There were stars in the sea

There is something magical about being in the zone. When you have a camera in your hand and photography on your mind, your senses go up a notch. You are surrounded by potential, buzzing, somehow seeing things from outside your body. A slightly altered perception, almost as if you are seeing life from 30 cm away, or perhaps with a different lens in your eyes.

So when something happens that is so astoundingly magical and beautiful – even if it is something that you would not even consider photographing – it blows you away. Your heightened senses tip you over the edge, as if on a drug induced trip.

Standing knee deep in the sea on the east coast of Bali. Warm water caressing your shins, pushing, pulling, pulsing as the waves glide past, back and forth. Sand running over and through your toes, your body registering it somewhere, somehow, adding to the experience. But your attention, mind and eyes are taken in by the stars, neck bent backwards, barely aware of the discomfort. Bright, vivid, overwhelming stars. Stars straight from your childhood, rarely seen anymore in an age of chronic light pollution.

What could be more magical?

To look down perhaps? To take in the whole, magical panorama and experience of sounds and smells?

And then perhaps to notice, despite all your senses screaming that you are hallucinating, that there are stars in the sea.

Stars in the sea.

Not reflections from the heavens, but existing in their own right. Thousands of them, floating independently in the sea. All sense of perspective gone, some close by, small, rubbing against you – inducing a small amount of fear – others far away, yet just as bright, and all equally visible, meandering through the gentle waves. Blurring the horizon, confusing your sense of above and below, plunging you headlong into a world never before experienced.

The feelings of wonder, fear, curiosity, joy, happiness, sobriety, love, amazement, confusion all rushed through us, wrapped up in a childlike view of the world, as if experiencing life for the first time.

It was one of the most intensely magical and romantic moments of my life.

And it was amplified by the sheer beauty and other worldliness of the island we were on, the wonderful, exquisite company I was in and my heightened senses, brought about by my having my camera in such close proximity to my psyche.

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