“I see trees of green….. Red roses too
I see them bloom….. For me and you
And I think to myself….. What a wonderful world”.
Lyrics Sung by Louis Armstrong
As a fine art landscape and wildlife photographer, I think the lyrics to the song made famous by Louis Armstrong, What a Wonderful World, summarize the emotional feelings I have about landscape photography as well as the reason I truly love taking landscape and wildlife photos… this is a wonderful world.
First, a few facts: the song, What a Wonderful World, was written by Bob Thiele (as “George Douglas) and George David Weis. It was recorded by Louis Armstrong and released in 1967 as a single. It was used in the film Good Morning Vietnam and reissued as a single in 1988. Armstrong’s recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
Louis Armstrong (also known as Satchmo) performed the song with an easygoing voice and the lyrics generate a sense of peace and positivity—a life-affirming statement that, in spite of negative happenings, we live in a wonderful world—and if we focus on the beauty of nature – the colors and contrasts that nature display….from a bright day to a star-lit sky…. We can recognize that we truly live in a wonderful world.
“I see skies of blue….. And clouds of white
The bright blessed day ….. The dark sacred night
And I think to myself ….. What a wonderful world”
As I travel the world, one thing I am struck by is the sense of serenity and peace I find as I view the landscapes in front of me which gives more meaning to the photos I take. Being outdoors in quiet settings creates an inner calmness and allows me to recenter myself.
In particular, the lyrics about skies of blue and clouds of white bring to my mind the many sunrise and sunset locations I have visited – standing there waiting for the sun’s rays to peak over the horizon and light up the sky. There is something about the freshness of a new day that inspires me… it gives me hope. Landscape photography captures the beauty of our wonderful world and makes those words come alive.
“The colors of the rainbow ….. So pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces ….. Of people going by
I see friends shaking hands….. Saying, "How do you do?"
They're really saying ….. "I love you”
Armstrong’s lyrics to What a Wonderful World also encourages us to look around us and find the positive in our lives. He speaks about seeing others and the beauty we each carry and this beauty is mirrored in our world.
I have seen this beauty in wildlife and landscape photography locations all over planet Earth – I have traveled from Alaska to Antarctica – photographed the Canadian Rockies, the Colorado Rockies, the Smoky Mountains; the coastal areas of the United States; the fishing villages of Norway; penguins in Antarctica, polar bears, wild horses….. the list goes on and on. Our planet is not cold or icy or frigid…. It is not filled with poisonous gases. It is truly a wonderful world with landscapes that fill me with awe and respect.
“I hear babies cry…. I watch them grow
They'll learn much more….. Than I'll never know
And I think to myself ….. What a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself ….. What a wonderful world
We live in a rush-rush world and our minds are bombarded with countless negative images and thoughts. The concept of active stillness – where one can create moments when the positives outweigh the negatives – that is the true beauty and value of landscape and wildlife fine art photography—for you to have in your own home photographs that encourage you to stop and recognize the beauty of the world we live in…. even if it is just for a few moments…you can pause and have a sense of peace or joy as you walk by the photograph.
I have been fortunate, as noted above, to travel to many areas on this planet. I can say, with confidence, that I agree with Louis Armstrong because this is a wonderful world.