photographingGOD Photography

Tag: God

What Is Wisdom?

God knows everything and is the source of all knowledge worth having. One very important avenue to God’s wisdom is the process of discovery and exploration. Unfortunately, we have outsourced and streamlined our search for knowledge. Our schools teach us to memorize facts and not to seek them. Recorded history is fraught with biases and twisted perspectives. Our professions have little tolerance for inexperience and “on-the-job-learning” And now “the age of information” has given us a false sense of knowledge at our fingertips. But really, it all just sums up to noise. Quantity and not quality. Accessibility at the expense of hands-on research. “Why should I get on a plane and go somewhere to understand a unique culture when I can have CNN or a good book fill in the gap.”

We get information from sources that are not even recognizable. We get propaganda, not news, from the various 24/7 news outlets. We abstracts and not whole stories from which we form our opinions. We listen to someone who heard something from someone else. And to amplify the damage caused by this information revolution, we are getting fed in bits and bites; Snaps and Chats (as I call them). Not even whole sentences or complete thoughts.

As a result, the quality of our knowledge base is suffering and has made us an ignorant race. Socrates wasn’t suggesting that we were stupid and know nothing. Quite the contrary. He was suggesting that the only way to acquire wisdom was to first start from a place absent of knowledge and to use our God-given gifts of research, exploration, and invention to seek out the truth.

Flip Flop

Flip Flop
by Greg Pai
Photo Credit: Erik Hersman (Nairobi, Kenya)

I flip! I flop!
I wander without aim.
Life is such a game.
Chasing fortune.
Chasing fame.

I flop and I flip.
I ride high and then I dip
Kick off my sandals and wade.
What am I waiting for?
My time on earth to fade?
The Sun to Turn To Shade?

The water to recede?
Leave behind what I need?
It doesn’t work that way.
It doesn’t matter what they say.

God made me so I lean on Him.
There is no other way.

Are You A Picture Taker Or A Photographer?

This article gives one artist’s perspective; and a valuable one. However, I do not see this topic as having perspectives per se’. Few would argue that the process of “taking pictures” has become routine (even for many professionals) and leads to little satisfaction for all of us just snap, snap, snapping away. This is yet another reason why photographingGOD exists. We want to restore the value of an image; Even one taken with a phone device. Restoring value in imagery however, starts with restoring value in all of creation (mankind, nature, talent & gifts, miracles, etc.) before it gets captured in the camera. A Picture-Taker becomes a Photographer when he or she has connected with the phenomenon that they capture. This connection becomes contagious as others see what the photographer saw and then add their own personal significance. And that’s Amore!

A Picture-Taker becomes a Photographer when he or she has connected with the phenomenon that they capture.

We believe that every image, regardless of the professional quality, fundamentally captures Light (ironically the same function as the human eye itself). And Light reveals colors, patterns, textures, contrasts, miracles, wonders, and Life! So much to marvel at. When a picture-taker becomes a photographer the result is a deeper appreciation and connection with the subject and with God, the Creator of all things.

What makes a photographer when everyone is taking pictures – pbs.org

“When photographer Ken Van Sickle was 23 and living in Paris, he could barely afford rolls of film. One night, hearing that jazz great Chet Baker was playing, he went and took only two pictures, and one was blurry. So what’s happened to photography now that everyone has the technology to take as many pictures as they like? Van Sickle offers his Brief But Spectacular take.” read more at pbs.org

Always Thank God…

Using a camera is a great way to capture the awesomeness of God’s creation. But let us never forget that God’s creation extends infinitely beyond the frame of an image.

What Happens When You Love People So Much…

…You commit nearly your entire adult life trying to improve theirs.  This is exactly what the founders of BRCK have been doing which is about to upgrade an entire continent of people who have been left behind in this era of technology and information.

CNN: This little black box could change the internet in Africa– here’s why you should care

You have to want to do GOOD and hope to do WELL.

