The Eye of the Photographer: Perspectives in focus

Have you ever looked through a book of photographs or a calendar, or seen a beautiful landscape on a wall. You are drawn into its beauty and wonder. But what you may not realize is that these perfect images are only reflections of the eye, mind and heart of the photographer; a glimpse of the photographers’ perspective.

The following photographs were taken in the Inyo National Forest at Sunset. You might imagine I’m out in the wilderness surrounded by a beautiful forest. Let’s take a closer look at this landscape. Inyo National Forest is located about ten miles north of Death Valley in California. There is no lush forest. This is the desert and the forest mainly consists of Joshua Trees and small shrubs. My daughters and I were on a desolate road headed for Nevada. Night was falling fast and a storm rushing in even faster behind us.

Inyo National Forest

As with most sunsets they start off slowly then suddenly the sky ignites with brilliant color. This night was no different. Looking over to the mountains on my left I realized this sunset would be special. I had my daughter drive bit by bit, and then got out of the car and rushed to a position where I knew the sun would go down between these two mountains. I knew if I could get in the right place, in time, I would have a beautiful photograph. The result was awesome. I captured a small glimpse of a much larger landscape, diverse and alive; a fleeting moment in time, a unique jewel of beauty that only three people saw.

Inyo National Forest

But that’s not all there is to this landscape. To the south, you see in this next picture, a better look at the desert landscape. Lightning dancing in the clouds illuminates the sky resembling a mother ship hovering as in the movie Independence Day.

Sierra Navada Range

This picture was taken to the west, back the way we came. The awe inspiring beauty of the Sierra Nevada’s an inspiring expression of the force of this earth. We can see beautiful storm clouds rapidly flowing over the lofty peaks.

Westgard Pass, Inyo National Forest

To our east and just in front of us, more interesting landscapes, water carved hills of stone layered with sediment of millions of ages. With the impending storm we didn’t have much time for photographs. The winding road ahead would make out journey slower as we out ran the rain and the potential for flash floods.

Gilbert Summit, Westgard PassThe next time you look at a photograph remember that what you see is only a glimpse of a much larger landscape, a much bigger picture. Such is the way with our lives and the lives of the people we meet. We are all landscapes showing a small piece of what is really going on when you consider our bigger stories. Whether you see beauty, disorder, or homeliness there is more going on than the little bit you see with your eye. When we look at our own lives, whatever is happening now whether it be good or bad, realize that it is only a glimpse, a small piece of a much larger story. And just like a fleeting sunset, our lives will also change.