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Location: Hatteras, NC
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Published February 20, 2017

Mountains to Sea: 4 Ways To Change Your Perspective

Photographers freeze time. I don’t consider myself any particular kind of photographer. I don’t do portraits, events or travel photography. Instead, I pursue and capture moments. Since starting my iPhoneography hobby almost 5 years ago, I’ve become more aware of my surroundings and thus more present in any given moment.

Here are 4 ways that happened:

 

1. SHOW GRATITUDE

Shooting with an iPhone means I’m always at-the- ready to capture something no one else sees. I quickly became more aware of my environment which birthed a sense of gratitude for being in the right place at the right time. Being grateful turns your focus toward what you have and away from what you don’t. I now start every day with it and look for reasons to be grateful in each moment, no matter how small. “You’re something people from history wish they were: Alive” (adapted from “Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All.”)

Mountains to Sea 4 - Ways To Change Your Perspective 2
Location: Mingo Creek Nature Trail, Knightdale, NC

 

2. SLOW DOWN

No one can take a photo of the future. Beware of destination addiction; a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is the next place, the next job, with the next partner, at the end of road. Don’t say “I’ll be happy when…” Stop chasing happiness. Slow down. Be happy now. Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are.

Location: Historic Oakwood Cemetery, Raleigh, NC
Location: Historic Oakwood Cemetery, Raleigh, NC

 

3. RENEW YOUR SENSE OF WONDER

People, places and things pass through the “rods and cones” of our eyes constantly, but how often do you really LOOK at what we see? Look up, down, at, under and inside. Physically change your perspective, so your eyes aren’t on the same level plane day after day. Lie on the ground, crawl, climb. Act like a child.

Location: Ocracoke, NC
Location: Ocracoke, NC

 

4. DON”T TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED

Get into the habit of savoring things. I’ve waited for and watched dozens of sunrises waiting for the exact moment to snap a photo. I’m always amazed at how fast they happen, never to be repeated in exactly the same way. The average life expectancy of a US citizen is about 79 years. That means you have a finite number of sunsets, autumns, and birthday celebrations. Rather than counting things up, count them down. If you’re 50 years old and “average,” don’t say I’ve had 50 Thanksgivings, say I have 29 left and treasure each one. You’ll be amazed at how differently you’ll treat each day and each event.

Location: Blue Ridge Parkway, near Blowing Rock, NC

 
You don’t have to be a photographer to do these things. You can paint your moments, draw them, write about them or simply capture them with your mind’s eye. Practice them and your life journey will change dramatically. And I want to see and hear about what you’re capturing and the progress you’re making, so let’s stay connected!

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  • Michael Palko

    Michael

  • Instructional designer, Photographer-in-Residence at Historic Oakwood Cemetery, and social learning evangelist. Oh, digital storyteller, too. I take pictures. Lots of them. Find me on Instagram: mpalko. All my articles.

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