October 31, 2010

Skyline Drive and John 3:16


utumn is here! So last Friday morning I grabbed my camera and headed up Skyline Drive to see if I could get a few pictures of the fall leaves in full color. I left early in the morning, shortly after the sun rose over the edge of the mountains. The low angle of the sun cast long and deep shadows, emphasizing the contours of the rolling hills in the Shenandoah Valley. It was a wonderful expedition.

Early morning sun hitting the valley

I didn’t stay up in the mountains for long. In fact, I was back home within two hours. But within those couple of hours I saw spectacular views with vivid colors, and I captured a few of them with my camera.

As is usually the case when I photograph beautiful natural scenes, I thought about how much God loves us to create so beautiful a world as the one we live in—even though we are sinful and undeserving of his love.

Although the colors of the leaves were amazing,
when the sun hit the leaves they burst into fiery colors that were hard to believe

When I turned my car back toward home, I began to think about this concept of God loving us so much that he put us into a beautiful world even though some would idolize the beauty and worship the creature rather than the creator. I considered how I might make sure that I am not placing my love of natural beauty above my love of the almighty God who created that beauty. And suddenly my thoughts took an odd turn—a turn I believe was prompted by God the Holy Spirit.

My son’s high school mascot is the Skyline Hawk – so I had to take this picture

There is no doubt that God showed his love to us in many ways. The beauty of the natural world is arguably one of those ways. And we should recognize this and praise God for this intense beauty that surrounds us all the time. But this was not the pinnacle of God’s display of love for us.

As the day turned brighter, the leaves simply glowed

To understand someone’s intentions, it is best to go to that person. So to understand what God sees as his ultimate show of love for his children, we must go to his written record about him, his plans, and his affections and intentions—we must go to the bible. And to find God’s mind regarding this situation we need to find out in which way God intended to show his love for us. Was it by creating a beautiful world for us? Was it by inventing music and poetry and the creative gifts that we love so much?

Wouldn’t it be helpful if we could look up in the bible a phrase that said something like, “God loved us just so...” and then went on to tell us what “just so” was? Well, in fact, it does.

I considered John 3:16 and 17 first:

John 3:16-17
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Here’s a verse that says “God loved us just so....” And it described the “just so” by saying that he gave his only Son. And he goes on to describe the intention of this incredible concept, the incarnation of the holy God in human flesh, as not being what we would expect—an angry God coming to condemn sinful man— but in actuality being “that the world might be saved through him.” What wonderful and glorious news.

The view from the Front Royal ranger station

Sometimes we are not particularly bright—at least I’m not. So quite often the bible has to be abundantly clear or else I’ll miss the point.

Romans 5:6–9
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

There’s a whole lot about God’s love for us in those verses. God sent his son to die for us—and he didn’t die for us because we were such great people. He died for us in spite of the fact that we were still (at that time) enemies to him. We were sinners, in active sinful rebellion against him. And he died for us anyway.

And the result of this death is that we will be saved from his wrath. We won’t have to live under the anger that we would expect if God were to come to earth to deal with us. We won’t have to live (or die) under that anger because Jesus bore that anger against our sin himself. And he is God—the Creator of the universe.

My son’s high school (Skyline High School)
with the Shenandoah River running behind it

So I drove home, through the intensely beautiful leaves, I considered that this amazing display of love pales in comparison to the true way—the supreme way—that God displayed his love to us.

Thank you, Jesus, for your great love. I can’t wait to be with you and to spend eternity with the one who purchased for me the ability to enjoy this lesser display of your love—to enjoy it until I am able to experience the reality of my personal relationship with the ultimate expression of love.


Reformation Sunday

Reformation Sunday - Back by Popular Demand

Click here for last year’s post.


October 30, 2010

Blog Header - October 27, 2010

I took this photo at the middle school playground near our house in Lynchburg, Virginia. It was a great playground that our son thoroughly enjoyed, so we spent quite a bit of time there. Of course, that meant that I got a ton of photographs of the playground while he was playing.

October 29, 2010

I was recently reminded of a difficult trial that really shook my foundation. What follows was written in the front of my Bible after a long conversation with a good friend way back in December of 1982. He helped me gain and maintain my perspective when I had been greatly misunderstood. Amazingly, just a couple years later, God restored the relationships that were broken, and let my true heart and motives be seen. In the hurt, I learned that I had to rest in Him, cling to Him, and WAIT for Him!

