As a photographer, I spend a lot of time honing my craft. Owning a nice camera will not get you far unless you learn how to use it to its full capacity. Much of my energy and attention is dedicated primarily to three things: Light, Settings and Focus.
Understanding how to find light, adjust settings and choose a focal point are not only crucial skills in the overall outcome of a photography session but also in the overall outcome of our day-to-day lives.
AS WE ENTER A NEW YEAR, LET’S ASK OURSELVES…
WHERE AM I FINDING LIGHT? Am I choosing to position myself to be illuminated by the Son? Am I allowing the rays of His love to light my path? If I’m sitting in a dark place, can I trust God to provide just enough light to make my next step clear?
WHO IS IN CONTROL? Am I allowing my circumstances and things outside of my control to direct my every move and thought? Or am I trusting God with my circumstances and asking Him to guide me in truth and wisdom?
WHERE IS MY FOCUS? Are my eyes fixed on my circumstances? Or are they fixed on Jesus, the Light of the World?
It doesn’t take much light at all to make a photo magnificent. It’s all about the kind of light, how much light is being used and how the subject is positioned in reference to the source of light. One thing that makes light so marvelous is, however little of it there is, it reveals the things darkness has covered. The light of a small burning candle can provide a path on the darkest trail.
As I think about my story and my struggle with anxiety and depression, I can honestly say I’m thankful for the night. The trail was not the problem, it’s just hard to see where to go when it’s dark.
“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.” ― Og Mandino
THE TRUTH IS, WE WOULD NOT APPRECIATE THE LIGHT WERE IT NOT FOR THE DARKNESS.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.” Genesis 1:1-5 (NIV)
GOD PROVIDES LIGHT FOR THE DAY AND THE NIGHT.
“God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day. Genesis 1:16-19 (NIV)
GOD CHOSE TO HAVE BOTH DAY AND NIGHT AND CALLED THEM GOOD.
“God saw ALL that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.” Genesis 1:31 (NIV)
Without the night, we would not enjoy the beauty of the sunset…
As I consider how to apply these truths to my daily life, I ask myself: WHERE AM I FINDING THE LIGHT?
- Am I choosing to position myself to be illuminated by the Son?
- Am I allowing the rays of His love to light my path?
- If I’m sitting in a dark place, can I trust God to provide just enough light to make my next step clear?
On a DSLR camera, SETTINGS = CONTROL. As you progress as a photographer, the goal is to move from Auto Mode (where the camera chooses which settings to use) to Manual Mode (where you tell the camera which settings to use). There is tremendous creative freedom in knowing how to manually adjust the settings to impact light and color. But it takes time and lots of practice.
As I think about the settings of my personal life, I ask myself: WHO HAS CONTROL?
- Am I allowing my circumstances and things outside of my control to direct my every move and thought?
- Am I like an INFANT (Eph 4:14) being tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by the wind?
- Or am I trusting God with my circumstances and asking Him to guide me in truth and wisdom?
- Am I MATURE (Eph 4:15) fully supported and held together in Christ?
The best part about having control of the settings on the camera is that if things are too bright, too dark or too blurry, we can CHANGE THE SETTINGS to where they need to be in order to capture a beautiful photograph. The same is true in our own lives: when things don’t go the way we planned, when things are dark or there’s just too much happening around us… WE CAN ADJUST THE SETTINGS!
- We can set healthy boundaries around our time and relationships.
- We can begin to love ourselves as Christ commanded us (Mark 12:30-31) by practicing self care through mindful self talk, exercise, etc.
- We can heal from past hurts through resources like counseling, therapy and classes.
- We can learn new ways of dealing with anger, regret, shame.
This list could go on, but what I want you to know is YOU HAVE CHOICES, FRIEND!
Choosing where to put your focus drastically changes the dynamic of a photograph. The most stunning portraits result from the aperture being set “wide open”. This means the most of amount of light is coming in and a single point of reference in sharp focus while everything else is blurred out.
The result is a clear focus on the eyes of the subject.
As I apply this in my personal life, I ask myself: WHERE IS MY FOCUS?
- Are my eyes fixed on Jesus, the Light of the World?
- Or are my eyes fixed on my circumstances?
Happy New Year, dear ones!
I look forward to reframing our days together through the lens of God’s love for us.