Snow and Ice Outside, Flowers Inside

21 Jan

Well, we had an ice/snow storm last night.  What is a photographer to do?  I played with my speedlight which can be remotely operated off camera.

Question:  how many different looks can I get from one flower?  How about 30 different views of one flower.  Take a look at my website to see the different views:

http://creationsourceimages.photoshelter.com/gallery/Snow-and-Ice-Outide-Flowers-Inside/G0000NGFdRPqs8tY/

Revolutionary War Heros

4 Sep

I recently spent some time in the “Bellbrook Pioneer Cemetery.”  You might ask, “Why spend time in a cemetery?”  Like a funeral, a cemetery can spur thoughts of life even thought they are places of death and darkness.

I ask questions to myself among the tombstones.  “What was your life like?”  “What challenges in life did you face?”  “Who did you love and who loved you back?”  Many of these people lived 50, 60, 70 or more year on this planet in a very different time from today – no electric lights, no cars, no computers, no trillion dollar deficits.

Link:  Pioneer Cemetery:

http://creationsourceimages.photoshelter.com/gallery-list

The very interesting thing about this particular cemetery are the tombstones of Revolutionary War Soldiers!  There are little bronze standards showing their status.  These people had to be born in the 1700’s, obviously!  That puts them as witnesses to the birth of our nation!  The cycle of life shows up here!  Questions come to mind like, “Does my life have meaning?”  “Will I be remembered after I am dead?”  “Why is being remembered (a legacy) so important to many people?”

I also visited the Wright Brothers cemetery plots.  It was an interesting feeling being close to their final resting place.  It seemed as if I could touch a little piece of their lives by standing there.  They became much more than words in a history book.  Their accomplishments have changed the world!

This life is short, little more than a single comma would be in the whole Bible.  But, through Jesus’ sacrifice as a substitute for us, taking the punishment for the sins we committed, our comma turns into an eternity busting reality in HIM!  People may not remember me in the future years, but I am secure in the eternal nature of God.  I don’t need a library to be named after me or the invention of the airplane  to be significant.  My significance comes from God’s love, from the service I give to the people around me and from my efforts to make His name known around the world.

Blessings in the storm

4 Sep

I am trying to get used to my new designation – disabled.  After contracting Parkinson’s in 2004 then having life-giving Deep Brain Stimulation surgery in February, 2010, I received Social Security Disability acceptance in July about 3 months after applying (a God-thing!).

That is a great thing because even though many of my symptoms are muted because of the operation, I still can’t speak clearly much of the time, I can’t make my hand write, I get fatigued easily, etc.  NOT a good resume to take to an employer!

So, how can God use an old, washed up salesman who can’t speak right a lot of the time?  I am determined to answer that question!  My daughter, Cheryl, told me most of her clients (social work) have some sort of disability and sit around all day watching TV.  Is that God’s best for me?  NO!  He has many jobs for me to do yet.  Sometime in my life, perhaps the near future, Parkinson’s may progress to the point where I may not be able to do much.  Even at that time I can have a ministry.  Perhaps a prayer ministry?  But in the meantime, as long as I can move, I want to serve the Lord.  I just need him to show me how.

One answer is through Target Dayton, where I am volunteering 1 day per week at 6:00 AM when they serve breakfast.  Serving the homeless coffee when they enter the building is a joy.   I’m also Target Dayton’sunofficial photographer when they need me.  Link:

http://targetdayton.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1&Itemid=1

I am  working on putting together a number of organizations where I can be their volunteer photographer for events, etc.  So far I am part of a team of photographers at church, the Gospel Mission in Dayton has me take photos of their special events (one coming in October), and I have taken pictures at a Parkinson’s fund raiser.

http://parkinsonswellness.org/steady_strides_2011.html

I will also be taking pictures at the Parkinson’s Sunflower Symposium on September 10. They used one of my pictures on the front cover of the brochure!

http://ucgardnercenter.com/sites/ucgardnercenter.com/files/Sunflower-brochure-2011.pdf

So, I’m getting some opportunities to serve God as a photographer.

God has a purpose for everyone on earth.  Sometimes that purpose may be hidden, but the sanctity of life holds true.  It is sometimes hard to see unless viewed from God’s perspective.  When someone has Alzheimer’s, or a brain injury, cancer, or some other difficult ailment God seems unfair – why don’t you let them die, Lord?  Why don’t you heal them?  I can’t answer those questions, but I know the Lord loves us and is just and perfect.  Psalm 34:8-10, 15-18 says:

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
for those who fear him will have all they need.
Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right;
his ears are open to their cries for help.

