Contemplative Photography

In between travels to other parts of California, your Resident Photographer will, occasionally, take photographs of small things, like insects, flowers, lichens, or leaves. It tends to be a meditative process because you have to be aware of your surroundings and be still in your mind. Exhale, take the picture, and then, just as quietly, pause before you move on. You can’t get decent photographs of butterflies and insects unless you can learn to be still. While you don’t have to worry too much when taking macro images of flowers, you do have to remain still when you take your photograph, otherwise the result will be less than satisfactory. You can use a tripod, but you may lose opportunities while getting it set up.


One of my “Backyard Series” photographs won an award in 2008 and was published in Capture Ventura County. When I took the photograph, I had no intention of entering it in any contest. I was just enjoying the moment.

Foster Library has some excellent books on taking your time. One of my favorites is The Practice of Contemplative Photography by Andy Karr. Photography as a means of personal expression does not always mean panoramic or iconic views. Sometimes, you just have to look at the world a little differently.

So the next time you are feeling a bit jaded with your photography, try sitting in your backyard for a while. You never know what inspiration you may find!


Resident Photographer Aleta A. Rodriguez