December 18, 2012


love photography. I guess if you read this blog even only once a year you already know that. But here is another reminder to me of why I love photography so much.

The awesomely gorgeous
Harpers Ferry railroad tunnel

This past Saturday we did a road trip to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, to see what it’s like during the Christmas season. It was beautiful, as always. And the crisp weather and rapidly approaching holiday cleared the streets of tourists, allowing us to stroll the streets in relative privacy. The serenity that covered the town paralleled the beautiful Christmas decorations that lined the avenues. When the bells on the church began ringing the hour, the scene was almost complete. The only thing remaining to make this the perfect scene was falling snow. But in West Virginia in early December, that’s not a common thing. Maybe we can go back when the next snow storm hits. After all, it’s less than 30 miles from our house.

under the railroad trestle bridge

But back to photography... The day was beautiful, with clear skies and light, wispy clouds. And most of my photos from the day show that. But when I wanted to take pictures of the grand Catholic church in Harpers Ferry, there was a family taking a great amount of time take family portraits on the steps of the church. I don’t blame them—it’s a beautiful place for portraits. But, it meant that there were people in the way of what could have been a beautiful picture of the church from where I was standing. So I lowered the exposure to cast the church as a silhouette and discovered that increasing the exposure just slightly past the point of silhoette allowed me to get some detail in the picture while rendering the people somewhat dark so they would not be a distraction.

Houses from the early 1800s
with Christmas decorations on the fence

I added these first three pictures to give you an idea about the way the day actually looked. Later in the day, the shadows were long and made the streets a little dimmer, but overall the day was quite bright and sunny. In the early afternoon, some wonderful clouds rolled in behind the church. The were not dark at all, but gave a great texture to the sky. It was quite beautiful. But as I underexposed the picture of the church to eliminate the distraction, I found that the clouds became wonderfully ominous.

Then, in keeping with the somewhat ominous look of the underexposed clouds, I reduced the color saturation in one of the resulting photos and ended up with a wonderfully ominous and other-worldly scene. Not Christmassy at all... but very cool.

December 10, 2012

Two more weeks...


he Piano Guys are fantastic musicians. I have loved their videos ever since I saw the hilarious Cello Wars video. Today, I am sharing their wonderful “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”

December 09, 2012

Magic man


remember being a bit of an attention hog when I was a teenager. My hobbies all seemed to be performance-related... music, drama, ... magic!

I remember standing in lines at restaurants and entertaining the other people in the line (at least I thought I was entertaining them) with sleight of hand tricks. I remember performing a sponge ball routine for my best friend’s neighbor who had just recently immigrated from Korea. When I made one of the balls seemingly jump from my closed fist to hers, she threw the balls down and ran away screaming that I had a devil. I remember showing a trick to a child in a car dealership while his parents were negotiating with a salesman. I made a quarter appear out of thin air and then pushed it through my cheek before spitting it out of my mouth. I age the quarter to the child and a few minutes later he was crying because he had tried to push the quarter through his cheek and had actually cut himself by pressing the quarter into his cheek so hard.

Ah... such wonderful memories.

But I was never as good as this apparent homeless guy with a serious water and fruit problem:

December 05, 2012

I will rise

have not posted here for more than a month. The world has been crushing in... threatening to overwhelm. Apparently, I had begun to focus on the threatening monsters rather than on the Overcomer.

This past Sunday New Hope Bible Church [Facebook page] had a baptism. Quite a few people followed the call of God on their lives. Their ages ranged from relatively young children to adults. All equals in Christ. They entered the waters to proclaim their union with Christ... symbolically dying with him and rising again, overcomers. “Death, where is your sting... Grave, where is your victory?”

I have the humbling joy of being part of the New Hope Bible Church worship team. My band played this past week, and our leader Jesse introduced a new song to the team and to the church to go along with the baptism. And this song brought tears as we worshiped and praised our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

During the opening verses of the song, Jeremiah played the djembe, Garret played a simple shaker and high-hat cymbal, Michelle’s beautiful voice carried this message of praise, strength, and hope. And the congregation joined us as we sang, “I Will Rise.” When the music swells with the joy of what Christ has done for us the music built and we proclaimed:

I hear the voice of every angel sing,
    “Worthy is the Lamb!”
And I hear the voice of every longing heart,
    “Worthy is the Lamb!”

Praise God!