Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday's Thought

"A Turtle Sunbathing"
As I was busy cleaning house yesterday, I began to pack away so of my brothers items that I brought to my house after he died in May.  My brother and I were not close as we were exact opposites in everything life was about.  Our tastes for clothes, cars, and probably anything you can think of, we were opposite in. Which was fine and nothing meant against him, as I do love him and miss him.  

While packing, it dawned on me, not that I didn't know it, but that he'd died, passed away, is gone.  Unfortunately, the sadness of loss overwhelmed me for the rest of the day.   I got the work accomplished as planned, but I was sad because he passed away suddenly and at a young age. 

This morning as I was thinking some about yesterday, I realized it's alright to miss someone as long as you don't let it become a focus of your life.   Also, when those moments that you feel alone, due to a loss, it's great to know that God is with you.  He will give you comfort and a peace in your heart and mind. 

Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
-Isaiah 41:10 ESV Study Bible

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fall Photography

"Leaves of Fall"
While I am trying to get myself used to the changes in the weather and seasons, I thought I would share some about fall photography.

For many years of life, I dreaded the fall.  I am a spring-summer guy who enjoys the heat and loves whatever hot weather comes our way.  This year's summer had the hottest July on record.  I'm not surprised to hear that since there were many days where I did to be careful while working in the garden.  Anyway, fall means cooler weather, less time outside (days getting shorter), and winter is not far behind.

Fall is a beautiful time of year too, just from a different perspective.  Fall with is brilliant reds, oranges, yellows mixed throughout nature creates some beautiful photography opportunities.

So, if you haven't been photographing this summer, get your camera out, check the batteries, check to make sure you have a card you can use, and be sure your lenses are clean.  Do a few practice shots to be sure you remember what to do.  Ok, so that last sentence was really for me.

I have found the early fall to be the absolute beautiful as you can watch the transition of the leaves from green to their fall color garb.  If you are paying attention, you can get some great shots of the mix of colors.  Later, when the leaves have finished changing colors, you need to be quick and prepared to capture this because the leaves won't be staying on the trees long.  A tree full of it's fall color can be absolutely beautiful and this is a great time to try photographing using different angles or composition to see what you can get. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday's Thought

 During this past week, I read a post on Facebook from a friend at church, Centreville Baptist Church, who was addressing a friends question.  I enjoyed reading it so much, I want to share it with you today. 

"A good friend asked today what any of their friends were doing that truly wanted to make a difference in this world. I thought I would share my answer with you: I have been given a gift of riches that is beyond anything that I have the ability to earn or even comprehend. I have peace of mind in the midst of some of the worst trials that most could imagine. I have been given a bright hope for the future and a reassurance that whatever befalls me, it will all work out for good in the end. I have been rescued from a death sentence and a horrible punishment that I fully deserved, but that rescue came at a steep price that was paid by someone who was completely innocent that stepped in and willingly took the death sentence for me. What makes this even more amazing is that the one that took my sentence, was also my accuser and my judge. The very one that convicted me of the evil that I was born with, took my punishment so that I did not have to. What kind of person could do this? There is only one that can and I want to tell everyone that is within my hearing what he has done for me with every opportunity that I can. What kind of person would I be if I didn't tell the story to all that I have the opportunity to do so? My friend is still alive because he overcame death and he has allowed me the same priviledge. I was not the first to receive his gift and he is still giving it today to all that will simply call on him. His name is Jesus. He is waiting for you."

"Friends from Church"

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday's Foto

"Flowers by the Walney Pond"
This photograph was taken a few years ago, on a June summer morning, while walking at Walney Pond in Centreville, Virginia.

The flowers caught my attention because of the simple beauty and the purplish-blue color.  Now, of course, I have no idea the name of the flower.   If you do, please write them in the comments section below.

