Just about this time of each year we look back and think about what we meant to accomplish and never quite got finished. We think about our failures and successes and try to figure out how the new year will be better than the last! It is estimated that over 70% of American will vow to loose weight in the coming year. I’ve certainly made that resolution each year for 40 years! I’ve lost over 10,000 pounds in the last 40 years, only to later gain 10,002 back! I’ll go after it again this year! There is nothing wrong with making a list ways to improve yourself and your life, but I have a really great resolution I dare you to pray about, consider and then, if you’re brave, make!
Here is the premise: Life is a spiritual battle. God wants us and Satan wants us, yes Virginia there is a Satan! Some people just can’t believe that their is evil in the world and they can’t accept the source of it, which is exactly what he wants, for you to not even believe,that makes his job a lot easier, kind of like a soldier in camouflage! O.K. so you either, think I’m an idiot, or you believe me, for those that believe lets trudge forward. You cannot be saved from all the wrong you’ve done in your life, by trying harder, only by accepting Jesus forgiveness that is bought and paid for by Him! So why make a resolution to be a better person? Because if you have accepted Jesus as you Savior and you know the joy, peace, and freedom that brings,and you want to share that with others, but you will have a very hard time doing that if you live like nothing has changed in your life! No one will want what you have if you appear to be just as messed up as all those people that don’t know Him. Now of course we all are still messed up in some ways, we still make mistakes, still do things we know we shouldn’t, but we are forgiven and in God’s eyes we are redeemed. We owe it to Him to try harder! So here is my “suggested” resolution:
Character and Integrity matter and we should be attempting to live lives that exemplify Who we have accepted, and Who we serve. Here is a simple formula, I said simple, not easy, but then nothing in life that is worthwhile is easy. Commit to ask yourself one question when you are faced with a decision on what to do this coming year, Is it Good or Bad for me? or what would Jesus do in this situation? Let’s take some examples,
You want to go to Krispy Kreme and buy two dozen hot and fresh donuts, right off the conveyer, what do you think? For most of us that should a couple (not dozen) of fresh donuts!
You got too much in change at the grocery store, do you keep it or return it? You know the answer to that one!
A friend starts to tell you juicy gossip about another friend? Do you listen and dive in, or ask that they not share it with you? (Satan says, you didn’t take it they gave it to you, it was their mistake!)
You want to buys something that you really can’t afford, and you owe a lot on your credit card now, what should you do?
You see someone shoot a great photograph and you follow them and shoot pretty much the same image. When someone sees it and brags on you do you admit that your friend saw it first?
Someone says or does something that hurts you. Do you fire back, get even, or ask God to help you deal with it and forgive them?
Someone ask if you can help them with a project and you really do have time. Would you say I’m too busy, or take the time to help a friend?
Your car slipped on a wet street and you knocked down someone’s mailbox, and no one saw you. Would you leave before you were caught, or leave a note to the person saying who you are, how to contact you , and offering to pay for the damaged property?
I think you get the point, every day we have countless opportunities to do “the right thing” ! The more we make the right choices, the closer we become to being the person we really want to to be. If you want to have an affect on others for your Heavenly Father, discipline yourself to do the right thing!
Let’s call it, ”The Do The Right Thing Resolution………”
What good will this do? If you are even somewhat successful, you will become a better person, and since very few people are trying to be “better”, you will stick out like a sore thumb to those that need to know Him! You just might be the person that leads someone to join the family of God! And that is something that will have value, through out eternity!!!!
Love you guys, Happy New Year,
This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 at 7:28 pm
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I got another question over the Christmas weekend that I want to address and it requires a little more of an answer than the usual question! A person wrote and asked, “I have some money after Christmas to start to build a really good set of camera gear, any advice?”
I’d be happy to try and help, but I’m going to have to make some assumptions, which is always a chancy thing to do, but here goes:
Most photographers are what I call generalists, they photograph family, friends, they travel and make images, they often are interested in outdoor and nature work, they may do a little close-up work and may even, sometimes, photograph wildlife. Some like sports and photograph action as well. If this describes you, for the most part, you are a generalist.
