I started writing this blog post back in August and figured it was time to finish it. A few months ago I shared this image on my Justin Peterson Photography - Facebook Page from Garden of the Gods here in Colorado Springs, Colorado and commented that, "We often return to places we know because their familiarity provides peace and rest. Garden of the Gods is such a place for me." My goal of this particular blog post is to explore that idea further, but before I do, here's the image I posted in August on Facebook:
I have been to Garden of the Gods dozens of times at sunrise, sunset, during the middle of the day, and in the early hours of the morning when it's just me and the wildlife and insects. It seems that I always find a different composition my eyes haven't seen before or the light is hitting the sandstone formations in a different way. Many times, though, I return to familiar spots, places I have photographed countless times. Back in August when I posted this image I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed. I had been transitioning to a new job over the summer and all the preparation and planning was reaching its peak. I was tired. As much as I like my sleep, the allure of a good sunrise, even the mere possibility of good light, is too hard for me to pass up. I fall asleep thinking about light and when my alarm abruptly jolts me from my sleep I seem to still be thinking about the light.
Garden of the Gods is my go-to place. Even when the outing is a bust, I never regret getting up early or staying out late. The Garden has a way of, even if temporarily, letting me be still and really soak in the incredible beauty. I feel connected to nature and more connected to myself. Setting up my tripod, framing the composition, adjusting the aperture, and setting my ISO, all play a part in letting me slow down, unwind, and focus on what's important.
Do you have a familiar place you go to when life's chaos seems unbearable? A place you know so well that you can completely disconnect from all the distractions and interruptions? If so, feel free to comment on this blog post and share...I'd love to hear. If not, I encourage you to seek out and find a place outside in nature. Below are some recent images from Garden of Gods, my go-to place: