I’ve always been fascinated with the skilled eye of a good photographer and their ability to pick up the subtle nuances that transform a simple photo into a “masterpiece”. They can take an everyday scene and find something amazing in it. My friend Tom Brennan does this all the time and his photography always intrigues me.
Take a look at the photo below, for example. What do you see? Some birds standing in some water on a cloudy morning, right? Now, look more carefully at it. Maybe you’ll see a windless marsh in the early morning light. You may also notice the large homes in the background and the different textures of clouds in the sky. You will see some herons standing in the still water. If you look closer you may notice at least two herons who are standing apart from the crowd off in the background. Next look at the light ripples in the water in the foreground from a disturbance underneath the surface. Look at the stark reflections of the birds on the water – each one reflecting a different angle depending on where it stands? Finally, look at how the photographer’s keen eye picked up on the cloud reflection in the water with amazing detail – you can even see blue sky on the water that you can’t see in the sky in the background. It is as if the shot is upside down.
With all of that said, the most amazing thing about this photo to me is that it wasn’t taken by a master photographer with a trained eye and a great camera – this photo was taken by me. I took this shot in the early morning from a golf cart using my Android phone. But, the most important thing I want to point out is I didn’t see any of the things I mentioned in the paragraphs above when I took this shot. I had no idea what I had captured until I opened it again on my phone and then posted it on my Facebook page. What’s more, I see something new almost every time I look at it!
This kind of thing makes me think about life in general and the things we miss. All the details were already in the scene right there in front of me, but I missed a lot of them. It makes me want to ask how many times we pass by beauty like this without really seeing? How many times do we fail to notice the details around us? I’m not just talking about herons and clouds, either. How many times do our kids, our family, our friends or even hurting people cross our paths, and we don’t notice? How much are we missing by living out our lives with our heads down focusing on a 2.5 x 5 screen? (Sorry, if you’re reading this on yours 🙂 )
The times we live in are fast and furious, and the years seem to fly by. I want to encourage you to stop and look up once-in-a-while and see the beauty around you. Take a break from your busy life (and that small screen in your hand) and get to know the people in it.
Stop, look, listen and . . . breathe.