I want to improve my photography; I want to feel comfortable with the camera and capture mood as well as subject. And I know to achieve that goal, I must practice – A LOT.
Practicing a skill requires conscious intention to move away from the comfort zone, which quite frankly is …. comfortable. While trapped in the zone, I don’t have to worry what others think of me (“who does she think she is, walking around that camera?”); I don’t have to compare my efforts with others (which never measures up); and I don’t have to confront my imperfections.
Two weeks ago, however, I decided to take a few steps outside that zone. It was a sunny, warm day – perfect for a walk around the neighborhood to capture Spring’s rebirth. The redbud trees were stunning against the vivid blue sky, and colorful tulips gently waved from their flower beds.
This picture was one of my favorites. The couple are meticulous about lawn care, and I always enjoy seeing their latest decorative scheme. These lilac bushes were beautiful, and the homeowner didn’t mind me taking a few photos; he even offered me a cutting or two to take home.
This morning I walked by the same house. In just two weeks the purple blooms had faded, and the only visible color was a deep, dark green. Pretty, yes… but not stunning.
I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and Seized the Day. I captured some nice photographs of my neighborhood at the peak of spring’s vivid colors. If I had waited just a few short days, I would have missed it – for the landscape changed and will not provide that kind of beauty for another twelve months.
To Seize brings to mind images of snatching or grabbing – a quick decisive moment. Yes, it is important to notice the extraordinary in the midst of humdrum routine. And we must also be willing to grab that fleeting opportunity before it disappears.
But I also think we need to Savor as well – to slow down and fully appreciate the moment. For me, at least, I am too often looking for the next opportunity to grab, rather than basking in the present. Yes, I snapped the photo, but did I really take the time to admire the beauty of the lilacs? Did I touch the delicate blooms, did I inhale the aroma, did I view them from all perspectives or just the one that was most convenient?
Seize and Savor.
Don’t rush through life failing to notice the beauty in the ordinary – and don’t procrastinate when opportunity presents itself. Live in the present.
These are all valuable lessons I learned when I stepped outside my comfort zone and went on a neighborhood walk with my camera.
** To view other Saturday Snapshots, please visit West Metro Mommy Reads, the host of this weekly meme.