Photography – as a hobby and source of zen

October 22, 2019


A big welcome to Suzanne Vosbikian, another fellow mid-life blogger who I’ve met virtually via Sue & Leanne‘s ‘Mid Life Share the Love‘ linky (#MLSTL) that takes place every Wednesday.  Suzanne is sharing with us how photography brings some zen into her life. This is something I can very much relate to, as photography has the very same affect on me.  You can find out more about Suzanne and how to connect with her in her Bio at the end of the post. 

If you would like to contribute your very own ‘Gem of Zen’ as part of the Zen Tip Tuesday series please go here to find out how (you might also like to visit all the Gems of Zen we have so far). I would love to hear from you!

Copyright Suzanne Vosbikian

Photography is a creative outlet that I use for self expression and to capture life as it happens. I am always the one lagging a bit behind the tour group, stepping into busy streets because I’m too busy looking up, getting lost,  or shouting, ‘honey, stop the car.’ When something catches my eye, I am compelled to take a closer look. Lines, textures, color, light, contrast, movement, stillness and detail are all intriguing elements to me. I see beauty in everything from a craft cocktail in a pretty glass  to a rusty old truck sitting in a field.

My sense of looking at the world differently came long before my interest in photography, but when I realized how seamlessly they fit together, I knew I had discovered the perfect respite for my soul. Photography isn’t just my hobby, it is also my Zen.

I love capturing images of people, nature, landscapes and architecture.   The Atlantic Ocean, which is about twenty minutes from home, is a favorite subject in my photographs. I spend time checking tide charts, wind speed and weather radar in order to plan for conditions. Cloudy days are the best, since too much sunlight will wash out the photographs, but sunsets are often beautiful and create incredible colors. Nature is full of surprises, and whatever I encounter is fully appreciated.  

Like painting, poetry, or other artful pursuits, photography is mostly a solitary hobby. There is a reflective, contemplative component inherent in the process and I enjoy the time spent communing with nature, as I patiently await my reward.

Sometimes the reward is a good photograph, and sometimes it is simply a few moments to pause, take slow breaths and anticipate joy. Either way, I feel satisfied.  

You don’t need to look through the lens of a camera to appreciate beauty and have a Zenful moment. All that is required is to set aside preconceived notions, free oneself from negative thoughts, look at things from a different perspective, and practice patience. Reality smacks us squarely in the face every single day, but taking just a few minutes to reflect on all that is beautiful will help you face your reality with renewed energy. What’s your Zen?

Copyright Suzanne Vosbikian

Copyright Suzanne Vosbikian

Copyright Suzanne Vosbikian



Suzanne is the author of Picture Retirement. She writes about travel and retirement life with her husband of thirty-two years. They live in South Florida, USA.

Here’s where you can connect with Suzanne:





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  • Reply Erica/Erika October 22, 2019 at 11:36 pm

    Thank you Min for hosting Suzanne on your blog. The Gems of Zen is a wonderful contribution to the virtual world.

    Nice to see you here, Suzanne on Min’s inspirational blog site. I love how you say “I see beauty in everything.” This speaks volumes. I can feel and see the beauty in your photos. Your photos often give me immediate goosebumps.

    You describe well how Photography is more than just a hobby. It is art, a place to pause, a place to find joy.

    I also appreciate you sharing your Zen, Suzanne. Sharing beauty creates a ripple effect and makes my day better.💕

    • Reply suzanne vosbikian October 23, 2019 at 6:37 am

      Thank you for your kind words Erica. I love how people respond to my photos and it’s comments like yours that inspire me to take more.

      • Reply Erica/Erika October 24, 2019 at 3:57 am

        Stopping in from #MLSTL and sharing on SM🙂

    • Reply Min October 23, 2019 at 2:04 pm

      Thanks so much for your kind words E/E! xo

  • Reply Natalie October 23, 2019 at 3:29 am

    Thank you, Suzanne, for sharing your Zen and beautiful photos. How wonderful that you have a hobby that gives you zen at the same time! I agree with you that there is a reflective and contemplative component inherent in the process. Taking photos makes us slow down, pay attention to details, and be patient for the right moment. Thank you, Min, for hosting Suzanne on your blog.

