The days of waiting for film to be developed are long gone, but the anticipation of viewing a collection of full scale images on my computer screen after a photo taking session is every bit as exciting as when I used to thumb through a package of prints for the first time; usually picked up from the local drug store. There are always shots I can’t wait to see in large format, certain that when I took the photo I captured the scene exactly as my eye saw it - in all its full glory. Of course, that’s rarely the case and many times I’m disappointed at how the ‘perfect shot’ actually comes out. A slight mis-focus can ruin an otherwise beautiful picture that can’t be saved by even the most skilled Photoshopper.
Countering this disappointment however, are always the one or two shots I notice I’ve taken for some haphazard reason that turn out to be gems. It’s humbling to say, but many times these images appear out of a complete mistake in conventional practice on my part. What I actually tried to capture’s been completely lost and in its place some other wondrous scene has been substituted. These are typically pictures I don’t even remember taking. It’s as if a Divine Force took over my camera for a moment or two and took the real picture that was hidden right there in front of me. The picture above struck me that way when I first saw it. I don’t remember taking it, but I know it was in there with all the rest so it had to be my finger on the shutter.
I’ve thought about this picture all week and I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s a real lesson in this for me as a student of photography, of yoga and Life in general. Many episodes in my life are just like these unexpected pictures. I start my day with things all planned out, a clear idea of what’s going to transpire throughout the day right up to the time my head hits the pillow. I get agitated sometimes when things don’t go as I’ve got them charted out. Days that go just like I planned however, are typically mundane and fairly forgettable. It’s the unforeseen circumstances that mark a day as memorable - the chance encounter with a friendly stranger, a call out of the blue from an old friend, a rainbow that appears out of nowhere. Photography has reminded me to slow down, let go the expectations of how I think things should go and have faith that beauty is ever present if I just slow down long enough to notice it.