In Personal Projects

A Life of Noticing || Landscape Photography in Nashotah Park

Is it any surprise that the Creator is, well, wildly creative?  I can’t even look past the first photo below without being absolutely in awe of every detail, every texture, every wisp and line and stem and vein and droplet of water caught so perfectly in the flower’s webbing.  And this one plant, this ONE plant out of billions, is doing exactly what it has been created to do- to flourish in the light and warmth of a summer sun, explode in color and delicious scent, and then “die” so it can fall to the ground, be absorbed by the dirt, and produce even more life.  I can’t make it past this first picture without knowing with every fibre of my existence that we have an incredible God whose wise, loving, creative, inventive, and playful hand is in every natural thing we see.

I have always been a noticer.  You can ask my parents, my brothers, or any of our childhood buddies who had to put up with my sudden (very startling) gasps at how amazing the clouds looked at any given (and unsuspected) moment.  I verbalized only a tiny tip of the iceberg of what I saw and marveled over as a child… always noticing how the light hit a certain patch of trees or reflected off the water in our river; how light at different times of day had the ability to produce a totally unique mood, feel, and atmosphere that we could be swept into if we gave ourselves over to it.  Magically-lit places have always captured this thing deep within my soul… satisfying something so integral inside of me while, at the same time, making my heart long for something that can be difficult to put a finger on…

But now I know to Whom and to what and to where this longing points.  These days, when I am not photographing a charming and adorable high school student or a giddy newlywed couple, I have found myself yearning to get out and capture the things that capture me about Creation… to just create art for art’s sake- what looks like art to me, at least.  So, after some nudging from one said charming and adorable high school student, I decided to carve out some me-and-God-and-my-camera time yesterday morning and do just that.  Each image was photographed with my 5D Mark ii, 50mm 1.2 Canon lens, and Canon macro extension tube.

Two things I hope viewers/readers will take away from this personal post:  1) As you look closely at these backyard wonders, through my eyes, consider that Creation was created by an intimate and 100% invested Creator who told you that as beautiful as nature is, YOU are His pièce de résistance, His crown of all creation- YOU are the most beautiful and precious to Him!!!  You can believe every incredible thing you see is an accident, or you can begin to consider a God who loves you and wants to have an intimate relationship with you.  He gives you that choice.  2)  You don’t have to have a career founded upon noticing and capturing to be a noticer yourself.  Today’s society encourages moving quickly, go, go, faster, do more, be more, get more, your value, success, and importance is based on how productive and accomplished and busy you are or appear… But that is not what we were made for, and it robs us all of joy, peace, contentment, and really knowing who we are and what our purpose in this life is.  Slow down.  All of that is a lie and you’re missing what’s real.  Don’t race to the end.  Create space in your life for your soul to breathe.  You might have to say “no” to some things or many things, but refuse to be shamed by protecting your sanity, your family, your time, and your heart.  Be a noticer; be a thanks-giver, even for the little things such as a deer-sighting, or water droplets on a leaf that make you go “wow!”; be present in your life, for the people in it and for the moments you are given.  I hope you enjoy some of my favorite snaps from one of my most favorite places on earth, a special slice of Lake Country, Nashotah Park.

**For Mayli** 😉
I had very few objectives during the hike, but one was to find this adorable red mushroom I had seen the other day… the other was to find “the big buck!”
“Bison Tree”
This part of the trail always feels like freedom to me, like home with its wide open spaces.  And my husband and I actually DID get married in Nashotah Park overlooking Grass Lake, but I always think that if we did it again, I’d want to exchange vows under this fallen tree.  Any takers??
Merrells and mosquito bites… the constant companions of summer.
This series is a reflection (no pun intended) of the process my eyes went through as I noticed… first the tangible beauty of the colorful, detailed foliage… then the crisp reflection on the water directly beyond… and finally, the flowing, temporal abstracts of the clouds on water.
This is my thinking bench and its incredible views.
As aforementioned, I was on a deer hunt.  A hunt to “shoot” the big buck I had seen the other day with a sizable, impressive, velvety rack.  He certainly was not the largest buck I’ve seen in Nashotah Park, but that day it was raining, I was completely alone on the trails, and when I saw his majestic head shoot up from the prairie grass, he literally took my breath away.  I had been in brooding conversation with God, and it was a perfectly-timed gift that said, “I love you, daughter.  You were made for this, wild and free.  I’m here, and it’s going to be alright.”  I did not see Mr. Big Buck yesterday, but I did find two small forkers in a field, promptly warned of my stealthy approach by this little doe who snorted loudly after watching me for a few moments.  Four deer and two cranes in total grazing this serene field… it was more than enough.
“If you will it, Lord, let me get a picture of a butterfly.”  I followed this beauty down the path and prayed she’d land long enough for me to capture her (through my lens, of course- don’t worry, I’m long past my bug box days).  With only my 50mm and the extension tube, the end of my lens was only about 4 inches away from this butterfly!!  She stayed put even after I walked away, beaming and heart so alive!
I sincerely hope you enjoyed taking a trip around our backyard gem through my eyes and lens.  If you are interested in ordering prints of any of these photos, they will be available online.

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