Wake Forest, North Carolina is a beautiful community. However, with new development under way, I am concerned that the “forest” part of our name is at risk. Cut any more trees down and we will be reduced to “Wake Woods”, “Wake Trees”, or – eventually – just “Wake.”
One collateral consequence has been the family of hawks who used to take up residence in our back garden several weeks each summer. So I was naturally excited when they remembered the “good old days” and stopped by for a short visit. I quickly grabbed my camera and captured what I thought were some wonderful images.
In my haste, though, I inadvertently hit an “effects” button and didn’t notice until I was almost done. I’m not an “effects” photographer, so I thought the bulk of my shoot was a bust.
A couple of images, however, are worth sharing.
I like these pictures because they maintain the composition while reducing the “paint by numbers” color palette to a few essential shades.
Generally, I prefer what is understood as “realism.” You can see from these next two pictures (taken after I realized my mistake) that what I am looking for in photography is to replicate the experience of simply observing something. Maybe it is my background in journalism, but I tend to shy away from manipulation.
At the same time, comparing these photographs gives – in a sense – insight when it comes to how we perceive not only the world around us but truth itself.
Sometimes it is helpful to look at a simple, penciled in, outline of whatever concept we are grasping to understand.
At other times what we need – or all we can process – is something impressionistic. I have often observed that Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, his Starry Night, or Monet’s representations of water lilies at Giverny Gardens are more realistic (especially in terms of emotion) representations than any photograph (Van Gogh – left; Derek Maul photo – right).
Then again it can be abstract work, or music, or poetry that is required to help us to see.
What I’m getting at is the fact that this mistake on my part – hitting the wrong button on my camera – ended up helping me to see, to appreciate, to experience the visiting magnificent hawk in a new light.
I believe that when it comes to our spirits, we need to keep the dial setting at “wide open”. Because, who are we to restrict the wind of where the Spirit blows bottled up and in our own predetermined and more comfortable spaces?
Peace on this, the third day of 2021. – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.