Have a happy Friday!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday's Words

"The Heavens Declare His Glory"

"He is my loving God and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield,
in whom I take refuge....."
-Psalm 144:2 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday's Thought

"Cascading Flowers"
We are all called to share the gospel, but we all have different ways in which we are gifted to share.

Some are teachers, preachers, missionaries, but some have other ways that they use to share the gospel: praying before meals in restaurants; scripture verses or writings they post on their emails, blogs or websites; choosing not to work on Sundays; how they treat people; inviting friends, neighbors, co-workers to church events; praying for others; bumper stickers or license plates on their cars; etc.

These are ways we are sharing God with others even though we may not be speaking to each person about Jesus, we are still witnessing to them.

We do not "make" people accept Jesus, it's God's job to change their hearts.

We need to be sensitive to what God is asking of us and be obedient to His call.

We may be the beginning of someone's walk of faith, the middle, or the end. We may plant the seed, water it, fertilize it, or be the reaper.

We need to bring people to God, not block them from Him. We need to open the door for people, not slam it in their face.

We need to be bold for God, not hide our faith.

We need to put Jesus in front of whatever we are looking at so that we may see with His eyes and His heart; Jesus is our filter for the world.

And we need to love others as Christ loves them.

By Kim Kirby, 2012, All Rights Reserved.  Used by Permission.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday's Foto

Happy Friday!  I always look forward to Friday's.  Not to wish my life away mind you, but it's what I've always seen as the happiest day of the week.  After two days off to do stuff with my family is great.

Today's Foto is a great example of always having your camera with you.  I was
walking through a park, in the city off a major interstate, and came across this bird- to my surprise.
"Looking For Lunch"
I am not sure what type of bird it is, and I've seen him a few times since, but it was an absolutely beautiful moment in nature.

If you know what type of bird this is, please leave me a comment. Also, have you ever gotten a great image by surprise (not out on a photo shoot looking for something)?  If so, please share with me.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wednesday's Words

"Seek good, not evil, that you may live.  
Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you...
-Amos 5:14

Monday, September 10, 2012

Flowers That Will Flourish This Fall

When the summer is drawing to a close and the evening air begins to bear that all too familiar autumnal nip, there can be a certain sadness and mourning for the season that ensues. But fear not, keep in mind that fall is one of the more naturally beautiful seasons. The trees flaunt their leaves in the most audacious shades from deep scarlet to blindingly extravagant blondes making any forest land a sea of merciless blush.

To re-enact the season’s natural beauty in your own garden and beat the fall blues, try using some of these flowering perennials that shine at their most bright from late summer to early winter.

Common Boneset (Eupatorium Perfoliatum)  
Just as a sprig of baby’s breath gives a delicate accent to a perfect wedding bouquet the delicate clusters of flowers that emerge from the Common Boneset litters your garden with a gentle persuasion of bloom. It was traditionally used by Native Americans to break fevers from heavy sweating, earning it the less than becoming nick name the sweating-plant.

Eastern Rose Mallow (Hibiscus Moscheutos) 
The Rose Mallow is a hardy perennial; it can with stand some pretty savage 
weather and they grow in fairly large colonies. The Rose Mallow would be best suited to a fairly large bed with room to spread, But remember, it can be quite over powering so make sure you keep it in check. Its blooms vary in colour from a dazzling snow drop white to a rosy pink but all have an eye of deep maroon.

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia Cardinalis)
This tall majestic flower is perfect for any meadow effect garden; it towers over most of the ground sitting plants and gives an amazing diversity to a flower bed. Its unapologetic bloom is a searing red and cuts straight through any foliage. It’s bloom life is fairly long making it the perfect staple to a fall garden.

Pickerel Weed (Pontederia Cordata)
Pickerel Weed is best acclimated to wetter lands so if you live near a lake or river or simply have a pond in your garden, this could be the perennial for you. Its buds of violet and lavender are sweetly scented and add a pastel flush to any outdoor space. They are relatively low maintenance plants and bloom just in time for fall to commence.

