A Year of Gratitude

Sometimes focusing on a few details is better than looking at the whole picture.

That lesson can apply to so much in life, whether it’s the big project you have due at work, the house that needs a good spring cleaning or a photography project.

It’s one of the lessons I took away from my photo of the day project in 2012. There are many such project outs there. Some people look for letters in architecture. Some people photograph a menu each day. Mine was simple: 365 Days, 365 Photos.

I haven’t taken a photo since Dec. 31. It feels weird but I wanted to give myself a break. I suspect I’ll still be taking lots of photos but even if I don’t it’s okay because now images are captured in my mind.

I did learn much from my project, including:

  1. I still have lots to learn about photography. I worked hard to capture good images, but I didn’t always succeed. I sometimes ended up with some blurry photos. And you know what? That’s okay because life isn’t always clear.
  2. I definitely was more observant. I learned to look at the big picture – the sweeping vista of a vineyard in Tuscany, for example. I also looked at the details, such as the green olives on the trees that bordered the vineyard.
  3. I smiled more because I was more aware of my surroundings and the simple pleasures of life. I noticed the tiny details – the grace notes – of life.
  4. Even on the most challenging days, if I simply paused, there was much to be grateful for and this project helped me to remember that.

I’ve collected all the photos in a PowerPoint presentation. One slide, one day, one photo (although sometimes multiple photos). When I look through the photos, I realize that nature is a good thing, and I need to spend more time in it. I came to appreciate when the sun set and rose and the different phases of the moon. I was aware of the different cloud shapes.

I didn’t photograph my friends, but rather the experiences we were having, such as book club, dinner out, a walk, shopping.  It led to one of my realizations, which is that I’d rather have experiences than possessions.

Most importantly, I learned I have lots for which to be grateful.