Beauty in Shadows!

IMG_6458Seven years ago my nine year old granddaughter, Kialee, and I drove the back roads of Tennessee looking for things to photograph. By looking at the pictures she took you can see that Kialee has an eye for photography.

One special moment in this day stood out to me. We were reviewing the pictures Kialee had taken when I came across the following photo of the Natchez Trace Bridge. 

6a00d834958b7053ef0115701443d4970bAs the ultimate authority of photographic knowledge, I pointed out that she had not included the entire bridge in the picture.

Kialee responded, “I wasn’t taking a picture of the bridge grandpa, I was taking a picture of the shadow of the bridge. Isn’t it beautiful?”

I was stunned by her observation. All true artists have an eye for contrast, texture, light and shadow.  Kialee understood a principle that is not only the secret to great photography but also to healthy living.


True joy comes from seeing beauty not only when sunshine floods our lives, but when difficulty casts shadows in our path. 

Life is full of shadows. I need to follow Kialee’s example and learn to see the beauty in them. After all… without light there would be no shadows, only darkness.

Thank you for our time together Kialee, and for what I learn from you every day. This is my granddaughter Kialee today.

Me Ki Cruise

Can you see beauty in the shadows?




  1. Does she still do photography??? She is blessed for being born in the digital age!! I, too, use to do
    some photography. Had to quit when everything went digital. I got left behind. Sigh……… Encourage her to keep on using her talent. Once a photographer….always a photographer.

    1. Author

      Thank you for your comment Ann. Don’t quit! There’s still time. Digital is easier than film ever was. Plus you can see your pictures immediately. I beg you to follow the advice in the last sentence of your comment. “Once a photographer….always a photographer.” Come on shutter bug!!! I want to see some of your pictures.

  2. Oh man, she is beautiful!! I still envision her little, like the shopping mall story where she threw a tantrum!

  3. So beautiful to see thr beauty a child sees. Thank you.

  4. I love seeing photographic art and her photos here are awesome. Does she have a website or Facebook page where I can follow her and her art? Have a blessed day!

  5. Hi Ken,

    What a beautiful story and a great lesson! Kialee is blessed with a wonderful talent and I hope she continues her interest in photography.

    Thank you for sharing this lesson and the beautiful photographs!

  6. Oh yes! I see beauty in the shadows of my 18 living grandchildren and even the shadows of my 3 grand babies in heaven that I have yet to meet as well as my own child. For those 4 shadows of sadness but HOPE because I will see them one day. I look forward to that.

  7. I am going to have to do the same with my granddaughter! I am in Nashville, TN quite often visiting my granddaughter and would love to get some pics of the backroads. You inspired me! Thanks Ken and Kailee!

  8. Its hard to see the beauty of things when we seem to be durrounded by nothing but shadows,but you said something that i had not thought about there has to be light in order for there to be shadows.Im thankfull for your advice and for Gods light un them.Mayor our Lord Jesús fill your every day.

  9. Okay, I’m in tears. As usual.
    My husband who passed a while ago used to say that I would weep at the opening of an envelope. Not Totally true, but you get the drift.
    You have a beautiful grand-baby, but when you read this to her, you have permission to say, “Grand-Young Lady.”
    And, yes, her observation re. perspective is well beyond the average 9 year young kiddo.
    Brightest blessings, Grandpa,

  10. Wow! Speaking of beauty: what a beautiful young woman. You are going to have to break out that big butcher knife that you used to use to try and intimidate her mother’s potential suitors. “You look just like the kid that killed my parents…”

  11. This is an excellent observation, and spurs me further on to consider Psalm 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death….”
    Thank you!

  12. I am most grateful for this post today. We just learned -as I recover from thefirst surgery in a long process of treatment – that my husband of forty years has brain cancer. Beauty in the shadows… God will be listening tonight in the dark…thar I know…

  13. I’m really impressed. I wouldn’t have thought about the shadows either. I like how you said if we didn’t have shadows it meant we didn’t have light. Good thought.

  14. An eye for beauty, and a face to match. (something tells me Dad and Grandpa will be keeping an eye on this one when she gets a little older)

    I too am taking baby steps into digital photography. I’m finding you still need the same “eye”, but now the fun of figuring out how to get pictures from the memory card onto the computer! It HAS been a very long time since I did a picture taking ‘walk about’. Might have to do that some time.

  15. This is a powerful lesson, Ken, and one I write about fairly often! God reviews the lesson with me often through my daughter who has special needs and moves slower and enjoys deeper.

  16. After the reading of the article it made me smile when I realized Kialee is sitting in your shadow in the first picture of the two of you 🙂 How precious! How blessed we are to be grandparents! I am excited to the future she has with a mentor of humor and wisdom. Thanks for sharing!!

  17. Good Morning Ken,
    I just checked out the pictures your granddaughter took. They are beautiful! Maybe, she has a future in photography.
    BTW I’m Lois Bondora. My son is Michael Bondora that works for KCFY. He’s the one that sets up your visits to Yuma, AZ. I know you meet so many people in your business you might not remember. So no problem if you don’t remember. I was fortunate enough to get to meet you & have a photo with you. My son loves you so much.
    Have a great week & God Bless.

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