By Tara Brain, Yearbook Student
As we are all stuck at home during social distancing, it’s hard to see the good in things. Life may have been boiled down to the basics and essentials, but it can still seem chaotic as the world deals with this terrible virus. As we all sit home and stress, I pray that each and every person find peace throughout their day. During my time at home, I, in boredom, went outside with my camera to find the little signs of spring in my yard thinking I could maybe improve my photography skills. But as I began to look through my lens, I found peace in my photography. I am able to see God’s beautiful creation in a new way through my camera lens. The peace I found through my camera lens reminded me of the first photo I took that took my breath away. It made me fall in love with photography in a whole new way.
When first looking at snow, it just appears as white flecks falling from the sky, but when taking a closer look with my macro lens, the incredible detail becomes evident in each and every snowflake. The detail God puts into these snowflakes reminds me of Matthew 6:26, which says, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
Soon after taking these photos and realizing the different perspective I gained of God’s character through His creation, I decided to share my photos with my community. I opened a photography instagram (@taras.lens) and through my photos, I hope to share the message my photos carry. I believe that photos of God’s creation can speak to others about God’s loving character. My hope in sharing my photography is that viewers will see the tiny detail God puts into nature, things that people don’t usually take the time to see. If God is willing to put that much detail into nature, how great is His love for us, his sons and daughters and how much attention he will give to our lives.
This picture shows a rock I saw during a hike. From far away, it looks like a simple rock. But when I got closer with my macro lens, I could see the crystals in the rock, contrasted by the fuzzy moss that was growing on the rock. It took a lot of playing around with the settings of my camera to get the focus to be on the crystals as well as the moss (thanks to some research, I was able to know what settings to change). I wanted to make sure I captured the contrast between the two. I think this rock is so amazing because it shows two completely different parts of nature that happen to grow together, both equally beautiful. The things that God creates are absolutely amazing, and I am so blessed to be able to see them in a different way through my lens.
It’s a beautiful day outside today and I went out with my macro lens and a water bottle to get raindrop pictures on flowers in my yard. There are a few pops of color in my yard and I am really appreciating the little signs of spring God gives us as we are stuck home during social distancing. Every day, I see the grass get a little greener and the trees begin to bud even more. As I zoomed in on the water droplets weighing heavy on the flower’s petals, I realized that the water droplets magnify the small details in the petals that even my macro lens was not able to pick up. As I reflected on these pictures, I was reminded that although there are so many scary things going on in the world, God is constant: the greyness of winter is still turning into the vibrant colors of spring. Although the world may seem tired and weary, our God will never grow tired or weary. And just like the water droplets on the flower, sometimes it may seem like our burdens are weighing us down, but it’s important to remember that they also magnify God.
This picture is simple. It's a simple star in the middle of a black night. But it means so much more...
My dad, being a lifelong resident of North Haledon, remembers a lit-up star being on High Mountain every Christmas as a town tradition. Over the years, the star stopped getting put up. This year around Christmas time, I was driving through town and noticed this beautiful star on High Mountain. It became something that made me smile when I looked at it every night. It was a reminder of my dad's childhood, as well as a reminder of a very important Christmas symbol (and carried the hope of that Christmas symbol. The hope of Jesus).
A few months later, here we are amidst a crisis. Chaos surrounds us, yet we are stuck at home in forced distance from others. This time in life (and in the world) can seem like a very dark, scary time. And then tonight, I noticed that amazing star on the top of High Mountain and was reminded of the same hope that star represents at Christmas time.
Jesus is with us. He has never left us. In the middle of our darkest night, a very scary time in the world, He is that bright shining star at the top of the mountain. Although chaos and despair surround us, I pray that we use this time in forced solitude to recognize the hope we have in our lives. The hope of Jesus. And I pray that our world will take this time to grow in their relationship with God.
Beautiful Magnolias have been appearing around town and I took a few minutes to take pictures of them. The wind made it freezing outside, but the sun and the bright blue sky made a beautiful contrast with the pink and white of the Magnolias. Magnolias have a special meaning to me because my mom and I both loved Magnolias. Now, a little over a year since her passing, Magnolias remind me of her and put a smile on my face. To be taking pictures of them yesterday, amidst this difficult time, helped remind me of her. It made me stop and take a minute to be thankful for the good things in life.
I started off this project thinking that my main goal would be to improve my photography skills. But as I got deep into this project, I realized this is so much more than improving my skills. This time of reflection on my photography has helped me focus on the pictures I am taking and see even deeper the beauty of God’s handiwork throughout His creation. It has been so good to take a pause throughout the day and appreciate the little things God has done for me and for our world. I love being able to share my reflections and hopefully encourage others in their faith. At the end of the day, I want my photography to not so much be about whether I am a good photographer or not, but that I use the skills God gave me for His glory.
NIV Bible, Bible Gateway