The Art of Being Present

As smart-phone owning social media users we have lost the art of savouring the moment, of being truly present and experiencing life as it happens. We have a desperate need to capture (and I mean that quite literally) what is our lives; yet, in the process, we take ourselves out of the moment and miss what is happening. It has become essential in modern society to document and share our daily activities with everyone we know, to the point that we subconsciously believe that it is in this sharing and acknowledgement of others that our lives find their meaning. Pictures or it didn’t happen, right?

As someone who loves photography, I struggle with this greatly. It is behind the lens of a camera that I see the world most clearly; it is through photographs that I give immortality to the ever changing light and colour of life. It is a way that I acknowledge the beauty and intricacy and majesty of God’s creation. Whether it is an iPhone lens, a Holga lens or a Canon lens, my reflex reaction to seeing a spectacular vista is to press that shutter button. Sometimes, though, I get so caught up in getting the perfect image that I forget to actually enjoy the view that is before me.

My new resolution is to re-learn the art of savouring the moment, to take a few pictures and then to put my camera away and just be present. I need to change that subconscious belief that my life’s meaning is found in the acknowledgement of others – to redesign my brain into recognising that my life’s purpose and meaning come from God alone, not the amount of likes a photo gets on Instagram. I need to reassess when and how I share snippets of my life in photo-form on social media – after a day of adventure with friends, not during.

Here are a few photos from yesterday’s adventure to Clovelly Beach. I set aside a short amount of time to capture a few images, and then put my phone away. They are not brilliant photos; they don’t show the incredible marine life I observed snorkelling around the headland, or the serenity of lying on the beach reading with the sun on my back, or the conversations and prayers shared with a dear friend as we sat eating our delicious fish and chips, sand between our toes and the sound of children playing nearby. Those are encapsulated in my memory, as I savoured what was one of the best days of summer so far.

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All photos captured with iPhone5S.

Location: Clovelly Beach, Sydney.

A Weekend of Adventure

There is nothing I love more than adventuring into His creation, camera in hand and friends by my side. Last weekend I did exactly this – road-tripping down to the beautiful Jervis Bay with one of my closest friends, my cousins and their church friends. We spent three days camping, swimming, bushwalking, chilling, eating, rock-climbing, praying and soaking up the beautiful sun. We explored cliffs and caves, watched the sunset over the ocean, danced on the beach late into the night, laughed til our stomachs ached and observed the wildlife – snakes, birds, kangaroos, lizards and frogs were in abundance! The highlight of the weekend was the spontaneous arrival of no less than 40 Brazilian tourists at 11pm on the second night as we were lounging outside our tents contemplating sleep. They appeared out of nowhere, set up camp on the beach and were gone by morning – the strangest sight I’ve ever seen! Our little escape encapsulated everything I enjoy most about summer in Australia, and I am thankful to have shared it with a unique group of hilarious, adventurous, wonderful people.Cave Beach nelsonlastdays (1 of 1)-77nelsonlastdays (1 of 1)-74 nelsonlastdays (1 of 1)-60nelsonlastdays (1 of 1)-106 nelsonlastdays (1 of 1)-69nelsonlastdays (1 of 1)-111nelsonlastdays (1 of 1)-103nelsonlastdays (1 of 1)-88 nelsonlastdays (1 of 1)-98nelsonlastdays (1 of 1)-97

All photos captured with Canon Eos 600D.

Location: Booderee National Park, NSW.

The Secret Garden

In the centre of Paddington there is what from Oxford St appears to be a mediocre square of grass and modern architecture – your standard urban greenspace. Yet hidden below street level is a magical oasis. Designed by architect Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, the ruins of the historical reservoir originally used to pump water from the Botany Swamps to the suburbs of Sydney have been refurbished into this unique sunken garden. It is spaces like this that cement (pun fully intended) my love for this city.

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All images captured with either Canon EOS 600D or iPhone5s

Location: Paddington Reservoir Gardens, Sydney.