November 30, 2011

Where are they now?

The picture my sister swooned over

n 1976 my 17-year-old sister was madly in love with a 26-year-old man. I remember her staring longingly at his picture, which was inside my favorite album of all time—Frampton Comes Alive. I was amazed to hear that this year marks the 35th anniversary of the release of that album. I remember standing in line at the record store, waiting to buy my first record album—The Singles: 1969–1973 by The Carpenters. A very cool looking hippie-type at the front of the line said, “Hey, do you have that new Peter Frampton album?” The clerk said, ”We did, but it sold out as soon as they delivered it.”

That album was Frampton Comes Alive. I was 15 years old. And the Carpenters album got thrown away because the back cover had a quote on it from someone who called the Carpenters’ music “rock,” so a group of crazed fundamentalists convinced my parents that it must be bad stuff.

Peter Frampton–now

Now I’m 50 years old, I probably shouldn’t mention my sister’s age, and Peter Frampton is now 61. As I remembered those years long ago I became curious to know what Peter Frampton is up to now. So I went on a search and found out about an album I had not even heard about—Fingerprints. Released in 2007, this album has some awesome jazzy guitar and shows a new side to Peter Frampton’s amazing guitar playing. Here’s a sample:

While I was looking up the video I came across this wonderful ad:

I might have to buy that game just because of the ad!

November 26, 2011

Young love


ront Royal’s Annual Festival of Leaves brings a flood of people into the Shenandoah Valley to visit our quaint little town and to enjoy Skyline Drive as the leaves begin to show off their fall colors. It’s a wonderful time to live in the Shenandoah Valley.

At this year’s Festival of Leaves, I took quite a few pictures that got lost in the shuffle of the next few days, when I had a ton of other events to photograph. So today, as I was trying to wrap up things for another one of those photographic events, I noticed this picture that had fallen through the cracks. I just think it’s precious.

November 25, 2011

Blog Header - November 25, 2011

Edgar Alan Poe visited our library a few weeks ago. Well... an actor playing Poe visited our local library. And he was fantastic.

The photo in this blog header is from that event. Poe was known to have enjoyed red wine, so they put out the decanter with grape juice for effect and so the actor could sooth his throat as he presented a phenomenal and emotional recitation of quite a few of Poe’s poems and stories.

It was a very enjoyable event, which our son completely loved. And now he is a full-blown fan of Edgar Alan Poe. So the presentation did some good.

Just a barn


ometimes photography is as simple as just keeping your eyes open and having your camera always at hand. This past Wednesday was one of those days that proved the truth of that statement.

The cloud-covered sky was absolutely beautiful all day—and I had been admiring it all day and thinking, “I really need to take some pictures.” The clouds were heavy, but they were broken up so that the light shone through, creating wonderful highlights along the edges of the clouds and sending sunbeams through the cloud cover.

Living in the Shenandoah Mountains made it all the more beautiful as the dappled sunlight hit the mountain peaks and created a wonderful animated effect as the cloud patterns changed.

So in the early afternoon I headed down a road along the edge of the Shenandoah River and just looked at the scenery—hoping I’d stumble across a particularly picturesque scene. After a short drive I saw this barn on the side of the road. I parked the car, set up my tripod in the middle of the road and took these pictures.

I really love photography. And I really love living in Front Royal, Virginia.

Laughter—the best medicine


emember “Laughter—the Best Medicine”? It was always the first thing I looked up in those Reader’s Digest magazines that my mother got in the mail. I loved it because it pulled me out of the drudgery of life and let me see the humor that exists all around.

From the perspective of 2011, it also shows me that life has always been difficult. As business guru Tom Peters said, “live is a mess.” But he didn’t stop there. The full quote from Tom Peters is: “Life is a mess... embrace the mess!” I love that philosophy. It’s true. And it’s beneficial.

Here is a wonderful video from a wonderful man who embraces the mess.

Have a fantastic day! This video will help.

I promise

November 21, 2011

Evolution? Really?


Don’t you know? Haven’t you heard? Isn’t it clear that God created the world?

God is the one who rules the whole earth, and we that live here are merely insects. He spread out the heavens like a curtain or an open tent.

