The view from my glass wall
As I browse the internet, I see article after article lamenting the fact that people are missing out on life because they’re too busy snapping pictures. There are videos demonstrating people missing relationships and experiences because they are too busy obsessing over their phone. Yes, those articles and videos make some good points. Relationships matter. Life is meant to be lived, so live it. Or as I always say… Have adventures. Tell stories. My story is different.
My Canon SX50 HS came wrapped in pretty paper on Christmas morning of 2012. Instead of isolation, though, owning a camera with 50x zoom has driven me more deeply into adventure. It has connected me not only with LIFE but with OTHERS. It helps me to tell the stories.
The first week I owned that camera, I found myself taking my boys on long hikes. We explored. Sure, a better father than me might have already doing this. I wasn’t. Until I got that camera. That glass had power that went way beyond magnification. We started having adventures again. Together. We went places we hadn’t been before. We saw things that most people don’t see. And we took others along when we could.
Camera – Week One
Hiking with Grandpa
Instead of undermining relationships, the camera has built new bridges. Although it might be hard to imagine now, on Christmas Day 2012 I could identify about 3 different types of bird. But 50x zoom has a way of making birds pretty interesting. My dad has always been a birder for a long time, though. My fascination has given us a new common ground to tread together. I can send him pictures and he’ll help me ID them. When we get together, we enjoy spending the day outdoors hunting birds together. Exploring the world while having fun together.
This bird changed my life
Bird hunting with dad
Eagle hike with my honey
Oh, and the joy of a new-found perspective! Periodically seeing life through a new lens has altered the way I see life even when the camera isn’t around. I notice light in ways I hadn’t before. The sun shining through the fog. Rays reflecting off a cloud after the sun has already set. The golden hour. A dragonfly or a bee. My son points out things he notices, too, like a frozen drop of dew on a blade of grass. There is beauty everywhere. Just owning this magical looking glass helps me to slow down and notice.
Early morning birds
Light and fog
Not just experiencing life…the camera has helped to cope with life at times. When the dog died, a photo walk was a great excuse to get out and get moving. Quietly meandering along the river provided time and space to process the loss. It’s also been a catalyst for sunset photo walks with my sweetie…a great way to carving out time to spend with each other.
Quiet time by the river
Rather than separating us from our experiences, pictures capture those incredible moments in time and allow us to relive them again and again.
Great-grandpa’s WWII crash site
We’ll always have Paris
Hockey night selfie
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe my kids won’t remember what I look like in their memories. They’ll only remember me with a glass wall in front of my face. That guy that always was around documenting life but never living it. I don’t think so, though. I’ve seen and appreciated more sunsets and sunrises with the camera than I ever did without. I’ve noticed more beauty in this world, which has a way of changing not only perspective, but outlook on life. A side-effect of this looking glass has been joy. Contentment. Satisfaction. Connectedness. It has opened up the world of this introvert to a innumerable new relationships. Looking through this glass has led to adventure…not just for me but for the kids. We’re all having adventures and telling stories. It’s beautiful.