February 28, 2011

Blog Header - February 28, 2011

This blog header is a bit of a departure from my normal photographs. I normally don’t crop quite this tight, but I thought this had a fun look to it. And it includes one of my favorite fonts—the Quake font.

Japan - through the eyes of Trey Ratcliff


have a few favorite photographers—some dead, some living—all inspiring. One of my contemporary favorites is Trey Ratcliff of Stuck In Customs. He was one of the first people I found on the internet who seemed to have a good grasp on HDR photographer. And he shares his grasp of HDR with those of us who are just beginning to discover its wonders. I highly recommend his blog, which features some of the best HDR photos I’ve seen out there.

But Trey also does unique and compelling videos. Here is his most recent video from a recent trip to Japan:

As for HDR photography, here are three images I captured the month before last when I was working downtown in one of our Washington, DC, offices. Mine are not as nice as Trey’s, but I’m learning and they sure are fun to take.

The ceiling of the lobby to the Hyatt Regency hotel - Washington, D.C.
My office building’s lobby - Washington, D.C.
Another photo of my office building’s lobby


February 17, 2011

Sunshine of Your love

This guy is the best ever!


February 12, 2011



hen did our society become so acronym-laden? I remember getting teased when I sold high-end home audio because my sales friends and I talked in cryptic acronymns, which were actually model numbers. But when did this become the standard way of communicating?

In my business world we frequently refer to the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations), which I have often thought should stand for Frequent Acronymn Requirement in any communication regarding our federal government. But more often all the time I have to try to figure out what the most recent acronym sent my way means.

For example, yesterday I worked on a young friend’s photo in Photoshop and posted it to Facebook. She responded with, “FTW, Unca Rich.” In the late 80s, when I was around her age, that acronym meant “F**k the World.” I was quite certain that was not what she intended to say to me. So after quite some time trying to figure out this new acronym, I finally looked it up online where I found out that it means “For the Win,” an entirely nicer definition than the one I had thought about at first.

Knowing that my readers are as old and out of touch as I am (or at least hoping I’m not the only one), I present here a list of the acronyms you might trip over when emailing, chatting, texting, or listening to a speech POTUS is reading from TOTUS (the President of the United States is reading from the Teleprompter of the United States—not making this up; those are real acronyms in current use).

Communication devices when talking to youngsters

BRB Be Right Back
BIO Going to the bathroom (bio break)
AFK Away from the keyboard
BTW By the way
KK Okay
TTYL Talk to you later
BFN By for now
TTFN Ta-ta for now
BFF Best friends forever
DH Darling husband
CYA See ya (or Cover your a*s)
CUL8R See you later
IMHO In my humble opinion
IMNSHO In my not-so-humble opinion
FMV Fair market value
LOL Laughing out loud
ROFL Rolling on the floor laughing
ROFLMAO Rolling on the floor laughing my a*s off
RTM Read the manual
THX Thanks
TY Thank you
NP No problem (you’re welcome)
PLZ Please
W/E Whatever (I don’t care)
ASL Age, sex, location?
IRL In real life
.02 My two cents worth
<g> Grin

Recognizing that I could continue typing in this list for the next month, I’m going to leave it there. I just got a text message from a young friend and now I have more aconyms to interpret.


February 10, 2011

Roger Rabbit

It’s been quite a while since I mentioned our wonderful pet Roger, but now that he’s well past his third birthday, I thought I needed to post about him again. There’s not much to say other than that he’s the most adorable bunny ever. And although he’s a cottontail jackrabbit, the wild left him long ago.

He’s definitely part of the family. (Sorry for the low quality of the picture—I took this using my cell phone.)

Our delightful bunny Roger


February 09, 2011

Why life sucks - and what the bible says about it


hy does life have to be so painful? It’s a question I ask quite often. And I think it’s a relatively common question for all of us. Life can be very difficult at times.

Of course, there are many ways of responding to life’s difficulties. We may become jaded and just learn to distrust people and circumstances—and even God. We may decide that God does not exist—after all, why would a God who loves us allow such suffering? We may decide to be like Pollyanna and put on our pink sunglasses, trying our best to ignore the problems all around us. But none of these responses is beneficial and none addresses the truth of the situation.

So... what if God were to answer that question? Why, God, is life so difficult?

I believe the bible has quite a few answers to that question. But one of them is a wonderful concept in my mind. God has made us to be very social creatures. We need each other. Those who are able to open their hearts to others and truly care for others seem to be the happiest people around—or perhaps more well-adjusted would be the better way to say it. The bumps and pitfalls of life don’t seem to impact those people quite as much as they affect the rest of us.

