We all can use some serenity, right?

When color landscape photography is posted on social media, it is the colorful, over-saturated and dramatically composed images that seem to rack up the likes. Here is an interesting fact. Scientific studies show that while images, photographic or otherwise, with intense color catch the attention immediately, they tend to not be remembered in the long term. I’m not saying that these types of images are bad, it is just an interesting psychological observation.

So what about this photograph in the New Jersey Pine Barrens? It’s not dramatic or particularly colorful but has done well on social media. While Facebook and Instagram likes aren’t a judge of good photography, they are a forum to touch people with your work.

When I came across this scene in the Pine Barrens’ Franklin Parker Preserve, it felt like I was standing in front of an old classical painting. A quiet, pastoral landscape lit by an elegant soft light. I remember just staring at it for a while thinking that I must have passed this place many times on hikes but never noticed it. It may have been the light, but I must have needed a little serenity at that moment and this place provided it.

I photographed with that serenity in mind using a simple, classical composition. Did it do well on Social Media because others felt some of that serenity in the midst of the intense pace of the internet? I hope so.

Photographer Chris Orwig says “My role (in photography) is not just to see the light, or capture the light, it is to shine some light as well.” The idea that you add some of your self (shining the light) to every photograph or piece of art is a goal we all should strive for.