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3 years, 3 months ago 5

 

There is an old saying, “the best camera is the one you have with you!”  I work for Nikon and we make wonderful cameras and the vast majority of my images are made with one of them.  Sometimes though you are someplace and see something you really want to photograph and you don’t have your “good” camera with you.  Today was one of those days, I was in airports all day and then got ot Las Vegas and several things I saw struck me, but I wasn’t carrying my DSLR or even a Coolpix.  I did have my phone!!  Now I’m not suggesting that any of us should make our camera in our phone our go to camera, but…….  When it’s all you’re got it can do remarkable things.  Now in fairness, I just did replaced my iPhone 3s with the new iPhone 4s and it does have a pretty nice camera in it.  It has it’s limitations, but  one of them is not that you never have your phone with you.  The story goes that a man whose son wanted to be a writer took him to meet Ernest Hemmingway.  It is said that the father asked Mr. Hemmingway what kind of typewriter he used!!!   Probably not a good conversation starter.

 

I am a big believer that 90% of photography is seeing great light, and subjects, and composing well.  You can do that with any camera. Now in fairness the night scene from my hotel room is a Coolpix 7100  shot, but the rest are iPhone images.  The iPhone allows you to take and make anything from nostalgic image like he people getting on the plane with an app called Hipstamatic, and a hand held HDR of the seats in the Phoenix airport ( a scene I look at too often).  You may not care for either of those images, I consider them personal shots because they mean something to me, they don’t have to relate to others, but are just fun for me to capture.

 

 

Or the image I like to call sweet light, of the Tower across from mine.

 

Then walking back from the convention center at MGM Grand today I thought the afternoon light on two of the three towers was neat, so out came my iPhone.

 

The most important thing is to stay visual, stay aware, look for interesting subjects and great light, and whatever you have with you use it like a real camera, because they all really are!!!!

 

Be blessed,

 

the pilgrim

3 years, 3 months ago 13

 

 

It may be a quirk of my lifestyle, traveling constantly, but I have to have a plan!  I can’t trust myself to get where I need to go, arrive with everything I need, and then get home with everything if I don’t have a plan!  I can’t stand to feel that I’m not prepared for any possible scenario.  If I’m that “wired” about business and personal travel, you can  imagine how much I want to have a “Spiritual Plan”!

 

Here is my spiritual plan:

 

1.  Know God, Accept God, and Trust God……

 

2.  Seek to know His will for my life.  I know part of His will is that I need to live in a way that is a witness to Him.

 

3.  I know I can’t live like I should if I try to do it in my own strength.  I’ve proven time and again, that I’m not able to do that, not in my own power.

 

4.  So, I have to rely on Him day to day, moment to moment, to be my strength when I am unable to live to His standard.

 

5.  The more I trust Him and rely on Him, the more able I am to walk this walk.

 

6.  I must stay in constant contact with Him,  Through His Word, In Prayer, and in listening for His voice.

 

7.  When I do hear His voice and know what I am to do, to answer Him Yes Sir, in other words be obedient.

 

8.  When the long day is done, to learn to rest in Him.

 

In practical terms this means to meet every situation knowing that my behavior or response will be a signal to whether or not my relationship with Him is real, or not.  Let me give you a real world example of how this works.  A day ago I had a conversation with a friend.  He was very upset and expressed it.  My first internal reaction was to shoot back and defend myself.  God placed His hand on my heart and said, “Are the things being said untrue?”  The honest answer was no, they were not untrue.  God’s next question in my spirit was, “Did your friend  have the right to express his anger?”  Once again the answer was, yes, he did have the right to be angry.  Now the result.  I was able to express sincere regret, and agree that I was wrong in the situation.   The friend started to calm down some when they realized I was not going to fire back.  I think it was a witness opportunity.  Often our egos get in the way of our admitting to fault.  No one likes to be attacked, but it is wrong, and blows our witness if we don’t face up to criticism and handle it in the right way.  The best part for me was that after the confrontation was over I was not left with feelings of anger or hurt, I was ready to move on to the next thing in my day.  For me this is an extremely valuable thing, in the past I would haver ranted and raved and sought to fight back, not because I was unjustifiably attacked, but because my ego, my self, could not accept being called on the carpet.  When your guilt, it’s best to just admit it, and move on.

