Clarity. Or, as Webster defines it, ‘The quality of being coherent and intelligible’ as in clarity of thought and communication; i.e. speaking clearly and thinking clearly. Or, it could be used to describe how easy it is to see through something, ‘The quality of transparency or purity’.
In photography, many of us use a tool called Lightroom to touch-up our photos before releasing the final copy. One of the toolbars commonly misused by newcomers is the Clarity Bar. As you adjust it back, it makes the picture more hazy, or foggy. As you adjust it ahead, the picture becomes more ‘clear’, or sharper, by causing some objects to look unnatural if moved ahead too much.
Many young photographers, including myself, fall into the trap of adjusting the clarity to far ahead and ruin their photos by making them look fake, or ‘overly enhanced’. It’s an easy habit to fall into thinking you’re making that bland photo look ‘cool’ or something you think you see with your eyes, but in reality, it’s not.
Certainly, in life, clarity is a two-edged sword. On one hand, we all wish we could see more clearly our future or how to handle a specific situation. On the other hand, too much clarity can cause pain; such as knowing something someone close to us may have said behind our backs or learning through a DNA service that we have a sister or brother we never knew about from infidelity in the family.
To say ignorance is bliss, may be an overstatement. Yet, turning off the TV, shutting down the phone, and leaving everything behind to simply sit by the water as in the photo today (which, by the way, has too much clarity adjustment), may be just what we need.
We’re so saturated with information that we lose sight of what’s right in front of us. Many people are so blinded by their anger, hate, and ideology that they fail to see the truth right in front of them. Stepping outside of the static we live in may be the best thing for us.
For me, nothing helps me more than a good night’s sleep. It seems to be the time when my mind is able to take all that I’m wrestling with in life and put the pieces together through dreams. I’ll often wake up and have a much clearer sense of what I must do, where I need to go, or what the answer to a problem is that I couldn’t figure out at work.
Seeking clarity may be too eye-opening for some and, for some, it may be just what they need. This weekend, if you’re on the side of needing more clarity in your life, I want to encourage you to ‘step outside’ of your daily life. Focus on something totally outside of the box. Perhaps that’s going for a walk, going to the lake, visiting with a friend, or just sitting in a chair outside with a cup of coffee to talk with God. However you find clarity, most of the time, even if it seems like a painful thing at first, in the long run, the truth will set you free.