the beauty all around us

wispy cloudsWhat are you focusing on? In photography the focal point of an image is a key aspect in telling the viewer what the subject of the picture is, or at least what the key element(s) is within the frame. In life it is the same, we are focusing on the things which are important to us and the things that we want others to pay attention to.

One key to a great photograph is to set your focal point apart from the rest of the frame and therefore to accent your subject. The less busy an image is the easier this becomes. When an image is crowded with random things, even though they may be out of focus they are still a distraction that takes our attention away from the subject. One thought is that if something isn’t leading you to the subject than it is distracting you from it. Many times this can be fixed by taking a second to look around and recompose your shot before taking it.

The same principle applies to our lives. The things we are focusing on become harder to see and discern when we are filling our days with random busy-ness. Many times we are so busy we don’t notice what is going on around us, we fail to see the beauty that we are living in and we miss so much.

As we are entering this fall season, I’m loving all the beauty that is developing all around me. The temperature is starting to cool down, I’m sitting here with all the windows open and loving it, the sky is beginning to take on the deeper blue color that comes with fall and winter, the clouds are becoming wispy and the air has a cool crispness to it. I love it!

This past weekend we were in Charleston, SC and I was able to grab the shot above while we were walking around a marina one morning. I love the clouds and the sky as well as the mast coming up. I have always wanted to go sailing, and despite growing up in Florida on the coast, I never have been.

Sailing is a sport that is totally dependent on the wind and nature. There is so much complexity to the sport and yet it is as simple as putting up a big sail, allowing the wind to catch it and away you go. I wonder what life would be like if we were more like that in our walk with Christ?

What if instead of worrying about all the things going on in life, we put up our sails and said “OK Lord send your wind to take me where you want me to go”? What would our focus look like then?

I’m constantly realizing that I’m surrounded by a whole world that is amazingly beautiful.

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The sky as canvas

As you are creating a picture you must choose your canvas, and that canvas (background) is the whole setting for the picture you will take. The canvas can be anything from the background of the scene, a studio backdrop, or just a bokeh’ed background depending on the type of shot you are trying to capture.

As much of my works puts me outside with natural light I have always been a fan of the sky as a canvas. It really is a beautiful thing to capture.

The other morning my wife and I were walking and watching as the sky began to illuminate with the morning sun. I had taken my camera with me (since you never know what you will come across) and was able to capture some of the beauty that was unfolding in front of us.

This scene caught me with all the lines. They aren’t so much “leading lines” such as railroad tracks or fence posts, as you would normally look for, but rather they are somewhat sporadic and chaotic. But that was the beauty of the scene, all these seemingly random lines (clouds, power lines, grass shoots) joining in the image to allow your eye to roam around and take it all in.

Lines can be a wonderful thing to add depth to an image, they also can be used to lead the viewer’s eye to where you want it to go. Scott Bourne gives this tip, “If you’re in a photographic rut, start looking for lines. There are lines everywhere and they make great compositional elements.” (Photofocus)

Lines are everywhere, and therefore can easily be incorporated into your photography. This picture was taken in Arlington National Cemetery.

The key is in making the lines fit into your frame and subject matter. Taking pictures of lines for the sake of having lines will not necessarily work well, the scene quickly becomes too random and the viewer easily looses focus on the subject of the picture. To keep this from happening make sure that all your lines are relevant to leading the viewer’s eye to the subject or they in no way distract from the subject but rather enhance the subject.

No matter what type of photography you are into, you will come across lines, it is your choice whether to incorporate them or not.