    • Reply suzanne vosbikian October 23, 2019 at 6:39 am

      Natalie, you are so right. Some people snap pictures and others take photographs. I think you and I fall into the later category.

    • Reply Min October 23, 2019 at 2:06 pm

      It’s been a pleasure to have Suzanne on the blog as part of ZTT Natalie. It’s fabulous to have photography mentioned as an option for acquiring some zen. I know from my own experience it does slow my mind, bring me into the present and in fact when I was contemplating photography as a business, my catchphrase was ‘capturing mindful moments’! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Donna October 23, 2019 at 4:23 am

    Hi. Suzanne – You had me at “Honey, stop the car!” We can definitely be friends. I greatly admire photography, and strive to learn more in this field. Writing is my Zen. Even when I try not to write, I find myself doing just that! Writing and photography combined? That’s a win-win.

    • Reply suzanne vosbikian October 23, 2019 at 6:42 am

      Donna, I already know that about you. You have a beautiful way with words and I can tell that you contemplate the message you want to convey in a thoughtful way. Even your comments on blog posts are beautifully crafted. I wish I had such a talent. I work more on photography than I do on writing… thing at a time.

    • Reply Min October 23, 2019 at 2:08 pm

      Hi Donna – I’ve been known to do the “stop the car” thing when I’ve seen the perfect photo roadside too! Like Suzanne, I see beautiful things in everyday things. It’s a wonderful ability to have when you think about it! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Suzanne October 23, 2019 at 4:30 am

    Suzanne, you have captured your Zen moments with a creative eye for detail and fun. The art of zoning out and focussing on a moment in time via photography is also a one I enjoy too.

    The world needs more Zen moments.

    • Reply suzanne vosbikian October 23, 2019 at 6:45 am

      Suzanne, thank you so much for your comment. Last night I sat at the beach listening to Bon Jovi sing Hallelujah while shooting a series of cloud photographs from my beach chair. Talk about a Zen moment!!

      • Reply Suzanne October 23, 2019 at 7:13 am

        Suzanne that is so my thing 🙂 Sounds a very satisfying Zen moment. #MSTL

    • Reply Min October 23, 2019 at 2:10 pm

      It’s one I enjoy too Suzanne and the world does indeed need more zen moments! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee October 23, 2019 at 6:39 am

    I went to a talk by Black Dog and they said one of the good things for depression is to be grounded in the present moment, and I realised that as I go for walks and take photos for my Insta and Blog, that was exactly what I was doing. It was making my focus on the flower/dog/streetscape in front of me. It was making me appreciate nature or the now. So I think photography is a BRILLIANT tool for zen. Good post.

    • Reply Min October 23, 2019 at 2:13 pm

      Yes that is exactly what you’re doing and yes photography is SO GOOD for slowing down our minds and bringing it back to the present in a mindful way! A lot of our problems stem from our monkey minds – too much dwelling on the past and worrying about the future and mulling things over. It is so nice to stop all that and just focus on the moment and photography is perfect for it. 🙂 xo

  • Reply suzanne vosbikian October 23, 2019 at 6:49 am

    Lydia, sometimes I think we get too far ahead of ourselves, or worse, we live in the past. Being grounded in the present moment makes so much sense, doesn’t it? Walking on the beach with my camera does that for me. I appreciate your thoughtful comment. Min has been such an accommodating and supportive host. I love her style.

  • Reply Joanne Tracey October 23, 2019 at 8:47 am

    Your images are fabulous Suzanne & I’m now following on Instagram. I’m a keen amateur photographer and for me, it’s about capturing how I feel at the moment I squeeze that shutter. It’s one of the few things that grounds me in the moment – baking is another, but that’s a whole different story.

    • Reply suzanne vosbikian October 23, 2019 at 9:16 am

      Joanne, there is nothing quite like the feeling of capturing joy with the click of a shutter. “Grounding” is exactly what this hobby does for me. Thanks for following my Instagram and blog. I look forward to reading more of your posts when I have some time later this week.

    • Reply Min October 23, 2019 at 2:16 pm

      I’m loving your morning walk photos Jo and the others you do too. You seem to be getting better and better! You’re so lucky to live where you do – such a gorgeous place with gorgeous scenes and subjects! I’d like to hear your baking story in a ZTT post. I might have to message you about that! haha 😉 xo

  • Reply Donna Connolly October 23, 2019 at 11:18 am

    Hi, Min and Suzanne – I am visiting again from #MLSTL. I have shared your post on my Social Media.

