye, My Aperture, My life

Slowly my eyelids open. It is bright but hazy.

I can hear muffled voices. Touching me, hands move carefully around my small 6lb fragile body. I feel cold air on my red blotchy head for the first time. Taking my first breath of air then cry loud as a welcome to the strange objects holding me.

My pupils rotate in all directions trying to collect information. Passing backwards and forwards to the small but very clever cells that will hold the memories I see, store the colours, objects, the good the bad, people; my life will all pass through my eyes.

I see my Mum and Dad, sister and brother. They’re bigger than me and my world is small.

I smell food for the first time, the voices are still making no sense. Things look clearer, making out a big square with light passing through and strange shapes behind it.

I see a strange object with four things moving along below me but covered in fluffy stuff, it has eyes like me but makes a new sound.

Within days, my eyes have gathered so much detail it makes me sleepy.

I wake up. I feel wet. Muffled sounds greet me and lift me, holding my little head in the palm of their hand.

She takes me to another square area. There are silver objects with liquid coming out of them, making the small room foggy. I feel warm liquid on my body for the first time, and it feels nice to be warm.

Another of my five senses kicks in; I smell something that years down the line will take me back to when I was bathed and covered in a white powder.

Carried down a very large gap into the room I know as my birthplace, more strange figures stand there, all with eyes like me, staring at me, making sounds like mum and dad, faces making movements my eye will record as laughter.

I get passed around and they all look at me really close making strange noises at me. My smell senses start as the figures all smell different – some sweet, some that will be known as smokers, the ones I will see sitting next to me with a small white object between their lips, making clouds of smoke. Not knowing the smoke will harm my new, clean, healthy lungs.

I lay back in my mother’s arms. They shake a white object with liquid inside and she puts some on her arm first, then I get my first taste of milk.

I am not liking the taste but it stays there wedged between my lips. I suck for the first time and it tastes better.

Before long my eyes are taking in so much information it makes me tired.

I can see my mum dad brothers and sisters, they all play with me and I see my first dog – it licks me all over my face, mum shouts at it.

Someone keeps holding a small object and saying smile, then a bright light fills the room and I hear “That’s A Nice One”. This will be my first look at what I will hold and use most of my life, known as a camera.

Everything gets clearer as I grow, recording everything new I see and gets stored as memory for later life. I will be one of the lucky ones who has a unique memory remembering, faces, places, music, people, facts, birds, the list is endless and all seen through my small eyes.

As I grow, I hear my Dad say Kennedy has been shot, then look at a small box with humans moving inside it but it is all black and white – not like my family in colour.

I see a man hitting a round object with his foot – he is not the same colour as mum and dad. He has yellow and blue on – my first real sense of colour. My dad shouts Pele is the worlds best.

My dad walks in holding something blue. It is a small bird, and I see the wonder of birds for the first time. He lets me hold it and I fall in love with it. “You can keep it son”, and my touch sense starts as I hold the baby bird carefully so as not to hurt it.

The eyes open daily as I see new things around me.

My first horse pulling a large wooden cart cluttered with old clothes. The man shouts out loud and is dirty looking. People go out and give him clothes, and he reaches inside his pocket and pulls out a hand full of balloons. I see my sister crying for the first time because the man scares her so much and she hides in mum’s wardrobe until she can’t hear him shouting “RAG AND BONE”.

I hear a loud noise approaching, and see my first plane as it flies over our house – it is huge and called a Jumbo jet.

I see my dad leave for work everyday for my first nine years. Then I see him walk out the door shouting at my mum; I will only see him once every Friday for two hours after that.

I see and taste my first chocolate bar, my treat once a week.

I see a luxury object called a car that makes huge amounts of smoke from the back, that people climbed into when they go out for a treat.

Looking out of my bedroom window I see the stars and the moon and a shooting star.

My eye captured so many images and recorded them in my young brain; some I will remember and some I forget until something triggers the memory.

My Granddad comes to see me with his camera, that I now know takes something called a photograph.

I see mum crying most nights saying we have no money left for food so we just eat white bread with gravy. I watch Dad arrive on Friday and give her money for shopping; she wants more but he just leaves.

What my eye recorded, good or bad, would play a big part in my life and stays with me as I write this blog.

Throughout my life, my eye will see millions of things from the UK and around the world, different people of different colour and race.

It sees a huge variety of food with colours and tastes that most of us won’t experience in a lifetime. Sitting on a small island I see and taste my first lobster and shark, I taste a turtle meat.

I wake up in a hammock and look over the Caribbean sea and see my first Dolphin, then my first real sunrise.

My mouth opens wide at the site of the Alps.

The Berlin Wall. Surrounded by the gravestones of desperate people, shot as they made their escape; laid to rest after trying to make their freedom.

I see car showrooms frozen in time and cafes still with cups on the table, and wine glasses on tables full of dust and sand left by people just having a normal day when Turkish soldiers invaded the city in Cyprus.

My eyes grow sad as I see young Argentinian soldiers lying dead with letters to mum, dad, brother, friends, explaining how the war was going and when they would be home, rifles and helmets marking the spot where they fell.

I see my first penguin in the wild and take lovely images on my camera.

Looking down from the helicopter I see the Dam that 617 Squadron Royal Airforce bombed back in 1943.

My eyes are cold as I look up and see the the summit of Volcano Popocatépetl – 17,802 feet.

The sweat runs into my eyes as I climb the steps of a Mayan pyramid, stopping to take a picture.

The years pass and I see my children, my pets and my friends.

I see the climate change and animals in decline through man being greedy.

I see the motorcar and motor bike change and electric items that make life easier.

My eyes see everything, but the lens gets older and the vision seems to change. One eye is all I need to keep the memories going and to see my beautiful family grow.

My brain holds all these wonderful things that I have witnessed like a never ending hard drive spinning daily as the eyes capture more moments in time, storing them only to be awakened by my eye matching it to something similar.

My aperture started out the day I was born. It was wide open, collecting lots of light and as I grow and get older it will deteriorate until that time comes when the eyelid will close for the last time and will stay closed.

Thank you God for giving me my sight that has captured all the wonders I have come across and will allow me to witness many more. My camera has captured amazing images that all tell stories for my children and grandchildren to look at in years to come.

My Eye, my Aperture, my Life.

Written by

I am 63 years old and and since a boy have had an interest in wildlife and in particular birds. I help my Dad with the rearing of young finches and other birds. I had many small birds as pets and as i got older and joined the Military i purchsed my first Camera, and fold out Kodak. Over a 22 year period i enjoyed many countries outside the uk and observed many species of birds. When i left the military in 2000, i bought my first digital camera a Canon 450D with a Tamron 70-300 and started my journey on capturing images of birds and animals. I quickly learned that there was a lot more to getting a good image of a bird, so i started to research the best settings for my camera in order to capture a better image. Over a 12 month period i realised that needed to invest in a better camera and lens and after research bought a Canon 50D and a 100-400 Lens. It was 2013 when i really got to grips with the setup and came across a lovely Short Eared Owl. From that meeting i started to concentrate on Owls as they fasinated me. From Canon to Olympus i recently jumped ship again to Sony. The variety of birds i have captured over a 10 year period is vast and at present i have a wildlife hide in lancashire where most of my images are captured.

1 comment

  1. Such a moving account of how you have seen your life grow. Your eyes are the Windows to your soul and you have opened others to see it. Thank you …your friend Caz


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