Recent Posts
2 years, 6 months ago 0

 

* First an apology:  Sorry for being AWOL yesterday, it was for good cause.  I’ve just returned from almost three straight weeks on the road, away from Sherelene and my family.  As soon as I hit the ground Monday afternoon, there was a ton of things that needed to be done to catchup.  It has taken the first three days back in the home office to answer requests, ship things out, and file reports and catch up on other administrative tasks.  Yesterday I took my first full day off in almost 24 straight working days, I took Sherelene to Lexington so she could shop and we could have a few hours to visit and catch up in the car.  We had a great day together and devoted the evening to. the phone off the hook and the TV turned off to just be together.  Thus no blog entry yesterday.  I’ll try to make up for it today!   Thanks for understanding!

 

The movie I blogged about a few days ago has continued to be a source of deep spiritual conversation between myself and God.  It has spurred me to make sort of a series of teachings drawn from the rich spiritual truths in that film.  We will soon announce the first Spiritual Bootcamp event, to be help in summer in the Great Smokies, wonderful time to shoot dewey spider webs and dew covered morning insects and flowers in the fields of Cades Cove!  The theme of the first camp will be How to Say Yes to God and No to the World!

 

So what do I mean saying, “Yes” to God?”   First if you have never come here before and you just stumbled on this blog today, this all may seem a little strange, or then, if you are a believer, it may not at all.  Let’s define where people stand in relationship to God;

 

1.  Does not believe in God.  If a person does not believe that God even exists then it’s going to be hard for them to be interested in a conversation about how to relate to Him, that’s another lesson all together, and we will deal with that at another time, just not today.

 

2.  You believe in a “higher power” but don’t know exactly how you relate to that belief.  This person acknowledges that someone, somewhere is pulling the strings, but they really have no idea who it is, and have not spent a great deal of time searching for that answer.

 

3.  You believe there is a God, but you have not sought a relationship with Him.  Pretty clear what this means, you believe, but are not walking in a close relationship with Him.

 

4.  You not only accept that God exists but you have asked Him into your heart and are seeking to live according to His purposes for you life.  You’re the target audience for this entry, how do you say yes to Him and what does that mean?

 

In the film, What If, the principal character (Ben) who 15 years ago took a different path in life finds himself in the middle of a marriage that would have happened 15 years ago if he had not run away.  God is letting him see what his life could have been like.  He is struggling with accepting who he is and how God wants him to change, he has a conversation with an angel  (Mike) and it goes something like this;

 

Ben:  ”This What if ….isn’t working, my kids hate me, Wendy is convinced that I don’t love her anymore, I divide myself between saying stupid things, and doing stupid things, and the church is a disaster.  You need to end it!”

 

Mike: “It’s not even close to my decision”

 

Ben:  ”But I’m hurting these people and I don’t want to hurt them, I keep doing everything wrong and I mean everything!”

 

Mike:  ”That’s simple, do everything right.”

 

Ben, “That’s ridiculous! ”       Mike:  ”Exactly now you’re on the right track!”

 

Ben: “You’ve not listening to me, I can’t be the Ben that they think I am.”

 

Mike: ” Look, the Ben that won Wendy’s heart and fathered those children didn’t do anythimg your not capable of, theoretically.”

 

Ben, “Yeah, but I’m not him.”      Mike:  ”That’s because you don’t want to be.”   “You want to be like him?   Study him, learn from him, read what he read, feel what he felt and maybe, just maybe you’ll discover that you are him.”

 

Ben; “It can’t be that simple!”

 

Mike:  ”Simple huh, you want to make it harder,  how about this, everything in life boils down to this;    God Loves you, so love other people.  God sacrificed everything to be with you, so sacrifice evereything.”

 

Ben: “That’s not simple!”      Mike:  ”Yeah it is, it’s just….hard.”

 

Ben:  ”O.K. when this is all over can I go back to my  old life?”

 

Mike”:  ”Well yeah if that’s what you want, God’s call always involves a choice, you can always say no, in fact you already have, you know when you walked away you broke two hearts, Wendy’s and His, and now He’s giving you another chance, but you’re not getting out of this until you totally embrace the situation.  Total surrender, even on a trial basis….and then if you want to go, my guess is He’ll let you, if that’s what you really want.”

 

Ben:  ”Total surrender?”     Mike “Total surrender.”

 

This journey starts with total surrender.  Are you willing to give it all up to know God’s true will for your life, are you willing to let it all go to know Him the way He want you to know Him?  The journey starts here, are you willing to start the process by telling Him that you’re willing to let it all go, for Him?

 

the pilgrim

 

*Photo note:  While Sherelene shopped at Talbot’s I found something interesting to photograph in the store.  iPhone4s with Simply HDR App.

 

 

2 years, 6 months ago 7

 

I got a box in the mail today, a small box, only big enough to hold a well padded coffee mug. It was from my dear brother in Christ, Del Morissette.  It was gift, but more than that,  an affirmation.  Some time ago I learned of his daughter’s adopting two children from Africa.  She went through a lot to get them, and has gone through a lot to bring them into her home.  I felt it was a act of supreme love, and this young lady captured my heart, with hers!  I made a statement in a blog entry about her, her courage, and her love, and said, “Many care, many are moved to tears, many feel deeply, but few answer the call.”  That is the quote Del had placed on this coffee mug.

