What Is Real?

There are as many kinds of photography as there are photographers. Each of us has our own reasons for pursuing this art form, and our own ways of bringing those reasons to life. For me it is about seeking to allow beauty to shine through. I’m not as concerned about “did it really look this way?” as I am with “does this capture at least a hint of what I see behind and beneath the surface?” Over the years folks have occasionally respond to my photos with some variation on “oh, you used filters to manipulate the image” or “it didn’t really look like that, did it?” Which is OK. Everyone gets to have their opinion about such things. I don’t expect everyone to appreciate what I’m doing. We each see the world in the ways that our eyes, and our minds, and our hearts reveal it to us.

“Nothing is less real than realism. Details are confusing. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis, that we get at the real meaning of things.”

– Georgia O’Keeffe

Lately what I’ve been seeing is light. It shines through in every moment, or at least has the potential to do so if only I will notice. I’m trying to pay enough attention to notice. Most mornings find me walking the trails as the new day begins. Today I watched as the sun rose over the eastern horizon and spread it’s light across the landscape. To the west, in the the mountains, there are houses which cannot be seen except in this moment, when the angle of the sunlight allows it to be reflected in the windows. Suddenly the mountain is filled with shining light that looks like stars. The same thing happens in the snow covered fields when the sun sets the ice crystals ablaze. Occasionally I can capture such moments through the lens of my camera. Often I can’t. And sometimes I can make use of some photo software (like the Tangled FX app I used on the photo at the top of this post) to offer at least a glimpse of what I’m seeing with my mind and heart.

There is so much more to this life than I can even begin to perceive or imagine. It really is light and magic, and I will continue to strive to remain open and present so I can allow that light (and that magic) to shine in me and through me in ever deeper, fuller, and richer ways. It’s all pure gift, and I intend to spend the rest of my days learning to unwrap it.

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