While my favourite thing to point my camera at is the heavens, all nature fascinates me. When shooting the night sky, you can focus in on one small star and get a simple pinpoint of light but when you widen your angle you capture the heavens in all their glory. And if the Lady Aurora is dancing, the wider the angle the better to capture her beauty. Here in Northern Alberta, the seasons change with a suddenness that can take your breath away. One day you can be basking in the late autumn sun in a t-shirt, and the next you can be shovelling a foot of snow out of your driveway. While the cold winter days can bring a glorious, if not warm, sunshine – summer often leaves under the cloak of grey clouds leaving Fall to give us barely a glance at coloured leaves before quickly sweeping them off the branches and burying them under a blanket of snow.
Data has suggested that recently there have been several chances for an Aurora filled night…if only those blessed clouds would clear. My shutter finger is getting itchy. It’s been a while. Cloud is covering the entire province…there isn’t even a place within driving distance to get out from under it. The Lady Aurora is dancing beyond my view oblivious to my frustration.
Retirement has reconnected me with the tiny moments of everyday life…moments that should be treasured and some moments spent in awe. My daily routine saw me drive into many a flaming sunrise and home into glorious sunsets but I barely took a moment of recognition let alone afford myself the time to stop along the side of the road to truly soak it in. There were classes starting or supper to be cooked. This human being had turned into a human doing a long time ago.
I have two lilac trees in my yard. One has grown from a clipping from an ancient neighbouring tree and the other from a greenhouse. The ancient one loses all its leaves quickly, the greenhouse one still shows its green leaves in late October. The other day I caught the light on those leaves and they looked rimmed in silver by Jack Frost or, in less poetic terms, like the salt rimmed edge of a margarita glass. It was late morning by the time it caught my eye and was beginning to thaw. My camera is never far from my hand and I put on my winter jacket and headed into the yard. Not the Aurora but certainly a moment to be enjoyed and captured.
In this case, the larger picture did not catch the beauty of the single leaf anymore than the single star captured the beauty of the heavens. Different subjects, different approaches, different focus. Yet how often in life do we simply paint everything the same way. Our beliefs often do not alter when confronted with unique circumstances. It was only by focusing on the minute, delicate frost crystals that the true beauty of the moment could be seen. Focusing in close allowed me to see Nature’s perfection – every blade of grass individually coated in crystal, every leaf, every branch – as though someone painstakingly set them there. Sometimes we need to see the bigger picture…and sometimes it’s the little things.