Category: photography

She looked to be 8 years old. Her long brown hair fell in wet strings around and in her face. She had no time to push it aside. She carried a skim board that looked to be more than half her size.

She looked ahead at the rolling waves, judging the time to throw her board on the water’s surface followed by a quick belly land on the board.

in the water

in the water

in the water

The Saturday surf class filled the ocean with boards and bodies, most of them tweens and teens. She sifted her way through the crowds going for the next wave. She was undaunted by age or experience. She was my hero that day.

I was drawn to her adventure. I was inspired by the lure of excitement in her eyes and cheered her on silently. I celebrated from the shore when I saw her face break out into a huge smile as the salt water splashed over her. She caught the wave she was after. Her size didn’t hold her back. Nothing kept her from experiencing the joy she set out to find.

skim board hero

girl with skim board

big smile

girl hero

Catching the surfing class or the boys who skim across the edge of the water are my favorites to watch. Their energy glides across the surface infusing me with a shared moment of fun. Their youth reminds me of my own, when life seemed to be waiting for me.

Our part of the ocean doesn’t produce big waves. Some days the surface is as smooth as glass. These days, they practice their balance and it reminds me of the off kilter days I have. These days are an opportunity to practice my balance but I forget it’s about practice. I forget the patience needed to realize the goal.

I imagine standing on a surfboard with my arms flying out trying to steady myself as the water moves under the board. Surely it would be more fun than balancing on one foot with dumbbells in hand in our garage. At least the scenery is prettier.

Sometimes I have my camera focused on the surfers waiting for the next wave. I don’t have their patience so I move on to the action. Another lesson they are trying to teach me that I’ve not learned.

girls holding board
girls holding board

The little girl has moved from the ocean to the sand and is hitting a volleyball back and forth with a woman. I forget how tireless 8 year olds can be. But I don’t think I’ll ever forget how much they can teach us.

Patience. Enthusiasm. Perseverance. Joy in life’s little pleasures. Excitement for life. She is not working for a prize. There is no one to announce her name and no podium for her to stand on. The only award she will receive is the one she wears on her face: joy.

Yes, she is my hero, pushing on through the crowds of older kids, making her way in her youth and inexperience. She is meeting the waves face on and she is laughing all the way.

Jesus called over a little child. He put His hand on the top of the child’s head.
Jesus: This is the truth: unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. In that kingdom, the most humble who are most like this child are the greatest.  And whoever welcomes a child, welcomes her in My name, welcomes Me. Matthew 18:2-5 the VOICE

faith hope photography

Have you had time to study your light? What did you discover? Where’s your best light?

Journal it
Start a page in your journal….. and write a few light study notes.

Light is an ongoing study….don’t stop now.

These were the words that started a course in still life photography . Only they sounded like more. The words sounded personal as I thought about the light that had dimmed in my life.

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I like rooms flooded with natural light. I notice the slivers that play on the floor or across the edge of the desk. I feel its warmth and am energized by its brightness.

Have you experienced seasonal affective disorder? Its cause is the lessening of natural light and increasing darkness typically starting in late fall, lasting to spring. Its symptoms include fatigue, depression, hopelessness and social withdrawal. The treatment for this is light.

Take notice. Notice places of light in our home. Pay attention to our surroundings.

Look around. Notice. Take it in. Study. Look with intention and attention to the ordinary, to the mundane, to the same.

What do you see? What do you notice in the sameness that surrounds you?

Is it a vase with silk flowers that has sat in the same place for so long you forgot the simple pleasure they bring? Maybe it’s the same smile your child wears when they walk through the door on a visit home from college? The same can be new when we see it in a new light.

Even a small ray of light will cut through the darkness. We just have to remember to look.

dark moody My Still Sunday

with twine

light and darkness

Notice. Take it in. Study. Look with intention and attention to the ordinary, to the mundane, to the same.

I study the light. How it shows the streaks on our windows, how it casts long shadows in the afternoon. And I saw a light that needed to be rekindled. A flame not as bright as it once was. A light neglected.

