Through The Looking Lens

As time passes I become more and more aware of the world around me. I long for an escape, to relax, and purge my mind from life's stresses. The following is an attempt at articulating how using photography enables this liberated state.

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With everything going on in this crazy world I’ve always found photography a means to lose myself in the moment. Every time I place the viewfinder to my eye I’m no longer viewing the world as reality. I’m seeing it as I want to see it, and it's a big fat lie! Photography for me isn’t about capturing what you see as realism. Much of the time it’s the opposite; omitting what you don’t like for a more favourable perspective. Waiting for the shadows to cover this, or move a little to the right so that isn’t in the frame. It’s a great deception, and a wonderful exercise in trickery. The goal being, to fool my viewers into believing a particular location is truly magical.

The methodology of taking a photograph is somewhat magical in itself. I begin by finding a worthy subject. Next bringing the camera to my eye, metering to set the proper exposure, with compensations for the scene. This is followed by composing the framing just so, so the scene looks it’s best in my mind. Finally the satisfying snap of the shutter! It’s almost a spiritual experience when I slow the process down, and focus on the art of image making.

The spiritual side of photography is especially true while photographing in nature. I love to hike through the woods and just let nature expose her beauty to me. It’s always something different even if I’m visiting the same place I’ve been frequenting the past ten years. The light during a particular time of day can drastically change the mood of a photo. As can the weather, or season.

I recall a few years back I used to venture into a local wooded area and follow animal tracks. I didn’t want to take a photo of the tracks, and I wasn’t interested in finding the animal that made them either. Instead I hoped the tracks would lead me to something fascinating. A unique perspective of the landscape, or some interesting flora perhaps. More often than not I did find something worthy of shooting, and the process proved to be a lot of fun at the same time. Like nature literally showing me there is something to be seen if I open myself up to her, and let her expose her wondrous beauties me, and world.

I guess above all else for me, nature photography is a way to unwind and relax. I feel at peace while being in nature, especially while doing something I love. Having the ability to forget about life’s troubles has become more and more important since I developed ulcerative colitis. Stress is a trigger for a flare up, which means if I have an opportunity to deal with the stress before it comes I should make the most of it.