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Figuring out What to Do on a Difficult Day

If you’ve been around for a while, it’s likely there’s at least one date on the calendar that marks the passing of someone close. December 2nd, for three years now, is that sad date for our family, and figuring out how to spend the day is challenging.

Our loved ones wouldn’t want us to be sorrowful, and of course it’s not something to celebrate – so exactly what do you do with yourself? In my book, there are no rules for this kind of thing and we should do what feels right on our own terms. I decided to spend today on something I enjoy that also provides the opportunity to celebrate nature.

This morning, I pulled on hiking boots, grabbed my camera, and turned off my cell phone (the latter not something I have much experience doing!), and took to the woods for hours of exploring, and taking pictures of things that caught my eye. And, for those not living in Southwest Florida, let me just say that we now have entered our version of “winter,” where, for example today, the high temperature is 79 degrees instead of 99 – and with a light breeze! It makes for the best time to be outside!

As I walked through the woods, I was reminded that photography is more than a fun hobby for me. And having it on this day – this December 2nd day – is a good way of describing why.

  • Reverence: Landscape photography takes you to the woods, the beaches, the mountains, the lakes. There’s a reverence as you tiptoe up close to see beautiful things, and capturing them with your camera can feel secondary.
  • Looking: You find yourself looking up and looking down, away from the regular path of just looking straight ahead. Unanticipated treasures await you high in dappled-light treetops, as well as underfoot in tiny wildflowers peeking from behind blades of grass.
  • Light: Light makes mood. We find this in so many ways in our lives, and nowhere is it more profound than with a camera in these beautiful settings. This is why photography is referred to as painting with light.
  • Focusing: When you’re focused – both your eyes and your camera lens – on things to photograph, the noise of routine, regular-day life disappears, and you’re left with time and space to think and really see things.
  • Little Things: Little things get to matter in photography. It’s not always the brightest or biggest flower that makes the best shot. Some of my favorites are of the dime-sized wildflower or pretty weed that’s barely seen at first glance. I found one of these little treasures today – a powder puff of a moment that had I walked by without my camera, I never would have noticed.
  • Quote: And, finally, there’s a quote by Henry David Thoreau I like a lot, and it’s a perfect way to complete this list. It goes like this, “It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see.”

In the woods, finding both beautiful and interesting things (generally a great combination!) made today less difficult. And I had no doubt I was exactly where I should be.

Here are some photos of those beautiful and interesting things that caught my eye!

Where do you escape when you need to get away for a bit, and what makes it special to you? Please comment below!

December 1, 2021
December 3, 2021



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