While enduring a trial, I must remain:

1. Simply Secure
    a. in my relationship to Christ
    b. in my relationship to others
    c. in my own self-assessment

KNOWING that my residence is not here but in Heaven,

APPLYING all I know about God to my life, to help me keep perspective in the situation I am in


2. Supremely Satisfied in the mundane things of everyday life

KNOWING that every trivial moment of my day is a stepping stone to becoming like Christ,

APPLYING to my life the simple fact that I do not serve men, but the living Christ.

So that no matter what circumstances may cross my path, what stakes may be uprooted in my life, or even if I am someday totally alone and misunderstood, that I may maintain a stable, consistent Christian life until the appearing of Christ.


It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown


October 28, 2010

October 27, 2010

Conquering fear


ear. If I had to choose one word to summarize my life I would likely have to chose the word fear. That’s not a good thing; it’s not something I am proud of. But I think it’s accurate. My life has been filled with fear.

Even as a child, I remember fear impacting my thoughts when my parents came home late. I remember imagining that they had been in a terrible car crash or had been mugged by roving, murderous lunatics. The fact that they always showed up safely didn’t stop me from producing this unhealthy level of fear the next time they were late. Or a few years later when my wife got stuck in traffic and arrived home late. Or when the boss said, “I need to talk to you.” Or when I saw a police car on the road with me. Or when the political campaigns were in full swing and I wondered about who would be elected.

Fear. All the time.

2 Timothy 1:7

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

But this is not God’s intention for our lives. We are not to be characterized by fear—especially not fear of what other people can do to us. God is in control. God promises to not test us beyond what we are able to withstand. God is loving and gentle; his yoke is easy and his burden is light. These are not things that should produce fear.

Thinking about these things, today I decided to look up some verses about fear in the bible and found a gold mine of verses containing the phrase, “do not be afraid.” I also found many other verses that dealt with inordinate fear and the fact that God’s people should not be governed by it.

Here are a few that I found particularly encouraging:

Genesis 15:1
“Don’t be fearful, Abram, for I will defend you. And I will give you great blessings.”

Notice that God gave two reasons why Abram should not be afraid. 1) God would defend Abram, and 2) God would give Abram great blessings.

Joshua 1:9
Yes, be bold and strong! Banish fear and doubt! For remember, the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

We should not fear because God is with us wherever we go.

Proverbs 29:25
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

If we trust in the Lord, he promises to keep us safe.

Sometimes my fear arises from my knowledge that I have sinned. I am afraid of the results of my sin, and sin will produce unpleasant things in our lives. But we are still not to live in fear.

1 Samuel 12:20-22
And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the Lord will not forsake his people.”

May today be the day that marks a turning point from fear of men, which causes me to be paralyzed, to fear of God, which liberates me and produces boldness.


October 26, 2010

Blog Header - October 24, 2010

I took this photo during the Front Royal Festival of Leaves. This was part of a dining room display in one of the historic buildings in town. I love the colors and the mix of straight lines and curves in this photo.

October 24, 2010

Front Royal tourism


hen we moved to Front Royal we knew it was an attractive town. We knew the mountains were beautiful and we knew that we loved it here. What we didn’t realize was how much of a tourist destination Front Royal becomes in the fall.

Line of cars backed up along Royal Avenue

I guess we should have known when one of the first town festivals after we moved here was The Festival of Leaves. The Festival of Leaves celebrates the coming fall colors that burst out in small patches on the mountains all around Front Royal. The forest begins to look like there are patches of red and yellow fire and the lush green that surrounds our town all summer long begins to rapidly change—almost daily—until the green is completely gone and the leaves are vibrant colors on the red/orange side of the color spectrum.

Cars lined up in the entrance to Skyline Drive

The leaves have just begun to turn, so yesterday we decided to go to the library for an hour or so and then head up Skyline Drive to check out the colors. On the way to the library we had to pass the intersection just before Skyline Drive. The traffic was amazing—at least for Front Royal. And we realized that it was a line of cars extending out from Skyline Drive and backing up a considerable portion of the road leading to Skyline Drive (and to the library).

An hour and a half at the library did not diminish the line. We entered the line and sat in the backup for another hour or so as we drove the quarter mile to the entrance gate. Fortunately, since we are season pass holders, we didn’t have to wait for long at the gate.