BRCK’s founders and investors had to believe that they were doing something more than simply building another tech company what would garner the glory and riches of Wall Street. When you serve people who have been left behind, you generally don’t even know how you will make money or monetize your ideas. So, unlike the traditional world of business, you have to seek other prizes for your efforts as well. You have to want to do GOOD and hope to do WELL. God always seems to bless those who live in this spirit. BRCK is living proof. Look at the priceless faces of these children in these amazing photos.

GO BRCK!

BRCK1

To Learn More About BRCK

Photos Courtesy of CNN

Capturing A Miracle

Sometimes being in the wrong place at the wrong time can be the exact place at the perfect time to photograph a miracle. Many remember this amazing story of heroism on the part of the pilot and the orderly passengers who didn’t let their panic overtake their desire to assist one another. The individual who captured this moment just happened to be on a ferry not too far from where the plane landed. What could have easily resulted in a bad outcome for anyone that was in the plane’s way on descent, became an opportunity to capture and share God’s grace.

I Took the Iconic ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ Photo

“I was in New York City for business meetings, running around, trying to stay warm. I got on the 3:30 p.m. ferry to New Jersey, sat down and pulled out my iPhone. As the ferry inched toward the aircraft and approached the wing, I snapped the photo above and tweeted it to my 170 followers using TwitPic.” read more at mashable.com

The photo itself, while not a high quality capture, is an amazing site and stirs quite a bit of tension.  Feels so out of place. Like a fish out of water; A plane in water just doesn’t feel right…

 

Do You Have A Train To Catch?

I know. Easier said than done. But how true and profound. Why are we so preoccupied with getting to the destination and so little attention is given to the journey.

From when we are young, we are hammered to get good grades so we can go to a good college. We are convinced we need to do well in college so we can get a good job. We strive to do well at our job so we can climb the ladder. We get to the top of the ladder so we can acquire and do lots of things. We acquire and do lots of things so we can acquire and do more things than our friends and then retire. And when we retire, we begin the process of trying to figure our where our life went and what was it that we really wanted to do.

Don’t rush to catch a train and miss God’s plan for your life.

God has a day filled with Him planned for you

Why Does Time Fly When We Are Having Fun?

Time itself is not nearly as important as how each moment is spent. We spend time like it is infinite. Ironically, we have a greater concern for our financial wealth which is fleeting and ultimately useless without the ingredient of time. One example of such abuse is our commute to work. The average American spends one hour a day commuting roundtrip which has steadily increased since 1980. That works out to be equivalent to 1.8 trillion minutes in one year alone if you add up the commutes of all Americans. Imagine if that time were committed to community service, mentorship, or even one’s own family. And for nearly 17% of us, that commute is 2 hours or more per day.

Now, let’s add the following to the wastebasket as well including time spent (i) on the phone on hold, (ii) aimlessly surfing the internet out of boredom, (iii) window or catalog shopping with no need to fulfill or intent to buy, (iv) government red-tape (e.g., filing out forms, renewing a driver license, etc.), (v) waiting on a line for something just because there is a line (e.g., a popular ride at an amusement park, ticket to a certain show, etc.), and (vi) arguing a point that is pointless or has little relevance or significance. I fret to learn just what it all adds up to, plus the commute.

The point I want to make is that we usually have alternative choices when it comes to how our time is spent. We tend to go with the popular choices but the “not so popular” choices could have enormous advantages. Many of us have moved from urban, hustle and bustle, cities to more rural, slower paced destinations. Often that means sacrificing income or proximity to certain conveniences. But when it all adds up… Well, it all adds up and life on this earth is short. No need to make it shorter.

 

 

Red Boots! Red Boots!

Red Boots! Red Boots!
by Greg Pai
Photo Credit: Greg Pai

Red Boots!
Red Boots!

Just in case
Life rains on me
through thickening fog
my boots you’ll see.

Red Boots!
Red Boots!

Protect my feet
from puddled pools,
torrential showers, and
morning dew

Red Boots!
Red Boots!

