Last Friday, I had the awesome opportunity to spend time with 19 young shutterbugs, connecting with nature through photography. I asked for 12 but 19 eager kids toting cameras and wearing big smiles arrived...and it was the most wonderful and profound afternoon I have spent in a long time.
We talked about composition and how to see through their lenses. We talked about how they are all artists and that their digital screen is their canvas.
We talked about their one unique and beautiful perspective on the world and how to capture and record it with their cameras and their hearts.
They saw pinecones lined up like soldiers, the tops of trees against a never ending blue sky, and the dew dripping from a red, ripe berry.
They saw a leaf in the shape of a heart, a squirrel's discarded acorn caps, and tiny dried flowers with beautiful shades of pink against a backdrop of evergreens.
They got down low and looked up. They stood on the highest hill and looked down. They saw moving clouds, the tips of whispy grasses, tiny spiders, and a rock covered with moss.
They made pictures with their eyes and their hearts and each time they snapped the shutter, they ran over in a flurry of excitement to show me what they had created. At one point, I stood back to look up, take a breath, and watch the whole scene around me. As I saw them all connecting with themselves and with the world around them, smiles of pride on their faces and encouraging each other, I was moved. I quietly watched one little boy as he carefully reviewed a series of images he took of a tiny pinecone and then tears of joy filled my eyes when I heard him exclaim, "I love this one...it's going on my wall!"
Of all that I was hoping to inspire in them that day, I never imagined all that they would inspire in me. They saw beauty in a barren garden of summer's remnants and they found joy in every little detail. They saw wonders and it was magic.