For more than a decade, I have taken and posted a photo a day. (You can see my collection on Instagram @kd0602). I have to be honest, some days taking those photos feels easy and inspiring. The tough choice is which photo to post. But other days, especially days when I am mired down in work or find myself in the head space where everything feels mundane–the same ol’ same ol’–it’s hard to even find a photo to take.
To push aside that malaise, I try to find something ordinary to look at from a new perspective. Maybe the light is different or I try another angle. Some days I get low, other days I move in close. Sometimes the variety comes in the editing process where I try different colors or remove all the color as I experiment with black and white.
I like that I need to force myself to find something interesting to photograph each day, that I have to push beyond that feeling of sameness and explore the world, even the very familiar not so exciting world of my everyday life to find something worthy of a photograph.
This week I’ve been in that “I can’t find anything interesting to photograph” funk. A busy schedule, dreary weather, and uncooperative tides have kept me close to home. The dandelions on my around the neighborhood walk have been interesting, but how many dandelions photos can one person take and post? I took some dandelion photos on today’s walk, but when my husband mentioned the “six foot high weeds in the backyard,” I headed out with my camera in hand (actually my phone, which has a pretty good camera).
I started with the weeds. More dandelions. I wasn’t finding success capturing the tall perspective. But I leaned in and noticed the seed hanging onto the yellow blossom. Interesting.
But then I noticed the texture of the trees and the play of light and shadow on the bark.
I came around to our “wild garden,” my affection term for the plants that have been relegated outdoors. They are the plants that have outgrown the kitchen window garden or are trying to die from overcare. Somehow, when sent outdoors, they seem to thrive. My eye was drawn right away to this composition of delicate and sturdy, highlighting a variety of greens.
This pool that had formed in the pot holding another succulent drew me in. Will it survive the overflow of water? Looking closely, I also notice the shadow of other plants reflected in the water along with the fallen leaves floating on the surface.
The aloe vera has grown prolifically since moving outdoors. It has spilled out of its pot and now grows along the patio. My husband has pulled off pieces and thrust them into other pots and they thrive too. It’s almost become a forest of aloe vera.
And the colors! Orangy-reds or reddish-oranges tipping yellowish green succulents. I think they may be showing off after getting all that nature-fresh rain. (I don’t think they like tap water nearly as much.)
When you look really closely, you’ll see buds getting ready to open and scabs or spores on the meaty lobes that invite questions and wonderings. I don’t even know the name of this plant. Guess I have some research to do!
I am once again reminded of why I take a photo each day as I experience the joy of discovery. Taking daily photos is my way of taking care of myself, making sure I enjoy the small stuff and avoid being overwhelmed with the negative stuff. I doubt I would have even headed into the backyard without my daily photo practice. Now the question becomes, which photo do I post on Instagram?
So what do you do to infuse beauty and purpose and the appreciation of small things into your life? How do you keep yourself accountable for this self-care practice?