“Is there enough light?” my friend Sydney asked. We were standing in a warehouse looking at the windows high above us and then down at the product display on the floor at our feet.
It was a very good question.
Sydney had asked me to join her at a photo shoot for her website for UPwords. UPwords is encouragement to go in the form of cards with messages and scripture inside. I love what she’s doing, and it sounded like a fun and creative afternoon, so here we were, in an art studio/gallery warehouse in a funky part of town.
As Chelsea, Sydney's photographer, arranged UPwords cards and other products on a dark background on the floor, Sydney and I looked up at the windows again. It was overcast outside and dim inside, too.
“Yes,” I said. “There’s enough light. She’ll be able to get some great photos.”
I said it like I’m an expert or something. Ha! Not at all, but as I’m getting better at capturing the beauty around me with just my iPhone camera, I’m learning a lot about photography, including the effects that natural light can have on a subject.
One lesson on light for me happened one afternoon last October. My family and I were exploring Howard Finster’s outdoor folk art exhibit, Paradise Garden. We went inside a shed filled with farm implements and tools that looked like they hadn’t been touched for years.
A small wooden shelf held three mason jars filled with very long nails and decades of dirt. It looked interesting to me, so when I held up my phone to take the photo, the light in the shed, coming from doors on either end, made those dirty glass jars glow.
The light elevated the humble, rustic scene into something magical. They were still dirty glasses; it was the beauty of the light shining on them that made them special.
If I hadn’t been paying attention, though, I’d have missed the jars in the first place.
The same can be said about the beauty around us. When we aren’t paying attention, we miss it. We walk by or drive past, our focus elsewhere. It's hard to see more than what’s in front of us.
And we lose an opportunity to take a breath in the middle of the rush, to enrich our lives in the little moments.
In the warehouse, the light that came through those high windows, along with Chelsea’s skill as a photographer, allowed the UPwords cards with their messages of encouragement to glow in the dimness. I can't wait to see all the new photos on the website soon.
When was the last time you saw something special because you were paying attention? Leave a comment below or on Facebook here.
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