The prophet Isaiah said, “the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.” Isaiah 9:2

Lent seems to be shrouded in darkness as we contemplate the darker stories of the New Testament. The temptations of Christ, his  followers denying and betraying him. His beating and ultimate crucifixion.

Is there any less darkness today? Violence in our schools and neighborhoods, financial uncertainty and political campaigns that have upstaged reality television.

Are you sitting in the darkness? Some days it takes effort, intention, attention to see through the dark that threatens and to find the flame that still flickers.

“The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:4-5

faith photography

I’m so glad to make a point of recording things I’ve learned each month, thanks to Emily Freeman‘s monthly link-ups. It’s nice to realize you did learn something.

PHOTOGRAPHY

This month I’ve been participating in two on-line courses. A continuation of a photography class taught by Kim Klassen focusing on still life shots. I’ve enjoyed it so much I signed up for a year ’round class called Be Still. This month a couple of big take-away’s for me are all about the set up.  I learned that stores like Home Depot and Lowes sell ceramic tiles that look like wood flooring. YES! I bought 3 at a cost of under $7.00 and have used them in many of my shots.

I also had someone cut a pallet up for me and I painted the shortened planks to use them too. Both give nice texture to the shots.

backlight blue

one year wiser Feb, light filter

These are the ceramic tiles and below the painted pallet boards.

3 starfish on blue, horizontal

daisy on linen with bottles in holder

After using an iPhone for about 4 years I just learned how to adjust the exposure on the phone’s camera. When in camera mode, tap on the subject you want to focus on. If you need to lighten the exposure, slide you finger up next to the yellow box you see on the screen. Voila! Oh, the little things 🙂

WORDS

smh – This isn’t exactly a word, but the letters smh seen in texts or Facebook posts. I had no idea what it meant, so I asked someone younger, who confided she had asked her teenager. Whew! Oh, it means shaking my head. Like you’re probably doing now.

Complementarianism / Egalitarianism 

The first is a theological term indicating men and women have different roles, in particular, that leadership roles are reserved for men with support roles for women. The second, egalitarianism, means shared roles; one of more equality.

I’ve read both of these words for some time in blogs and posts and if you read Sarah Bessey or Rachel Held Evans, you have too. I had an idea of their meaning but not a clarity until recently. I think I haven’t been familiar with these terms because I’ve been raised in a denomination that ordains women and recognizes the gift of leadership in women as well as men. That being said, I guess you know which describes my belief.

Extroverted Introvert 

This is ME! Is it you too? Check out this article from Anna Bash

JUST FOR FUN

Have you seen James Cordon’s Carpool Karaoke? It is hilarious and a dangerous thing to start watching if you only have 5 minutes to spare. I recommend watching the one with him and Adele. Her facial expressions is priceless and he’s a pretty good singer too! (It’s a bit long but the first 5 minutes is where all the fun is.)

BONUS

Two of my favorite reads this week:

How You Love Differently When You’re a Child of Divorce

A Surprising Way to Discover the Secret of Who You Are

photography

We mark our days by the turning of the calendar, the moving of the clock of the rising and setting of the sun. This time of year, day breaks gentle in the south, the sun inching its way up earlier and earlier until morning has broken.

SunriseSky10

What an odd turn of words to say morning has broken but it has broken the darkness, split it wide open, though not in a dramatic way, parting the night in one huge entrance. No, the day breaks incrementally, easing its way across the sky until all darkness is gone.

We have been shooting into the light this week in my photography class. It’s class on stillness, really. Creating still life vignettes, learning a bit about composition, what is pleasing to the eye. Learning more about light and its importance to all of life. This week we turn the usual photography wisdom on its head and let the light take center stage. Instead of it illuminating our subject it is behind casting its glorious beams all around creating a challenge for the photographer. A challenge to learn about this light.

backlight blue

backlight cups saucers

backlight vignette

I thought this was just a photography class. I wanted to learn from this professional whose work I’ve admired on Instagram for a while now. But as God so cleverly crafts our life, gentle like the morning dawn that splits the darkness, He is crafting this too. I am ever reminded that He is the light of the world. That his light casts out all darkness and the darkness will not overtake him.