I thought they’d protect.
Keep dry in the wet.
Oh, the comfort I get.

But now I regret
the trust that I had
in boots so red.
That kept dry my feet
while the rain soaked my head.

Moral Of The Story:  Trust in God before you trust in boots!  🙂

Is Life Really Better Under The Sea?

Not likely unless you are a fish. However, this recent photo contest makes a compelling case for the world down under. Most of us will never come face to face with these forms of life except through the lens of these brave photographers (who also happen to be divers). An example of where two talents are necessary to bring about a single result.

The Ocean’s Chaotic Beauty Captured In 15 Award-Winning Photos

“In case you needed further proof that the ocean is a bizarre, magnificent and totally alien world, the Underwater Photography Guide has announced the winners of its 2015 Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition.”
read more at huffingtonpost.com

It is not surprising that we must brave the elements in order to capture some of God’s most hidden treasures. Maybe He hides them to protect them; Or maybe so that the search is equally as exciting as the find. We salute those who bring this amazing world up to the surface for all to marvel.

What Does The Desert Mean To You?

What a great perspective from Joy Harjo. Feels like God’s perspective too. Our perspective does not hold weight against God’s perspective. So, while having a perspective is in our nature and part of our creative and strategic thinking gifts, we should always seek God’s perspective for reconciliation to our own. God’s perspective is what we should strive to unearth and embrace because it is rooted in truth and comes directly from the source of creation.

 

Want A Laugh Over Spilled Milk?

Moooooove Over Scientists! Scientists deserve a great respect for their pursuit of exploring and understanding God’s miracles. But don’t be fooled for a second, God is the only creator of miracles. And everything is a miracle!

Do You Want To Be Famous?

The only fame worth pursuing is that which you gain for sharing God. It is a fame that makes you effective and gain the attention of others, but leaves you in God’s shadow so that He gets all the glory.

Only God!

Passion

God is the source of Passion which gives us the ability to pursue our ability.

Through My Lens

Through my lens;
I see millions of friends;
Who may find our Blog;
And grow closer to God.

Are You Going To Get In The Way Of Yourself This Year?

I went to bed last night and set my alarm for 5:00 am.  What was I thinking? I was thinking I was going to get up and photograph the perfect circumstances God had planned and were forecasted for the morning sunrise over New York. Such anticipation for a great moment. Instead, I woke up closer to the sun’s transit overhead and overwhelmed by a sense of failure. Not because I missed the photo op; but because I questioned my own sense of appreciation particularly at the very start of a new year.

“You’re made to do hard and holy things — because there’s no other way to get to the happy and holy things.” read more at aholyexperience.com

I am a photographer. Given a gift from God. The sunrise is also a gift from God. The two were destined to meet this morning but I got in the way. Call it procrastination. Call it fatigue. Call it plain lazy. But it is what it is. I got in the way of an opportunity to bring it all together. Most importantly for the glory of God and for others who may have enjoyed it as well through my gifts. I learned this morning that I need to move out of the way of myself, and follow the instincts and opportunities God puts in front of me – Faithfully.

How To Destroy Procrastination: Dear You Who Doesnt Want to Do that Hard Thing in the New Year (from A Holy Experience)

Dear Lovely You,

Who doesn’t want to do that hard thing in the New Year, who doesn’t want to get on the treadmill, or go for a run, or sort through the closets, or tackle the garage, or the piles of paperwork, or the project that’s hanging over you like a tonne of bricks, or do that big thing that feels like an impossible thing—

You’re made to do hard and holy things — because there’s no other way to get to the happy and holy things.” read more at aholyexperience.com

What Is Truth?

God is like truth because God is truth. Similarly, God is truth because God is like truth.

