When I get up each day and make my way into the world, I find myself looking for scenes and images that speak to me. Sometimes I take ten photos and one “works,” the others lacking in something that makes them special. Sometimes I take one photo, seemingly a throwaway, and it sings, bringing me joy and helping me frame my day. I was reminded by a blogger/photographer that I follow, Joy over at Joyfully Green, that photography can be a way to find joy and peace in our turbulent world.
I walk this path frequently, it is familiar yet ever-changing. This week’s weather has brought lots of clouds our way–this day my attention was drawn to the clouds that seemed to be sitting on the horizon line. I was having trouble getting a shot that captured that sense of the low-lying clouds. This seagull caught my eye…and helped me frame the cloud formations as well.
Some days my photo opportunities are related to the errands I need to run. I noticed the moon the other evening as I got back into my car in the Trader Joe’s parking lot. And when I didn’t love the photo, I set to playing around with some apps to see if I could produce a different effect. I like the monochromatic effect and the way it helps bring focus to the moon peeking through the tree branches.
Another beach walk brought the light to my attention. I think my favorite time of day for photos is the time before sunset when the sun seems to kiss faces and highlight waves. Again, clouds were my muse allowing me to capture the color and light like a watercolor painting.
Sometimes it’s that one shot that calls my name. I stopped on my way home the other afternoon and was drawn to the silhouetted trees framing the ocean and sky in the background.
Rainy days as a teacher means the kids are cooped up inside all day long…no recess time, nowhere to go to eat their snacks or lunch. The classroom becomes a space for playing and eating as well as learning…blurring the boundaries and offering fewer outlets for youthful energy. It was a relief to have no rain on Friday so the kids could get out and RUN! I love the way the ponytail is flying back in this image, hinting at the action and the joy in releasing energy taking place in this still photo.
I’m sure our plants are always confused here in southern California. It’s hot, it’s cold, it’s dry, then it rains… The tree in my front yard recently burst into tender green new leaves…in December! And the trees outside my office at UCSD were raining down fall colors with the raindrops earlier this week, adding some liveliness to an otherwise dreary and gray day.
And when I look closely, I can find joy and beauty in the dry, dead blossom clinging to the orchid in my kitchen window. There is so much inspiration around us if we just take the time to look and pay attention to details.
So, for this week, take a look around, snap some picture that bring you joy. You might find it in the petals of a dying flower or the beauty of a sunset. Or you might notice an interesting pattern of light and shadow or the smile of a stranger. Maybe you take joy in preparing food or folding clothes for your family…snap a few shots and see what you notice.
You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!) I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #findjoy for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.
Head out with your camera with joy as your muse…what will you find to share with the rest of us?