A couple of weekends ago was a warm one here for us. I was able to go out to the ocean and spend some time shooting the waves. After every couple of shots, I would examine my progress and see if my camera focused in on a good part of the wave. I can’t tell this immediately because I usually crouch down really low and shoot straight into the ocean, without really seeing what I am shooting. Sometimes, this is a complete failure, but sometimes, it’s a wonderful surprise. Actually, I shouldn’t say it’s a complete failure because without those failures, the successes wouldn’t feel as good and I would not be as inspired to continue striving for a better picture.
At times, there are people around which at first used to make me a bit shy but I am getting better at phasing my surroundings out. I understand that their curiosity gets the best of them sometimes and I hear giggles, which would have really bothered me a few years ago, but now, I just smile to myself when I hear it and carry on. As I shoot, I remind myself to really try to absorb the moment, enjoy it, look around, think it through and try a new way of shooting.
That night as I lay in bed thinking of the millions of things I want to do in the future, just as I do every night, it occurred to me that I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. I sometimes try to pack my head and consequently my days with so many ideas and goals that I don’t allow myself to enjoy what is happening right now. As a result, it creates anxiety within me, which is not pleasant for me or for anyone around me. I thought to myself, how can I be more positive and appreciative of the moment.
Less is more. When I think back, for much of my life, I had the mentality of fitting in as much as possible but what I realize now is that when I had 4 distinctive plans in one day, I barely remembered what happened with each friend or event. I was so busy trying to be busy that I wasn’t absorbing the time spent at these events or with the people. I now believe this is essential in having a continuous happy life, i.e., taking the time, as they say, “to smell the roses“.
When I got home that day after shooting at the beach, I reviewed about 50 shots of just the ocean waves. I carefully reviewed them, examined the colors, the depth, and I really allowed the joy that shooting nature gives me to fill me up and I found myself feeling gitty.
I heard this simile regarding this same idea. It related the process of enjoying the moment to developing a photograph via the old fashioned process of utilizing Polaroids. in the 1920’s Polaroid photographs were produced by instant cameras and were developed in a dark room by placing the film in a series of developer liquids, then allowing the images to dry in the dark room. The best photographs were the ones that you took your time with and allowed to fully absorb the chemical process. These photo’s were the ones that truly absorbed the potential of the image. These photographs were the brightest, the most clear, the most rich. I remember my dad had a Polaroid Camera when I was a child. It was really quite exciting but I do recall there was a waiting period to see the final picture and any premature touching would disrupt the process.
The slower you go, the deeper you feel. So for the past two weeks and now as a daily process, I remind myself to smell the ocean air, to listen to the waves, to feel the sand, the sunshine, the rain, the grass, the laughter, to listen to the kindness and let it touch me, to really listen to my friends, to take the time to feel the fur of the kitties roaming my community, to smell the food I’m cooking, to smell my boyfriends cologne while he is sitting next to me, to laugh at his jokes and most importantly to ignore anything around me that tries to steal my peace.
I used to feel incredibly guilty about taking a nap on a beautiful day or simply taking some time to do absolutely nothing. I have the wisdom and the confidence now to understand that when I feel guilty, I am identifying with negative thoughts instead of my potential. The truth is, it’s in those “nothing” moments that the greatest ideas come to me. When I crave a nap, I realize it is because my mind needs a refresh and that is a good thing and it’s also important that I listen to it. The images above were taken at East Beach on the island.
Below I got a big creative and turned our ocean into a Turquoise Caribbean sea, just for fun!