The variables in nature cannot be counted, and the ebb and flow of this natural cosmos is always around us.
Because many of us live our lives in the fast lane, our view of the world is clouded with modern life and its complexities.
So many people miss the ever-changing kaleidoscope that nature provides right outside our own doors. The natural world is filled with rhythms and patterns, but sadly the human view of nature can often overlook such things. However, it is these very things that can enrich our lives immeasurably. This is where a passion like photography can enrich our lives beyond material gain.
Some people can travel the whole world and not really â€œseeâ€ that much at all. On the other hand, others might never travel outside their own country and nonetheless experience and absorb lifetimes of knowledge, perspectives, wisdoms and experiences with other humans and the natural world around them.
In his 1941 credo for mountain photographers Cedric Wright wrote that to “interpret the face of nature- that mysterious infinity, eternally a refuge, an amplifier of spirit, a mother of dreams; a positive though elusive voice in whose depth lies its subtlety.
“Theyâ€™ll interpret best who are never so content as when under the influence of situations where silence is rich in the mute assurance and beauty of mountain surroundings. This point of view only accumulates slowly, out of long experience and contact with wordless influences.â€
To â€˜seeâ€™ rather than just â€˜lookâ€™ takes time, a saturation of awareness, an inner perception of beauty and an inner personal philosophy. Photography is an art – one that is worth developing to its full potential. The happy snapper syndrome will soon wear off, no matter how many places you visit or how beautiful the vistas you capture. As with most things in our lives, quality is better than quantity, and this was something that was loudly amplified to me just recently.
My wife and I had decided to spend four days at Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake in Tasmania. This is without doubt one of Australiaâ€™s premiere scenic locations and if your fortunate enough to get fine weather during your visit, this is an added bonus. While not necessary, it does make grant you more options in your images.
We would arrive before 6 am to allow the atmosphere of this beautiful place soak (sometimes literally) into us slowly and stay sometimes until well after sunset. We walked around the lake in both directions, and viewed it from the top of the mountains.
We sat on the little beaches and drank in the splendour of simply being there. After four glorious days we started to â€œseeâ€ what this magnificent corner of the world had to offer. It was quite sad to observe coach loads of people both local and international who would walk the fifty metres from the carpark to the edge of the lake, snap a few quickie mementos and leave. These people certainly had a good look, but did they really â€œseeâ€ anything?
My wife and I were not only able to take photos of the various moods of Dove Lake, but also the tiniest details in and around the park. These included the play of water and light, the dew on the grass in the early morning and the shifting colours of the lakeâ€™s surface.
The interplay of mountains and water here in this little corner of Tasmania is superb and to come and observe is a real lesson in â€œseeingâ€. Sometimes in our excited quest to look at everything we miss those exquisite details that are right under our noses. We need to take time out to â€œsmell the rosesâ€ so to speak.
In his book â€œShadow lightâ€ famous Canadian Photographer Freeman Patterson describes growing up in a small farming community in New Brunswick.
Besides the hard work and monotony of farm life, Freeman could see that â€œthis visual paradise resonated with sounds and fragrances that lingered in my memory- the wind chiming in the forest after an ice storm, the soft rustle of grasses chafing in the breeze, the merry pandemonium of birdsong in the spring, the spicy aroma of hay scented ferns crushed between my fingers, the lilt of clover and honey in the air, and the rich mustiness of leaves rotting in the autumn. Its place in my soul is indelible.â€
Freemanâ€™s childhood of â€œseeingâ€ has resulted in some incredible images of his home community and lessons learnt that has made him the extraordinary photographer he now is. The principle behind this lesson,
combined with my own unique experiences and perspectives, has borne upon my own vision and allowed me the pleasure that is the creation of a beautiful photograph.