 

A day to day, moment to moment walk with Him will really change us, and in my case, that is a very good thing……………

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

 

P.S.  I will be traveling tomorrow to Las Vegas for the WPPI show, then on the Fort Worth, Texas for Southwestern Photojournalism and then returning to rush to another airport to take my bride to St Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands for some much needed rest, I will blog from all locations.  Maybe not as often from the Caribbean!

 

 

3 years, 3 months ago 12

 

There are wars raging around the globe, some for power, and control, some for food, and sustenance, and some because of ageless hatred and animus.  The most widespread war is a spiritual battle for the hearts and minds, of man kind.  This spiritual war has already turned Muslims agains Jews and Gentiles.  It has created a Europe that is vastly non-religous. In America the culture has be devastated as we have become preoccupied with living the good life.  A once dedicated government, dedicated to keeping the peace and staying out of our lives, has turned into the Nanny State.   I read a blog post yesterday from my dear brother  Ian Anderson, a Bishop in the Episcopal Church in At Augustine, Florida. (Link Below)

 

http://www.bishopianandersonblog.com/

 

 

To quote from his blog entry;

 

President Obama’s War on Christianity

February 15th, 2012

 

An old saying says, “It’s not paranoia if everyone really is out to get you.”  Over the last few weeks several reports have been released on federal government actions touching on Christian religious practices.  These reports have made it difficult to defend the notion that paranoia on the part of Christian groups isn’t justified after all.

 

I am a Bishop in a very conservative Christian Episcopal denomination.  I try and keep Christ in and politics out of the pulpit.  I can’t do it anymore.  The reason being is that Christianity is under attack in this country.  If you remember recently the Supreme Court ruled that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had overstepped its bounds in applying secular standards to a minister of religion called to work in a church school.  Then the Obama administration decided that health plans provided by Roman Catholic institutions, and which cover non-Catholics, must also cover sterilization and “all FDA approved contraceptives, including those that induce abortion.”   And now the Secretary of the Army has instructed – pardon me, ordered – Roman Catholic army chaplains not to read a letter from Archbishop Timothy Broglio, the head of Roman Catholic military chaplaincy.

 

Protestant Episcopalians familiar with the Decalogue know that “You shall not bear false witness.”  What does this mean?  ”We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor…but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way.”  Things that presidents do are not exempt.  So what is the kinder explanation for the actions taken on the part of the executive branch of the federal government?

 

Clearly the Obama administration and the liberal left are convinced of the uniqueness of their own moral truth.  The lame argument I hear time and time again about their morality is basically this; “we’re right, because if we weren’t, we’d be wrong, and we know we aren’t wrong.”

 

Look at the recent issue with gay marriage in California.  The whole argument is that marriage should be redefined as two people of any self-identified sex.  If we can’t get people to agree with us then we will legislate respect even if a majority votes it down. These folks have framed their argument as a question of “civil rights.”  Good heavens what can be more un-American than thwarting someone’s civil rights…unless of course they don’t see things our way.  So, if you really believe this, then you have a moral obligation to stop other people from doing what you know to be wrong.  The Obama administration is doing what comes naturally for people convinced of their own moral high ground – imposing it on everyone else through executive orders and legislated respect.

 

I hold traditional biblical moral views, which are in conflict with the executive branch on these particular points, and many Americans share my understanding of one particular objective moral truth.  Abortion is the taking of a life, just like murder – which we outlaw – and capital punishment – which we permit in certain cases and states.  We also hold that marriage is between those of the opposite sex and should remain so.  Many not bound by the 8th commandment may feel no compulsion to be honest about what the majority want or believe.  So we are called insensitive and intolerant.

 

We have is a situation where two groups within America hold serious conflicting moral values.  And because these values are built on fundamental beliefs – both feel they are values which must be imposed on all and not simply left to one’s own personal preference.

