I’ve been taking a photo every day for over five years now and it’s become second nature really. Like brushing my teeth or washing my face…it’s just what I do. But even still, I continue to push myself to see things with fresh eyes. And in this Focusing on Life post from January 2015 I discovered that sometimes a fresh perspective is as easy as shooting during a different time of day.
It was my favorite things about being home that week between Christmas and New Years…leisurely mornings over coffee. Lingering over my new magazines. Putzing around the house brainstorming new ways of arranging my knick-knacks. You know, important stuff.
One morning I was thinking to myself how grateful I was to have that time off and how much I loved the feeling of peace that accompanied it. Secretly wishing I could bottle some of that serenity for when I had to go back to work. Because mornings can be so…I don’t know…they’ve just never been my favorite.
Anyway, it was also during this time that I was pondering another 365 project. Debating the pros and cons of taking a photograph everyday for a year.
On the one hand, there is the indisputable improvement in my basic skill. Feeling comfortable behind the lens in just about any lighting situation. Plus there is the inspiration that comes from daily photography…learning to see things in a new way. But then again, there are the drawbacks. The time commitment for one. And especially this time of year, trying to squeeze it in after work and frantically chasing those last few decent minutes of light.
I didn’t make up my mind for sure until the morning of January 1st. I was at my kitchen table drinking coffee. Looking forward to diving into one of the new notebooks my delightful daughter had given me for Christmas. And without even thinking about it, I picked up my camera.
It seems that taking a picture everyday has become like second nature.
But the question I kept asking myself was…did I have anything new to say, photographically speaking? And how do I keep my photography fresh? How do I continue to capture the simple joys of my ordinary life without taking the same photos that I had the two previous years. I want to do something different. I want to see something different.
So I went on with my day, pondering my 365. And while vacuuming the carpet (naturally), it came to me. It was so simple…what if I spend the month of January taking pictures of my mornings?
Back and forth over the rug in my living room, I sort of fleshed out the idea. I decided that I would need to get up and get going just a little bit earlier on workdays. Give myself 5-10 minutes before heading off to work in order to take a few shots. Which also solves my light issue…or well, rather, my lack of light issue. It’s a win-win situation.
So for the past 27 days, this is pretty much what I have done every morning.
And it is quite possibly one of the very best things I could have done for my photography…and myself. Because of this intention, I am consciously looking at my mornings a little differently. Looking for the light. Looking for the gratitude. Looking for the magic.
And it is because of that mindfulness…being fully present in those few minutes…not thinking about my inbox at work…my mind not racing ahead to what I’m going to make for dinner that night…well it has been the antidote to my pre-work frenzy. I leave the house with heart full of gratitude and a sense of calm and peace. Truly, it has grounded and centered my day in a way I have not experienced before.
So while it’s true that I may never be a morning person…I have certainly come to see my mornings in a whole new light. To which I would say – mission accomplished.