Jan 27 2010

“Waitin’ For the Light to Shine”

Canyonlands-NP-409“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14

He probably didn’t realize it but when Roger Miller penned the words to “I’m Waitin’ For the Light to Shine,” a song from his hit musical Big River, he wrote what could be the official nature photographer’s theme song.  Nature photographers know that light is everything.  A good subject in poor light typically does not produce a good image.  A poor subject in good light, however, can at times look amazing.  As a result, we photographers look for, and long for, “the light to shine.”

Often, to get the right light we have to wait.  The image above is a good example.  It was the last day of my southern Utah trip last month and I had not done well photographing Canyonlands National Park.  The first day there the light was terrible, making even Mesa Arch look unflattering.  On my last evening I decided to try one more time.  When I arrived at Green River Overlook the light was, once again, horrible.  I just about concluded that I was going to get “skunked” at Canyonlands but then I noticed that there was a tiny clearing at the horizon.  I held on to the hope that maybe at the very last moment beautiful warm light would flood the canyon below me.  My friend Steve, who was with me and is not a photographer, decided to go sit in the car.  Since it was 15 degrees and windy, I couldn’t blame him. 

I waited in the cold for over an hour hoping (and praying) that I would get good light.  And just when I thought time had run out on me it happened.  Whereas a split second before the scene before me was dull, dark and gray, all of a sudden a warm brilliant light flooded the canyon.  My heart soared and I immediately sought something to photograph in that glorious light.  Because the good light only lasted a minute or two I couldn’t be choosey.  Still, I found a couple of decent subjects to capture with my camera and once again I was reminded that in photography it pays to wait for the light to shine. 

In our spiritual life we also have to wait at times for the light to shine.  In my walk with the Lord there are many times when things seem flat and dull.  It can be quite discouraging and at times I may even feel like giving up.  But I have learned over the years that we must learn to “wait on the Lord.”  God does not always move on the timetable we want.  In fact, He typically moves a lot slower than I’d prefer.  But God knows what He is doing so the smart thing for me to do is be patient and wait for Him to shine His light on me.  And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it is that it pays to wait for the Light to shine.