Sometimes cameras fail us. The human eye is a wonder. We can see things clearly and at the correct “aperture” despite multiple differences in stops, color temperature. Cameras can create amazing effects, but every once in a while, no matter how hard I try, I cannot replicate what I see with my human eye. Above is a picture from inside a log house in Wyoming. I was stunned by the light that day. The warmth of the wood, coloring the inside. I could see everything inside clearly, fully lit by the daylight. Then, through the windows, I could see the beautiful expanse of land, the house down the street, the mountains, the sky. I wanted to take a picture of it, capturing the balance between these two images as I saw it: the foreground of the interior and the background of the exterior. But my camera would either overexpose the windows, blowing them out to white, or underexpose the interior, making it darker than it looked.
This happened again this morning as I walked the kids to school. I was shooting into the sun, so I wasn’t surprised that the building and the kids were silhouetted, but I was surprised at how well I could see them. How perfect the lighting. It was as if I could “zoom” in with my eyes as I watched the kids walk up. And my camera failed me.
I am a very visual person. What I see before me, every day, effects my mood, my thoughts, my actions, and my inspiration. When I was a teenager, I had my camera with me always. Nowadays, with smartphones, we always have our cameras with us, but back then, it was unusual to carry around a 35mm camera everywhere. But I would see things on the street, in my daily life, and wish I had a camera. I was constantly looking for the perfect shot to every moment. In a way, it distanced me from being in the moment because I was always analyzing how I would capture it. I would despair over forever losing a particular shot if I didn’t have my camera. I relied on it to document life around me.
Today, I live in a city where there is not much visual aesthetic, but I have found the secret places of beauty. More importantly, I embrace the moment and the images I’m seeing with my own eyes, not just through a lens.