Right now, you might be wondering how photographing trees, colors, inanimate objects, even people, will enrich your life. You already use your phone and it hasn’t changed you a bit. If you simply do the daily practices, you’ll find the answer to that question yourself. Here’s how it happened to me.
I had to take a photography class I had no interest in, to complete my second major. How stupid! But when the instructor handed me a camera and an assignment and I walked outside, into the sunlight, I immediately realized there is something surprisingly interesting about framing the way you see within the limits of a lens. I walked home on a path I had taken hundreds of times. When I stopped to look through the lens, I began to see things I‘d never seen before.
Plants were pushing their way out of the ground, daffodils and trillium already in bloom. I pointed the camera toward a small lake and realized I had never noticed the way the sunlight played on the water and or just how blue the sky can be on a clear afternoon. That was the beginning. Soon, I found myself carrying a camera everywhere.
I did the assignments, but it wasn’t enough. I wanted something more challenging, so I made up a series of photo assignments to give myself, very much like the practices you will do as you work your way through Photography as Prayer. Surprisingly, the big payoff of these practices is not just getting to be a good, maybe a great photographer, but opening yourself to a new way of seeing, teaching yourself in the process to focus fully, and be in the moment.
Time to get to work! Pick a color. The color you choose must be the star of your shot. You can concentrate on one object if you like and maybe, choose a color and wander inside or out to find examples. It doesn’t have to be your favorite; any color will do. Be imaginative. Your subjects don’t have to be entirely one color. Look for your color in interesting textures, shapes, and patterns, or objects. Remember, before you shoot, put your phone and mind in airplane mode. Set your timer if you wish to keep it to 10 minutes. Take three long slow breaths and empty your mind of everything but your color of choice. If your mind starts to wander while you’re shooting, resume the slow deep breathing until you’re back in the moment. Have a good time.