 

In the last two and half years as I’ve written down my thoughts, with God’s divine inspiration, I have often thought about the concept laid out in that quote.  I believe that the first step to action is being moved, being motivated, being deeply connected to the situation.  I think the next step is the hardest, to actually do something about it!  I watched the film I mention a day or so ago called What If…  Late in the film the lead actor comes fully to grips with who he is, who he could be, how short he has fallen short of that, and does the only thing we can ever do to rectify the situation, fall on our knees before Jesus and throw our selves on the mercy of the court!  God wants us to acknowledge that He is our Father, that His Son is our Savior, that we are sincerely regretful for the countless wrongs we’ve committed, and that we want His forgiveness, and want Him to come into our lives, to dwell in us, and that we want to be His, that we truly do!

 

I come here everyday, I come hoping someone out there will hear God’s gentle call, will know how very much He loves them, and will decide that it’s time to give up, and trust in Him.  I pray that today, is that someday,  for someone, He loves so much!

 

the pilgrim

 

 

Del, thanks for your friendship!

2 years, 6 months ago 5

 

This month’s issue of Outdoor Photographer, their Landscape Issue, has a good article about three lens packages, and it moved me to expound on their conclusion, which by the way are good suggestions!  I want to take the conversation alittle further.  Please remember that I work for Nikon and my knowledge of lenses is very much tied to Nikkor lenses, however most of my conclusion can be applied to other systems.  Since this is a article of suggestion let me set some ground rules;

 

1.   The lens is the most important part of the camera, it focuses the light on the sensor and the quality of the image, the sharpness is up to the lens!  Selecting lenses therefore is a very important issue in building a system.

 

2.  The focal lengths of lenses that you need are determined by the kind of work you do.  If you don’t shoot sports or wildlife or any other specialized  subjects that need very long glass you don’t need a lens longer than 300mm or 400mm at the longest.

 

3.  Most photographers find it useful to own a wide angle lens, a moderate focal length lens, and a moderate telephoto zoom.  Wide angle zooms come in many ranges most covering somewhere between 14mm and 35mm.  Moderate zooms run from about 24mm to around 70mm, 105mm or 120mm.  The most common telephoto zooms go from 70mm to either 200mm or 300mm.  A three lens package that includes most of these focal lengths will cover virtually any normal subject.

 

4.  Lenses for Close-up work vary from 50mm and 60mm to 85mm, 100mm, 105mm and 180-200mm.  They be selected based on the working distance desired, long focal length will yield more working distance.   In the case of Nikon, all Micro Nikkor lenses are spectacular in performance!

 

 

O.K. my suggestions are simple, I will take each Nikon camera or groups of cameras and suggest a three lens package and a Micro Nikkor to go along with each of them.  In each case I have extensive personal experience with the lenses listed, and can vouch for their performance.

 

Nikon D3100, D5100, D300s, D90, and D7000  (All DX Sensors)

1st Choice for Wide Angle Zoom    10-24 AFS  or 12-24 AFS

1st Choice for Mid Range Zoom   16-85 AFS VR or 24-120 AFS-VR f4

1st Choice for Telephoto Range Zoom   70-200 AFS VR II f 2.8   or  70-300 AFS Vr f4.5-5.6

Recommended Micro lenses   40mm f 2.8 DX  -  85mm f3.5 DX  -  200mm f 4

 

 

Nikon D700, D800, D3s, and D4   (All FX Sensors)

1st Choice for Wide Angle Zoom    14-24 AFS f2.8  or 16-35 AFS VR f4

1st Choice for Mid Range Zoom   24-70 AFS f 2.8  or 24-120 AFS-VR f4

1st Choice for Telephoto Range Zoom   70-200 AFS VR II f 2.8   or  70-300 AFS VR f4.5-5.6

Recommended Micro lenses   60mm f 2.8  -  105mm f2.8  -  200mm f 4

 

There are lots of other choices and many that can be highly recommended,  but,  in most cases,  they are more specialized lenses, like Nikon’s 24mm f 1.4, 35mm f1.4 and 85mm f1.4, these are a subject for a future article.

 

Hope that helps in your system planning!

 

the pilgrim

 

2 years, 6 months ago 5

 

I just watched a film that begs just that question, What if?  I’m a big fan of A Christmas Carol, and the films that in some way offer the same message, like; It’s a Wonderful Life, The Family Man, and now this film.  All these films save for a Christmas Carol, asks the question what difference would there be in the world if you had not been in it?!   The film I saw today is a Christian film starring Kevin Sorbo,  (Hercules), John Ratzenburger (Cheers), and actress Kristy Swanson.  In one very impactful scene Kevin is asked to come to the hospital to help a old man that is dying.  The old man doesn’t want to be helped, he feels he has done too many bad things in life to deserve forgiveness, but Kevin pushes on and shares the story of Judas and how Jesus wanted to forgive him, even after he had sold him out to the Romans for thirty pieces of silver, such was the depth of His love and His forgiveness.  The old man realizes he wants forgiveness, and Kevin, leads him to salvation, but in the process realizes he is praying the same for himself, a revelation has taken place in his heart and life!

 

We all need that revelation, the revelation of the fact that God loves us, that we matter to Him, and that He really is standing waiting for us to come to Him.

 

I’ve had a great day, knowing how much He has given me,  including a second chance, for letting me make things right, undeserved as I am, I want to be His and His alone.

 

Joshua 24:15

“….as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

 

the pilgrim