This week I was sent on assignment for my day job to photograph a recent project featuring a new product sold by the company. I was happy to be paid to drive along country hills and farms for a couple hours on a beautiful autumn day to reach the hamlet where the project was sold. But very near to this off the beaten path town is the state capital.
So I extended my journey by an hour and spent my Saturday on a photo challenge. Can I find nature photographs of God's creation in an urban setting? The blog motto is "Stay behind the lens" and with the intent of this blog being to encourage people, no matter where they are, to see God's creation around them, I thought it was high time this country mouse exchanged places with my city mouse readers. To all urban dwellers it may seem all too easy to find beautiful photos when living buried amongst trees, covered by blankets of green grass, and living alongside wild critters.
So, below are the results of a couple hour stroll through the German village of Columbus. This old section of town abuts the downtown and highway ramps and all that is paved, mortared, and welded.
I shot these using a 50mm fixed lens, which was another challenge I decided to take on....as I typically use a behemoth 28-300mm zoom lens. But this did result in a couple missed opportunities with sparrows flitting around a garden, or a friendly dog down the street. It is not deer or turkeys but in my book a charming four legged friend on a leash and a "plain" house sparrow are more than adequate to show God's magnificence in the animal kingdom!
From J.R. Miller (1910)
Mrs. Browning, referring to this singular incident says:
"Earth 's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees—takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries!"
The poet's thought is that the glory of God is in everything, in every tree, in every flower, in every lowly bush, and that almost nobody sees the glory! Most people see only the bush or the plant. Only now and then—one sees the flame, the splendor of God, and takes off his shoes!
To many people, life is all a dreary commonplace. Some see nothing beautiful in nature. They will walk through the loveliest gardens—and see nothing to admire. They will move among Christian people—and never observe in them, any glimpses of immortality, any revealings of the divine nature.
They will go through all the years and never see God in anything! It would give us a radiant world in nature—if our eyes were opened to see the splendor that is in every tree, plant, and flower!
By J.R. Miller, 1912:
“…Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.” John 12:28-29
Our eyes are alike—and yet no two people see the same picture on the canvas. We have an illustration of this in the story of Christ… It was the same sound; the difference was in those who heard it. The state of their heart—gave tone to the voice.
"Two men looked out from their prison bars—
One saw the mud, the other saw the stars!"
This same difference is seen in the way life's experiences appear to different people.
….everywhere they [the optimistic class] find something beautiful and good. Emerson puts it well:
I hear a sky-born music still;
It sounds from all things old,
It sounds from all things young;
From all that's fair, from all that's foul,
Peals out a cheerful song!
'Tis not only in the rose,
'Tis not only in the bird,
Not only where the rainbow glows,
Nor in the song of woman heard,
But in the darkest, meanest things
There always, always something sings!
'Tis not in the high stars alone,
Nor in the cups of budding flowers,
Nor in the redbreast's mellow tone,
Nor in the bow that smiles in the showers,
But in the mud and scum of things
There always, always something sings!
All will admit that the man with the optimistic spirit—gets far more out of life, and makes far more of life, than his pessimistic neighbor. It is a great deal better to see blue sky and stars—than only dull, dreary clouds.
|Figuring the best angle for my next shot|
It was a perfect day for photographing...except for the wind! It was brisk in the shade, but warm in the sun, and although the sun presented some obstacles with shadows and glares, which result in the much dreaded under or over exposure....it was still a great photo adventure, and I walked till I was too sore to continue.
I liked this challenge and really enjoyed the readings I was able to find to pair with the photos for this post. I have often thought I could never have lived in a city and become a nature photographer. But the truth is there is plenty of God's creation to see no matter where you are.
Whether in a sitting in a groomed park or strolling through the city zoo...hanging one bird feeder out your suburban window, or just walking a dog from your high rise apartment....there is plenty to see if you are looking!
If you are totally surrounded by concrete and you think a clear sky, a flying bird, or a green tree is the last thing you will find....you are likely surrounded by God's crowning achievement in His creation....man! The one creature made in His image!
So, find a baby to kiss, a friend to smile with, or enjoy watching a nice older couple holding hands as they walk along....all a part of God's creation!
"But in the mud and scum of things
There always, always something sings!"