The Eye of Venus

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"One does not meet oneself until one catches the reflection from an eye other than human."
                                      -- Loren Eiseley

Walking down a desert canyon as darkness falls. The planet Venus shines brightly in the west. High on one wall of the canyon, I notice a small natural arch, perhaps only 2 or 3 feet across. A sudden flash of inspiration -- try to get a picture of Venus through the arch. I scramble up a steep, loose slope until I am in just the right spot. I precariously set up my tripod and adjust the height. This must be done quickly, because the earth does not stop turning, and every few seconds the planet moves out of position. Finally, the composition is right, the shutter is pressed, and the image is captured. When I get the film developed, I see not a planet centered in an arch, but an eye with a blazing pupil. I looked at the universe, and I found it looking back at me.

Date: December 27, 2003
Time: 5:25pm PST
Location: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California
Camera: Olympus OM-1 35mm SLR on fixed tripod
Film: Fuji Provia 100F slide
Focal length: 50 mm
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure time: 7 seconds
Scanner: Nikon Coolscan LS-2000

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Revised: July 1, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Joe Orman (except quote by Loren Eiseley)
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