Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday's Words

"Cloud Portraits"

"By your words I can see where
I'm going;
they throw a beam of light on my 
dark path.
I've committed myself and I'll never
turn back
from living by your righteous order."

- Psalm 119:105-106
 [The Message]

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday's Thought

If you live in the Washington D.C. Metro area and tune into the Christian music station, WGTS 91.9 FM, you have undoubtedly heard about the "Drive-Thru Difference," and what a difference it makes in people lives.

"The Cross"
In case you are not familiar with this, here's what happens:  You go to the radio stations website and print out this note which explains what the program is about.  The note is important.  When you go to a drive-thru pick-up window at a fast food place like Chick-fil-A, Burger King or McDonald's, just to name a few, and get to the window to pay for your order, you tell the cashier you want to pay for the person behind you. You pay for it and give the cashier the note to the cashier who is to give the note to the person receiving the free food.  If you have an interesting situation happen to you that you'd like to share, you're invited to call the radio station and tell your story.  Or, if you received your food free with the note, you can call and share too.

Many times, the stories shared are about how much the person who received their food paid for and the note, really needed the act of kindness that day.  One lady told of her father having cancer and a bad day going to tests.  Someone did the "Drive-Thru Difference" to them which turned into a huge blessing for them.

Lately, I've been seeing bumper stickers "Do Random Acts of Kindness" or do something kind for your neighbor, co-worker or friends.  Doesn't have to be a major thing- could be shoveling the snow for someone who can't do it or mowing their lawn.   Something simple.  Something kind.  And, add these things to your life to do on a regular basis.

As Christians, shouldn't we be kind to one another. all the time?  Shouldn't we do the little things in life, like smile at someone, hold or open the door for someone, and the list could go on but I think you get what I am saying, "Be Kind to One Another."

"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, 
forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you."
- Ephesians 4:32 ESV

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday's Words

"The First Snow"
And, hope does not disappoint us, 
because God has poured out 
His Love into our hearts 
by the Holy Spirit....

-Romans 5:5

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday's Thought

"Inside a Church in the Dominican Republic"
I love writing this post each week.  I enjoy the opportunity to share my faith in God and, hopefully, help others to find faith in God too.

This week, as I sit down to write, no this post isn't pre-planned or pre-written most of the time, my thoughts go several directions.

I started a new endeavor or challenge this week which I am excited about and will write more about later, the CBC Photography Ministry at Centreville Baptist Church- it's the start of a dream or desire I've had in my heart for years.  This has been God's direction for me over the years.  I am interested and excited to see where it goes!

My mind and heart keep going back to the subject, "thankfulness."  Being a bit far from the Theologian or a Theological Scholar, I did a search on the topic and found these Scriptures:

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." -Colossians 3:16-17 [ESV]

Are you thankful for the many blessings that God has given you?  Think about it. From what may seem like the smallest thing or blessing to the major things in your life- do you stop to thank God for them?   

These past few weeks has been a bit crazy in my family.  My mother-in-law had major surgery for a rare form of cancer. She is now in Rehab. to regain the strength and ability she lost with the tumor on her backside.  Then. will have radiation treatment.  During this, she's been blessed to have the top doctors and specialists in their field for the form of cancer.  Coincidence?  No, God blessed her through all of this.  And, I've seen her be truly thankful to God for this blessing.

This week, circumstances required that I have a parking space close to the door of this building.   I didn't care that it be front row and right in front of the door,  but it needed to be close.  The busyness of the place, I thought this would be unlikely to happen.  I breathed a prayer to God about my circumstances.   And, sure enough, I had a close parking space.  Small? Petty? No, not at all.  God watches over our needs and provides.   I prayed a "THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!! THANK YOU, GOD!!!" 

Next time you are blessed. Thank God for it!   

What blessings that you needed to happen, are you thankful for?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday's Foto

I enjoy this image because it brings out the beauty of the dog and it's personality. A sweet dog that I photographed a few months ago for PetConnect Rescue.  He caught on to the fact that I love dogs and would probably play with him awhile.  I did. He could read me.  Then, I got some good images of him.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Best Online Photography Class - Rush Course

If you are a photography enthusiast, then you are probably always searching for ways to improve your craft. Luckily, there are many online courses available for you to take. You can enroll in a class, and learn from top photographers from around the world. All you need to do is find a class that is teaching something you want to learn. The following list will help you find an online photography course where you can learn new techniques.

