Are you macro or micro?

by cheri sabraw

Last night with my grandsons, heading down to Morro Bay to see Spiderman, the older 14-year-old asked me which songs I would like to have him load on his Spotify account so that we could listen to them while we were driving.

Had his grandfather been in the car, a long list of songs would have trailed out like a  line of Conestoga wagons heading west.

I could only think of a few songs and yet I have been listening to music for most of my life.

His grandfather not only would have provided him with the songs but also the lyrics. And yet, his grandfather cannot remember the author of the book he read last month.

How to explain this?

Well, grandson, it has to do with focus–macro and micro. Are you macro or micro?

Are you this?


The Piedras Blancas Rookery, 2017 photo by c. sabraw

Or are you this?


I continued.

Whether one actually listens to lyrics or notices the intricacies of a painting, may have to do with what is going on in one’s life. Or not. It may have to do with the degree of distraction that enters the mind while listening to lyrics or studying the hands in a famous oil painting. Or not.

I would argue that most of us are either micro-inclined or macro-inclined.

Is the bigger picture more important than the small detail?



Moonstone Beach, Cambria, California 2017

I love the big picture which helps me cope with the small details of life.

And yet, it is in the details that I feel the pain, relish the moment, slog around in the quicksand.


What about you?

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Life, My photography, Nature photography and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Are you macro or micro?

  1. I think it may depend upon where you are in life. Perhaps on a particular day. Maybe we are like a camera with capabi9lities of either. As one’s world shrinks, so does one’s focus.

  2. Muni Barash says:

    Wow, Cherie, Great pictures! Are you still using that Panasonic Lumix? Muni PS I posted some pictures on my Facebook page. >

    • Cheri says:

      Thanks Muni! Are you in Iceland? I do not have Facebook but I would love to see your photos. Are you on Instagram? And yes, these were taken with my Panasonic Lumix. Love that camera. Have thought about getting the new one and giving Ron mine. 🙂

  3. Richard says:

    We paint with a broad brush because it is not for us to discern the inscrutable workings of Providence yet at the same time it behoves us to remember that the devil is in the detail even though perfection is for God and not for man (“Definitely not,” I hear my wife cry).

    Thus, whether we are visionary, obsessive or neurotic and whether so by inclination, compulsion or necessity, the wood may be obscured by the trees.

    • Cheri says:

      Your last paragraph is a work of art in itself, Richard. What a magnificent writer you are. I try daily to discern the “inscrutable workings of Providence” because I am sure that Providence beckons this inspection. I find that the bigger picture…the definitive horizon, the grand canyons of the southwest, the Big Sky of Montana and the vast prairies of Kansas are what remind me of Providence. The details–well…they get me into a lot of trouble.

      • Richard says:

        I know a bench whereon is written : Placed here by a lover of wide views.

        Often have I sat there beholding the Kent and Sussex Weald, seeking to fathom the the Almighty, at last only to rest in joy and wonderment.

  4. Judi Campbell says:

    I like the view from both places. When I pull way back, I realize that my life and impact are but a blip on the screen. When I fully engage in my boots on the ground life of service and with those who love me, I realize it is everything to me and I take this wild ride with curiosity and gratitude.

    • Cheri says:

      Hello Judi, What a treat to receive a comment from you. I hope you are doing well. And yes, I, like you love the view from both places. I am not sure your life/impact is just “a blip on the screen.” I’m not ready to believe that we are just a scratch on the film that will be buried with us. I love your words “curiosity and gratitude,” two of my favorites. Hope all is well with you and yours!

  5. shoreacres says:

    The answer, of course, is both. I’ve never been an either/or sort of person, and I’m not when it comes to this issue. As a painter and photographer, you know that both light and shadow are necessary for an image to emerge (unless it’s a very bleak day, indeed, and you go for a black canvas, or you’ve been overwhelmed by an illumination and go for all white.)

    Macro and micro are as necessary to a full view of reality as sunlight and shadow. How we choose to mix them on any given day is the question.

    • Cheri says:

      Your last sentence tells the truth. Still, I think each of us is 51% more macro or micro and to that end, I am interested. Remember when we were in high school? Some kids came unglued in the detail. Others, kept their eyes on the ball. My best moments have been when focused on a broad landscape. My worst, when staring at a small burr in my sock.

      • shoreacres says:

        Hmmm… well, just to play the game then, let me think.

        I’d have to put myself in the micro camp. If I weren’t, I couldn’t be a varnisher. That’s detail work, for sure. And I do love macro photography, even though the details it reveals belong in the micro column.

        But putting all the details together into a meal or a blog post? That’s macro, all the way. But you have to have the details to begin, or at least find them along the way. I think.

        • Cheri says:

          From reading your blog in the last several years and viewing your photography, I’d say that you are 51% micro. Your intimate bird and flower photography, along with your profession, as well as the detail you provide in your intimate comments, lead me to that decision.

  6. wkkortas says:

    I’ve been known to brood over a single prepositional phrase (or, for that matter, a single preposition) in a piece for days, so I’ll let you surmise from there.

    • Cheri says:

      This (pronoun) is a marvelous comment, wk. My bugaboo (noun) was always always always the mercurial (adj) PRONOUN. I’ll have to start noticing your use of prepositions in your poetry. 🙂

  7. Brig says:

    Big picture, small detail… hmmm It depends on the mood, the weather..
    Up since 4 am to watch a glorious red sunrise over the Sierras… the coolest and best part of the day.

  8. Cheri says:

    Good Morning, Brig. I thought of you when I checked the weather and saw that the temperature was supposed to hit 115 at Lake Shasta. Really??? I am at Tahoe in the old family cabin at Tahoe; it is mighty hot here at 89 degrees. Just enjoying the little ones, my coffee, and the simple things of life. Great article in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal on Meditation. One of the best I read. Try to Google it and see if the whole article will come up.
    Glad you were up to see that red sunrise.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s