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#3216 - 12/23/01 05:24 AM Eyeball Adjustments?
AyersTG Offline

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...
Anyone else ever notice an adjustment period for the eye-brain interface when moving from one environment to another? Like, going from an urban environment by vehicle to roaming the woods on foot?<br><br>Example: One of the things I was doing last weekend was "keeping my eye peeled" for a particular type of fungus. It had been a few days since I wandered around in "my" woods (back yard) and a month since I wandered around in the woods at large. I drove 20 minutes out of town, dismounted, tossed on the ol "Be prepared" pack, and hit the woods. For the first hour, more or less, I was frustrated by not being able to find the fungus as I walked around (recon for other reasons). Then I started spotting it. By mid-day I could see it everywhere - it was there all along, but my "city eyes" could not see it at first.<br><br>By the time I drove home, I was probably a scary driver - I don't remember the drive <grin> - I had "woods eyes" on.<br><br>I have observed this effect countless times in my self and others and while I follow the reasons posited for it, have no idea on how to reduce the adjustment time.<br><br>Any ideas on how to reduce the adjustment period?<br><br>Regards,<br><br>Scouter Tom

#3217 - 12/23/01 03:01 PM Re: Eyeball Adjustments?

Yes, most definitely.<br>I have done field work for years as an archaeologist, and "eyeball calibration" is definitely an important factor. I think it a matter of concentration and mind set, once you have learned to recognize what items are significant in your search. I try to speed up the adustment period by reminding myself to concentrate on locating shells, pottery sherds, etc. and focusing on the business at hand. It still takes time to happen, so you may need to discard or review the first fifteen minutes of effort.<br><br>I volunteered for several years in mountain search and rescue, where the same eye ball calibration must occur for effective work. You need to find footprints, dropped items, broken vegetation, and the like. I knew I was calibrated when I was noticing archeological material.<br><br>Fatigue and time reduce calibration; I tapered off a lot around 3AM.

#3218 - 12/23/01 09:12 PM Re: Eyeball Adjustments?
Ade Offline

Registered: 01/03/02
Posts: 280
Tom,<br><br>Try walking a few hundred feet into the woods, sitting down and just spending a few minutes being silent. Clear your mind, close your eyes, and try to notice the sounds and smells particular to the new area. After about 5-10 minutes, open your eyes and spend another 5-10 minutes trying to see and identify every tree, rock, twig, critter, etc....within visual range. This always works for me. The funny thing is, I learned this in the Army and am suprised that you haven't heard of it before. It's pretty standard procedure, done immediately before patrols. Works great for hunting as well, as I generally "still-hunt," rather than sit on a stand. Hope this helps.<br><br>Andy

#3219 - 12/23/01 09:54 PM Re: Eyeball Adjustments?
AyersTG Offline

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...
Andy - Good advice, and I, too learned that. It works well - especially clearing the mind - the hard part, I think. (You have no idea how long it's been since I lead a patrol!!! <grin>). I go early on major hunts for that and related reasons... but around here, I'm juggling so many tasks at once... ("You! Down there! Shut up! I'm trying to focus...") ...I forget or don't make the time to do that - except when I take the Scouts out on my after-dark hikes - it's part of the "ritual" I do with them. Sharp lads... I think the ones with lousy night vision may actually get the most out of the walks - other senses work harder.<br><br>Thanks for the reminder to slow down!<br><br>Tom

#3220 - 12/23/01 10:20 PM Re: Eyeball Adjustments?

Other than the technique that Andy mentioned, another exercise is to sit down, anywhere, and unfocus your eyes. With them unfocused, see what you can find in your field of vision without looking at any one thing. <br><br>One good way of practicing this is to pick (once you are unfocused and spacy looking) a building 50 yards or so away, and write down all the things you see without focusing on it, then compair what you saw to what you see when you are focusing.<br><br>I know, that is a sucky way to describe it. Sorry- I'm trying to explain how to breath, so it isn't easy. smile But it can be done (IIRC, Tom Brown talks about this in one of his books, and might do a better job of explaining it), and it makes the transition easier, IMO. It's also good if you have kids or spend a lot of time working with kids, becuase you sometimes get to the point that you can focus (like for reading) and still see things in your perifferal vision clearly. Adds to the whole air of omninicience. smile

#3221 - 12/26/01 04:44 PM Re: Eyeball Adjustments?
billvann Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/10/01
Posts: 780
Loc: NE Illinois, USA (42:19:08N 08...
Along this same line, I use a similar technique when I take new scouts out for a nature "hike" (plant and animal identification). I first ask if they have everything they need, water, first aid, etc. I get some groans as we start out on our "hike." We take a few dozen steps, enough to get some separation from ourselves and the cap, then sit down. I can spend a good fifteen to thirty minutes there reviewing a dozen plants that are within reach or site. By the time we are done with our "hike," we have gone a few hundred yard tops. <br><br>The rest of the day I'll get some of the scouts coming up to me so they can drag me over to a plant they want to identify. At which point I tell them to get the appropriate field guide and then tell me what they think it is. ( I find it more useful to teach them how to find out what it is themselves instead of them learning all of the names from rote.)<br><br>Anyway, without knowing why, I guess my technique helps get urban kids to change their focus to the wild environment.
Willie Vannerson
McHenry, IL


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