1) Photography Course
This website is ideal for beginners. You can learn the basics of photography, and camera maintenance. There are also more advanced courses people who want to learn specific tips for taking outdoor pictures or portraits. There is plenty to learn, and they best part is that these courses are free! You will learn plenty of new things that will make you a much better photographer than before.

2) Picture Perfect
These paid courses will teach you in depth photography techniques. You can learn about darkrooms and even Photoshop. These classes also feature specialized videos to help students who have trouble grasping a concept. These classes are meant for the real photo enthusiast who wants to become better at taking pictures.

3) New York Institute of Photography
The NYIP is a professional online school where you will learn more advanced techniques than the previously mentioned websites. This is a real school where a degree will be issued. However, they have rush courses available for people who want to learn about photography in a flash.

4) Fodor's Travel Tips
Fodor's is one of the biggest travel guide companies around. Thus, they are a great way to learn specific tricks about travel photography. Fodor's website offers free tips and courses about capturing that perfect shot when on vacation. If you are a frequent traveler, then these courses are ideal for you.

5) The Academy of Art
The Academy of Art is a world renowned art institution. They offer a special online degree for people who want an MFA in photography. You do not have to complete the full course if you would prefer to only take a few classes. However, the level of instruction is unparalleled to other online courses. This is easily one of the best photography schools available on the Internet. You can never go wrong by taking classes at The Academy of Art.

As you can see, there are plenty of online photography schools and courses. Each one is targeted towards specific levels of photography and budgets. Each class can be completed in whatever amount of time one can dedicate to their online photography education. If you have years or only days, then there is a course for you. Your photography education and knowledge will improve immensely no matter which program or course you choose. You just need to find one that fits your budget, time, and interest.

About the Author:
Pam Johnson enjoys photography ad blogging. She obtained a photography degree online and is now a contributing writer for affordable online bachelors degree

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Ins and Outs of Photography: Beginner's Roadmap!

Photography means different things to different people because it can be defined as an art, business, science, hobby, and general practice. The advent of digital media doesn't exactly help to quickly summarize the field of photography either. Nonetheless, photography and images have shown more commonalities than similarities since the 1820s, which marks the decade of the first conventional cameras. Today's camera technology, clearly, is more advanced, and includes the following innovations: zoom, color, controlled exposure times, controlled pixel amount, infrared and ultraviolet lenses, and an assortment of editing options not available to yesteryear's cast of photographers. The duration of this article will bring the reader up to speed on contemporary photography, its techniques and practice.

Filming is Everything
Although many of today's companies and cameras have switched from tangible film to digital memories, photographic film still exists and it can be developed at your local Walgreens. Photographic film itself is emulsion-rich plastic comprised of polyester and cellulose. Technicians or more technically oriented photographers oftentimes expose the plastic film material to light to form a latent image. Moreover, the plastic film comes in a host of crystal sizes that augment or decrease the resolution, contrast, and sensitivity of the film. In layman's terms, the resolution of a piece of photography denotes the detail that an image can hold such that the higher the resolution is brought, the higher the perceived quality and detail will be.

Photography's Big Three
Although some photographers will talk about the depth of field, or the extent to which the background is present in the image, the logistics of photography pivot around three points: focus, aperture, and shutter speed. Let's start with the most intuitive one: aperture. Just like the human eye, when exposed to too much light, you want a dilated aperture to ensure the right amount of focus. The right focus for the shot means that the optical device has been adjusted (via the aperture) to present a smooth image; clearly, the aperture affects one's depth of field too.

Everything's Blurry!

Have you noticed when a photographer takes a prolonged exposure of a fast moving thing, such as a roller coaster or highway off ramp, the image seems psychedelic and blurred? Well, by slowing down the shutter speed and allowing for greater exposure, the image will blur together. Such a phenomenon is even more pronounced when dealing with a fast moving object.

What to Look For...
This makes intuitive sense when you consider that you are not tracking much variability in someone sitting down or sleeping versus someone jumping rope or riding a ferris wheel. Photographers would do well to alter the shutter speed and aperture amount to fit light conditions and experimental inclinations. Obviously, you want to steer clear of manically large exposures and low shutter speeds at a wedding or on the beach! Budding photographers need to ask before and after snapping that coveted shot where they have been and where they are going!