This post was brought to you by UK based flower experts Interflora.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday's Thought

"Cross at Centreville Baptist Church"
As I write today's "Sunday's Thought", the words to the hymn, "To God Be the Glory" keep going through my mind.  One of my favorite hymns, but this time I am thinking about it in relation to yesterday's "Open House" and "Sing Out!" dress rehearsal at Centreville Baptist Church, Centreville, VA.

The day was exciting as people came by to visit with us and see the new Worship Center.  Excitement was obvious among the staff and members of the church who have prayed and worked for many years to see these events come to fruition.  The "Sing Out!"  dress rehearsal was amazing.  The Spirit of the Lord was with us as the music ministry rehearsed the program for tonight's 6 p.m. presentation.  The day was just amazing.   We are on our way to what the Lord has called us to do in "the Great Adventure!"

To God Be the Glory

To God be the glory, great things He has done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He has done.

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.


Great things He has taught us, great things He has done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.


Words by Fanny J. Cosby, 1820-1915
Music by William H. Doane, 1832-1915

If you would like information about Centreville Baptist Church, please visit, or call (703) 830-3333.

"From Our Friends"

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Volunteer Skills and Time to Community

I've been doing a lot of thinking about this subject lately, "Volunteering Skills and Time to Community".  Not sure why, except maybe that I've started picking up my camera again and getting back into photography with some new equipment.  Who knows.

Anyway, when I first started my business in 2006, I remember receiving quite a few requests to donate art for Silent Auctions mostly to benefit a charity who was part of the Festival or local to the area where it was held.  As the years progressed, it seemed that each year brought more and more requests for donations, which, was fine, but, I could only afford to do so much- for free.

"Puppy Awaiting Adoption"
A colleague mentioned that he had the same problem- too many requests.  So, he created a "donation budget."   I followed his suggestion and it worked.  I would donate items until I reached that budgeted amount.

But, how about time?  Do you donate your artistic skills and time to your community to help it be a better place to live or to help support a charity?  I believe each photographer should find a community group or charity or type of charity (i.e., dog rescues) to support with their photography skills.  Maybe your church could use your skills to publicize itself to the community.  I've read where adoption rates for dogs and cats photographed by a photographer, not a volunteer with the rescue group, have helped to increase the adoption rate of the animals. Interesting.

"New Worship Center -
Centreville Baptist Church"
I've organized my volunteer time by something that I am interested in and would support financially and it represents me or my family and our interests well (in other words having my name associated with it is alright with me).  I find supporting a charity with that in mind is more exciting because you believe in the cause.    I love dogs, so I photograph dogs for rescue groups.  They can use the images for the website or publications.  Also, I am interested in Missions or Outreach ministries of my church so I donate time to photograph so they'll have images for the website or publications.

Do you support your community with your artistic skills and time?  If so, how?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday's Foto

"East Side"
This weekend my church will be celebrating the Grand Opening of a new Worship Center, classroom space and offices.  The ongoing theme leading up to the Grand Opening has been, "it's not about us or a building, it's about reaching others for Christ" and "The Great Adventure."  You can find out the details of the Grand Opening celebration weekend at, Centreville Baptist Church.
South Side of Centreville Baptist Church

As we embark on our "Great Adventure" to reach others for Christ, I have had the opportunity to do some photography of the new facility.   For this week's Friday Foto, I'd like share a few of my images.  Keep in mind, this is a new adventure for me!

"East Side Entrance"

"Main Foyer"
 I hope to see you this weekend at the Open House, First Services or the Sing Out!  I'll be the guy with the camera!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Monday, September 3, 2012

Leaving The ‘Amateur’ Photographer Behind

Starting out as an amateur photographer has had its ups and downs. First I was all raring to go, thinking of locations and subjects I wanted to shoot, trying to imagine how these were going to turn out when they were printed out.

However, it’s only then, after seeing my initial shots, that I realised I truly deserved the ‘amateur’ title after all!