Every single overlook we passed was jam-packed with visitors. The cars completely filled the overlook parking spots and a couple dozen cars were parked along the roadside before and after each of those overlooks. People with cameras were crowded along the edges of the overlooks. It made us very proud of our town and very grateful that God saw fit to put us in this beautiful place.

The leaves are not yet at their peak, but will probably get to that point within the next week or so. And I have the next week off of work. So I hope to take a few more trips up Skyline Drive. It’s great to live in Front Royal.

The line of cars entering Skyline Drive as we headed home


October 23, 2010

Blog Header - October 20, 2010

I took this picture at the National Zoological Research Center for Endangered Animals in Front Royal about a month ago. This is a bird’s egg and the tour guide was showing us that this egg contained an embryo. They had an incubator nearby that kept these eggs warm and even turned them automatically. It was pretty cool.

If you want a good spouse - do it yourself

I’ve heard the saying, If you want something done right—do it yourself, but I think this story may take that idea to an unadvised extreme.

Taiwanese bride marries herself


October 22, 2010

Portrait Professional


love photography! I love Photoshop! I love portraiture! None of this will surprise anyone who has read this blog for any length of time. But what happens when these three great loves come together?

Click the pictures in this post to see the high resolution version.

Last year my mother- and father-in-law gave me photographic software for my birthday. The High Dynamic Range (HDR) software has been a blast to experiment with and it has given me a real love for HDR photography. So this year my in-laws decided to repeat the success of that birthday present and they gave me another piece of software that I had been very interested in—Portrait Professional Studio.

This software takes my love of portraiture and combines it with my love of photo manipulation (typically done in Photoshop). And I absolutely love it. Once I open a portrait in Photoshop I need only to launch the Portrait Professional filter and the software places a few points on the face, allows me to make any adjustments according to my preferences, and then outputs an amazing portrait. It subtly adjusts the skin, lips, eyes, and hair by comparing the photo I’ve taken with a database of information about perceived human beauty. It sounds a bit crazy, but it works great!

After the initial settings have been applied, the software presents a battery of sliders allowing me to make tweaks to the changes it has recommended. I can adjust such things as skin blemishes and wrinkles (reducing or even eliminating them), the shape of the nose, head, mouth (even adjusting the expression), and will even lengthen the neck if that is desired. And it does all of this without removing the pores and texture in the skin—a common characteristic of portraits that have been adjusted in Photoshop.

Some subjects are not changed very much, with just a diminishing of the blemishes and wrinkles. Other subjects receive a more thorough treatment with subtle adjustments to the shape of the head, the positioning of the eyes, the length and width of the nose, and other adjustments. It is simply amazing.

Check out Portrait Professional. It is a great piece of software. If you like portrait photography, you’ll love this. And so will your portrait subjects.

Get it here



October 20, 2010

Danger and the Christian Life

John Bunyan, 1628 – 1688

John Bunyan was a Puritan pastor three and a half centuries ago. You may know his name from his book, Pilgrim’s Progress. Bunyan spent 12 years in prison for telling people about Jesus Christ. Had he agreed to give up preaching, he would have been released from prison and allowed to return to his family—including his blind daughter.

Some years after his imprisonment, John Bunyan wrote the book Seasonable Counsels, or Advice to Sufferers. The following quote is from this book and I found it to be tremendously encouraging as I face my own trials and difficulties in life—difficulties that are significantly less than the difficulties Bunyan had to deal with.

May we try to escape? Thou mayest do in this as it is in thy heart. If it is in thy heart to fly, fly: if it be in thy heart to stand, stand. Any thing but a denial of the truth. He that flies has warrant to do so; he that stands has warrant to do so. Yea, the same man may both fly and stand, as the call and working of God with his heart may be. Moses fled (Exodus 2:15); Moses stood (Hebrews 11:27). David fled (1 Samual 19:12); David stood (1 Samuel 24:8). Jeremiah fled (Jeremiah 37:11–12); Jeremiah stood (Jeremiah 38:17). Christ withdrew himself (Luke 9:10); Christ stood (John 18:1–8). Paul fled (2 Corinthians 11:22); Paul stood (Acts 20:22–23).