But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil;
he will erase their memory from the earth.

The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
He rescues them from all their troubles.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
      he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

As you go through various cloudy or stormy events in your life, remember that “the Lord is close to the brokenhearted.”

Moon pictures/visit to Second Street Market

21 Jun

I woke up at around 4:30 AM the other night and couldn’t get back to sleep.  That is another symptom in Parkinson’s – sleep disturbance.  I noticed that the moon was full, so I got out my camera, 70-300 zoom lens and tripod for a picture-taking session.  There were clouds crossing over the moon which I hoped to capture, but they didn’t turn out, the sky was too dark around the moon.  Take a look at the pictures at the link:

http://creationsourceimages.photoshelter.com/gallery/Moon-Click-picture-to-enlarge-or-order/G00006kUOn0Tsinw/

(At website, click on image to enlarge)

Also, a few Saturdays ago Carol and I went to the Second Street Market in downtown Dayton.  I had a good time snapping some pictures of the colorful sights there.  The cabbage roll I had was excellent.  A very enjoyable place to visit! See the link:

http://creationsourceimages.photoshelter.com/gallery/Second-Street-Market-Dayton-OH-Click-picture-to-enlarge-or-order/G0000iZDkFRNdalU/

I haven’t posted much recently because I have been concentrating on remodeling the basement, which has turned out to be an enjoyable project but very slow because I can only work a little while at a time.  Another symptom of Parkinson’s is fatigue.  So after a little while of working, I have to rest to regain my strength.  That lengthens out a project quite a bit (from weeks into months).  That is a lot different than when I originally worked on the basement when we moved into this house in 1992.  About 1/3 of the basement was finished and I built 4 additional rooms into the remaining space each evening after working 8-10 hours that day. 

Sounds like I’m whining about my current lot in life, but God has allowed this disease to impact me.  I can either choose to move on with Parkinson’s or give up and give in to the symptoms.  He doesn’t promise to heal every infirmity or take away every pain but I keep going back to Paul’s writing in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: “My grace is all you need.  My power works best in weakness.  That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecution and troubles that I suffer for Christ.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 

It is in my attitudes that Christ can gain the victory as I choose victory over defeat, strength over despair, helping people who are worse off than me rather than lounging in my own troubles.  God has a purpose for each one of us, even those who struggle to move or speak well or work a part-time job.  Each day is a new adventure.  I need to grab life and live it in the fullest way possible.

Baby Goose Pictures

4 May

Last Sunday my friend called me about a photo opportunity at the Fraze Park Pond.  Some young geese were “posing” for pictures.  What could I do?

Link: 

http://creationsourceimages.photoshelter.com/gallery/Its-a-birds-life/G0000cAGKkVA64Fo

Hero Parents

28 Apr

Last Saturday I had the privilege to photograph a long running event at Fairhaven Church called “Egg-stravaganza”.  Out of respect for the privacy of the parents and kids I won’t show their pictures here.

This event was for special needs kids.  I was touched as I wondered among the families gathered for the event. No matter what the challenge each child faced, the parent or parents were there,  smiling and involved in the moment.  I’m sure if you asked them if they always were smiling and happy, many would level with you and relate times of great sorrow or depression or frustration.  I’m sure there are many times they want to scream or run or give up.  But their love and dedication to their child keeps them going.  Carol and I had the normal frustrations, pain and joy while we were parenting our now adult children.  And in the last 6 years we have had to face up to Parkinson’s Disease.  But I honor these parents of special needs kids!  God has given them additional grace, faith and strength to meet whatever challenges they face.  James 1:2-5 says:  “Dear brothers and sisters,when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.   If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”  (New Living Translation) 

None of us is exempt from living life in all its colors – bright, dark and all the shades in between.   However, we can choose how we will face all those colors, especially the dark ones.  Will we react in faith in our God, recognizing His care and love for us even in the difficult and demanding times?  Or will we react in bitterness and anger.  These emotions are the normal face of an initial challenge or disaster, part of our initial reaction as human beings.  But if we cling to bitterness, hold it to us and own it, we will be destroyed by it along with all those around us.

Many of these parents have chosen to trust God and look at the positives of their circumstances.  I choose this as well.  How about you?

