Me : “What am I supposed to be doing with my life? There are too many options. I don’t know which way to go. Help me!”
Universe : “The answer to your questions is right in front of you.”
Me : “UGH! 🙄 That is so vague! What does that even mean? Isn’t everything literally in front of me? This doesn’t help me at all!”
Universe : 😒
Me : “Well, how I am supposed to see what’s in front of me when I’m holding this camera in front of me?! ….oooohhhhh….” 😉
Ya gotta love those AHA moments!
The Universe did sort of smack me over the head, but just with a Tarot card…The Hanged Man. A very complex card, but the simple meaning I took from it was this: “You must look at yourself and the world from a different perspective to achieve bliss.” And that’s exactly what photography has given me… a new vantage point, an opportunity to look at life with fresh, loving eyes.
I had not added anything new to my camera bag for about ten years when this epiphany struck, and I started researching new lenses for my Nikon. 😲 Immediate Overwhelm! 😲 There were SO MANY options….TOO many! I could feel anxiety and doubt creeping in…and I could hear my jerkbag Ego speaking up to tell me I was in way over my head.
A quick meditation (and a good cry) later, I asked myself , “What do I really want to take pictures of?” Remembering how awkward I normally felt with my camera pointed at a human, I decided I wasn’t ready to be a “portrait” photographer just yet. Great! That narrowed down my list of potential lenses…but it also narrowed down my list of ways to monetize this venture. (I mean, have you seen how much wedding photographers charge?! 😵) Once I realized it was that damn Ego barking that it was all pointless if I didn’t make money with my photos, I knew exactly what to do.
I put my Ego in a Time Out! 😶 Once that loudmouth was silenced, I could hear birds chirping…I could see insects flying by…I could smell fresh-cut grass…I could feel the sun shining on my soul. It was nature. It was all around me, and it was a part of me. Nature was what I wanted to photograph…what I needed to photograph. It wasn’t about how I could make money. It was about how I could discover something inspiring and meaningful. Taking a deep, cleansing breath, I deleted all but one lens from my shopping list…the Macro lens (“Micro” by Nikon standards).
After taking my first picture with this lens, my vision became sharper. I was able to get extremely close-up to very small things while retaining incredible focus and clarity. There was so much going on at the micro level that I never saw before! It was a whole new world, and I felt like Alice among the garden flowers. The more I practiced with this lens, the more my perspective shifted…and the more I could see. I started carrying my camera with me everywhere I went, just in case something spectacular might happen to cross my path, which it frequently did…because I was redefining what I saw as “spectacular.”
I began to look at my entire world as if I were seeing it all through a viewfinder, even when I wasn’t…. “Oooo! That would be a good picture!“….”Oh wow! Isn’t the light just perfect over there?”…”Holy smokes! LOOK AT THAT! It’s so beautiful!!!“
My appreciation for things I used to barely notice is exploding. Clouds, sunsets, bees, flowers, leaves, snails… everything under the sun and moon looks different to me now. It shimmers and takes my breath away. Even a common dandelion…before, I saw them like this:
Now, I see them like this…
Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, and you can see it everywhere you look. It’s all a matter of perspective and how you choose to see it, and I choose to look with loving eyes and gratitude for the vision I have been given. 😍