Isaiah 40:21–22

November 19, 2011

Tales of mystery and imagination


or my own part, I have never had a thought which I could not set down in words with even more distinctness than that which I conceived it. There is, however, a class of fancies of exquisite delicacy, which are not thoughts, and to which as yet I have found it absolutely impossible to adapt to language. These fancies arise in the soul—alas, how rarely—only at epochs of most intense tranquility when the bodily and mental health are in perfection. And at those mere points of time where the confines of the waking world blend with the world of dreams.

Dream Within a Dream by Alan Parsons on Grooveshark

And so I captured this fancy... where all that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.

A Dream Within a Dream

—Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Blog Header - November 19, 2011

My son loves carving pumpkins, so this year for Halloween we went online to find a good pumpkin carving pattern#0151;triangle eyes and a toothy grin just wasn’t going to cut it this year. We found this great creepy house pattern and attacked the pumpkin. It actually turned out pretty well. It’s great to know there is more than just one medium for art. Well... kind of art. At least I’m going to claim it’s art.

Kicking up the HDR


is my current full-blown fanaticism! I absolutely love what HDR can do to photography. But it takes a long time. I typically take at least 5 exposures of each scene in order to create the composite HDR photo.

This video is a compilation of HDR photos, each of those comprising at least three different exposures. The HDR composites were then treated as single images in stop-motion photography, resulting in an animated time lapse photography video. It must have taken a year to do the HDR composites for this entire video. But what an amazing video it is.

Hdr skies from Tanguy Louvigny on Vimeo.

November 10, 2011

My plans... God’s plans


hen I graduated from high school, our principal gave a book to each person in the graduating class—Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest. I read snippets from time to time, but never really absorbed what I read because I didn’t engage the thoughts—I didn’t weigh the message and consider the ramifications. I simply read in a dutiful manner and then put the book back on the shelf.

And now... 35 years later, I picked the book up again at the recommendation of a friend. And I’m glad I have done so. I can now see why this book has become a classic.

Today’s reading:

Fellowship in the Gospel


1 Thessalonians 3:2.

After sanctification, it is difficult to state what your purpose in life is, because God has moved you into His purpose through the Holy Spirit. He is using you now for His purposes throughout the world as He used His Son for the purpose of our salvation. If you seek great things for yourself, thinking, “God has called me for this and for that,” you barricade God from using you. As long as you maintain your own personal interests and ambitions, you cannot be completely aligned or identified with God’s interests. This can only be accomplished by giving up all of your personal plans once and for all, and by allowing God to take you directly into His purpose for the world. Your understanding of your ways must also be surrendered, because they are now the ways of the Lord.

I must learn that the purpose of my life belongs to God, not me. God is using me from His great personal perspective, and all He asks of me is that I trust Him. I should never say, “Lord, this causes me such heartache.” To talk that way makes me a stumbling block. When I stop telling God what I want, He can freely work His will in me without any hindrance. He can crush me, exalt me, or do anything else He chooses. He simply asks me to have absolute faith in Him and His goodness. Self-pity is of the devil, and if I wallow in it I cannot be used by God for His purpose in the world. Doing this creates for me my own cozy “world within the world,” and God will not be allowed to move me from it because of my fear of being “frost-bitten.”

I have a long way to go.

November 07, 2011

For those who are called according to His purpose


od works in mysterious ways, or so the saying goes. I guess the saying is trying to capture the indisputable fact that in God’s omniscience, he does things we would never consider. He brings events into our lives and leads us down paths that are totally unexpected. We can then become disquieted because these events and paths are scary and not of our own choosing, or we can rest quietly and watch in anticipation to see what God has planned for us.

Psalm 50:15

Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.

Romans 8:28 says that all things work together for good to those who love and are called by God. Not just the things that are the result of my feeble attempts at goodness. Not just the things that other people will see and praise. Not just the things that align with my knowledge, skills, and abilities. All things.

Thank you, God, for guiding my paths and my events. Now... may I trust in you instead of concerning myself so much with the daily grind.

November 06, 2011

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After a very early fall snowstorm, I took this picture from our back porch. The unusually early snow was beautiful against the leaves that had just hit their peak of fall color.