Some of the more jaded among us may say that those who are able to care the most are those who get hurt the most—and that is probably true. However, that concept fits right in with the passage from the bible that came to my mind this morning when a friend of mine lost a dear friend to cancer.

2 Corinthians 1:3–4
Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! The Father is a merciful God, who always gives us comfort. He comforts us when we are in trouble, so that we can share that same comfort with others in trouble.

What a wonderful concept. The reason we go through difficult times is so that we may be comforted by God. And when we have been comforted by God, we are able to turn to those around us and comfort them in the same way. Our social natures are enriched. We benefit from the increased understanding, love, and friendship. And we display the mind and heart of Jesus Christ, who died for us so that we would be comforted and would comfort others.

Praise God—even when life sucks!


February 08, 2011

Blog Header - February 8, 2011

I took the photo of these two incoming freshman at Liberty University a couple years ago. I loved the contrast of their green shirts with the orange/brown wall of the cafeteria.

February 07, 2011

America on the decline


his year’s Superbowl was a great game—even though I was cheering for the team that lost. And if the game were only the game and not the spectacle that the Superbowl has become, it would have been tremendously enjoyable.

But... unfortunately, the traditionally outstanding commercials were far below par—with one commercial really angering me by including a curse word for no reason as it aired during prime time (7:00 pm) on a family event (check it out below when the kids aren’t in the room). The half-time show featured horrible music with horrible singing accompanied by bizarre and disgusting dancing, pathetically awful costumes, stupid political shout-outs, and incompetent sound reinforcement. And it was all kicked off in keeping with the overall theme of mediocrity by the worst rendition of the National Anthem ever—even worse than Rosanne Barr’s terrible performance. And Rosanne is a comedian who was trying to be funny at the time. Christine Aguilera is a professional singer who should be able to sing our nation’s anthem with respect and should be able to come close to getting the words right.

Hint: Nowhere in our National Anthem does it say that “our plane was still there.”

Christine Aguilera’s terrible performance

Lipton Tea’s curse word commercial

Worst-ever halftime show


For the love of words


I have always loved the art of language. I am fascinated by the impact made by subtle changes in word use, sentence structure, or careful grammatical manipulation. I’m not a master of the art form—but I do greatly enjoy dabbling in it as an aficionado.

For this reason, I collect phrases, paragraphs, and even whole stories or lectures when I find them particularly poignant or well-crafted. And yesterday I found another short passage to add to my collection. This one was written by one of my favorite authors—a favorite not because I like his genre, but because he is a master wordsmith.

She led her tired, slightly weepy sister down the short, steep flight of attic steps and below the worst of the heat. Then, instead of telling her that where there was life there was hope, or to let a smile be her umbrella, or that it was always darkest just before the dawn, ...she simply held her. Because sometimes only holding was best.... Sometimes it was best to just shut your everlasting mouth and hang on, hang on, hang on.

– Stephen King, Lisey’s Story, ©2006


February 04, 2011



ave I mentioned how much I love photography? Yeah, I know... I have—probably way too often. However, I have been recently reminded of why I love photography so much: the memories kept.

Kim & David at Stratford Hall (2005)

I was cleaning up some files on my computer and found a wonderful small treasure of photos of my wife and son from the past five years or so. It’s an eclectic collection of photos from here and there, with no particular theme other than family fun. It brought back some wonderful memories and gave me cause to reminisce a bit. It reminded me of the old 35mm film spools, negatives, printing, and scanning. It reminded me of the many good times we’ve had as a family. It reminded me of how incredibly gorgeous my wife is. I’m glad the first of those three things has changed. And I’m glad the other two have not.

Kim & David at Stratford Hall (2005)

It seems all too easy to pile up memories of bad things. But we don’t tend to photograph the bad—our minds do that well enough. It’s the good times that prompt us to pull out the camera and capture the moment for posterity.

Western Day at Occoquan Bible Church (2006)

Recent events in the lives of some of our friends have reminded us of many of the bad things that have happened in the past five years. And those reminders are important too. They remind us of the need to grow, and learn, and protect ourselves and our friends from the attacks of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

But the photographs I recently discovered have reminded us of so many ways in which the Lord has blessed our family. And it is good to keep those memories alive. Those are the memories that help us get through the difficult times when they inevitably arrive—reminders of God’s grace.

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
—Philippians 4:8

Kim being interviewed on being named
“National Photographer of the Year” (2006)
Me standing with my wife
(trying to ride her coattails)