I’m often struck by how conditions change at various sites due to weather or events or the random assortment of people who pass through. I noticed this recently, when the day after I spent time photographing an ice-bound cove, the ice had melted, and so the scene was entirely different. If I had not made those images the previous day, I would have totally missed them. Carpe diem!
When I rise early to photograph the sunrise, which I admittedly don’t do often, I’m totally dependent on whether the sunrise will actually be visible or cloud-obscured and on whether or not there will be some clouds to let the sky reflect the golden light of dawn, both of which will affect the overall quality of the composition.
In photography we try to fix an event in time, when in reality time is an ever-flowing experience of the world. Contemplating a photographic image allows us to dwell in a moment of time that is gone forever. Making photographs is making memories.
In one sense, we are trying to do the impossible–to freeze time. But yet we do just that, at least as digital bits and memories that bring us back or immerse us in a scene from the past. There is something comforting about being able to do that, as it is comforting to review our memories of good experiences and relationships. We can’t control time, but we can create good memories.
Perhaps that is our life’s calling–to live in this passing world in such a way that we create moments of grace and goodness that we can look back on with deep satisfaction and gratitude.
“Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.” (Daniel 3:57)