It’s so easy to barrel through life, focused on all the tasks there are to do, checking things off on the mental to-do list, looking ahead and planning ahead…and missing what is right in front of you. My camera helps a bit, when I am taking pictures I tend to slow down, look closely, consider angles and light…and I also seem to notice sounds and textures, smells and even tastes because I am paying attention.
I recently read something about a savoring walk…it was part of a post about ways to practice gratitude, but I was immediately drawn to it as a way to pay attention and really experience the moments in front of me. In their explanation, you should take a walk for 20 minutes each day and notice as many positive things as you can using any and all of your senses. They encourage you to acknowledge each of these in your mind–truly savor them–don’t just let them slip away.
This struck me as an interesting way to consider taking photos. How could a photo account for an experience I noticed with my sense of smell? I could document that sweet candy smell that permeated the area when I walked into Dylan’s Candy Bar in Chicago by sharing my picture of the giant lollypops that hung overhead, and looking back at it would bring me back and help me remember and savor that experience.
Walking through Millennium Park I noticed the flowers blooming, and when I moved closer I could hear the soft buzz of bees at work. My husband is always reminding me to be careful, there’s bees there. But I love to lean close and watch these fascinating creatures hum…they never seem to be still. The macro lens is my friend when it comes to bees, helping me savor these buzzy moments!
As I motored up the river on an architectural tour, the buildings were the main focus of attention. And they deserve attention! They come in all shapes and sizes–tall boxes, some with exoskeletons, some made up of triangles. These corn cob shaped ones are quite distinctive, with their layered rounded edges creating interesting and unique textures you can almost feel with your eyes.
And as I attended to the buildings, I noticed all the window washers hanging off the sides of these metal and glass giants! Even after my fear-conquering trip up Sears Tower, I’m sure I wouldn’t like hanging off the sides of tall buildings as my work! I wonder how many window washers are employed in Chicago?
And sometimes savoring is all about standing back and taking the broad view. I savored this moment looking across the Chicago Institute of Art and noticing my husband taking a photo of the Chicago skyline through the long lines of the Art Institute windows.
A ferris wheel? Yep, an iconic landmark…and a fun way to enjoy the view of the lake and the city. And as we stood in line to buy a ticket, I noticed that I could see the cityscape framed in silhouette through the wheel…another moment worth savoring!
Shoulder to shoulder with thousands and thousands of locals and tourists, I enjoyed an evening at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion watching the taping of the NPR show, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me with some NWP friends. There was a sense of community and warm summer night relaxation in spite of the large crowd. People were friendly, laughter flowed, and fun was had by all!
And the festivities continued into the evening as the smell of wet concrete mixed with the glow of the blue moon and the lights of the city to create the perfect nightscape for summer play. It was fun to watch these young people invent games to entertain themselves as they cooled off and enjoyed a warm July evening.
So take some time to savor summer throughout the month of August, slow down and go beyond your eyes to use all your senses as you notice and appreciate your world. Here’s some prompts to get your started.
Our challenge will allow us to learn from each other as we shoot our own photos and study the photos others shoot. Every day of the month includes a word prompt to inspire and challenge you as you savor your experiences . You are welcome to follow them in order, mix them up, or throw in a new word prompt for the rest of us to try. You can post every day, once a week, or even sporadically throughout the month…whatever works in your life.
Be sure to share and tag your photos with #sdawpphotovoices so we can find them! You can share on Twitter (follow me @kd0602), on Instagram (@kd0602), in the CLMOOC community on G+, on Flickr, or even link back to my blog here.
I’m looking forward to seeing how you savor your summer experiences…through your lens!