Courtesy of Nicolas Ruel, National Geographic Magazine.

Nicolas Ruel from Montreal has traveled to 70 cities in 40 countries and 5 continents to produce Cityscape, Civilization and Industrial, a photographic series that features busy metropolitan scenes.

His photographs present a unique perspective of the hustle and bustle of city life,” observes Steven Munatones. “The multi-dimensional aspect of his work also present a stark contrast to the tranquility that we often experience in the open water.

Walking down the streets of London or driving on the streets of Los Angeles or hustling to an airport gate or trying to catch a taxi cab in Manhattan is such an overload on our senses. Our eyes scan the streets and shops. Our ears are filled with sounds of cars, trucks, taxis and people talking and moving out. Our nostrils are overwhelmed with the smells of cityscapes from garbage in alleyways and bread from bakeries. We feel each step on the sidewalk or the steering wheel of our car. And our brain is processing all of this sensory overload at once.

Whereas, when we swim in a calm lake or in an offshore coastal swim, there is a deprivation of those same senses. Our sight is limited, both above and under the water. Perhaps we see an escort kayaker or the distant shore. Our ears hear relatively little other than perhaps the splash of our own arms or an occasional the whistle of a dolphin. Our sense is dulled except perhaps if we run across flotsam or an oil slick.

On the flip side, when we swim over a coral reef or feel cold water, our brain quickly processes all this information and we become laser focused on the things that we do see or feel.

Without an ability to talk to someone else, we instantly only process thoughts within ourselves. So cold feel colder because the intensity of thought is so focused within ourselves. Even in a turbulent sea when we bounce up and down, and are moved left and right, with each wave from all directions has a certain tranquility to it. While we may become frustrated with our forward movement, we are one with our immediate environment, taking each arm stroke and each breath as they come along. The intensity of action is much greater than simply walking down a city street.

The contrast between city life and marine life is vast.”

Sarah Ferguson is shown above swimming around Easter Island over 2,000 nautical miles from the shoreline of Chile [her unprecented story is posted here].

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