Life is filled with surprises; just when you think you have seen it all something pops up that astounds you. One night I was filling in the hours of alone time with shooting photos of the moon out the high window of my office. Behind my house the West Maui Mountains loomed and formed dark contours against the night sky. Up until this point, when the shot was taken, the moon hung in the sky in its brilliant but very small version of itself–the quarter moon. Upon aligning with the edge of this peak, the orb of the entire moon was visible. Not until I was downloading and editing the photos did I see this magical moment.

There have been other magical moments, such as the night the Old Dervish appeared. While traveling with the Whirling Dervishes of the Mevlevi Order of America, we took a short trip to Honolulu for a weekend Sema event. The event hall was my least favorite type: a basketball gym with fluorescent lights and seating brought onto the floor surrounding the turners.

Looking at the photo to the right, you can see what I mean by the conditions of the hall. The lighting was yellowish, my least favorite tone, and with the audience there on the floor with the turners almost impossible to get clean shots.

See the turner in the blue skirt with the red vest? This is who popped out in the editing process, unseen during the actual shoot.  I literally jumped back in my chair when he appeared on my screen. He was only there for about three frames and this was the best one. In the photo on the left I have cropped just that area around him. Knowing who that turner was that was replaced momentarily, I can assure you this is not her face or her outfit.

I love surprises; without them I would have been bored long ago with the art of photography. However, over and over I am surprised by the images that are captured when I least expect it. This usually happens after I have been immersed for some time with the subjects and they are very comfortable with my presence.

This blog is to remind you that there are surprises out there waiting to jump out and engage your imagination. When you stretch yourself and persevere in your work, always asking God what to do next–SURPRISE! As I look back over the past decade, I can attest to this. And that only happened because I trusted God when he told me I had talent.

Each time I am prompted to stretch even more and do something new, like writing is for me this past year, I am surprised. And don’t we all like surprises? What would life be without surprises? I know I would not want to live without the surprise that life shares with me on a regular basis. So get out there and be prepared to be surprised!


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