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.

Posted in Travel Tagged , , , , , , , |

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.

Posted in Travel Tagged , |

Happy Birthday America!

U.S. Flag

Happy Birthday America!

Photo credit: Anggie | Lightstock.com

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Congratulations Betty Yee

Betty Yee

Congratulations to Betty Yee!

And thanks for giving me another chance to mention that this image is part of a collage at the new California Democratic Party Headquarters in Sacramento.

Barring a recount Yee will face off against Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin for California State Controller in November. Yee defeated fellow Democrat and former Assembly Speaker John Perez by 481 votes out of just over 4 million cast. This led me to do a little bit of looking at some of the numbers. This is by no means an in-depth analysis. Just some thoughts.

Something to think about

Whether you voted in this primary election or thought your vote didn’t matter and stayed home, consider the following:

  • Los Angeles County, John Perez’s home, has 4.8 million registered voters.
  • Only 824,070 LA County voters (17.0% – lowest in the state) cast a ballot in this election.
  • Perez received 198,453 votes (23% of his total) from LA County while the other 4 counties he won made up less than 5% of his total votes.
  • Statewide 75% of voters did not vote in this election.
  • Betty Yee was nominated on a margin of 481 votes (0.0001%). That is one ten thousandth of one percent of the total votes cast.
  • Of the total votes cast for Yee and Perez (1.75 million) the 481 difference is 0.000275% (2.75 ten thousandths of one percent).

Still think your vote doesn’t matter?

I would be surprised if there is not a recount in this race. Leave a comment and let everyone know what you think.

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