Weekly photo challenge – On Top


The weekly photo challenge at WordPress’ Daily Post is On Top. This topic makes me a little uncomfortable. Words carry connotations, an implied additional meaning, that can tap into a dichotomy of extremes. For someone or something to rise to the top, there must be others somewhere between second best and last.

Ranking seems inevitable. If society is to strive for improvement, it is expected that some individuals will improve faster than others. Many of the world’s religions understood this and responded by including humility in their value system.

I’ve selected this photo as my submission to this challenge. It is more about striving for improvement than reaching the top; there are still many steps to go.



The Set Up

This is a frame from a HD video I shot while travelling around Victoria last year. Pulling this still from a video feels like cheating. There were no decisions about camera settings, white balance or exposure bracketing. There was no “photographer”. I placed the video camera in the up-turned palm of my hand and wandered around.

This photo is a product of the editing process. From the video footage, it is possible to select the exact frame that captures your attention or fulfils the brief. In this case, it was the moment of decision that seemed most significant, “What’s next? Will I continue?”.


Maldon Fire TowerThe video was shot at the fire tower on the lookout at Maldon.  It’s a classic representation of how there is only room for so many at the top.  There are three platforms, plus the ground.  Only a selected few can access the top level.  It is locked to the rest of us.  That’s where the fire fighters work.  To get to the level below, you need the physical ability to climb a nearly vertical set of steps.  Then there is the larger lower level available to anyone who can tackle two flights of an average staircase.  For those who can’t manage that, there are some information panels on the ground.



Even from the second level, the view was spectacular.



2 responses to “Weekly photo challenge – On Top”

  1. sustainabilitea Avatar

    I enjoyed your thoughts on striving. I think we do damage to children when we try to make everything even, everyone gets a prize/trophy, etc. At certain levels and in certain situations this is fine, but that’s not how life really is. I think we’re better served in teaching children that doing there best is important and they will be good at some things while others will be better in other things, but that everyone is valuable. Just my $.02 worth.



    1. Cherrie Zell Avatar

      I don’t have kids myself, but remember well my childhood experiences of being ranked – before the current trend you write about. I agree with you. I’d like to see very young children bonding and building social cohesion, learning to emphathise with those who aren’t as fast or as dexterious. It’s the everyone-gets-a-prize phase. Then, as they get older, improvement is encouraged by targeting the prizes and trophys. I have no idea what age is the best for moving between these two phases. I suspect there would be lots of disagreement, even amoungst experts. But it has to happen at some point so that the children know how to handle, as you say, how life really is.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Janet. I think they are worth a lot more than 2 cents.



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