Mindful Photo Editing With Gratitude

An attitude of gratitude brings great things
Image of a monk meditating in Myanmar.

“In the Moment.” Novice monk at Bagan, Myanmar.

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” –Zig Ziglar

What are you grateful for?

During challenging times like those we’ve been through with the coronavirus pandemic, it is easy to get down, frustrated and sad. My heart goes out to those who have suffered from the disease and to those who have lost their jobs or had their companies shut down. I can relate just like so many other travel photographers.

So why am I writing about gratitude when the world has been through such tough times? Because I feel that right now I need to be more grateful than ever.

I often find myself wishing for:

  • More time with my mom and friends.
  • The opportunity to step away from my computer and read, walk, exercise, cook, be a social person.
  • The chance to edit old travel photos.
  • Peace of mind.

Since I’m not traveling and organizing photography tours (for now), I have the chance to do the things on the above list, and for that I’m grateful. I also have the time to work on projects like editing photos that I have put aside for far too long. I am thankful for this opportunity as well.

While I can’t change what is going on in the world, I do have the choice of how I deal with it. To me, the true testament of one’s character is not how we handle the good times or everyday routine but rather how we stand during trials and tribulations.

Instead of looking at the COVID-19 lockdowns as a hardship—even if they have been—a lot of photographers have taken this time as an opportunity to do some of the creative post-processing work on their images that have been sitting on their hard drives for weeks, months or years. To those of you who have done this, bravo.

Yes, the pandemic has been horrible in so many ways, but I love it when people take challenging moments to count their blessings and show gratitude, and take the time to do something creative like image editing. This is a two-fold positive act. It feeds your creative soul, and it offers the opportunity to share something beautiful with family, friends and followers on social media.

It is rewarding to see beautiful images at times like this, and I’m inspired by so many other photographers and their visions of what they see, capture and create. For the photographer, editing images should be an exercise in gratitude. How fortunate are we to be able to travel, see spectacular sites, live beautiful moments and meet inspiring people? On top of that, photographers get to capture the essence of their journeys and share their vision with the rest of the world. How lucky we are for this privilege.

Image editing is a way for me and so many other photographers to take a walk down memory lane and revisit personal stories. These memories and experiences, good or bad, are part of the essence of who we are, and they build our character. This is what I love about travel photography; planning the trip, living the journey and remembering the adventures via the images we create. If you would have told me as a child that I would get to live a life that allows me to have these meaningful experiences all over the world, I would never have believed you. What a ride, and there’s much more to come.

Life has given us all 86,400 seconds today. Why not use a few of those seconds to say thank you?

Ken Kaminesky is the co-founder and owner of Discovery Photo Tours as well as a commercial travel photographer and the travel photography columnist for Outdoor Photographer. His work has been featured worldwide in numerous commercial and editorial publications, including the New York Times and on the cover of National Geographic. His passion for travel and the incredible landscapes and people he encounters along the way are the inspiration for his popular blog, and the other publications he writes for.

Throughout his travels, Ken seeks to capture images and stories that will inspire and motivate people to step out their front door and embrace adventure. As one of the founders and tour leaders at Discovery Photo Tours he gets the chance to share his love for travel and photography with avid photo enthusiasts from all over the world. Savouring art, food, history, and culture with tour groups in places like Jordan, Tanzania, and Japan is one of the most rewarding aspects of his work.

His favorite place in the world is always his next destination. He believes that each place has a unique story that will inspire others, which he aims to capture in his images.

He doesn’t usually talk about himself in the third-person.