Unpack That Time! Ok – The sun hides behind a cloud for a time and yes, it is still there. It also steers to the other side of our planet for a time and yes, it is still shining somewhere. So we can conclude that the sun may not be in our presence, but that does not deny its existence. (You could still argue that even while the sun is not in our presence we benefit from its effect like energy, heat, etc.). Similarly, truth can and will get distorted, stretched, changed by opinion or perception, maligned, and even hidden or forgotten. Nevertheless, “the truth” will always be the truth which we can define as “the truth before man gets to it.”

So we could say that God is very much like the truth because even though God may not seem present at times or is denied by some, the evidence of His existence is overwhelming. Even as man attempts to distort the existence, presence, and nature of God (and successfully I might add), none of this changes the fact that God exists.

Even an atheist has to accept some form of acknowledgment of God’s existence as they authenticate their view and ultimately deny God’s existence. For example, before the phenomenon of flight, you would be among the populous if you believed that man could not fly and that the whole notion was preposterous. However, in order to discover the ability to fly, you had to first explore its possibility thereby, bringing you to a place, however temporary, where you believed it was possible. You cannot be a “true” atheist unless you have at least considered the possibility that God exists. We do not spend much time wondering if a ham and cheese sandwich could talk. One thing is for sure however, if we choose to completely deny the possibility, rest assure, we will never find out. We can only attempt to disprove it, without bias, if we first consider its possibility. That’s just the way the universe works. God doesn’t conceal or limit possibility. On man does that.

Now on to the point. Absolute truth is absolute and doesn’t change regardless of what man attempts to do to change it. Likewise, God has not, does not, and will not change no matter what the world attempts to do to eliminate or change the truth about God. God and truth share so much that the occasional interchangeability is effective.

Only God!

Talent

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Who Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

God made each and every one of us unique for a reason. Preprogrammed into your soul is your specific purpose. And that purpose will use ALL the physical, emotional, and spiritual gifts you were created with. God wastes nothing. Just look at the inter-relationship and inter-dependence of everything in the universe. I remember as a youngster when I would hear of friends having their appendix removed. I would always wonder, “Don’t we need that thing? Why would we have it in the first place if we didn’t need it?”

Even more important to understand is that there is nothing about our design that limits us from pursuing our specific purpose. No physical or mental handicap. No circumstantial handicap (like poverty, loss of a loved one, being raised with one parent, etc.). Nothing. Nada! In fact, one of the cool things about life is learning how God will actually use these things as attributes of our purpose.

Now the bad news. From the day you are born, the world will pull out all the stops and try to define you. Your parents, your school, your occupation, your therapist, your friends, your spouse, your political party, etc, etc, etc… They will all have their own agenda. Not necessarily always malicious, but just the way the world works. However, we must be on our toes at all times and fight tendencies and influences that may not be aligned with God’s plan for us. Often, this may mean venturing beyond our comfort zone or shedding a lot of the world’s programming (particularly if we hardened in our ways and beliefs or up in our years). But with faith and persistence, you will achieve this pursuit for sure. It took me over 50 years.

So, stop trying to be someone other than who you were meant to be. Besides, as Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself, Everyone else is already taken.” Blessings in your journey…

Guess What?

God is the giver of life. Maybe you are reading this and it is the absolute worst day or time in your life. Maybe you have lost hope and can’t even find the strength to lift your body. Well I have good news for you… You are Alive! And as long as you are alive there is hope. A miracle certainly awaits you. It may simply be the miracle of another breath of life. Even so, as long as there is life, there is hope.

Guess what? As long as you are reading this… There is Life and as long as there is life, there is Hope! Blessings…

 

May New Acquaintances Be Always Remembered! (Ode to Auld Lang Syne)

So here we are at the end of the year. Not just any year. The first New Year for photographingGOD. Though hardly a full new year. We launched on Saturday morning, September 5 at around 8am Eastern Standard Time. We had no agenda. No plan. Not even a vision. But we had God who has led this amazing journey from the beginning.  And then we had (and hopefully have) You! God breathed it. We built it. But you came and supported it with your amazing engagement and interest. Over 40 million people from 91 countries of all races, creeds, colors, and faith’s coming together to seek and celebrate the absolutes in this life. Particularly those we can share and agree upon. The common ground. Like the greatness of God, the creator of all things. Sure – there are many differences and debates we can challenge ourselves and each other on this matter. But the truth is that we have more in common than in difference. And yet, diversity is a spice of life (God-given I might add) and should be celebrated. In fact, differences were probably part of His grand design because it keeps us seeking truth and seeking Him. What better way to have our undivided attention! Still, there is what goes on within us. Our own personal journeys. We, at photographingGOD, respect this and always will.

