Esther Finds Hope through Compassion

Compassion Works Esther Video from Compassion International on Vimeo.

Abandoned at birth, Esther had already lost hope at a time when kids should be dreaming of their future. Compassion sponsorship has helped Esther and thousands of other children find salvation and discover the power of unconditional love. It has given them hope.

This morning on my way in to work I stopped to get a cup of coffee. Okay, I got a bagel and creme cheese too, but I really stopped for the coffee. As I write this it occurs to me that cup of coffee cost me more per day than what I spend to sponsor Shahana, the young teen we sponsor through Compassion. She lives in India. It amazes me when I think that I can have this incredible impact on a child halfway across the globe for less than the cost of a cup of coffee.

And so can you…

Sponsoring a child through Compassion International is so easy. Go online to Compassion.com, search for the child you would like to sponsor, and follow the prompts. You will receive a packet of information about your child and can begin writing to your sponsored child and developing a relationship that can help lift a child out of poverty, give them an education, health care, and nutritious food. For only $38 per month ($1.26 / day) – less than the cost of a daily coffee house drink – you can sponsor a child through Compassion. I collect more than that in pocket change every month.

Now, I’m not asking you to give up that cup of coffee. I didn’t. It just helps my perspective. What I am asking is that you go to Compassion.com and find out more. I hope you do decide to sponsor a child.

If I can answer any questions you have about Compassion or child sponsorship go ahead and email me, or if we can work it out we can sit down over a cup of coffee and talk about it. My treat.

Thanks…

Keep the conversation going. Post a comment.

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Glory, Majesty, and a Del Mar Sunset

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Del Mar Sunset

Sunset on the beach in Del Mar, California. December 2013.

This image takes us back a few months to winter. Yes, winter. Southern California has some of the best winter weather anywhere, and a Del Mar sunset on the beach can be just incredible, especially in winter. It’s the clouds. Everyone knows clouds are a rarity in Southern California, especially in summer, so we have to wait for winter to get the great shots.

I have said it before, but scenes like this leave me in awe of the Creator. He has blessed us with so much beauty, surrounding us with indisputable evidence of his glory and majesty.

19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. — Romans 1:19-20.

Proof that God exist is all around us. God is not hiding. He has shown us, plainly, everything that can be know about himself. He has not left us in a vacuum to figure out who he is. He has provided us everything we need for faith. Look at the list.

  • His invisible attributes,
  • eternal power, and
  • divine nature,

have always, “since the creation of the world,” been made known.

The problem that many have is not that they can’t believe, it is that they won’t believe. And they have no excuse to not believe.

I make landscape and nature images to capture the incredible beauty of creation and the awesome work of my Creator God to share with others. Besides his word, there is nothing that declares his glory to me in a more powerful way. Sharing my images of God’s creative work is just one small way I can share my awe of him with others, and hopefully open up a conversation about my awesome God.

How about you? When do you see his glory? How does God reveal himself to you? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Both this image and a vertically cropped version are available for purchase. There are more posted on the main site.

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How I learned to not fear high ISO

Dead Rich

Inside Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean.

See more images:
Disneyland | California Adventure

On a recent trip to Disneyland I decided to experiment with my camera a bit. “To heck with the rules,” I said. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t have much respect for the “rules of photography” anyway. So off I went into the darkness of Pirates of the Caribbean with my camera set on aperture priority at f/2 with my 50mm f/1.8 lens attached. I chose f/2 because, well, there’s a rule about not using the widest aperture setting on a lens. See, I can do rules.

I purposely did not have a tripod with me. Just one more thing to lug around the Magic Kingdom all day. Practically speaking, I didn’t think it would make much sense. There was no plan to set up shots with a tripod. This was our first visit in over twenty years. It was really all about the rides. Which, when you think about it, was another excuse to use an auto setting. Besides, how many visitors do you see using tripods at a theme park? Not to mention the fear of gear flight. You know, that sick feeling when gear flies out of the ride and smashes into something, like a face.

The fear of losing my backpack caused enough paranoia all by itself.

One final concern. In these inky dark conditions how would I get the shutter speed fast enough to shoot from a moving ride? I decided to let the camera choose the ISO. With the aperture set to f/2 the camera would hopefully select an appropriate shutter speed, ISO combination and I would get usable images. The very point of the experiment. To see how my Canon 60D would perform at very high ISO and how well the auto setting for ISO would work.

The results were great on both counts. Though there is noticeable grain at very high ISO, it doesn’t detract from the images. Correctly processed in Photoshop artifacts are not bad at all. Some shots looked better processed to monochrome, but I was pleased with the results. To top it off, the camera selected a shutter speed fast enough so I didn’t end up with nothing but blur. The images aren’t tack sharp, but the are very usable.

In the past, I had always shied away from shooting at very high ISO. I still wouldn’t go higher than ISO 800 in most situations, but it is good to know that high ISO is nothing to be feared.

I suppose I should let those who may not know, ISO is a designation for sensitivity of the film or sensor. The higher the ISO the more grain (film) or artifacts (digital) you will notice on images. Lower ISO give you a sharper, cleaner image. Normally, I shoot at ISO 100-200 and have rarely gone past ISO 1600. Letting the camera choose the ISO was an adventure, and one I would take again.

Little Mermaid

This one of the Little Mermaid and her prince was shot at 1/60 sec., f/4.5, ISO 4000.

Captain Jack Sparrow

This one was shot with the same settings as the other Pirates of the Caribbean image. Making it black and white is what made it a keeper.

I encourage experimenting with what your camera can do no matter what kind you have. Of course, it is less costly with digital, but I also don’t mean just shooting to be shooting. Experiment, but always have a reason for the experiment, take notes, and learn then apply the lessons. You will understand photography much better and you may discover shots you used to toss can now become keepers.

More Disneyland and California Adventure images.

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Disneyland and California Adventure

Sleeping Beauty Castle - Disneyland

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle just before the nightly fireworks show.

For our anniversary last month, Marcie and I spent a couple days in Southern California visiting Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. What a great trip. So much fun, and so much new stuff. It had been more than twenty years since we had last been. A very long time for two people who made regular visits to the park. Sometimes several per year. One of the advantages of growing up in southern California. Marcie grew up in the shadow of the Matterhorn and her was once “Captain” of the Mark Twain.

With so many years passing since our last visit there was a lot that was new to us, but even the old familiar attractions had gained some new life. Over the years they had been updated. I particularly noted the updates of Pirates of the Caribbean and the addition of Captain Jack Sparrow. The biggest thrills, however; came from the attractions we had not experienced before.

We were blessed to have been able to ride everything we wanted without long waits. I suppose that is partially because it was just the two of us, and partially that we were there mid-week.

Pictures from our two-day adventure are posted here – Disneyland, and here – California Adventure.

I don’t think we’ll be waiting another 20-plus years to return.

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Happy Birthday America!

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Happy Birthday America!

Photo credit: Anggie | Lightstock.com

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