The most valuable lesson that photography has taught me is to see beauty in the small things.
When I first learned how to use my new camera I was constantly searching for photo opportunities. I tried hard. It took time but eventually I found new perspectives, praised bad weather (think dramatic clouds, rainbows, rain drops on plants), and spent so much more time outside. I started recognizing beauty in the simplest of ways. No matter where I am, or what type of grand scenery I am a part of, I make sure to slow down, and look down. This was learned behavior, and I owe that to my photography hobby. I make sure that I don't pass by the flowers, or the dew drops on a spider web, or a puddle of water reflecting the passing storm in the sky. These are the most precious little gems and I will never take them for granted.
Recently, while babysitting for a neighbor, I found myself in the company of a three year old. While walking down the sidewalk, he squealed with excitement for the simple fact that he found two bugs. One was bigger so of course he called that one the "mama bug." They didn't do anything amazing, but he was SO amazed. We sat and watched them for a solid 25 minutes, talking about them and how many legs they had. We "helped" one flip over off of its back with a stick. I realized that most of us would have never stopped for that. This three year old was observant, and curious, and he looked down.
Photography is my link back to that childlike curiosity. After years of using a camera I realized this: That I've often sat in the woods to watch animals, rested on the ground so many times to see things differently, bundled up in storms to go see what it's like.. I have become curious again. I've looked "weird" in public trying to get a different angle for a photograph. I have spent so much more time in nature. I've been more observant and that has shown me so much beauty, in such small ways.
Beauty in the small things.