“Most often we didn’t choose our best friends as much as we were thrown together with them in “accidents” of Providence.” -from Auld Lang Syne| Desiring God

The timeless song, Auld Lang Syne is about old friends and the beauty of such relationships – How God has His hand in such encounters. I hope that we too become old friends. photographingGOD may never become everything to everybody – But our prayer is that it becomes something to most. Blessings this New Year. Thank you from the bottom, and the top, of our hearts and everything in between. God Bless…

facebook_auld-lang-syne

Auld Lang Syne | Desiring God

What makes “Auld Lang Syne” so powerful? It has nothing to do with a New Year and everything to do with an old friend.

Old friendship is that sort of treasure. Few gifts in life are as precious as companions with whom we once spent long summer days and talked long into the night; with whom we shared thrilling adventures and disastrous mishaps; with whom we bent over in convulsive laughter and sat silently in tearful loss; in whom we confided the hopes and fears of our youthful years.

Most often we didn’t choose our best friends as much as we were thrown together with them in “accidents” of Providence. Frequently, they happened to move in next door or up the street or in our tenement or began attending our church or had the locker or workstation next to us.” read more at desiringgod.org

 

 

Can A Photograph Heal?

Photography as a Healing Art

Photographs have power. Creative photography allows us to see the world in new ways, to drop preconceptions, and to find focus in a busy, chaotic world. For some, photography is an art; for others, a job or a hobby. But there’s another, rapidly expanding avenue for camera work – photography as therapy.

“Photography is a tool for meditation, mindfulness and creative living. Now the emerging field of phototherapy embraces the power of making and viewing photographs for healing and personal transformation. Why are photographs so powerful?” read more at bestthinking.com

Of course, we agree that photographs have therapeutic power. Moreover, the article states that “the camera is an instrument that teaches people to see without a camera.” This is the real opportunity and essentially, at the core of what photographingGOD’s uniqueness and approach. Through the use of imagery, we believe that we can restore an appreciation for all of creation and the Creator – God. As we reconnect the universe (and everything in it) with our eyes; and our eyes with our hearts; we begin a process of connecting our lives (and our purpose) with the Source of all these elements and gain a new appreciation for everything.

Children Are The Hands…

Children are one of the many connections that give us a view to the glory of heaven. The beauty and purity of their nature before the world takes hold of them is a near perfect reflection of heaven’s soil.

Put Your Shovels Away and Let It Snow!

I remember as a child cutting snowflakes out of folded paper and always entertained by the result. An acceptable rendition of what only God can produce perfectly. However, only when I stumbled on the work of a certain amateur photographer did I truly realize how magnificent a creation a simple snowflake is. Maybe not so simple after all. We can get up close and personal with the snowflake through the work of Alexey Kljatov. Get ready to be amazed!

Photographer Alexey Kljatov uses quick bursts of his shutter to animate snowflakes melting. The sequence above is in reverse.

Amateur photographer Alexey Kljatov uses a simple Canon PowerShot to capture these pristine photos of snowflakes. No, these designs aren’t the latest in 3D printing technology; they are photographs of snowflakes taken by self-taught Moscow photographer, Alexey Kljatov. Photo grapher Alexey Kljatov uses quick bursts of his shutter to animate snowflakes melting.

snowflake_sublimation_reversed“Every photographer with a simple point-and-shoot camera can make very good snowflake photos,” Kljatov said. “For this type of photography, patience, persistence and luck means much more than any expensive photo technique.” Kljatov has been photographing snowflakes for the past eight years.” read more at pbs.org

These photographs inspire me to put away my clunky equipment for a minute and capture God’s wonders more spontaneously.  The moments I see them or seek them. Spend more time with them. And get closer to the miracles of creation.