    • Reply Min October 23, 2019 at 2:16 pm

      Thank you Donna! xo

  • Reply Leanne | October 23, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    Hi Suzanne – lovely to see you over here on Min’s blog and sharing some of your beautiful photographs. I’m not a great photographer so I work on the zen principle of noticing what would make a great photo and then just appreciating it for what it is (then I don’t have to be disappointed that I didn’t capture it in the way it deserved!) That first photo of yours is one I always admire.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    • Reply Min October 23, 2019 at 2:17 pm

      It’s been wonderful having Suzanne guest post as part of the ZTT series, and on a subject close to my heart too! The first photo is my favourite too which is why I made it the feature image. 🙂 xo

    • Reply suzanne vosbikian October 23, 2019 at 10:13 pm

      Leanne, I took that photo three years ago and still remember the moment it happened. I had quietly studied the bird through my lens for a good ten minutes, taking a few test shots of the reflection, hoping no one would come by and disturb her. When she lifter her wings it was like magic. Seeing it later on my computer screen was like reliving the experience. That’s the thing with photography – it’s the gift that keeps on giving!! The mindfulness part of photography is as you say, “noticing” and framing the shot in your mind. The actual shot is simply a reminder of the moment – not THE moment. My husband enjoys the “noticing” part also. Min graciously linked with MLSTL and shared on social media, including her Instagram story. She has been such an accommodating host.

  • Reply Debbie Harris October 23, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    I can so relate to this Min and Suzanne! Those moments when you see something and just have to stop and either drink it in with your eyes or capture it with a photo. I had to do that last week when I saw an amazing view and pulled over and snapped it – it just happens to be my post today on my blog! I was saying to someone recently that my blog helps me be more observant and in so doing, I’m also being more zen-like. I love that! Your photos are great by the way! #mlstl

    • Reply Min October 24, 2019 at 3:58 pm

      Blogging helps me to be more observant too Deb. Everything is possible blog fodder too! lol xo

  • Reply suzanne vosbikian October 23, 2019 at 10:24 pm

    Deb, good point about how your blog helps you be more observant. I have frequently called my blog an accountability partner and love the way it makes me more mindful of soaking up every day life experiences. Glad you can relate to what creates my Zen. Thanks for stopping by Min’s blog and for commenting.

  • Reply Patrick Weseman October 24, 2019 at 12:19 am

    So very true. It is something that I have learned and taking photos of events and places makes me more aware of what is going on around me. Very nice. #MLSTL

    • Reply Min October 24, 2019 at 3:59 pm

      I think once we acquire the ‘photographers eye’ … we notice things that others might miss. It’s a wonderful thing to have. I also appreciate beautiful light too – my favourite of course being the golden hours that top and tail each day! 🙂

  • Reply Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond October 24, 2019 at 11:32 am

    Hi Min & Suzanne, I’m such a fan of Suzanne’s photography and her attitude to Midlife. I’ve been proud to have Suzanne as my guest on the blog also, and am always inspired by her work. I would love to do a photography course but at the moment I need to complete my fitness course rather than taking on more. Photography can be so artistic and emotive. Thanks for sharing with us at #MLSTL and have a beautiful weekend.

    • Reply Min October 24, 2019 at 4:02 pm

      Hi Sue, yes best to complete the fitness course first. One thing at a time! I can highly recommend photography though – it’s great for slowing the mind and encouraging mindfulness and it can be very rewarding too! Lovely photographs are also fabulous for the blog! Have a great weekend! 🙂 xo

    • Reply suzanne vosbikian October 25, 2019 at 12:18 am

      Sue, you are such a busy lady and I admire the sense of purpose with which you approach a new goals and challenges . No doubt you will get to photography one day. I greatly appreciated the opportunity to share my love of photography on your blog a while past and here I am again, still singing the same song. There is an old Coke commercial that suggests a Coke in every hand makes the world a better place, personally, I think a Camera in every hand would do exactly that.

