Monday, February 9, 2015

What I've been missing

I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I went most of my life without ever really noticing a sunset (or a sunrise, for that matter). I am task-oriented and getting things done rests solidly at the top of my list. Too busy to notice. Always rushing and moving on to the next item on the list. 

A few years back I wouldn’t even have attempted to take these photos. I would have taken one look at the dull brown landscape of winter and pronounced it “unworthy.” I wouldn’t have seen the picture waiting to be made. 

But I am growing and I can now see what I've been missing. I am learning to see the light.

In her article, Learning to See the Light, Nicole Young describes my experience exactly. 

When I first saw light, it was as if I had been blind my whole life and then could finally see . . . but once I made it over that wall my images got better. I noticed light everywhere and, alongside my subject, made light the co-star of my images.


A great photograph often has nothing to do with the solid object in front of your lens,
but more to do with the beautiful light embracing it and the shadows it creates. – Nicole S. Young


Light is fleeting; it comes and it goes, and it changes at the drop of a hat. Light adds colour to the sky at sunrise or sunset, and it can peek in and out of the clouds during the day. Some of the most beautiful light happens during the shortest periods of time—usually when we are either sleeping or eating—and so these moments leave as quickly as they come. The key is to be ready for them.


And while I was out walking this historic Battlefield learning to see the light, my creative 17 year-old son was walking along the streets of historic downtown – seeing the same light from a different perspective and taking his own version of sunset photographs.   

Seems he is already wise enough to appreciate the beauty of a sunset. 


I'll leave you with the thoughtful words of an immensely gifted photographer and fellow blogger who has a heart of gold.

If I never picked up my camera again, it has at least taught my eyes to see.  Roxi Hardegree
 

24 comments:

  1. I too have come to appreciate light since picking up a camera...what I can't believe is that it is so recent that I recently picked up a camera...a tool that strengthens the senses in many ways...thanks for the stunning photos...

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    1. Amy, Your recent photograph of spring daffodils and your own work toward seeing the light puts us on the same page - both embracing this time of life where we can grow and learn in so many wonderful ways!

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  2. Beautiful photos and a wonderful quote from Roxi. I love coming here, and always leave wanting to improve, not in a copycat or jealous way, but because I've been inspired.

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    1. Elizabeth, I feel just the same about you. The photos your share of your home and your projects show me that you are welcoming and I can imagine you being a gracious hostess to everyone who enters your home.

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  3. Donna...the bottom image of the triptych just totally blew me away....AMAZING ART. I will never forget a moment about twenty some years ago when a major magazine publication came to my home to photograph my backyard. I was in corporate and my sanity was maintained by gardening...The photographer arrived bright and early...possibly around 4:30 a.m. He came knocking on my door requesting that a fire be built in the outdoor fireplace asap. Having no clue about lighting and timing...I got in the shower...took my time...and then he came banging on the door..."I need a fire NOW!" I'll never forget that experience...but still never appreciated it until 20 plus years later as I photograph and appreciate how quickly the light changes. Roxy is so right on!!

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    1. Robin, I love your story! Honestly, the evening I took these pictures, walking the Battlefield with my husband, was one of the most memorable days. The way the evening air smelled, the little pockets of chilly and warm air contrasting as we walked along the Civil War trenches, that brilliant sky . . . I've waited my whole life to see in this way. I wouldn't even have thought to create a photograph like the one on the bottom of the triptych were it not for you. You inspired me and pointed me in a new direction . . and love you for it!

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  4. Beautiful. I think it takes the camera sometimes to appreciate things we take for granted. Maybe because now we are more focused on them. I wish I would get out for more sunrises. There is always something waiting on the photography bucket list :)

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  5. We do miss such things and it is ashame but then we have found it so it is wonderful. I would hate to think we lived this light without our camera to appreciate the beauty. Gorgeous landscapes preserved.

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    1. Well I see the light but I can't write a sentence that makes sense! It should read "I would hate to think we NEVER lived to see the light with our camera and appreciate it's beauty that it unfolds." :)

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    2. Barbara, I know you well enough to say that you are a light to every friend. The way you use your camera to capture beauty and the sincerity in every image you make is beautiful - and not in any way I can take a picture of but in a way that I can feel - always.

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  6. You have the eye for what makes a good photograph, Donna! Thanks for all the beauty you share. :)

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  7. Yes, indeed, Roxi is so right, there is a before and an after about our consciousness of light... and also our consciousness of beauty... once we've acquired a little knowledge and practice in photography...
    Yes, Donna, we've been missing something... but it's not too late...
    I think I've never been so much conscious about the lack of light in the place I'm living in since I try to make pictures... there's never enough light... and I'm often anxiously waiting for the slightest and shortest ray of fleeting light that will allow me a couple of shots...
    As for your young son, Donna, he's born to a very talented mother and is making his own way into photography.

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    1. Odile, You've made your way into my heart. A compliment to my sweet son always makes me smile. Often times I see that my sons are the best of all I have to give.

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  8. It's so true. Since taking up photography, I find myself seeing things I wouldn't have noticed before, framing pictures in my mind as I travel down the road. The breadth of beauty that exists is so vast that we can't notice it all at once. We each have to come to it in our own time. Your time for sunsets and sunrises has come.

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    1. Dotti, I'm laughing as I read your comment - "framing pictures in my mind as I travel down the road." My husband accuses me of having my head on a swivel as I drive! Yesterday, he drove and stopped along the side of the road here and there so I could snap a few pictures - much safer!

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  9. I am overwhelmed at times with all that I *see*. I'm thankful for the seasons in our lives, hindsight and changing perspectives. Photography is a unique way of capturing all three. Thanks for sharing your journey, Donna, it's very inspiring! Blessings!

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    1. June, I know the feeling you describe. Sometimes there I see so many beautiful scenes and have so many ideas, I hardly know where to begin. And then I take a deep breath and remember that God's beauty is meant to be experienced - and many times that is enough.

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  10. That triptych IS stunning! I especially love the bottom blurry photo. Wow, I'm honored to be quoted on your blog of such exquisite photography. My hubby often makes mention of how he didn't 'see' before I came along. (Sometimes, most times he still doesn't.lol)

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    1. Roxi, Your art always inspires me! You have a unique style that I would recognize immediately as yours - and it's from creative people like you that I am learning to appreciate the beauty of a blurry photo. Thanks so much for visiting!

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  11. Stunning sunset photographs, and how lovely to share your passion for photography with your son. He's inherited your eye for a good shot. I've always rejoiced in the sunshine and cherished the colours of the sunset. I think this has come in no small part from having grown up in a land where the sun didn't often put in an appearance. There's a reason why us Irish folk have such pale complexions and why our land is so green and verdant. All the best, Bonny

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  12. I LOVE the bottom photo in the triptych Donna ! All your images are beautiful though :) My hubby says the same about not seeing until I came along, and now I have my camera, he sees even more and will often point things out to me. It's just so wonderful !

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  13. I always pay attention to the light, especially in winter when the colors are richer and not bleached out by the heat. But I can't record it. You can. I love the flame of the contrail in the first photo, and the slurry photo at the bottom where the sky looks like water. Your pictures are lovely, as always. Virginia winters are dreary for the most part, but you capture that fleeting moment when everything is lit from top to bottom.

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  14. Brilliant, all of it.....the light in your glorious images, the process you describe so well
    and Roxi's quote about learning to see. I think photographers are wonderful storytellers that way:)
    Thanks for sharing your light,
    Jennifer

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  15. Stunning.. Just so beautiful. I hope your doing well.

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