I just started reading general theory of relativity. I have some elementary questions. Not an english speaker so bear with me. I am reading the thought experiment which describes path of a photon in a free falling lift. For an observer inside the lift, the photon path is a straight line. But for an observer standing on earth, the photon will travel a curved path, which is the shortest path taken by it to maintain a constant distance from the floor of the lift. My question is how does this relate to the bending of spacetime near earth? Will the photon still travel a curved path if there is no lift and only an observer on earth? How does the frame of reference of the lift effect the path of photon as seen by an observer on earth? Please help me if I am missing a point here.