Our world is very dark at times. As a novice photographer, shooting at night has been the most challenging. Darkness threatens to overwhelm with its heavy weight. But the Light, Jesus, has overcome the darkness. He is the morning sun that though may seem hidden by clouds at times, is always there. His light, illuminating our lives, lighting the darkened way, bidding us to follow.

I’m going to a park near our house today to hopefully photograph the horses. Hoping they will be playful in this chilled morning, when the light is coming from the east, watching its golden glow, being reminded God is here.

Linking up with Kate Motaung and host of bloggers for this wildly fun free-writing time called Five-Minute Friday. 

faith photography

hearts on chair

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.

If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.

It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!

Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

1 Corinthians 13 NLT

faith photography

This one nearly slipped by me. A new year seems to move faster and faster but thanks to Emily Freeman over at Chatting at the Sky, I jotted down a few things I learned in this month. (Link up here.)

New APP

WAZE

I’m not sure how I missed this before now but I’ve discovered Waze. Their homepage describes it as: “the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money on their daily commute.” Along with the typical info a traffic app gives you,  I like is the info the app provides like, “car on shoulder ahead” and “red light camera ahead” or “police activity”. You can choose the accent you’d like the voice to speak in so we’ve chosen British and her name is Kate. She’s quite nice, really.

Food/Drink

We’ve finally had a few days of winter so I was looking for hot chocolate but the grocery store was out of the brand I prefer. I saw a box of white cocoa mix I decided to try and am so glad I did. If you’ve ever had the vanilla steamer from Starbucks this is like that only better. It’s Land O Lakes Arctic White hot cocoa mix and it is yum!

Photography 

I’m taking my second online photography course taught by Kim Klassen. The focus is on still life photography where I’m learning to set up vignettes with things around the house. My two favorite tips she’s given is that science project boards make perfect backdrops (I bought a white and black one) and ordinary old cheese cloth adds nice texture.

dark moody My Still Sunday

clock4

Family 

When our first child was born, getting up with her a few times a night was exhausting and all I wanted was full night’s sleep her first few months. We spent a long weekend with that daughter and her daughter over the MLK weekend. The granddaughter is 8 and a short hall separates her room from the guest room where we stay. When she woke up about 3:30 a.m. I learned when a grandchild calls out to you in the middle of the night you don’t mind at all. You can read more about that here.

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photography

It’s the last Saturday before Christmas and all the creatures are definitely stirring.

Our last party is this Sunday, our son and his wife arrive Wednesday and in between there is much cleaning and preparing to be done. The excitement is mixed with anxiousness for me, at least until our party for the men is done.

Consider this a sweet treat, a brief respite, a preview of joy all rolled into a blog post.

Every year we have a door decorating contest in the dorms at the ARC. Armed with donated supplies, two-sided tape (I wondered where mine went) and their creativity, it’s a Christmas wonderland upstairs in the residence. Here’s a sneak peak at this year’s entries. Winners will be announced at our party Sunday night.

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There’s a door behind this somewhere.

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I’m not much for spending time in the kitchen but I found a recipe that is easy and everyone’s favorite. More than one person has suggested I sell these Toasted Pecan Clusters and I’m sharing the recipe with you in this printable you can download. I’ve made batches in dark chocolate, white chocolate and salted caramel (edged out the dark chocolate for peoples choice)

RECIPE toasted pecan clusters

If you haven’t already visited my Facebook page, drop by. There I post photo’s from an on-line class I’ve been taking taught by photographer Kim Klassen called My Still Sunday. I’m learning about light, using props I have around the house, but mostly I’m learning about taking time with it. There is no rush. This could be the best part of the class for me.

One of My Still Sunday shots
One of My Still Sunday class shots

Sunday we will celebrate the 4th Advent. Our theme for this week is Joy. It’s not in order of the scripted Advent celebrations in the Church year, something I wrote about  here.

