Tag: Photography

I merge onto the interstate, making my way past the slow moving vehicles traveling at a crawl to the far left lanes, the fast lane. I push past those traveling at 65 mph….oh, how they creep along!

Other areas of my life mimic this need for speed or lack of patience. I try to avoid the checkout lanes that look to be slow, bogged down with shoppers with full carts. And I hope I the person in front of me isn’t the last person on earth to actually write a check!

Is it sheer irony that I’d choose hobbies that demand me to go slow? Is it a subtle way for God to slow my pace and still my racing mind?

There is no hurry when I take needle in hand and stitch the little pieces of felt. Or when I put paint brush to paper. Or stage a still life photo.

It’s been more than a year since I joined a still life photography class. Note the title: BE STILL.

I’ve gone from that class on to another but the focus continues to be on still life. The kind of life that is measured and slow. I search for props and arrange them with uncertainty, tweaking them as I shoot. Time seems not to matter when inspiration comes. There is no rushing it. None.

It is not my natural state, this stillness. But it is good. It is like hearing your breaths. Even, measured, unhurried. It is pausing to take notice of what’s around me. To take notice of now.

Rushing on my drive to work may get me there a few minutes faster. It may give me some temporary satisfaction. But it’s gone like a vapor. There’s no beauty to be shared.

The moments of going slow are the balance needed in my life. My mind goes from hurried thoughts of shoulds to moments of still and slow and beauty.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday free writing group.

Five-Minute Friday 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.

books with yellow

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.


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 🙂


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


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.)


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


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.


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

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.”


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.



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!”


“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”

Mother Teresa

the granddaughter joins us now

Christabel with Nikon


The granddaughter, all 5 years of herself, slung the big camera around her neck as we walked the path next to the roses. You know how little girls try to be big girls and little girls all at once.

She’d been with us all week, parents back home and herself with us in the Carolina mountains, she keeping up with all the girls, all the ages.

She point the lens at a rose bush, stopping still with her small hands on the Nikon’s sides, her index finger finding the shutter button. Snap, one, two, a few more and we walked on. It’s a busy path, this paved walk between the lake and the flowers; dog walker and folks out for the summer air.

Christabel with Nikon


I don’t remember if it was his smile looking down at her little self with big camera or her raising the camera that stopped him and made him smile. Whatever it was, she lifted the view finder to her eye, he stopped and gave a broad smile, two strangers sharing a small beauty.

This girl has an eye.



It was my husbands good looks that first turned my head. On the volleyball court at camp and a couple of years later as I drove by the church offices where he was mowing the lawn.

We’ve both changed a lot in the years we’ve been together. As it says in the bible, “beauty fades like the wildflowers in the field” (Isaiah 40:6b) and we’ve changed inside and out.

Durham bible

birthday party weekend

time with Christabel 809

playing hands

time with Christabel 803

I like pretty things. But there is a more ordinary beauty I overlook: my grandmother’s tattered bible or the granddaughter with a pile of colored chalk drawing her masterpiece on the porch. This is the beauty that surrounds us but gets pushed aside by the headlines of the day. This is the beauty that requires intention on our part.

I’m participating in write31days this month and I’ve chosen Ordinary Beauty as the topic. I want to notice what I’ve stopped seeing because it’s always there. I want to slow down to see what I rush past. I want to listen for beauty and capture all its forms. I want to share that beauty with you because we all could use a little more pretty in our day.

What’s your ordinary beauty today?

Let Your work of love be on display for all Your servants;

    let Your children see Your majesty. And then

let the beauty and grace of the Lord—our God—rest upon us

    and bring success to all we do; yes, bring success to all we do!

Psalm 90:16-17 the Voice


I took the full view of her in, barely seeing the wedding dress as her radiant smile stole the show.

Yes, it was lovely, white, some kind of satiny material, but it was my niece I was seeing, not the details.

That’s me. For an artist, I miss a lot of the fine points. Instead, I take in the nuance of the moment, the atmosphere of the room.

Paul Kathryn_batchWatermark

blurred flowers

Kathryn bouquet soft Edit_batchWatermark

candid bridesmaids framed cropped

Don’t ask me the color of someone’s eyes, even a good friend, because unless they’re brilliant blue or magical brown I won’t have any idea. But ask me if they have a smile that makes you feel like you’re the only person in the room or if they find laughter as easily as some see a speck of lint on a sweater and I’ll know that.

When I hold the camera to my eye, that’s what I’m hoping to find, to capture, are those details.

The niece sad, somewhat casually in that expected tone, “aunt Debby, you always have your camera so you’ll be taking pictures too.” She had a photographer for her wedding, a family friend who wouldn’t feel the least bit threatened or put upon with me off to the side snapping away. And I wouldn’t feel pressure being the primary photographer which gave me greater access.

I stood at the side and didn’t have to give directions. As family, I walked in the room where the bride and her attendants were getting ready with barely a notice of my presence. That’s the best.

Hannah photobomb sq framed

parents of the bride
parents of the bride

funny expression

Madisons Kathryn_batchWatermark

reception kiss

Daniel dancing

This is what I would photograph always: smiles and laughter, expressions of newlyweds and little boys invited to dance with the grownups.

There is One who knows the details. How could he not, he created our very being. Like I know our daughters crooked pinky fingers and our sons toes are long like mine, God know the external and internal of our lives. The miracle is, He loves us anyway.

“Not one sparrow (What do they cost? Two for a penny?) can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t worry! You are more valuable to him than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31 Living Bible


Linking up in a discussion group ‘On Being a Writer’ over at Kate Motaung’s place. Stop by.


There are times when you don’t know what you need. When you don’t know you need to step back and breathe in the kind of air not thick with politics and business, with wheels spinning without traction.

It’s that time when God steps in because he knows your soul needs a different view. A view of His creation you forget to step out and see. So we did.

Four beaches in three counties is the best kind of stay-cation (what a perfect word).

We explored Bill Baggs Cape Florida with its views of Key Biscayne and the Atlantic Ocean. I pushed through my fear of heights to climb the historic lighthouse for a view like none other.



beach view from lighthouse
beach view from lighthouse


The history of Stiltsville has always interested me and this offered the perfect view of these house built on stilts in the middle of Key Biscayne.


Our bonus was seeing this manatee swimming near the seawall.

We spent a morning at our local beach where we spend as many Saturday mornings as possible. We ventured a little south in our county to Hollywood Beach where the boardwalk is expansive and the white sand stretches farther than most down here.

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Our last day took us north to Palm Beach County to a little area we called our beach when we lived in this county for six years. It remains quieter than the more discovered beaches so we’ll keep this one our secret 😉

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None of these places were more than an hour from home. But the change they brought were night to day for me. A reminder of God’s grace as he cares for a wanderer like me.