Tikvat Israel Congregation Rockville MD

A Friendly, Participatory and Egalitarian Conservative Synagogue in Rockville, Maryland

Through a Photographer’s Lens: Learning to See

By Larry Marc Levine

Photo by Larry M. Levine

We live in difficult times. Things will improve. In the meantime, people have come up with some creative ways to deal with the situation, and we are each finding new ways to feel good about ourselves.

I would like to make a suggestion: Take the time to look around and see the details in nature. You don’t have to go far. I went out on the deck of our home and noticed a small green leaf in the corner. I bent down to check it out. A seed had fallen from a tree and landed in the space between two floor boards.  Some soil must have landed in there from the deck gardens we planted the year before. That seed sprouted this spring.

We can talk about the photography aspect — how to choose the best light angle, lens, shutter speed (there was a slight breeze), lens opening (depth of field), etc.  However, my first thought was that it was a wonderful example of how nature goes on no matter what else is happening in the world. It’s part of the daily miracle of creation.

It’s important to remember to slow down and take time to look carefully to appreciate it.  It’s an easy habit to start. If you do morning or evening minyanim, step outside and check the angle of the sun. Watch the changing phases of the moon. The sky is a lot cleaner. It’s a very cool analog experience.

I recently judged a family nature photo contest. One entry came from a dad and his two boys, ages 6 and 8. They used a cell phone and sent me photos that were only labeled with numbers. Each of their results was impressive, and it was a wonderful family bonding experience.

I love photography as a way to share my view of the world with others.  We could also discuss different types of camera equipment, but remember, if you want to take photos, the best camera to use is the one you happen to have with you.

This article originally appeared in the July-August 2020 Tikvat Israel Bulletin