About the Author:
Author Jason Harter is an aspiring professional photographer who is currently obtaining his degree online. He is a contributing writer for Top Colleges Online.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday's Thought

"A Church in Dominican Republic"

Mis-Direction or God-Direction? 
by Kim Kirby, 2013

God how You bless me with Your interruptions, Your choices, Your words, Your dreams, Your thoughts, Your love, Your timing!

A wrong turn? No, it's the right one, look up ahead.

A wrong door? No, it's the right one, see, it's opening.

The wrong time? No, it's the right time, hearts are prepared.

A mis-direction? No, a God-direction.

Thank you Lord that I took the wrong turn (Your way), opened the wrong door (Your will) at the wrong time (Your time).

Or I would have missed out on the blessing You had prepared just for me!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday's Foto

Happy FRIDAY!!! One reason I selected this image to share this week is the smile on the dog's face.   He seems happy and probably glad it's Friday so he can spend time with his human all weekend.

Another reason I posted this image is to point of the necessity of knowing many angles to use to get a good photograph of a rescued dog.  Though the dog is smiling in this image, it took about an hour to get it.  The dog was scared of men, so I had to use every trick and angle I could think of to get the image.  Only by hiding behind some bushes, laying on my back and shooting repeatedly did I get it.

He was one of my more difficult rescued dogs to photograph but am happy to have spent the timing doing it as I heard he's got a good home.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sunday's Thought

"Tulips in the Garden"

Yesterday I spent a few hours with my in-laws.  My mother-in-law isn't well and will be having surgery on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013.  The situation is serious and she's in a lot of pain right now, but some of it is being controlled by meds and quite a few prayers.

One thing I have noticed whenever I see her, is a constant good attitude and a faith in God.  She hasn't said anything negative about her situation though in quite a bit of discomfort.   She may tell you how she's feeling or what's going on, but it's usually followed by something positive like "it will be better soon" or "it's such a beautiful day today with the sun shining."  At Christmas, she wanted to be there with us to celebrate Christ's Birth, so she donned the walker and got here.  It took a bit out of her but she made it.  Yesterday, though it was painful for her to move, she scooted across the couch to chat with a friend on the phone.  She had so many kind words to say to her friend while they chatted- she inspired and encouraged me and probably her friend!!  

"The Yellow Pansies"
Her attitude got me to thinking.  Though she is a great mother-in-law, always very kind and jovial, this continued through the suffering of pain. She realizes the possibility of another outcome with the surgery and has talked about heaven and seeing Jesus and her son who passed away several years ago.  But, at a time when I would probably be very grouchy and rude, she isn't doing that.

As I sat there yesterday, I could see God's Love shining through her.  I don't know why this is happening right now, as our families have had more than a few trials over the years, but maybe, just maybe it's time for her witness to shine to others who might not otherwise hear about Jesus and the Bible.  Maybe her light is shining in the dark places to reach the lost before it's too late.

Will your light shine before men in your darkest hour?  Many times that's when our opportunity to reach the unsaved happens.  I wonder about my own light, does it shine bright and reach others?  Will it shine before men so they may find Christ in my darkest hour?

Have you had an experience where your light reached someone for Christ?  I'd love to read about it in the comments below.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday's Foto

"Perspective of a Candelight Worship"
Ok, admittedly, this may look like a bad shot. And you're probably thinking I am crazy for posting it on my blog and sharing the error with everyone.  

Well, you got one wrong.  The image isn't a bad shot or an error.  I got what I intended.  I've started photographing for my church, Centreville Baptist Church, doing some event work.  After photographing several images, and checking to be sure I got them, I wanted to experiment by blurring the 55-200mm lens a bit.  My intention was to be creative and give the church something unique to use in their outreach ministry.  The scene is a full Worship Center of 1100 people with lit candles or glow sticks for the children singing Silent Night. 

Have you experimented in photography trying to be creative?  Was it successful or did you bomb?  Trust me, I've had plenty of bombs, just haven't shared them.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Wednesday's Words

'Winter's Maze"
If my people, who are called by my name, 
will humble themselves and pray
and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,
then will I hear from heave and will forgive their sin
and will heal their land.
- II Chronicles 7:14