On a recent pilgrimage to Utah to take photos of national parks, a fellow traveler was sitting next to me during a presentation on travel photography who was feeling a tad overwhelmed. The photo expert was using “photo jargon” that went over his head. This novice really wanted to learn how to take better photos. I don’t why, but I leaned over during the presentation and whispered: “ just have fun.”
Yes, after decades of taking slides, then prints, now pixels I have learned a few tricks of the trade. But I think if you want to develop a passion for any hobby you need to develop a passion for your subject. Landscape photography is my passion.
This fellow traveler surprised me when he invited me to his home in Oakland, California to take a hike into Yosemite National Park. Little did I realize that he has been taking photos for over 50 years and in his retirement after a successful teaching career he wanted to learn how to take better photos.
On a whim, I landed on the west coast and this new friend took me to his favorite “Kodak” moments, my term not his, to share his passion and love for the beauty of God’s creation in national parks.
Note, he’s better than “uber” for his knowledge of the freeways working his way to those scenic vistas was awesome. I’ll never complain about traffic in Rochester or Buffalo again after negotiating 16 lanes of traffic on west coast freeways.
He said “he likes to talk” and his dear spouse agreed. Some of our travels were thirteen hours long and like Garrison Keillor, he shared many fun stories about family, kids, and career as a primary school principal mentoring teachers, students, parents, school boards and all manner of administration.
However, when we got out of the car and reviewed the landscape he got very serious because his goal was to improve his photo skills. My practical advice was: “include some foreground in your images.” It’s nice to take that Golden Gate, or Bridal Falls or El Capitan for the zillionth time, but maybe an interesting foreground that leads your eye would make it a stunning shot.
Jesus was always leading our eyes to a future glory that meant that the journey would fill us with awe and wonder. On the journey of life, he would focus our attention to be the best person we could be. That means we need to include lots more compassion, generosity, forgiveness and kindness in our viewfinder.
My humble thanks to a stranger who has become a treasured friend because he took a chance on inviting this shepherd to his home and take him along to see the wonders of his land. My prayers of gratitude for his time and love for the west coast parklands because he did “wear me out.” Now he’s waiting for me to forward him some of my photos to continue to improve his passion for photography.
Lord, I pray for all my Sonshine Friends blessed with many gifts and passions to make your beauty and wisdom known. May God bless all your passions and know that you are appreciated for all that you share about your love for horses and kitties, photography and wood turning, fishing, and praying. Remember my mantra: "just have fun."