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6 years, 10 months ago 0

No matter whether you are saved or unsaved, you can be certain you will face problems in life. Because we live in a fallen world we can expect trouble. But once you become a child of God, you have a tremendous asset in a loving Heavenly Father to guide you. He will strengthen you to face any problem you encounter.
* Today’s opening paragraph from Dr. Charles Stanley’s wonderful daily devotional book Pathways to His Presence.

Knowing that He is there is the whole ball game. Life is tough, it isn’t often fair and if you live for very long, you will get hurt and disappointed. People don’t play fair, and they will let you down, but He, never will. Once you start to understand that He is in control and that He is fully aware every second, where you are, and what is happening to you, you can start to relax a little. You can relax because the person that knows you so intimately and loves you so much is God, not a god but “the” God. He is the God that said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” He is the God that said. “All things work for the good of those that love Me and are called to My purposes.”
He created the world you live in, raised the dead, restored sight to the blind, parted the red sea…… should I go on?

Those that come here, come because God brings them comfort and instruction, (I’m just typest). Maybe some come to see what the crazy man is sharing today, but there is just the chance they want to believes. I pray everyday that the people that read the words, that are written here, will come to know that it is true, God does exist, He does love them, and everything He has done would still have been done if there were no one else in the world but them……

So, if you know Him, and trust in Him, take a break, stop spinning your wheels, you can relax sometimes. He is always on duty. If you could ever rest in anything, it would be in His arms.

the pilgrim

*Photo note: HDR with Topaz filter. D90, Nikon’s very inexpensive 18-55 VR kit lens. Wagon wheels, Livingston, Kentucky. Shared with me by my dear friend Jim Begley.

6 years, 10 months ago 0

Sharing your faith.
If you are a believer and sincerely dedicated to Christ, you want to share His love with others. How can we most effectively do that? Let’s be honest, if there is a God, and there is, and if there truly is good and evil, and there is, they are at war with each other. If you were God’s enemy and you didn’t want people to believe in Him what would you do? Well, of course you try to get people to explain Him away, and sadly that works with some. The enemies most effective tool however is to convince those that do not believe, that those that do, look down on them and feel superior to them. If you can get someone to think that they are being unfairly mistreated by someone else, there is little chance they will listen to that person.
As Christians, in and effort to do what is right, we have often given the impression that we think ourselves superior to those that do not follow our path. That is not scriptural. The Word says “We have all fallen short of God’s desire for us.” Nice way of saying we are all sinners. “Is there one among you who has not sinned?” The answer to that question was silence, as well it should be. We are all sinners, we all have fallen way short of what God wants from us. We cannot do extra work to pull up our grade. God made it simple, He gave His only Son to come to the earth and minister to us, teach us, and then die on the cross so that our sin debt would be paid. Our part is to accept His sacrifice for us and accept Him into our hearts.
If you truly love Him and want others to know Him, take the advice in the scripture below.

Colossians 4:5-6 (New Living Translation)
 5 Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.

Everyday we go out into the world and interact with hundreds of people. We may never know where they stand with our Lord, but we can leave them more likely to want to know Him. If you do a thorough study of the New Testament you will discover something really wonderful about Jesus, He never debated or argued anyone into submission. Every person that came in contact with Him was overwhelmed by His love for them and they fell before Him in acceptance of Him. Love does it every time.
Are you overwhelming those in your world with your love, and His?

the pilgrim

* Photo note: Blades of grass with raindrops, Acadia National Park, Maine. Velvia film, Nikon F100 camera and 200mm Micro Nikkor lens.

6 years, 10 months ago 0

Phillipians 2:3-4 (New Living Translation)
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
The toughest enemy we will ever have to defeat is ourselves. The deceptively simple scripture above is harder to follow than almost any I’ve ever read. Let’s break it down.
Don’t be selfish. The practical application of this scripture should read, put an end to yourself. As long as self is allowed to thrive it will attempt to take over your spirit. It demands it’s way, and it wants only what it wants. Only completely surrendering self to Him will work.
Don’t try to impress others. Wow, it just gets worse and worse. Be honest how many of us live to impress others. How great does it feel when others praise us and tell us how great we are. It feels great but it is as death trap. As long as we strive to win the approval of others we will not seek the approval of our Heavenly Father.
Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Only when we we open our eyes and truly see ourselves for who we often are, can we genuinely see how much we lack that which pleases Him.
Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. When we are broken and honest before God only then can He fill us with His love which always looks out for the interests of others.
Galatians 2:20 contains the solution, “For I have been crucified with Christ, and I myself no longer live, but He lives in me.”
I want that to be the best description of me, I die everyday again to try and maintain it.
Give some time to Him in worship considering the words of this great song, Majesty.
Majesty (Here I Am)
Here I am humbled by your Majesty
Covered by your grace so free
Here I am, knowing I’m a sinful man
Covered by the blood of the Lamb
Now I’ve found the greatest love of all is mine
Since you laid down your life
The greatest sacrifice
Majesty, Majesty
Your grace has found me just as I am
Empty handed, but alive in your hands
Majesty, Majesty
Forever I am changed by your love
In the presence of your Majesty
Here I am humbled by the love that you give
Forgiven so that I can forgive
Here I stand, knowing that I’m your desire
Sanctified by glory and fire
Now I’ve found the greatest love of all is mine
Since you laid down your life
The greatest sacrifice.
the pilgrim

6 years, 10 months ago 0

I get a ton of questions about; lenses, how much should I spend, is ED glass necessary, is this lens long enough….etc., etc., etc.? Well, buying lenses is tricky, there are so many choices and it’s easy to get really confused. I have been addicted to glass, (what pros call lenses), for a long, long
time, so I’ve studied the subject a great deal. Now working for Nikon for eight years I have learned a lot more from the experts that I work with in our company. Now I’m going to share it with you. Not all of it! You don’t have time, and would loose interest long before I spilled all the beans. But, here are my top tips about buying lenses:

* First a quick caveat, I work for Nikon, and have been a life long Nikon shooter, I know far more about Nikon than any other brand, but most of what I say would apply no matter what your camera brand happens to be.

