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2 years, 5 months ago 4

This morning my pastor preached a wonderful sermon about some of the Christmas story in Luke 2: 8-20.   I’m going to share the sermon and I hope it will bless you just as it did me.  Since every entry features a photograph, or several, I thought I might stay with the theme of the shape of my heart, after the sermon and share some of my favorite images that are nothing more than shapes!!!!

Now back to the sermon;

 

Luke 2:8-20

New Living Translation (NLT)

The Shepherds and Angels

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

 

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

 

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

 

15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

 

16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

 

 

1.  Find out what God is doing in your neighborhood!  The Shepherds were right in the fields when the star appeared and the angels came down from Heaven to announce this wonderful thing!  They discovered what was happening right where they were!

 

2.  Opportunity comes to those who are fulfilling their responsibility.  The Shepherds were tending their flocks, doing what they were supposed to do, and that opened the door for this revelation to be shared with them.

 

3.  Opportunities are many times fearful in the very beginning.  Their first reaction was to be afraid.  But the Angels told them not to be afraid for they had wonderful news for them, the Savior was born that night in Bethlehem!

 

4.  God will make clear His guidance.  God gave them specific directions.

 

A.  The greater the change, the greater the sign.

 

B.  The greater the calling, the more the affirmation.

 

C.  If God leads, He precedes.

 

D.  Those who obey, will find the right way.

 

 

5.  Once you know, you better go.  They went straight to the manger and saw and experienced the Christ Child, our Savior.

 

6.  Once you go, you will know.  They knew that this child was in fact the Messiah!

 

7.  Once you know you will want to tell others.  They went out to tell everyone the wonderful thing they had seen!

 

8.  Once you hear, you will want to think about it.  Just as Mary pondered in her heart these wondrous things o did the Shepherds and all those that saw this miracle.

 

9.  Once you meet Jesus, your life will be changed.  None of those that were there were ever the same again, we won’t be either!

 

As you read this wonderful story and contemplate how the world was changed that night, 2,000 years ago, we have reason for hope and it shapes our hearts and our lives forever.

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

2 years, 5 months ago 3

I had to get out of the house and get my mind off of yesterday!  I took the D600 and tried to find a few images, it always help me to lose my self in the viewfinder.  One of the things I remembered about shooting with a 50mm lens, well I never forgot it, but it has been some time since I confined myself to one, was that your zoom is your feet!!!  Back up and it’s a wide angle, move in, and it’s a telephoto, pretty cool concept!  The examples below can give you a feel for just how different you can make the image appear, by your position.

 

 

Next stop down a country road was an old barn I’ve enjoyed shooting, it’s just so grey.  Below is the two images, one was with the D600 and 50mm f 1.4 lens, the other is with an iPhone, can you figure out which is which??

 

 

I’ll reveal the answer at the bottom, but first an interesting painting of the Corbin High School mascot the Redhound!

 

It has been refreshing to go back to just shooting what I see and not worry about;  ”Which Lens!”  I think this little experiment is going to be a a lot of fun, and today I was needing some fun.

 

Oh yes, the warmer shot is the D600, pretty scary how close  they look, except for white balance.  The cool thing is that while the iPhone image could never be a sterling 40″x60″  it sure works well when it’s the only camera you have with you!

 

While these are not very impressive images, making them helped pull me back from the edge of real despair.  Photography has always been one of  the ways God has renewed my spirit.  Today’s shooting was therputic for me, I hope it wasn’t agony for  you!!

 

blessings,

 

the pilgrim

2 years, 5 months ago 1

A Believers Perspective.  Our entire country is reeling from the senseless acts of supreme violence and evil perpetrated on the innocent yesterday in Connecticut.

 

 

I would ask everyone to spend significant time on their knees praying for the families that have suffered this horrible loss.  This is why it is so vital that we seek to reach as many people as possible for Christ.  What happened yesterday is proof of the sheer evil that exists in this world.  It is vital that we understand that we are truly in a spiritual war, there are forces of evil and they are getting their way, all to often.  In the big picture, they are already defeated, but they are still the cause of  havoc in this world day.   I pray that these families will be comforted by those around them, and will feel God’s love though out  this unbelievably difficult time.  I am heart broken for these families,  who have suffered such a great loss.

