Sometimes, We Need a Closer Look

It’s always a good idea to practice anything you want to get better at…
It sounds obvious when I say it, but how often do I go out to take pictures for the sake of practice and not because there is something I’m trying to get a good shot of? The answer is almost never. So, after dinner I grabbed my iPhone (Of course I would leave the only memory card for my camera that I can find right now in the car that is not at the house). Yes, the iPhone will work. I put on my boots, wrangled my 2-year-old, and we headed out.

On my trek, I confirmed to myself that I am definitely not a nature photographer. I find people much more interesting. But, that was not the point of this little adventure. The point was to practice; to look at things closely. I don’t know if you are aware of this or not, but people tend to feel awkward when you randomly go out, stick a camera in their face and proclaim “It’s okay! Just practicing!” …Nature does not seem to mind at all.

There are so many other things in life I would love to be better at. So many challenges I would like to overcome. I could look at myself a bit more closely and focus on self-improvement. I could be more aware and open; not so introspective and inside my own head all the time. I could be more cautious and thoughtful, or more responsible. I want my son to see those good qualities. I want to model them for him so that he understands.

Maybe the answer to life’s challenges is as it is with photography. Maybe we should practice being more patient, more kind, more open when it does not matter so much. We could go out every day and practice being a better person. We could do little things to help ourselves and others. We could practice looking outside ourselves; practice looking at the world more closely; practice being social beings linked in this interconnected system that is Earth. Practice… so that we are prepared to give our best shot when it matters… It should always matter.