 

I believe the law should have something to say whenever someone’s life is on the line.  To me that is just basic moral common sense.  Others believe that what someone does with their own body (and any other body which happens to be growing in it) should be shielded from government intervention.  Animals with fur have federal protections, yet killing unborn children is okay?  Does this make sense?   It seems that women’s reproductive rights are the most sacred tenet of the left.

 

I personally believe that Obama is intentionally trying to wage war on Christianity.  The actions of his administration have revealed once again the growing divide in our country between two sets of fundamental commitments and the moral values which arise out of them.  We are not divided on the level of mere politics.  This is not Donkey vs. Elephant.   We are divided on the nature of life itself.  As a Bishop and as a Christian the only hope for any of us is a biblical faith in Christ.  “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me.”  (John 14:6)

 

This country was built on Christian values and principals.  Trust me, there is a movement supported by the current administration to legislate that into the national archives.  It’s time to get active and it’s time to take a stand.

 

Be heard,

 

Bishop Ian

 

P.S.  A friend just emailed me a very interesting quote that I thought I’d share with you….  John Adams said the following:  “Our constitution is written for virtuous and moral people and wholly inadequate for any other. “   Share

 

 

 


God gave us the free will to choose Him, or the world, too many are choosing to walk away from God and what we see today in our society is evidence of where that is leading.  Rampant drug abuse, alcoholism, broken homes, teenage pregnancy, gang murders, record numbers of people that feel they need to carry a  gun for protection.  Kids glued to video games that seldom go out doors anymore, TV and movies that get more and more raunchy and perverse each year.  While all of this has been going on our elected representative, (politicians), from both sides of the isle have spent us into oblivion trying to buy the support of every faction of our society.  Half the U.S. population does not pay taxes, and a vast majority of what the working classes taxes go for is to support the half that do not work, or live  off the federal government programs.  Our national debt is so great their is no hope of paying it off.  We are speeding towards financial disaster.

 

 

Where is all this leading?  Short of a massive revival of faith and turning to God, it is only going to an even worse place than it is now, and that is hard to imagine.  Many people are so concerned that they are  making preparation for worst case scenarios.   However you plan to prepare, Step One is the most important;  God has asked you to come into His family, accept that invitation today,  What ever the future holds, I don’t want to be standing with anyone else……  Bishop Ian is right, it’s time to stand and protect our faith…….

 

 

the pilgrim

 

3 years, 3 months ago 7

 

In the last few weeks I’ve constantly been talking with my customers and friends about the new incredible cameras being released by Nikon.  The Nikon D4 a 16.1 mp pro monster and the exciting new Nikon D800/800e that has 36.3 mp promise to deliver unbelievable results.  I have been shooting the D4 for over a month and can tell you it is everything I would have hoped for.  The  production D800 is not on shore yet, but I look forward to shooting it as well.  These cameras will open up the doors to some of the most spectacular “technical” images yet, but they will be unable to do something, very important,  that no current camera can do either, find a great subject, in great light, and then decide how to compose it!  The impact of a photograph goes well beyond technical quality.

 

To make a wonderful image you must find something that is an interesting or compelling subject.  You then have to have the right light to make that subject look spectacular, and finally you must decide where to place the subject in the frame and how to use the surroundings to focus the eye onto the subject.  As advanced at the D4 and D800 are, they can’t do that.  Because that is the job of the photographer!   There is a wonderful story I’ve heard from several different people, I assume it is true, it sure could be.   The story goes that Ansel Adams was speaking at a college in California, and the students kept asking technical questions, what film, what developer, what lens, what tripod he used,  etc, etc.  So Mr Adams went out to a drug store and bought a Kodak Instamatic camera and some black and white instamatic film.  He proceeded to go to the beach and shot some images, he then processed the film, and made enlargement, and displayed them at the college.  When they got rave reviews he slipped his instamatic out of his pocket and revealed the tool he used!  His point was simple, it’s the photographer not the camera.

 

If you have the best camera and best lenses,  and use great technique and vision,  you will likely make great images.  Just buying great equipment alone will not make you a great photographer….

 

By-the-way, the shot above is  a 60% crop, out of an image from a 10 megapixel point and shoot camera!  If you do buy one of the great new cameras, (and I know many of you will), don’t forget to use great technique too!

 

the pilgrim