One of my favorite pastimes is to be in the garden–planting, pruning, weeding, and just relaxing and enjoying the scene. Slowing down allows me to take in more, to be more aware of my surroundings, to notice and appreciate what is right in front of me. Gardening is for me a type of contemplative practice, as the awareness of everything else falls away, and my focus is on the present moment.
Photography also can be a type of contemplative practice. Photography helps me to slow down, to notice nuances, to spend time with, to be fascinated by the world around me. I find that both macro photography and long-exposure photography are particularly good in bringing me into that contemplative mode.
In macro photography I am noticing the intricate details of the subject and figuring out how to achieve the proper focus and depth of field for what I am trying to portray in the image. When I am doing this type of photography I notice things I usually overlook or am not aware of. It’s a process of discovery.
Long-exposure photography requires that I spend time composing the scene with appropriate camera settings, and that I wait, more or less patiently, while the exposure is being made. I also find that post-processing is a time for me to enter into the spirit of the image, as I seek to express my vision on the computer screen.
What are the ways in which you slow down and immerse yourself in the world around you? How do you enter into a greater awareness and appreciation of creation?
“How varied are your works, Lord! In wisdom you have wrought them all; the earth is full of your creatures.” (Psalm 104:24)