Setting My Camera on Auto

Learning to trust my camera http://wp.me/p2UZoK-Ek via @blestbutstrestWe entered the forest in a pool of light, which disappeared as the road narrowed and climbed towards the parking area three-quarters of a mile away. Redwoods shot upwards on every side, and leaned in over the road, blocking sunlight, blue sky and even sounds.

The temperature outside dropped, and I rolled my window back up to ward off the chill. We passed the parking lot, and continued up hill—the road shrinking even more in width and folding back almost upon itself as it climbed higher and higher. At last, we broke out into the sunshine again and hopped out to look at the view—the ordinary view of treetops and an indistinct line on the horizon where lower hills met the sky. I could hear a stream gurgling on one side, and a creek flinging itself over boulders on the other side.

When problems loom large, learn to trust someone bigger http://wp.me/p2UZoK-Ek via @blestbutstrestNo clue remained of the mysterious, awe-inspiring stand of giants that we had passed through just minutes earlier. After snapping a few photos, we returned to our vehicles and headed back down to the narrow valley floor. I couldn’t wait to stand next to the giants and try my skills at capturing their awe-inspiring beauty.

When we arrived at the parking lot, the clear air smelled dank and mossy, and every surface felt damp. As we walked along the discovery pathway, an occasional shaft of light would disorient me, and I would whip my head around, trying to figure out why my vision suddenly seemed clearer.Even in the darkest gloom, light can break through  http://wp.me/p2UZoK-Ek via @blestbutstrest #depression

I felt frustrated by my photography skills in this new environment—where I didn’t know how to set the aperture values correctly to deal with the sharp contrast of light at the tops of the tress and the deep gloom at the bottom. I lamented the tripod I’d left at home—but when we left home over a week ago, I had no idea we’d be stopping by a redwood forest.

The group of family and friends I’d traveled with good-naturedly waited for me as I tried shot after shot. ‘If only I had come by myself,’ I thought, as I tried (and failed) once again to catch the perfect shot that would translate on a screen or photo the astounding height and breadth of a redwood; the greens of the mosses, the reds of the trunks; the shafts of light that occasionally shone through.Setting my camera on auto made all the difference  http://wp.me/p2UZoK-Ek via @blestbutstrest #depression

Finally, I decided to quit depending on my knowledge of photography. Obviously, I had stepped outside my skill set. I set my camera to ‘Auto’ and decided to let the superior knowledge of technology figure out the conundrum of sharp contrasts, my external flash and focusing without a tripod.

I snapped a photo and checked the results.  The light and dark had evened out enough that I could tell that the camera had focused correctly.  What a difference from my feeble attempts to create the perfect shot on my own.

And then it struck me. How often to I find myself in a gloomy place spiritually or emotionally and think that I need to work harder, faster, longer or quicker in order to pull myself out. I let my frustrations at my inadequacy fester and ferment until it seems impossible to ever break through to anything approaching normal.

As I face perplexities and situations that threaten to drag me down and feed my frustration, those are the times when the Master Photography whispers in my ear, “Set your camera to ‘Auto’, my child. Stop trying to figure it all out on your own. There is no shame in leaning on my knowledge and the experience of others—those who offer to help you are there because I sent them.” (tweet this)

And those tall, overwhelming trees which lean in and surround me and change the very weather where I stand? If I keep climbing up the narrow road, I’ll pop out in the sunshine and look behind me at an ordinary view of trees marching through valleys.

Inspire Me Monday Instructions
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1. Link up your most inspirational post from the previous week (just ONE, please).

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Please link back to this week’s post or add the button to your post so that we can spread the inspirational cheer :).

I found inspiration for my Monday at #inspirememondays. Join us! (tweet this)

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Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • Wow you took beautiful pictures. Thanks for the analogy of putting my camera on “auto”
    Amanda Calitz recently posted…Don’t know where in South Africa to celebrate the New Year?My Profile

    • Aw, thank you! I really need to read the directions on how to use my flash most effectively–I have a lot to learn about photography (and life–but I have God to lead me and guide me in that area).

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  • Anita,

    This was beautifully written, as always. I enjoy the way you write so eloquently and how you equate the auto on the camera to Jesus, the Master Photographer, and how we’re to let Him lead instead of us trying to figure things out on our own. So true! So real! So needed. Thank you from my heart.

    Shirley
    Shirley ~Light Love Hope recently posted…The After Christmas BluesMy Profile

  • I love this because I have been there, too! I have been the one trying to figure it out, getting frusterated with myself because I should know the settings and what works best… I am RARELY on ‘auto’ anymore – but I have found such freedom to switch it over when I am either on a time crunch, or just honestly clueless at the settings! (Hint – I go to Auto, and check the settings that the camera picks, go back to manual and set the same settings… and then play around a bit from there!) Still – bigger picture of what you are saying here… yes! Sometimes we just want to do it on our own so much that we are blind to the help that He has offered us! Happy New Year, my friend!
    ~Karrilee~ recently posted…How Vision brought Clarity (-ish) this year, and my OneWord365 for 2015My Profile

    • Happy New Year to you and your family, too! That’s a great idea, and I’ll have to try it the next time I’m trying to get a photo of a tricky subject (like the moon 😉 ).

  • Beautiful imagery in both writing and photographs, and I love the spiritual connection!
    Laura recently posted…Let me introduce myself with a story…My Profile