Of all the things I’ve learned so far about becoming a competent photographer, I’ve discovered that patience really is a virtue.

If, like me, you’re finding that your hobby isn’t exactly turning out to be what you thought at first, then make sure you don’t forget that the following tips can really speed up the process of becoming a great photographer.

Invest in the right kit
Investing in the right kit will really boost your confidence when you get used to using all the settings and seeing the resulting photo. Digital SLR (single lens reflex) cameras are pretty much the standard you should be aiming for.

That’s because what you see through the lens is typically what you get when you’re ready to shoot, unlike other digital cameras with viewfinders (these take time to digitally process the image).

You’ve also got more scope with your aperture range and the maximum depth of field you can take. Digital SLRs can have their lenses swapped, so you can always get more range on them, whereas your compact is probably stuck with the lens it shipped with.

There are always bargains to be had on digital SLRs, so providing you save even a little, you should be able to afford a standard 18-55mm lens model, with at least 14 megapixels.

Seek out the best books
Photography books can be one of the most helpful tools you can turn to when starting out. First, they act as a source of inspiration, giving you ideas about the kindsof wonderful things you might end up shooting.

More importantly though, they can be educational. You could attempt to replicate the same conditions as one of the many shots inside a nature book for example; figuring out how it is that they got so close, or what you could use to get the same kind of lighting effect. Even if the answers don’t come to you now, that doesn’t mean to say they won’t later on.

Don’t be too wooden and practice
Starting out on a digital SLR means that you’re not using up precious, expensive film – and its associated development costs. Every shot you take can be deleted, cropped, saturated or digitally levelled out in other ways.

Try out tips that you see online. If someone recommends using your iPhone as a backing light, then why not? It’s only by figuring out your own ways that you’ll ever escape your amateur tag!

Most of all, just have fun with it. You should probably collate all your images from your early days to document how far you’ve come, which could become just as useful a training tool – or book(!) – in its own right. 

Author Bio: Louis Sharman is an avid blogger and writes for a plethora of subjects ranging from book reviews to suggesting the importance of ebooks in modern culture. He lives in London, UK and enjoys reviewing the most recent books. He is also an amateur photographer and has a great collection of photographybooks.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunday's Thought

We planned.  We prayed.  We met.  We asked for God to bless the project.  We worked. We prayed.  We saved our money to finance the project.  We were so excited when construction began at the ground-breaking ceremony.  We watched.  The ground began to change, evolve, and the plans began to come to reality.  Time passed as we watched.

"Centreville Baptist Church
The years passed as fast as they always do, but seemed to slow some as we watched.  We prayed and God blessed.  New people visited our church, some moved on to other places God had called them.  The church continued to grow.

The day of finishing the new facility grew near and our hustle and bustle to prepare to move drew near.  A few stumbling blocks came our way, but we remained trusting and faithful. We prayed and worked as we watched God bless our church and our lives.

We have planned an Open House, Sat., September 8, 2012, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for our neighbors, friends, those commuters who drove by daily -"just wondering what's happening there" and members of the congregation who have watched with us, the ground taking shape to a new building.

Our First Services will be on Sunday, Sept. 9, at 9:15 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.. And, to cap our weekend off, a "Sing Out!" of music presented by the CBC Music Ministry.

"An Entrance to
Centreville Baptist Church
We finish our planning. Tidy those loose ends.  Get them to do that, and those to do this and the others to do the other. We pray again for God to Bless, after all, this new Worship Center wasn't build for us, it was built for you- those of our community.

What's missing in our celebration, YOU.  We are praying that you will join us in celebrating the new Worship Center God has blessed us with.  Maybe stay and get to know us.

Centreville Baptist Church is located at 15100 Lee Highway, Centreville, VA, just off I-66.  For information,our website, Centreville Baptist Church or 703.830.3333.

"We ARE Looking Forward to Meeting YOU!!"