Color in God’s Creation

17 Apr

Recently I bought a bird feeder for our feathered friends and planted it outside my office window at home where I can make business calls and watch birds at the same time.  So far I have Cardinals, some Black Billed Chickadees and sparrows.  With the bird feeder planted close to the window and my 70-300 lens in place, I have been able to get a few interesting pictures of the birds who have come visiting.  Not that I know that much about birds yet.  I need to get a bird book from the library!  The squirrels have not figured out how to climb the skinny pole yet, but they enjoy eating some seeds under the feeder.   For the entire gallery go to:

http://creationsourceimages.photoshelter.com/gallery/Its-a-birds-life/G0000cAGKkVA64Fo



Seeing the colors God used to paint birds (from my extremely small sample so far), animals and plants, why did He create color?  I understand it has some use in nature for protection, camouflage, defense, mate attraction, etc.  He specifically created humans with special rods and cones in our eyes to see color.  “The retina contains two types of photoreceptors, rods and cones. The rods are more numerous, some 120 million, and are more sensitive than the cones. However, they are not sensitive to color. The 6 to 7 million cones provide the eye’s color sensitivity and they are much more concentrated in the central yellow spot known as the macula. In the center of that region is the ” fovea centralis “, a 0.3 mm diameter rod-free area with very thin, densely packed cones.” http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/vision/rodcone.html  

A very informative article by Bill Hilton Jr., a science education consultant, about “Animal Colors”, says “Camouflage, warning, sexual attraction, and species recognition are all among the functions of colors in animals. Even within a species, different colors may play different roles. Our male cardinal’s bright red plumage declares his presence to other males, and shows a prospective mate that he is adept at finding foods rich in carotenoids; this also indicates he could be a worthy provider with necessary skills to help feed a female and her nestlings. The female cardinal herself, however, is distinctly less colorful, with only a tinge of red and orange mixed in with otherwise tan feathers. This coloration works in her favor as she sits on her nest for three weeks; after all, an incubating female with bright red feathers would only attract predators bent on taking eggs, nestlings, and mother bird alike.” http://www.hiltonpond.org/ArticleAnimalColorsMain.html

Even with all this, God could have created everything without the use of color.  The world in black and white (which are colors!) would have been a very different place.  He created it all with color for so many reasons we count count them, for both nature and humans.  Obviously He gave us the ability to see colors in the full spectrum of light.  I never get tired of hearing how the human body is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139).    Think about it – “6 to 7 million cones provide the eye’s color sensitivity and they are much more concentrated in the central yellow spot known as the macula, packed into a 0.3 mm area!”  What are the odds this one fact about the human body which gives us so much enjoyment could have “evolved” out of the primordial soup?  

There are so many examples of complexity, harmony, and beauty in nature that no thinking human should be able to reject God as the ultimate Creator.  But they do reject God, possibly because they don’t want a “higher power” bigger than themselves telling them that the things they are doing are not in their best interest and restricting them from their “rights”.

Human dignity and worth are written all over our created bodies.  Everyone no matter what their abilities or disabilities have worth in God’s eyes.  Psalm 139:13-16 says “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before on of them came to be.” 

The fact that a loving God brought color into creation for our enjoyment is one way He shows his love for us.  That is why I named my company “Creation Source Images” because He is the Source of all creation and I try to show that creation in the images I take.



Florida Wildlife and Scenes

17 Mar

Last week Carol and I took a trip to Florida.  As usual on a vacation (and generally) I was concentrating a lot on photography.  Here are some scenes in the Lake Wales area (South of Orlando).  The gallery is located at:

http://creationsourceimages.photoshelter.com/gallery/Florida-Wildlife-and-Scenes-Click-to-enlarge-or-to-order/G0000kXhXb5hHhe8


Savannah Historic Images

15 Mar

We spent two days and an evening in Savannah, Georgia last week.  It was a very interesting  trip into the history of a southern American city!  We took a walking tour given by Jonathan Stalcup with Architectural Tours of Savannah, LLC.  Jonathan did a very good job of combining the architecture and history of Savannah into an interesting hour and a half stroll.  I was busy snapping close up shots of buildings along the tour route.  You can visit some of historic Savannah at:

httphttp://creationsourceimages.photoshelter.com/gallery/Savannah-Georgia-Live-History-Click-on-picture-to-enlarge-or-order/G0000o1iXpgNwt0A

Click on pictures to enlarge pictures after going to the link, then use the arrow keys

Purpose of life musings, our “legacy”

13 Mar

Last week Carol and I were on vacation, a much needed break from the routine!  Our main purpose was to visit Carol’s brother and wife in Lake Wales, Florida south of Orlando.  That was very relaxing and enjoyable and we it was great being with them.  On the way there we stopped at the Biltmore Estate and spent two days at Savannah, Georgia (more on that in another post).

