Photographing flowers. as I do, means looking closely at a fairly small subject, and then editing it on a screen that’s only 15 or 18 inches away from my face – a decidedly shortened view.
Today I tried to put together a slide show of dahlias. It’s usually a straight forward project, but not today. Nothing was working, and I was struggling. A few days ago I made a vow to myself that I wouldn’t push the river any longer, so I honored that promise and drove 2 miles to the beach.
It was a beautiful clear and warm day, somewhat unusual around here. I could see up the coast all the way to Cape Mendocino. The sky was painted with unusual cloud formations. The ocean was calm. As I sat there on the bluffs looking out at the ocean and sky it struck me how restricted my photographic view has been. I love photographing flowers, but gazing at the scene in front of me now was a whole different experience. It made me wonder how my chosen subject matter has shortened my view in an internal sense as well. Both points of view are important, but it’s easy for me to get caught up in one and neglect the other.
When I returned home I pulled out one of my favorite books on photography, God is at Eye Level, by Jan Phillips. In the Introduction she writes, “Every step in the process of taking pictures is a step toward the light, an experience of the holy, an encounter with the God who is at eye level, whose image I see wherever I look.” Maybe it’s not that important whether I shoot close up or far away. It’s only important that I do it.