No matter how many times I revisit my favorite national parks or natural areas, they never fail to bring out the same reaction - WOW! Whether I round the bend north of Jackson Hole and take in the Teton Range, walk to the edge of Hunts Mesa and absorb the aerial perspective of Monument Valley's sandstone monoliths, or stroll the beaches of the Oregon coast, the awe is as strong as it was the first time I cast my eyes upon each. Does this reaction stem from the fact I love these locations, does it originate from the fact I know I'll once again capture more images, or does it justify the fact that these places are protected for others to enjoy? Could it be a combination of all three? Very possibly! I prefer to think that, at least for me, each is a gift from nature and I'm bestowed these presents every time I go back. If you're with me on this, and I hope you are, then you know what I mean.
In many cases, the more I go to a certain location, the more I fall in love with it. I learn a different spot, I explore a new road, I hike an alternate trail. On each adventure I taste something new about the area which brings me closer to its heart. The way I look at it, Mother Nature provides me the gifts of her environment and she lets me borrow a slice in time that becomes one of my photos. The moment may last 1/125 of a second or maybe even a few seconds if I need a small aperture. A small passage of time for a gift so large. Sort of like Christmas, a birthday and every other holiday all wrapped up in one. And if one of those gifts turns out strong enough to hang on a wall, then I get the glory of enjoying it every time I pass it in my home. Such a big gift for a small investment in time.
The gifts from nature may be grand or intimate. The most commonly photographed ones are the grand landscape or a regal animal standing in an open field. Sometimes they're found on a smaller scale and require a bit more looking. Many are even discovered via the use of a macro lens. Regardless of their size, appreciate them every time one is bestowed. The more you get out in the field, the better chance you have of one being presented. Rainbows may await you, dramatic light may be a sunrise or sunset away, a frozen classic expression of an animal may be just around the bend, or an action stopping moment may be in the cards. Whatever the situation may be that unfolds in front of you, don't forget to extend your thanks to Mother Nature before you leave. Karma may appreciate it and give you the gift of a lifetime the next time you're out with your camera.