The Proper Way to View a Photo

April 3, 2020
Hope on a Dark Morning

If you are like me, it is hard to spend so much time inside. I feel the pull of nature and long to get out to hike through the woods and ski through the deep snow found at the higher elevations at this time of year. Since most of us are doing our part to help fight this disease by staying at home, one of the best ways to visit the Park right now is via my website. It was recently renovated and so if you haven't visited in the last two weeks, you might want to pay a visit to see what's new. If you take a little time to explore beyond the top level pages, you will find some hidden gems.

One of the things that I've discovered is that most people don't know how to view a photo properly in order to really experience it. Too often I see people clicking from one photo to the next trying to consume as many as they can in as short of a period of time as possible. That's a lot like the people who quickly drive over Trail Ridge Road and say that they've seen all that there is to see in Rocky when you and I know that there is so much more to experience.

The proper way to view a photograph is to firstly open it as large as you possibly can. Get the biggest, clearest monitor you can find. As you look at it, let your eyes wander around. Notice all the little details in the foreground and then slowly view the details throughout the image. Now view it again as a whole and try to envision what might be outside the photo. Imagine what's off to the right side, then off to the left side and also what you might see if you could look behind the camera. Try to get a complete picture of the full scene as if you were standing there with me when I took the shot. Now try to imagine the sounds, the smells, the feeling of being there. Can you feel the wind? Do you hear the pikas chirping? Can you smell the rich soil of the forest or the sweet smell of the tundra flowers? Allow yourself to be transported there. Stay with the scene for at least a minute and try to experience being there.

If you do this, you'll find that each photo becomes a journey. Amazingly, studies have shown that if you experience nature photos in this way that you actually receive many of the same benefits that you do when you are out in nature. Try it and you will be amazed how real and meaningful it can be. It's the closest most of us can get to the natural world at this time, so we might as well take advantage of it.

Posted in Erik's Musings.

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