The biggest gift that photography has given me is the ability to "see" in a way that I didn't see before. Now I stop and notice light and color and patterns that I previously just rushed past. This "seeing" causes me to slow down and enjoy the beauty that is all around me, and for that I am grateful.
How many years did I fail to enjoy the beautiful light that pours into my house each morning? It streams through my not-so-clean windows spilling little splashes of beauty everywhere.
Growing up, I didn't consider myself to be artistic in any way. I didn't really draw. I didn't paint. I couldn't create something from nothing. I had no idea where to even start. But I was quiet and observant. I did "see" to a certain extent. That "seeing" just needed to be encouraged and stretched and developed.
I took my first photography class in 2013 and learned to shoot in manual mode. For the first time, I had command of tools that would help me create art from the things I observed. The art was mine, not because I drew or painted something that wasn't there before, but because I noticed and "saw" something from my unique point of view and created an image that allowed others to see it too.
Like that amazing morning light.
Now I see it. I notice the dappled shadows that appear on our homeschool art cabinet for a brief time at the start of each day.
I drink steaming coffee, dark and strong, in that hazy, beautiful light.
I wouldn't be a photographer today if I'd never taken that first class and learned to use my camera. And I've worked hard ever since to master the technical parts of photography. But it takes more than technical mastery to create art.
It takes seeing.
The light in my home each morning is worth a closer look.
Oh, and here's a link to the photography class that started me on this journey. It's the perfect way to learn how to use your fancy DSLR.