 

I have no idea what the reason is for the act of hate that happened yesterday.  I do believe that as more and more people have turned their lives away from God, and become worshipers of self, we open the door to unspeakable acts of selfishness and evil.  As I travel, I see more and more examples of people who have lost all concern and empathy for their fellow man.  So many people exhibit behavior, that states in their actions, that as long as they get what they want, others are irrelevant, and invisible. We’ve spent centuries seeking to find ways to “fix” man, and it has all come down to this.   I’ve stopped watching TV news because I’m so weary of seeing example after example of how far we have fallen from God’s grace.  Were it not for God’s love, I would find no comfort in our world today.  There is no solution in man, we must turn to God.

 

Please pray, please love others with His love, and please ask God to bring healing to our land.

 

a sad,

 

pilgrim

2 years, 5 months ago 12

Last June I had a great experience when I was honored to get to be a speaker a NECC, the New England Council of Camera Clubs annual event!  I met a lot of really nice folks, got to visit with some of my favorite Nikon people, and finally got to meet Mike Moats a close-up photogpraher whose work I have long admired!  I first met Mike through Jack Graham another great photographer friend. They use to do workshops together.  Mike helped me a lot when I was preparing to teach my two Kelby training videos on Close-up photography.
So anyway, when I met Mike at the show we finally got to sit down and talk and I was very impressed with his philosophy of doping close-ups!  Now I must admit that I’m and equipment freak and couldn’t wait to ask him what gear he was using.  To my shock he told me he used Nikon D7000s as his main cameras.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love the D7000 I just thought with how spectacular his work was he was using an even higher end camera body!
He told me that he used the D7000 for several reasons;
1.  It’s 1.5 lens factor actually gave him larger images within his files with the same focal length lens.   That made a lot of sense and in fact I’ve recommended that myself in the past.

 

2.  That he made 24″X36″ prints with ease from that camera.  I knew that was possible, but after seeing his prints up close, I was even shocked myself, they were breathtaking, and from a DX camera!!!

 

3.  His last reason was the one that shot me between the eyes!!  He said he wanted to show his students that you could do good work without spending a fortune on cameras and lenses!  I was stunned, I knew he was right, and I believe that myself, but I sure wan’t putting it into practice.

 

Here I write this blog and give advice on gear, but have been a little bit, o.k. a lot of a snob, about gear. I decided to turn over a new leaf, and this is what I plan to do;
It’s time for some New Years Resolutions about my photography:
A.  In the new year I’m going to force myself to learn some new things about the gear I own and how to use it to the best of my ability.
B.  I will designate periods of time;  trips, assignments, maybe even a few weeks or a month at a time, and use just one set of gear to discover just what is possible with it.  I plan to do a period with just a point and shoot camera, actually several different ones.  A period of time with just one body and one lens, and probably not a zoom, just a single focal length lens, (like a D600 and a 50mm f1.4 lens).  I plan to do a period of time with just an iPhone, and even a small manual focus system, and just one zoom in my autofocus system.  I’m going to devote time to just DX , and time to just FX.
C.  To keep myself honest, I will let you guys know what time period I’m doing what, and then show the results on the blog!
So the big question is, why am I doing t his?  Of course the first part is Mike has shamed me into trying to think less about the gear and more about the image.  Part two is that I truly want to be less of gear snob!!!  But lastly, and most importantly, I am entering a new stage of my life and I have decided I want to become a serious student again, and learn as much as I can.  I know that I’m surrounded by people that excel at different aspects of photography and I want to absorb as much of that knowledge and wisdom as I can.
No teacher is worth his or her salt if they are not also devoted students, so it’s back to school for this old dog!  Surely there are a few new tricks I can learn!
So it’s starts today, for the next several days I’m  using the D600 and a 50mm f 1.4 AF lens to shoot Christmas themed stuff, expect to see some results soon. One camera – one lens, hey I’m excited, I just my learn something here!!!  Thanks Mike……
Blessings,
the pilgrim
My buddy Kent Ervin sent this shot to me, thought it was appropriate for my new experiment, “suspended over the water!”   Sure hope that old dog can swim!