We are going to celebrate the joy God gave the world in His son, wrapped in flesh, come to live among us, to know us, to show us the way of grace. May your life bubble over with His joy and may you sing out your celebration song with the heavenly choir:

“Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Luke 2:14

faith photography

The sun hangs low in the sky when we make it to the beach for our Saturday morning walks. Its beams melted together into a canopy of light that appears to dance across the top of the ocean as it reflects its radiance.

SunOnWater

 

 

We probably have 20 or more photos of this ballet of sunbeams but we raise our phones to take one more shot of this beauty that is never captured in its full glory no matter how high the pixel or how good the photographer.

It’s trickier to get the same at dusk when its the moon’s beams that are playing to the darker waters. Light draws to light and illuminates the dark while darkness only swallows itself, it doesn’t reflect.

This is the call of the light, its strength and beauty. It is the only thing that can split open the darkness, even a tiny flicker can illuminate where we can see just what we need. One step and then a another lit by the smallest of flames.

lantern in tree

Our Jewish friends are celebrating Chanukah this week. It’s the festival of lights. We are in the season of Advent, of anticipation of one who claims Himself the Light of the World.

We will light candles and sing songs about the midnight clear and the star that stayed both day and night. The star that lit the way and we know He is our star still giving light to those who choose to follow.

He is the Light-giver, calling us to reflect his light and oh, how this darkened world needs light.

O Star of Wonder

Star of Night

Star of Royal Beauty Bright

Westward leading, still proceeding

Guide us to thy Perfect Light

Linking up with a group of writers waiting for our host to give us the word prompt for this weeks 5-minute free-writing fun. Drop over to Kate Motaung’s to add your voice to the conversation. There’s always room for you.

faith photography

I asked friend, and hobbyists photographer, Laura, to share some of the Ordinary Beauty she sees in her life. Laura lives in Atlanta, Georgia enjoys the outdoors. She’s someone who knows about grace and beauty and how sometimes it’s only through grace we see the beauty around us. I’m so happy for her to share with us here and I know you’ll enjoy her gift of beauty. And stop by her blog to view more of her photography and words. Her work is stunning.

street LD

I had a chance to travel this summer. I went to London and Paris. I love Paris! The architecture and food are amazing! I love to go to new places. Experience cultures, architecture and food. But those photos are for another post. Today is about ordinary beauty.

A few weeks ago I went with a family to take their annual family photos. Four years and counting. We went to a very familiar place to me. A beautiful park here in Georgia called Stone Mountain. Stone Mountain is only a couple miles from where I live. After we were done, I stayed and captured some of the natural beauty.

waterWheel LD

coneflower LD

lake LD

stone chimney LD

brick and trees LD

I absolutely love it. There are walking trails. You can climb up Stone Mountain…literally a huge granite rock! You can walk the 5 mile course around the base of the mountain. When you do that you see the beautiful lake. In the morning you can witness the sunrise and the water just glistens. Keep walking and the road goes a little to the right and then to the left. The road goes up, up, up. Your legs are burning waiting for the road to level out. Then the downhill!

There are so many beautiful nooks and crannies and sights and sounds. A place where you can find quiet…right in the middle of this metropolitan city and suburbs we call Atlanta. A place where you can mediate on the beauty that God created for us to enjoy.

You don’t always have to travel to another time zone or country to experience that beauty that surrounds us.

“As as the beauty of nature is constant; so is God who made it.”

photography

It’s amazing how lovely common things become, if one only knows how to look at them.

LOUISA MAY ALCOTT, Marjorie’s Three Gifts

It wasn’t a garden but a patch of dirt beside the asphalt parking lot. There they were, taller than my 5’4″ and showing off their beauty, reflecting the glory of their Maker. These yellow beauties seem rather ordinary in these parts.

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They were mixed with other flowers but the sunflowers command attention. It’s boldness of color and height all seems to scream “look at ME!”

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