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Cardinal in the Rain - Babylon, Long Island

Several months ago, I came across this quote by Dorothea Lange (Wikipedia link for those, like me, who have no idea who she was):

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”

Today was another day where I saw that to be true in my own life.

It’s gloomy and rainy today. As I write this, the rain is tapping against the window and the thunder and lightning just set off a car alarm a couple houses down. This type of weather just so happens to be my favorite to sit in the garage smoke a pipe.

So, that’s what I did this afternoon, albeit only 40°F outside. iPad in hand and pipe in mouth, I began to read, mindlessly playing with pipe-smoke, with the pitter-patter of rain as background noise. The birds were really enjoying the weather too! They were playfully flying after each other and singing their songs in announcement of spring.

A cardinal flew to the top of the tree right in front of me and began to sing its song. For a second, I wished that I would have brought my camera outside to get a picture of it! Then, the above quote came to mind and I began to take in the picturesque scene in my own yard. The small stream forming and headed toward the sewer with more raindrops splashing into it. The lines of rain falling in front of the shed across the alley. The birds chasing one another. And of course the red cardinal contrasted against the still leafless branches at the top of the tree.

A year and a half ago, before buying a camera and taking a picture every day for a year, I wouldn’t have noticed most of those things (or at least seen them as beautiful and picturesque).

So, today I would encourage you to grab your smart phone or camera and take pictures of things that you see regularly. When you see pictures that you really like ask yourself why you like them. Learn some basics about photo composition. Learn to see the beauty in boring everyday things and use a camera and learn how to see without it.

Photo Credit: Babylon and Beyond Photography

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