  • Reply Jennifer October 24, 2019 at 8:09 pm

    How fun to find another Florida blogger on a linkup run from Australia! My husband finds this kind of zen moment while taking pictures. I enjoy, but I take my pictures and move on. So I find my Zen in the waiting process.

    • Reply suzanne vosbikian October 25, 2019 at 12:29 am

      Hi Jennifer, I’m a follower and I love your blog. If memory serves, you live about two hours away from where I live in Florida. So nice to bump into you here, on the other side of the world. These gals are the best and so far ahead in terms of how to connect, promote and build a blogging community. Obviously, I highly recommend slowing down to take a photograph and support your husband’s approach, but I also understand the need to take the picture and move on. Sometimes that is all you have time for.

    • Reply Min October 25, 2019 at 4:10 pm

      It’s amazing the connections we can make via blogging – in other countries, all across our own country, even in the same town or city! 🙂

  • Reply Christie Hawkes October 24, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    Thank you for the introduction, Min. And thank you, Suzanne, for sharing this surprising (to me) source of zen. I haven’t quite mastered the photography skills, but I definitely find zen in stopping to notice beauty. I love clouds and our majestic mountains. At times, the combination literally stops me in my tracks. I found your photos to be stunning and zen-inspiring themselves. So glad, we “met” recently. Enjoy your day! I hope you find some Zenful moments.

    • Reply suzanne vosbikian October 25, 2019 at 12:35 am

      Christie, ‘noticing beauty’ is what’s important, and it sounds like you have that part covered. I am happy to have ‘met’ you as well and look forward to following your new home build. Thanks for stopping by Min’s blog to read about my Zen!!

    • Reply Min October 25, 2019 at 4:13 pm

      Photography is much the same as stopping to notice beauty in nature Christie, except you capture it and learn ways for best composition to capture it at it’s best! It’s good that you’re noticing these things – it’s called being ‘present’ which a good thing! Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

  • Reply greenglobaltrek October 25, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    What a wonderful topic for a blog post Suzanne and Min. That first image is absolutely spectacular!

    I enjoy photography very much. In fact, even though I draw and paint, I have come to appreciate photography as an art form. Even though I don’t have a fancy camera and all that, I enjoy” creating a painting” with the use of the lens. And just as the captures of the ocean take patience, and a zen mind, so too, does capturing portraits of people. When we are on the road or even in our neighborhood and I see an interesting face I want to photograph, I usually wait, and try to blend in to the environment first, or alternatively I will strike up a conversation with the person first, as this often gives a more personal end result to the photo of a person in the street.

    Lovely post.


    • Reply Min October 30, 2019 at 12:48 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed Suzanne’s post Peta. I’m a lover of photography too and even did a Diploma of Professional photography. I enjoyed art in my younger days and would like to get back into it. Hoping I can one day make some time for it. There are not hours in a day are there? Thanks for visiting and for your lovely comment.

  • Reply suzanne vosbikian October 25, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    Peta, your life is art! You have an eye for beauty and it comes through in your photography. No one needs a fancy camera, unless you plan to print enlargements of your images, but I like the versatility of having multiple lenses. The last two photos I posted on my Instagram were taken with my Iphone. Sometimes it’s more convenient to use and the results are good, so why not. We live in a get the shot/miss the moment world, and I wish more people saw photography as an art form. The world would be a calmer place.

  • Reply Dr Sock November 4, 2019 at 5:22 am

    Suzanne, that top photo of the bird is a master photograph! Very special. All your photos are really good.

    I’m not a photographer and have never studied the technical aspects of using a camera. But I love to observe the visual aspects of the world around me. I’m always snapping away with my iPhone (rather than my camera because I always have it on hand), sometimes to capture the moment, and sometimes because I think it would make a good reference photo for a painting.


    • Reply Min November 4, 2019 at 3:25 pm

      I agree about that bird photograph – it’s fabulous! 🙂

  • Reply suzanne vosbikian November 4, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    Jude, I have couple of artist friends who do the same thing. Phone cameras have gotten very sophisticated and it is possible to get some very good images without carrying heavy camera equipment. Especially when you intend to interpret the image in a painting. That bird photo was the first I’d ever taken that made me ‘feel’ like a photographer. I am still a novice, but some days the magic happens.

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