There are few rules in this case. The man himself is best able to judge concerning his present strength, and what weight this or that argument has upon his heart to stand or fly.... Do not fly out of a slavish fear, but rather because flying is an ordinance of God, opening a door for the escape of some, which door is opened by God’s providence, and the escape countenanced by God’s Word. Matthew 10:23.... If, therefore, when thou has fled, thou art taken, be not offended at God or man: not at God, for thou art his servant, thy life and thy all are his; not at man, for he is but God’s rod, and is ordained, in this, to do thee good. Hast though escaped? Laugh. Art thou taken? Laugh. I mean, be pleased which way soever things shall go, for that the scales are still in God’s hand.

John Bunyan, Seasonable Counsels, or Advice to Sufferers, in The Works of John Bunyan, Vol. 2, George Offor (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1991, original, 1854), p. 726

This passage from John Bunyan came to mind yesterday when I was talking with a coworker who mentioned that sometimes it seems like we have no control. I said we really never have control. Sometimes we’re just lulled into thinking that we do. John Piper talks about “the myth of safety” with these words:

...Risk is woven into the fabric of our finite lives. We cannot avoid risk even if we want to. Ignorance and uncertainty about tomorrow is our native air. All of our plans for tomorrow’s activities can be shattered by a thousand unknowns whether we stay at home under the covers or ride the freeways.... Security...is a mirage. It doesn’t exist. Every direction you turn there are unknowns and things beyond your control.

The tragic hypocrisy is that the enchantment of security lets us take risks every day for ourselves but paralyzes us from taking risks for others on the Calvary road of love. We are deluded and think that it may jeopardize a security that in fact does not even exist.... It is right to risk for the cause of Christ, and not to is to waste your life.

Well, with that in mind. I step forward into the day.


Blog Header - October 17, 2010

I took this photo at the Front Royal National Zoological Research Center’s Annual Open House. A group of re-enactors (Yankee) gave demonstrations on military technology, tactics, and lifestyle. One group of mounted soldiers rode to the edge of the hill, dismounted, formed a line, and began firing their weapons. I wanted to get a few pictures of the shots being fired with the clouds of smoke coming out of the guns. When I took this picture the smoke completely engulfed the soldier’s head. It looks like some serious warfare going on. I might not have posted this had the soldier been a Confederate, but a Yankee soldier in the town of Front Royal covered in smoke from rifle fire is a good thing. It appears that our boys (just outside the boundaries of the picture) are putting up a good defensive fight.

No soldiers were injured in the making of this photo.

October 18, 2010


My son often asks what it will be like in heaven. He wants to know if we’ll all own Camaros or if there will be lots of bunnies there (he loves wild jack rabbits). He wonders about athletics in heaven. And my wife and I try to answer as well as we can, but it all comes down to: it’s gonna be awesome—better than anything we can imagine.

This morning, I read a passage of scripture that says a similar thing—or at least refers to how hard it is to explain what heaven will be like.

2 Corinthians 12:1-4
I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.

Paul’s acquaintance had experienced heaven, in some way, prior to his death. But he was not able to put that experience into words—it was too wonderful. It defied description.

Camaros and bunnies are not the outstanding characteristic of heaven, I’m sure. The bodily presence of Jesus Christ will be the outstanding characteristic. But I’m also quite sure that transportation will be beyond belief. Imagine technology without the limitations of sin binding it. And I’m sure that animals will be there and will be better than the animals we know now. And the pinnacle of the experience of heaven will be that we—the Church—will be enjoying it with our bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

Oh, how wonderful that will be!


October 17, 2010

Sustained by Sovereign Grace – Forever

Not grace to bar what is not bliss
Nor flight from all distress—but this...
The grace that orders our trouble and pain
And then in the darkness is there to sustain.

—Pastor John Piper

Life is a roller coaster. There are many ups and downs. But sometimes the downs seem quite a bit more plentiful. My past week has been one of those “down” weeks. It has not been a pleasant week.

Jeremiah 38:32–41

And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.

But my God loves me. My God wants to remind me that He is in total control. And today God said, “Don’t worry. I’ve got your back. You’re fine.” I’m one of those folks who needs to hear that quite often—and today I heard it again.

I played bass and drums with Remembrance today in a concert at the First Church of the Nazarene in Front Royal, Virginia. It was a good concert—with the obvious movement of God’s Holy Spirit. The pastor gave some wonderful, encouraging and inspiring words about God’s sovereign grace over our lives. The family that makes up the majority of Remembrance has opened their arms and their doors to our family. God, you are wonderful. Thank you for your grace—grace that in the darkness is there to sustain.

Pastor John Piper’s thoughts on Sustaining Grace.