Rule 1. You get what you pay for, most of the time. If the very top end Pro lenses cost three times as much, or more, they are often worth it. Pro grade lenses are made to stay in specifications under hard and continuous use. Pro grade lenses use ED or other high end glasses and aspherical elements that make them of much higher optical quality. Pro lenses are color matched so you get the same color quality across the spectrum of lenses. Pro grades lenses use the latest and most effective lens coatings like Nikon’s N coatings (Nano technology). Pro lenses are expensive, but worth it.

Rule 2. Always buy the best glass you can afford. If you buy the very best lenses in the first place you will save money. If you get really serious about photography you will probably end up owning them eventually anyway. It’s cheaper to buy the best lenses in the first place.

Rule 3. There are bargains, but be careful. My definition of a bargain is something that has far more value than you’re asked to pay. A good example is the Nikon 70-300 AFS VR lens, at around $550. it is one of the very best telephoto zoom lenses ever made. It is the only long zoom I usually carry. In a mid range zoom, Nikon’s new 24-70 f 2.8 AFS zoom is the sharpest we have ever made. The 24-70 runs around $1,800. and it’s worth it, but if you don’t have that kind of money to spend consider the 10 year old design, 35-70 f 2.8 AF-D lens still available used, often in very good shape for around $300. It is nearly as sharp and has just a little less range, but is lot less expensive. That is what I call a bargain. I own both, by the way. The 35-70 is also a great travel lens being smaller and lighter. See the photo below, right.

Rule 4. Buy only what you will use and can carry.
I don’t own the 600mm AFS VR. I can’t carry it.
Well, I can carry it, I just don’t want to. If I was still
a professional sport shooter I would own it and would
(ugh) carry it. Fortunately I’m not. I’ve found that
most people are not comfortable carrying more than
about twenty pound of gear, except for a few dear
friends I know that are text book masochists! If you
are young and strong and have the right kind of
back pack, or rolling bag you may be able to carry
more. Over time I’ve learned that an aching back
takes away my ability to concentrate on seeing and
composing the shot!

Rule 5. Are any of the less expensive lens any good? Actually, today almost all lenses are computer designed and are surprisingly sharp. The 18-105 kit lens that you can get with a D90 is
a very sharp lens. Many people feel the 18-55 zoom that is the kit lens with several of our lower priced bodies are extremely sharp. I use the 16-85 AFS VR all the time and have found it to be very sharp and contrasty. So why buy an $1,800. 24-70? Easy, it will remain that sharp even after long, hard, abusive use for years. However with reasonable care many of these less expensive lenses can serve you very well indeed.

Rule 6. Learn what your photo interests are, that will help you know what you should own. If you shoot poisonous reptiles you will want to own a 200mm Micro lens. If you shoot interiors of houses and building, you will want the 14-24 AFS f 2.8 wide angle zoom. If you shoot airplanes in flight you will want the 70-300 AFS VR and a DX body (like the D300s or D90). If you like to travel and want a great system at minimum weight and cost, consider a D90, 16-85 AFS VR and 70-300 AFS VR. If you’re a wide angle freak add the 10-24 AFS f 4 wide angle zoom. If you photograph people in very poor light, you might consider a D700 or D3/D3s and the 24 f 1.4, 50 f1.4, 85 f1.4 and 180 f 2.8. As you see, what you do will determine what you need and what you will eventually own.

Rule 7. Never forget, photographers make images, not equipment. As my dear friend and great nature shooter, Rod Planck, always said, “Technique beats equipment every time.”

O.K. I know your question, “what do you carry?” I’m a photo generalist, some travel, some nature, a little close-up work, people, fine art, abstracts, and aviation photography make up the majority of my interests. So I do 95% of my work with following system:

D700 my everyday body – D90 for travel and to stretch my long glass.
17-35 AFS f 2.8 wide angle zoom
24-70 AFS f 2.8 mid range zoom
70-300 AFS VR f 4.5-56 long range zoom
105 f 2.8 Micro Nikkor for close-ups (the older manual focus model – a gift from a dear friend)

I also own for specialized purposes: 200mm Micro Nikkor, 85mm f 1.4, and 15 various other
old lenses that just have sentimental value and can be pressed into service as needed. Keep them mostly to fondle them and remember the old days.

I use products from Lowepro and Think Tank to carry my gear, except when shipped in
Pelican and Lightware cases.

Just for grins, this is my system back in the film days, with Nikon F4/F4s film bodies. Today my
four lens package and D700 and D90 “Replaces all of this!!!!!!” (*Except for the 16mm f 2.8
Fisheye) Capture NX2 and Photoshop have replaced all the filters except polarizers,which I still use today. Still have the same vest……………and it still fits……

Hope this was helpful.

Always remember, God loves you, and He is always ready to talk. Have a great weekend.

the pilgrim

O.K. don’t believe me that the the 70-300 AFS VR is among the very sharpest zooms Nikon has ever made? Here is my proof: Doesn’t look any different @ 24” X 36”

Rest my case……………………..