A walk through my yard and down our lane, followed by a drive to our farm property today provided me with lots of pretty things to photograph.
One of the greatest gifts photography has bestowed upon me, besides the ability to freeze time, is awareness. As a freelance magazine writer since the 90s...gulp, has it been that long?!...I had to be aware, observant, etc. in order to visually capture through words written in a notebook what a home's interior looked like so that I could write about it later.
But it wasn't until I picked up a camera that I really became fully aware of my surroundings.
There is a well known bit of wisdom that photographers quickly learn, and that is to follow the light. For a photographer, light is everything. It sets the mood, determines if you can get the shot, and by learning to follow it, you learn to see it everywhere you go.
You become so keenly aware of how important it is to the craft, especially if you are a natural light photographer, that you begin to lament the setting sun each day. I will sometimes think, "Darn it, I wanted to take a picture of the way the light hits those roses but it's getting too dark now!"
And although there are lots of nifty gadgets and post processing programs out there to help you "create" the light you want in an image, nothing beats the real deal.
I once read that National Geographic won't even consider wildlife images that aren't captured right around sunrise or sunset, also known as the golden hours. Now, I have no clue if that's true, but it does make sense, because light is truly that important to giving you the right shadows, contrast, and warmth that takes a good photo and makes it spectacular.
I love that following the light has made me slow down and appreciate the subtle nuances of each day and the ebb and flow of light as it plays off everything from flowers to dragonflies.
And I hope to one day figure out how to master it, so that I can capture starlight better and those twinkling lightning bugs. I don't think I'll ever be so old that I won't giggle at the sight of those magical creatures who light up the night sky each summer, so to be able to capture a whole fairyland of lightning bugs with my camera would totally rock!
Maybe that is why we use light related phrases to denote pleasant things, like
...he is the light of my life
...she had a twinkle in her eye
...my grandchildren are so bright
and so on. Because light really is that important, and when people lack it they feel sad, lonely, and detached.
Whatever the reason we are drawn to its power, I hope that I never stop following the light...because wherever it goes...surely I must follow!
Because so many of you have requested that I turn my comments back on, I have decided to do that. Please know that if I don't reply to them, it's not because I don't appreciate each and every one of them, but just as the light fades each day, so do I...and you can only do what you can do, right?!