The Biltmore Estate was built by “George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895. It is the largest privately owned home in the United States, at 135,000 square feet (12,500 m2) and featuring 250 rooms (and 43 bathrooms!). Still owned by one of Vanderbilt’s descendants, it stands today as one of the most prominent remaining examples of the Gilded Age, and of significant gardens in the Garden à la française and English Landscape garden styles in the United States. In 2007, it was ranked eighth on the List of America’s Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.”  (From Wikipedia)

The mansion has enormous spaces and perspectives!  They don’t allow photographs of the inside of the mansion and it was pouring rain and alternately snowing (in North Carolina!) outside so I only have one picture.  It was too early for any gardens to be in bloom.  From the one picture I was able to take, you can get a feeling for the perspective by looking at the “ant sized” people going into the mansion.  (Double click on the picture to enlarge)


As we were taking the “ear phone” tour of the mansion, I began to think about the world view of George Vanderbilt.  He was part of a family which had amassed a huge fortune through steamboats, railroads, and various business enterprises. George “inherited $1 million from his grandfather and received another million on his 21st birthday from his father. Upon his father’s death, he inherited $5 million more, as well as the income from a $5 million trust fund. He ran the family farm at New Dorp and Woodland Beach, now the neighborhood of Midland Beach on Staten Island, New York where he had been born, then lived with his mother in Manhattan until his own townhouse at 9 West 53rd Street was completed in 1887. The Vanderbilt family business was operated by his older brothers. This left George to spend his time in intellectual pursuits.  An art connoisseur and collector, George filled his mansion with Oriental carpets, tapestries, antiques, and artwork, including Pierre-Auguste Renoir and James Whistler, as well as a chess set that had belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte.” (From Wikipedia)

I wonder what George Vanderbilt’s world view was.  Did he ever ponder the eternal perspective in relation to his activities?  He knew eight languages and was obviously intelligent.  George and his wife, Edith, were very generous, supporting the local church and I’m sure funded many other charities.  But to what end was the house built?  To spend so much of your time and treasure to construct the largest privately built home in the country is a very worldly pursuit!  What was his motivation?  Was it a monument to himself?   Wikipedia says at Biltmore George lead the life of a “country gentlemen and spent his time in intellectual pursuits”.  He certainly couldn’t take it all with him when he “died of a heart attack after an appendectomy” at age 52.  The estate stands as a monument to his dreams and life’s work, something which is his legacy and it lives beyond his life.  Is that were our significance comes from?   Libraries, government buildings and highways are named after people who donate money.  Is that were we get our significance?  What of the millions of ordinary people in Haiti or India or Kenya who live life for a while and die in obscurity?  Are they any less significant than George Vanderbilt?  He inherited most of what he had and I guess you can say he put it into building a lasting legacy for his family.   But to what end?  Today the estate is privately owned by George’s grandson, William Cecil, who has preserved the estate and opened it to the public.  So, the masses can still view and be amazed at what he built.

From my musings about this I see two levels of thinking about the “legacy” we leave after our life is over.  On one level George Vanderbilt left a monument of the years he spent building and caring for the “largest privately owned home.”  Is that a worthy pursuit in life?  What does a leaving a legacy really involve?  Presidents of the United States are always aware of the legacy they will leave from their time in office.  The world’s recognition of a job well done, or some substantial building or road named in our honor, or the recognition a famous author or actor receives are all fading.  As the Bible states, they will all “burn” in the end.  1 Corinthians 3:11-15 says:  “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw.  But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward.  But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.”  The Biltmore Estate will not last into eternity.  It consists of earthly stuff.   The fact of my Parkinson’s disease is also temporary, earthly, a “thorn” I need to deal with in this life, but not for eternity.

On the other level, God and people are eternal, nothing else is.   The purpose I pursue with my photography is to show the beauty of God’s creation and a few of my pictures may last beyond my years on this earth.  But in the end they are meaningless.  That is the main theme of Ecclesiastes where Solomon says “work…all of it is meaningless.”  But he concludes with the conviction:  “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” The real legacy I leave is my love for God and the impact I can have on our children and people around me.  In a very real way my earthly reward is the legacy Carol and I are leaving through our adult children.  And my urgent and heart felt desire is for all of us to spend eternity together in Heaven!

I don’t have any brick and mortar statues or houses dedicated in my honor which will outlast my life on this insignificant planet hanging in the vast universe.  My legacy, our legacy, is our love for the God of the universe and the people we interact with daily.  Those interpersonal relationships and our dependence on Jesus’ sacrifice for each of us will be our eternal legacy!