I made an incredibly uncomfortable personal discover after rifling through my favorite photographic adventures from the last 5 years. My interest in photography began in my senior year at college, which was when I became aware that my emotional health was hurting. Who knew that photography is actually a wholesome release for those of us struggling with depression!

Photography helps me appreciate the beauty in everything, and inspires me when I’m feeling depleted. Especially my lucky sunrise shots!

I had some fun splitting some of my favorite shots from the last 5 years into categories, and analyzing what sentiments they capture.

Sunrises: More than any other kind of photo I love to take, these always capture the enduring sentiment of “light in the darkness”, that hope always finds a way to emerge triumphantly from the rubble.

Sunsets: Naturally similar to sunrise shots, these have a special transformative value to me, the way they cause a spectrum of colors to erupt across the transitioning sky. Winter sunsets seem to be especially vibrant, a reminder of life’s color during a gray time.

Moon and Stars: Another reminder of “light in the darkness”, these shots are, in a way, an analogy for me of God’s constant presence. No matter how dark things may seem, He’s always watching out for me, and watching over me.

Water: Ah, this is perhaps the most poetically classic depression shot. After all, one of the more somber interpretations of water is gloom and maybe even emptiness. Even then, still waters offer a time of reflection, and quiet tranquility.

Divine Figures: Oh, how I love finding representations of them, especially at unexpected moments! Mary especially has a talent for making surprise appearances, especially with this shot of her as the Virgin of Guadalupe. She showed up on a t-shirt in my store during a rough depression day, and it made things so much better!

Fog: There’s a sort of subconscious mysticism within fog. It comes about on the oddest of days, even in December. It conceals much of what we see, and as such is a recurring setting in horror fiction. Delving into the fog both around us and in our minds can be a nerve-wracking but rewarding adventure.

And, as one of my most recent all-time favorites, this shot from Easter Sunday:

Despite the odds, despite all of the horrors the last year threw at us, Grandma’s magnolia tree still managed to blossom. The light of renewal shown brilliantly that beautiful day, and I look to this lucky shot as a reminder that hope never dies. God always finds a way to lift us up, often in the most subtle of ways.