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3 years, 3 months ago 0

Tuesday I ran down to the Smokies to test some cameras and visit with John Gompf.  On the way down I stopped to shoot a picture of a ferris wheel I had never even noticed, but that my teaching partner, Jim, had captured wonderfully.  What I had seen was the old red fire truck above.  I was so focused on the old Ford, I didn’t even see the ferris wheel!  Didn’t see a ferris wheel?  I mean how could you miss a ferris wheel?  Well I did.


Being focused is a good thing, and then again not such a good thing.  I missed the forest because of a tree!  Both as a photographer and as a person we need to expand our vision, put on the wide angle lens of life.  Focusing in on what we find most interesting is not a bad thing, missing other important things is.  In life we need to be open to all that is going on around us, it will lead to opportunities to serve Him, and as a photographer to make more great shots.  Expanding of vision is a good  thing.


You can’t affect what you never see…………




the pilgrim

3 years, 3 months ago 16

One of my favorite expressions is “walking up stream”.  If you have never waded out into a pretty fast moving river and tried to walk against the current you can’t really appreciate just what that means.  In my younger years I was an avid white water canoeist.  If you canoe you will spend a lot of time out in waste deep water getting your canoe aligned in the current.  I can tell you that walking against swift current is one of the most difficult things you can attempt to do, the pressure is constant, there is no let up.  That is the way of the world today, if  you are a professing Christian, attempting to walk the walk, you’re walking into a never ending roaring current, going the other direction from where you are trying to go.


Let me start with the very clever cartoon at the top sent to me by John Gompf.  I’m not standing in judgement of gays, that’s not my job, God does the judging, He tasks me to love His children and pray for their salvation.  Is being gay a sin?  God says it is.  God also laid down a long list of things that are sin and He did not rank them!  So, if you are a liar, you’re a sinner, if you are jealous of others lives, you’re a sinner, if you have put any other thing above God in your life, you’re a sinner, If you commit adultery, (remember Jesus said it is just as bad to have adulterous thoughts as doing it!!!),  you’re a sinner!   Do you really want me to go on????!!!  Face it, the passage in Romans was right, “for we are all sinners, for we have fallen short of the glory of God.”


Try to keep that in mind before you throw stones.  So, back to walking up stream.  The world is hostile to people of faith, they don’t want to hear the kinds of things I just wrote above, they want to be told that they are just “normal” and they should do whatever feels good.  (“It’s a woman body and no one has the right to tell her what to do with it”, “We should be able to love and marry whoever we want!”,  ”If I don’t have something I want, and someone else has extra, I can just take it.”  …and the beat goes on….)  I’m trying very hard to let go of the way the world is turning and walking in a different direction.  I have come up with a very short plan to help me live the kind of life I know He wants me to live.  Please let me share, I would love to hear your input too, we’re  in this battle together!!


1. I start everyday asking God to surround me and my family, and friends with His protection, grace, and love, and allow me to see His will for my life, and give me the strength to be obedient to His will.


2. I ask God to constantly remind me that every person I meet is one of His children, that His son Jesus died for.  No matter what they are doing, or how bad they seem to be in my eyes, God loved them enough to send His son for them!  The people whose behavior I despise the most, are still potential brothers and sisters in Christ, if they will ask for forgiveness and accept Him!  I ask God everyday to never allow me to stand in the way of their redemption.


3.  I ask God to help me concentrate on “the board in my eye, instead of the speck in someone else’s!”  It’s easy to feel you are walking with God, and others are not, and become judgmental, but we must resist that with all the power He can give us.  No one was ever led to Christ by being judged and condemned.


4.  I ask God to place people in my path that I can love, in His name, and with His love.  After an exhaustive study of the new testament and the life of Christ, I can find no instance where Jesus led people to himself with debate, argument, or coercion, every time someone fell on their knees before Him it was because they were overwhelmed by His all encompassing love for them, and the assurance that they could be forgiven!  I pray that I can exhibit that love in my life for others.


