Finding Meaning In Simple Things

Rain drops on red roses in the lovely Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg, Austria.

The importance of simplicity within our increasingly complicated world should not be understated. By keeping an image simple it's easier for the viewer to connect with it.

Once the initial visual connection is made the technical, aesthetic and spiritual aspects in our images will emerge.

Here's a very simple photo that illustrates a range of quite different elements. Some of which are obvious, others less so.

The image was made with a Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105 mm f/4 IS lens at 105 mm. With my camera set to ISO 400 I utilized a shutter speed of 1/20 second and an aperture of f/8 ISO.

How To Successfully Deconstruct A Photo

Let's look at the obvious elements of the image.

  • It’s a close-up photograph

  • It displays a shallow depth of field (DOF) which helps the subject stand out from an otherwise distracting background

  • It features water droplets which most folks find to be both visually and emotionally appealing

  • It features a flower, which happens to be a rose

  • The rose displays a red hue (i.e., color)

  • The hue of the rose is relatively high in saturation (i.e., pure in color)

The Path, Salzburg, Austria

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Raindrops On Roses

What do the raindrops on these roses indicate to you?

  • That it’s raining

  • That the soil supporting the flower is receiving life-giving sustenance

  • That it’s a time of plenty

  • That beauty is transient

Such delicate beauty only lasts a few short moments. One moment the raindrop comes into contact with the flower, the next it's gone.

Might that suggest both the beauty and transient nature of our natural world and, by implication, our own existence in the greater scheme of things?

There is life within every flower and a world within every raindrop. And it's during those fleeting moments, when the two come together, that I'm reminded of the transitory nature of our existence.

Pink roses, photographed after a rain storm, in the Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg, Austria.

A Simple Approach To Making Beautiful Photos

We are connected to each other and to the natural world.

By concentrating your attention on the more simple aspects of everyday life you'll be able to block out worldly distractions.

Such simple meditations will enhance your focus and lead to insights as to the nature of reality and your true purpose in life.

To begin the search for such inner truths we would all do well to stop and, dare I say, smell the roses. 

I believe that, if you're serious about the communicative aspects of your photography, it's important to be aware of the power of metaphor and symbolism in the photos you make.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru