Lately my life has been very cyclical; periods of happiness, calm and productivity slowly melt into tiring yet satisfying busy days, which in turn begin to eat away at my perseverance until I'm completely overwhelmed. I'm not complaining; having a few bad days once a month is worlds better than a never-ending depressive slump. However, I've had to discover better stress-releases and coping mechanisms to keep myself afloat on those days where I'd rather just stay in bed. For me, the most important thing is never to give in to the darkness of depression again, so even when I feel I can't go on, I must.
One of these coping mechanisms is to drop everything, dress myself in feelings and run outside to take pictures. Yesterday was a particularly stressful and tiring day at camp, with temperatures peaking 100 degrees fahrenheit before a massive thunderstorm, and a number of personal issues cast a dark shadow on my day. I finally dropped everything, grabbed my vest and bandana, smudged some makeup on and dashed out into the post-rain world with my camera and tripod. The overcast sunset lighting was perfect, and the water reflecting off the driveway was calling my name. Half an hour later I trudged back inside, soaking wet, but it was more than worth it. The photos came out beautifully (see more on my Flickr), and after endeavoring on a self-photoshoot with a dying camera, I was able to look upon my feelings and concerns with a clearer, calmer head.
Photography is so freeing in that it urges you to step out of your comfort zone and do things you wouldn't normally do. For what other reason would I find myself sitting on the driveway after a rainstorm? And yet, the simple act of laying there under cloudy skies, with water soaking through my skin, could not have been more calming. (It reminds me of a quote by Bob Marley; "Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.") Sometimes, all we need is to stop for five minutes and think of nothing but the moment we are in, the ground we are stepping on, the sky above our heads. If I were not a photographer, I would most likely not experience these solitary moments of peace and calm. Nor would I see the beauty in a small yellow leaf on the side of the road or the way the light hits the folds of a blanket. Photography has caused me to move mountains to create beauty, and trained my eye to find it in the strangest of places. Perhaps it won't be my path in life, but I shall certainly never forget the lessons it has taught me, nor lose my passion for the little details that make a good life great.