This is my first post for the Serenity blog circle, a group of women photographers who post on the topic of serenity once a month. Since being asked to join I've spent some time thinking about what serenity is, what it means to me and how it relates to photography. I came to the conclusion that a large part of my personal serenity equation is quiet. Not necessarily quiet as in the absence of sound, but a quiet mind. Ever since I read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle I've worked to silence the constant chatter that goes on inside my head no matter what else I'm doing. This chatter usually has to do with what just happened, what might happen, what needs to get done, what didn't get done... I expect everyone is familiar with their own version of this internal chatter.
The second piece of the serenity equation is finding a place away from the constant barrage of distractions and noise generated by TV, internet, You Tube, ads, e-mail, Facebook, etc. I expose myself to this stuff intentionally but at some point it takes its toll and I have to get away.
I can’t completely explain why I was moved to take a photo of this particular baseball to go along with this post, but when I started looking for something to shoot it kept piping up saying, “pick me!” It’s round. The stitching flows. It looks well-used and comfortable. I did have moments of serenity photographing it. The act of actually taking a photo usually quiets my mind. It forces me to focus on the moment at hand. What's the light like right now? It’s not the light I want, how can I compensate? What's the right angle to capture all the glorious filthiness of this ball? The continuity of the stitching? Do I want it sharp, or do I want it hazy, slightly blurred? What settings do I need on my camera? Will that get me the photo I want? Do I need a tripod? I was a little anxious looking for something to photograph but by the time I was done shooting I was calm.
Some people might achieve the same quiet by grabbing a ball and heading outside to play a game of catch with a friend or fetch with their dog. Maybe another reason this baseball spoke to me is there is something about the game of baseball that comes close to serenity. One of my favorite movies of all time, Bull Durham, captured that concept perfectly. There is a webpage dedicated to philosophical quotes from the movie so I'll leave you with this one.
For more thoughts on serenity from Emily Hamson check out her blog at Lavender Lime Photography here.