October 15, 2010

Blog Header - October 10, 2010

One of Front Royal’s beauty queens. I took this photo at last weekend’s Festival of Leaves.

October 12, 2010

The Cheerleader

Have you ever felt like you needed a cheerleader? Have you longed for someone to stand somewhere off to the side and yell encouragement to you as you went through the day? Wouldn’t it be great to have a cheerleader following you around day and night to do just that?

Colossians 1:19, 20

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

So often it seems that life is quite a bit harder than it should be. I begin my day and the pile of rubbish that I need to clear out from in front of me seems to be too much for me to handle. Some of that rubbish has been heaped up in front of me by others, but much of it is my own. But my having caused the rubbish does not make it any easier to face—or to clear.

Psalm 85:10

Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.

To look at life’s difficulties from a slightly different perspective, why do parents attend their children’s sporting events, concerts, plays, and activities? Why do children involved in those activities scan the bleachers or concert hall to get a glimpse of their parents sitting in the seats? Parents try to attend these events because they know that they are providing a huge confidence boost to their children simply by being there. Some parents talk to their children ahead of time, giving them advanced encouragement to call to mind during the event. Some even work out a signal—a look, a hand gesture—that the child will recognize as a reminder of that encouraging word the parent gave prior to the event.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

But then when we get older and set up our own households, we lose that degree of direct connection with our parents. When we’re at work we don’t have our parents sitting in the next office or cubicle making that gesture to remind us of their support and encouragement.

Even though I have been out of my parents’ home for more than half my life, my mother and father still send me words of encouragement—by phone, by email, by postal mail. Those words of encouragement are a great help when things get tough.

Micah 7:18

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.

As Christians, we have a never-failing Father who is with us all the time. He never misses any of our events. And he has given us words of encouragement too. But we often forget those words of encouragement and try to trudge through the day under our own strength without ever gaining the strength of that heavenly Cheerleader. The child in the school play will not receive the encouragement from his parent if he doesn’t look into the audience to see that the parent is there. He will not gain strength from the parent if he doesn’t remember the things his parents said before the event. And neither will we, if we forget those things God has said to us as means of encouragement and motivation.

Isaiah 26:12

O Lord, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works.

As I had my devotions this morning I was reminded of many of the encouraging statements God has given to us. I’m going to try to remember them today as I tackle whatever lies ahead. I’m going to remember that my Father is standing out there cheering for me.

Job 22:21
Agree with God, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you.


October 08, 2010

Blog Header - October 6, 2010

I took this photo in Lynchburg on our way home from the Apple Festival. I loved the fall feel of the pumpkins and hay bales.


The Gospel according to The Matrix


’m on vacation this week. Among other relaxing things, I’m catching up on my movie watching. Today’s movie is one of my favorites—The Matrix.

Ever since I first watched The Matrix, I have wanted to build an evangelism course around the storyline. It’s probably too late now—I’ve let too much time transpire. The movie is no longer in the public consciousness as it was shortly after it was released. But every time I watch this movie, I am again struck with the gospel narrative parallels.

One such parallel just came up as I’m watching. And I thought I should post it:

“I can only show you the door, Neo. You must walk through it.”

“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”
—Jesus (as quoted in John 10:9)

October 07, 2010

Do you want a friend?


ave you ever read a children’s book and ended up with tears flowing down your cheeks? Well, neither have I—until now, that is. Sometimes this world is more than we can handle. Sometimes life just becomes too hard to bear. Sometimes we need a friend that never fails—and we have one. And this children’s book tells us about this friend.

I love John Piper. I love John Piper’s ministry. And now I love this book written by John Piper’s wife Noel. Check it out for yourself. Here is the full book in PDF version.

October 06, 2010

Interesting commentary from Israel


hat do our allies think as they watch current events develop in the United States? We hear often about the disrespectful comments of those who hate America, but we don’t often hear from those who actually appreciate us.

In A Prayer for 5771 (Jerusalem Post), writer Caroline Glick gives us a glimpse into the mind of our truest allies—the nation of Israel. Ms. Glick also offers an interesting perspective on Glenn Beck’s recent “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington, D.C. She observes that Beck’s rally was an effort to lay claim to “the American Creed,” and an attempt to bring it back to the forefront of the American psyche. Here’s a quote from the article:

That creed is so ingrained that it has served as the subtext of every major political and civic speech by every American political and civic leader since the 18th century.

The American creed has two main components.

