I’ve always enjoyed the beauty around me, especially the wonders of nature. Flowers, trees, birds and butterflies, sunrises and sunsets, bodies of water—all fascinate me, so it’s no surprise that I like to photograph them.
Once during a week of retreat--a special time of prayer and reflection, I spent much of my unstructured time roaming our park-like property, camera in hand. Across those days I came to realize more clearly that beauty can lie in a few inches of space--a bumble bee on a single blossom, one green leaf in a pile of autumn colors, a blue jay feather in the grass.
Sometimes while roaming, I’d suddenly come upon a little unexpected loveliness. I wondered if I alone found it pleasing, later to discover that what caught my eye often appealed to others as well.
After I began making photo cards, even in my early pre-Plymouth Cards days, I began consciously looking for possible subjects, not content to simply stumble upon them. Of course, the pop-up items remained a delight—but now I was on the lookout. Not too intensely, though: a relaxed stance is more open to discovery. That approach allowed me to find remarkable delights in unlikely places.
As time passed, though, I found myself more likely to approach lovely or interesting things almost solely for picture possibilities. Sometimes I felt disappointed:
“The light’s not good.”
“I don’t want to shoot through a speckled window pane.”
“That water tower ruins the skyline.”
I became distracted, no longer simply enjoying what I saw for its own sake. The photographer was taking over the person.
Little by little I realized that picking up the camera was a mixed blessing. I saw that the photographer’s mentality could ruin my perspective. I don’t need a camera to enjoy what I see. The beautiful, the interesting, the unusual is enough in itself to warrant my attention. A thing doesn’t have to be useful. It doesn’t have to be photo-worthy. Is-ness is enough.
Revisiting the site of earlier photo-taking is a fine way to experience the different kinds of looking: first aiming for a good photo; later freeing the eye-without-camera to simply explore. In the latter kind of viewing, elements that might mar a photo needn’t spoil my joy.
Gradually I grew into to dual ways of looking. A striking sunset may offer a great photo op, but a plain old ordinary sunset could still be a delight. Taking a walk without a camera could leave marvelous images in my memory. Of course, the captured scene may be savored long after the sighting, but the immediacy of nowis irreplaceable.
Today I thoroughly enjoy having bi-focal vision. It’s fun being a two-view me.
I enjoy my newly purchased card racks, available from Displays2Go, in a variety of configurations. They certainly enhance the selling process, making the cards visible and easily accessible.
I now use my smart phone camera most of the time, mainly because I have it with me. I’m pleased with the results. Another advantage is the capacity to take multiple shots in rapid succession, a real plus with moving subjects.