To make a good variety of kinds of photographs you are going to need several things;
1. A camera body – most people find that Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) type camera that takes interchangeable lenses works best. if you are very serious about your work and travel a great deal, a second camera body or high quality compact camera is very good idea, just incase you have a problem with your main camera. Which model you buy will depend on your requirements, how hard you will use the camera and under what conditions. Do you shoot a lot in very low light? Do you need a motor drive that shoots at very high rates like 9 fps (frames per second)? Answering these questions will help you figure out which will be the best main camera body for you.
2. Lenses – it doesn’t make much sense to own a DSLR and only have one lens! For most people you need lenses to do three things, work in situation where you can take in a very wide angle of vgiew (wide angle zoom). I own two a 16-35 for my FX sensor body (sensor the size of a 35 mm frame), and a 12-24 for my camera with a DX . Next I own a 24-120/24-120 and 35-70 midrange zoom lenses. On the long end I own a number of lenses but use the 70-300 AFs VR / 70-300 AFs VR the most. When carrying just three lenses (the ones in blue for FX and yellow for DX) I have a good unbroken range of focal length 16-300 for FX and 18-450 for DX (remember with DX bodies you multiply 1.5 time the lenses actual focal length so a 100mm will make images with the angle of view of a 150mm lens.)
3. Close-up lenses or devices – I own several Micro lenses (Nikon’s name for a Macro lens) the 200mm, 105mm, the 60mm, and a 85mm Micro for the DX cameras. I also use Diopters (screw in close-up filters with two elements) and automatic extension tubes. for most people, unless they are really into close-ups) you don’t need that much, a 1l05 Micro or some diopters will do fine for you.
4. Important Accessories – I wouldn’t think of going out to shoot without a good solid tripod, ball head and a cable release. Nature close-ups and studio work I use a Kirk low pod. I also have Kirk or Really Right Stuff plates on all my camera bodies and lenses that have tripod feet. I also keep a high quality polarizer on all my working lenses.
5. Compact Travel point and shoot type camera – I’m never without a P300, P7100 or similar high quality point and shoot for when I just don’t want to carry the bigger DSLR and lenses.
So what is this going to cost me?
The complete FX system described with a D700 body will run about $8,000. (this includes the tripod and filters and a Micro lens) Substitute the D700 with a D3s and raise that price by around $3,000.
The complete DX system described with a D7000 body will run around $6,500.
A number of extremely capable compact point and shoot cameras are available for form $350. to $900.
Yes we are talking about serious money, but e are also talking about very high end, long term investments and the capability of making high end professional quality images! Can you do this for less? Yes, but remember you get what you pay for!
Hope that helps,
I had a good question come in after this article posted. ”Can you give a photographic example of when you would use the three different lenses you described?” Sure, here goes;
All these images were made at Old Car City in White GA. Let’s say you want to shoot the interior of an old rusted car and you want to take in as much as possible, the 16-35 set at 16mm is perfect as in the image below,
Next you may want to shoot an overall scene that requires a midrange zoom, slightly wide to slightly long lens, in this case the 24-120 at about 35mm,
Lastly imagine that you saw a very interest rust pattern on a fender but you could not approach close enough to make the tight shot you wanted, the 70-300 lens at around 200mm gets you the nice ctopped shot you wanted, You might have been able to make this shot with the 120 end of the 24 to 120 zoom, but this gives you a little more working distance,
Hope that helps!
This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 27th, 2011 at 5:29 pm
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At a recent shoot I decided to compare three cameras; a fully professional top of the line DSLR costing over $5,000., a mid range DSLE costing less than $1,400. and a high end compact point and shoot costing around $500. The light changed some during the shooting but I found the results fascinating! I thought it would be fun for you to carefully inspect them and try to matchup which is which, I will answer the quiz tomorrow!
THE ANSWER IS!!!