First, its core belief is that America is an exceptional country and that the American people are an exceptional nation. Second, it asserts that as Abraham Lincoln first said outright, America is the last, best hope for mankind.

The reason Beck’s rally was a watershed event is that in the Age of Obama, millions of Americans for the first time feel the need to reclaim what they believe is their birthright as Americans.

Because what distinguishes Obama from his predecessors is that he is the first American president who clearly rejects the American creed.

Read the full article here.


October 05, 2010

Blog Header - October 3, 2010

I took this picture this past weekend at the National Zoological Endangered Animal Research Center in Front Royal, Virginia. This was a presentation of troop training from the War Between the States. It was a small encampment with about a dozen cavalry who did training and maneuvers for the spectators.

Very interesting stuff.

October 04, 2010

Portraits - My not-so-secret passion


lmost 30 years ago I was in college with a shutterbug for a roommate. My friend Ron joined the yearbook staff our freshman year, and he was seldom without his camera. At the time, I had an inexpensive Polaroid camera. I bought a decent 35mm camera as soon as I got out of college—and I have been in love with photography ever since. Click on the pictures in this post to see the high resolution versions

One of our kids when we were youth leaders 15 years ago
Scanned from film print
Senior portrait taken in our basement – 1995
Scanned from film negative

As I explored different types of photography, portraiture continually rose to the top of my list. I love taking pictures of people—especially women. Formal, casual, outdoor, studio, posed, candid—I love them all. So over the past almost 30 years I have compiled a huge collection of portraits of people. Some of the portraits are studio shots of clients, friends, and family. Some of them are candid portraits of people I have never met. But they’re all portraits. This is the photography that I love.

Someone I don’t know (Strawberry Festival — 2010)
Someone I don’t know (Deloitte IMPACT Day — 2010)
Someone I don’t know (Pittsburgh, Duquesne Incline 2005)

So when a friend of mine told me about the Portrait Professional software, I immediately wanted to try it out. Unfortunately, that was about three years ago and I simply could not afford to purchase the software.

A couple at the Front Royal Wine & Craft Festival – 2010
Two couples at the Front Royal Wine & Craft Festival – 2010

So I downloaded the free version to try a little experimentation. It was pretty cool. And I wanted it even more after experimenting with it. But the free version could not save high resolution files and it superimposed a watermark over the person’s face. It was a cool piece of software, but I couldn’t justify the cost.

Stephanie and David – Skyline Caverns – 2010
Kim on our honeymoon
Scanned from film print

But then last week I had a birthday. I won’t get into the details of how old I am or whether or not cyanotype prints were the standard of photography when I was born. But ... my in-laws purchased Portrait Professional for me.

So now I’m going through my photos from the past 25 years or so and having fun with the software. My older photos were from the days of slides and negatives. I scanned many of those into digital format on a very cheap, low-quality scanner. But this software still makes the pictures look good—albeit, with quite a bit of lint and grain clearly visible.

If you’d like a copy of Portrait Professional for yourself, do it quickly—it’s on a time-limited 50% off sale right now. Go for it! Get your copy of Portrait Professional here.

Kim – 2004
Kim – 2006
Kim and David—this past spring


October 03, 2010

Blog Header - September 29, 2010

I took the picture of this father and son at the community outreach event at the First Church of the Nazarene in Front Royal, Virginia.

October 02, 2010

My love song

Mary Fuller


omorrow is a really special day for me. 23 years ago, I married the man who was my best friend and my sweetheart. On that special day, Lance and I sang a duet with each other, Household of Faith, by Steve Green. My sister thought it was cool because we were already in the process of building a physical house in which to live. I also sang and played an original composition for him.

There were some tense moments as I tried to shed my satin gloves to play the piano—I tried to get them off without pulling off the "glue on" nails I'd had expertly applied earlier that morning. My matron of honor looked on, waiting for the gloves to hold while I played. She finally encouraged me to just "rip them off" and she'd turn them outside right while I played. Well, below are the lyrics to this simple song, and the words are so much more true now than ever! I'm so glad we've stayed together all these years!!

Here I stand before you on this our wedding day;
The day when we will pledge our loyalty.
Yet I can't believe my eyes, you're more than I could hope for -
You are the Father's gift of love so great to me.

I could never dream of the man I've found in you.
You are the man God chose for me to love.
You are my best friend, you're every dream come true.
You are a gift from my Father above.