5.  I ask God to protect me from the temptation of the enemy to embrace what our world stands for.  The enemy says if you just conform you can enjoy any pleasure of this world and be free of judgment, but it’s a lie!   Accepting the standards of this world will only enslave you, and never give you true freedom!


Pray for those that mistreat you, and ask God to guard your heart from wanting to retaliate against the world, judgment is His, not ours.  Yes, the current is swift, and the walk is hard, but the God of the Universe is holding your hand, and walking with you, and against Him no force can impede His will for our lives!!!




the pilgrim


P.S.  Thanks for the cartoon,  John!



3 years, 3 months ago 4

It is often the way we see the world, as if through a glass darkly…..  I spent a perfectly delightful day testing equipment int he Smokies, and visiting with my old, and dear friend, (he loves when I write teat!!)  John “Forest” Gompf Jr.  John and I met many years ago at a Great American Photography Weekend and our friendship has grown over the years.  Today I was honored to meet and get to spend some time with his son Chris.  We shot some images which i will share and just traded stories as i went about my field work.



We finished our day with a trip back to the 50′s Rock n’ Roll Diner in Maryville for another of their killer cheeseburgers, better than ever, and the company was too!  We traded stories and had a lot of laughs, and in the end it came full circle to me again that we are blinded in this world by way too many things t hat are not nearly as important as family and friends!  Today I got to spend time with a great friend, who is very much a part of my family too!  Enjoy the takes for the day!


Idea stolen from Jim Begley!!!




the pilgrim


3 years, 3 months ago 2

Bare with  me, I really do have a point to all this!  One of my great interests in the past was motorcycles.  In my 20′s and 30′s I raced dirt bikes in 100 mile cross country races.  We road up steep hills, forded rivers, road up creek beds, and through sand.  It was a blast, and some of my friends from the past know how much I enjoyed cycling, and occasionally someone will call and say “I want to buy a motorcycle, what kind would you buy?”  Wow, that is a question that takes a lot of study, and research.  The first and most important question is what are you going to do with it????  Let’s have a very quick lesson in the kinds of motorcycles, maybe very simplified, but none-the-less pretty complete.  Illustrated above; Upper left corner, The Street Long Distance Cruiser, made for long distance travel, with comfort, smoothness and every conceivable creature comfort.  Upper right, the Street/Crotch Rocket, for the thrill seeker, fast and nimble, the closest thing a civilian can get to and all out race track bred,  motorcycle.  Lower left, the Street/ Trail is a combination of a trail machine and a street machine, a compromise, not great at either but usable on or off the pavement.  Lower right, the Street Cruiser, very popular for the short trips and cruising mountain roads, in a  relaxed state, you see a lot Harley’s in this category. Center bottom, The Dirt Bike, a no holes barred, designed to go in the dirt, machine.


Now what you need to know is that each of these kinds of motorcycles excels at one thing, the street/trail doesn’t excel at either but does have dual purpose.  The point is that if you do long trips and want to do it in real comfort the Street/LD Cruiser is the absolutely best ticket!  If flying around mountain curves with extremely high speed, really leaning into the turns is your passion, the Crotch Rocket is  ”the” ticket!  The Dirt Bike will do just about anything you have the skill to try in the dirt, sand, and water!  The Street/Trail will get you off road and do an o.k. job there, it will also ride on the street, but don’t try taking sharp curves leaned to far over!!!


So what on earth is this all about???  Let’s talk cameras and lenses.  Over the next few months I will be describing the retirement decisions I’ve made about what gear to use from this date forward.  The same kind of logic you would use to choose a motorcycle is how we will determine what gear will do the best job at what we plan to do.  I’m doing this, not only to share some very hard decisions I’ve made, but to help you when you need to work through the same kinds of choices.  Stay tuned, this will be a lot more fun for you than it has been for me!




the pilgrim