The top shot is a D7000 with 24-120 lens
The second shot down is the D3s with the same 24-120 lens
The bottom shot is a Nikon Coolpix P7100
The point is they were all shot with a tripod and cable release. Except for the light difference on the D3s shot, they are all very similar and you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference until a print of 24×36 or larger were made! Does this mean they are all equally good? On the web, at ISO 200 I would say pretty much. If they had been shot @ ISO 3200 and blown up to 40X60 you would have easily been able to separate them out. CONCLUSION: Used carefully, today’s camera are capable of amazing work! What’s best for you depends on how much you have to spend, how much you are willing the carry, and what you will be doing with your files!!!
This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 27th, 2011 at 12:06 am
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After celebrating His birth the next best thing about Christmas is family! This year our family in Florida, our oldest sone Scott and his wife Diane and my two grandchildren hannah and Ben, plus their foreign exchange student Ramon Bosek all drove up for the week. Our other two children Catherine (our youngest), her husband Clint, and their two children, Cassidy and Cade, and our middle child, our son Wesley, his wife Rhonda, and their two children Elijah and Abigail all were present! We had a great Christmas Eve and Christmas day, lots of great food, too much actually, and special time together. I try my very best to remember each day to think about the countless things I have to be thankful for, and wonderful family is at the top of the earthly list.
When I was a young man I was very materialistic. Christmas was very much about presents. What I wanted was always on my mind. I’m certainly not saying that I have lost all attachment to “things”, but there order of importance has definitely shifted! While I still love cameras and lenses, nice clothes and fine meals, I see them in God’s perspective now. He wants us to own what we need and even what we want, He doesn’t want us to be “owned by” any of those things. You may remember back a few weeks ago my sharing that Sherelene and I came home form a weekend trip to find our kitchen cabinets, one long wall of them, lying upside down in the floor, with a lot of contensts smashed and destroyed. First we were shocked, but then something amazing happened, we stood in our kitchen and prayed together, not becasue we were decimated by the loss, but because we knew it was ll in God’s hands and He would be faithful to help us put it all back together. I read a wonderful book many years ago by Merlin Caruthers, called Prison to Praise. In the book Chaplain Caruthers, he was an army Chaplain, explained that through scripture he had learned to praise God in all things, both good and bad and he shared some of the miraculous things that had happened after He had praised God in tough situations. It does say in scripture, “In all things give thanks, for this is the will of God….”
Over the next several years I learned to praise Him in all things, and I have discovered the rewards of this act of obedience, and it has yielded amazing results in my own life. The principle is really pretty simple;
1. God wants us to trust Him, to know that He only wants what is best for us.
2. God has promised us over and over in scripture that He will not let anything happen that He will not use for our growth, and instruction.
3. if God allows us to find ourselves in a troubling or difficult circumstances and we praise Him for it, it is saysing to Him, “From my perspective this is a bad thing, buyt you have promised me you will never allow anything into my life that will not, eventually, be for my good. So I will thank you and praise you now for your faithfulness!”
Just before the family arrived, the cabinets had been repaired and re-installed, the broken glasses and dishes had been replaced. We stood int he kitchen and looked at our restored cabinets and our Christmas decorations and talked about how glad we were that we dealt with this trying circumstance in the right way, God’s way, to trust Him. Falling kitchen cabinets, in the big picture, is not as very important event, but it is a chance to practice trusting in Him, for when we face the really challenging time sin life. Sherelene and I have already faced th loss of all our grandparents and parents, those are difficult times, but the same principle worked for us then, we knew God was in control, that he had a plan, and that He had done what best for them, we could find complete peace in knowing the truth of that!
The most fantastic thing about a walk with Him is knowing He is in control, that you can trust Him, and He will get you through the toughest times!
Today;s Prayer: “Thank you Father that you love us so much, and you control all the circumstances around us, that they may make us stronger, wiser, and most important of all, more dependent on You!
By-The-Way, the photograph of my family above was a gift from Homer and Terri Fortney, my brother an sister-in-law. Terri is an incredible photographers ands she kindly came to our home back in August at another family gathering and shot all these images an then stitched them together. If you have an interest in portrait work, you must visit her website, prepared to have your socks knocked off!!! http://www.fortneyphotographystudio.com/