Kljatov describes his process on his website.

Only God!

Culture

Diversity of culture is God’s gift to humanity. It is just one of the many magnificent threads of God’s tapestry called Creation.

I Thought About Quitting…

Our children don’t need us to impress them, buy them things, or mold them into something we want them to become. But our children do need us to lead them to God, by example. Letting them see God in us every day, sharing the love of God with them, and encouraging and equipping them to seek God themselves.

Only God!

Family

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A Bone To The Dog Is Not Charity

Deep in our hearts is the natural desire to give, and give unconditionally. Besides the fact that so many of us in the developed world have so much to give, we still battle a voice that tells us not to give what we need or more than we have to. In other words, I will give so long as I do not give what I need now or might need in the future.” But what fun is that? Don’t you miss the full experience of the glory of God if you play it so safe?

I co-wrote a story of orphan children in Mexico that would give away the few items of clothes to local children in their impoverished neighborhood. Now that’s giving. But at least as remarkable was the fact that somehow, from somewhere, these clothes would get replenished and the children were never left without. What an amazing experience to witness and an encouragement that when we give that which we need, we find that somehow God still provides for our need.

We Don’t Want to Tell People…

God gave us a brilliant mind to think for ourselves and not simply follow a system by default. But that requires time, effort, and most of all, God’s wisdom. Thinking, discovering, and creating are the three worst things to outsource, and doing so is a fatal mistake.

Have You Seen Nature’s Waterfall Of Colors?

The Aurora Borealis , or Northern Lights, is one of nature’s most spectacular light displays. Ever changing, they will intrigue anyone who is lucky to catch them night after night.

At no other time of year can we drive through city and country alike and feel the warmth that lights add to our lives. No matter how awesome our light displays are though, nothing can compare with one of the most amazing shows nature has to offer; the Aurora Borealis, or more commonly referred to as the Northern Lights. It is literally a shifting waterfall of colors ranging from green to pink to white and everything in between. read more at grit.com

This is a phenomenon not to be missed in a lifetime if possible. Most of us will not get to the poles of the earth. However, recent changes in climate and solar patterns have been extending the effect of the Northern Lights where nearly half the earth’s population can get a glimpse (God’s way of moving the stage closer to your seat!). There is a great website hosted by Space Weather where you can go to receive alerts and other information about these events. Hopefully you can catch God’s next show! Blessings…

 

If Not For The Valleys

by Greg Pai
Featured Photo Credit: highlights6 (Wood Lanes, UK)

If not for the valleys
I often descend
I could not see the mountains
o’er horizon’s bend

The glory of God
His Majestic style
Awe filled landscape
A miracle mile

So far in the distance
While feeling so close
The landscape before me
I anticipate most

These dips
are in God’s grips
All these lands
are in His hands
Descents and ascents
are the intent of His plans

Shaping and molding
Yes, bending; That too
Form the grandeur of landscapes
Form the essence of you

So I suppose its all relative
Still this much is true
God has a landscape for me
and a landscape for you

 

All Are Welcome Here

While so many in the world seek out reasons to divide, hate and war against one another, a group of brave people, from different faiths, yet with similar hearts, are seeking to coexist. Not only peacefully, but cooperatively.

A mosque, a church and a synagogue go up on the site of an old Jewish country club.

It sounds like the setup to a joke — but it’s not. It’s actually happening in Omaha, Neb. The Tri-Faith Initiative may be the first place in history where these three monotheistic faiths have built together, on purpose, with the intention of working together.

“This is something God wanted us to do a long time ago, and we were completely blinded by doing other things,” says Aryeh Azriel, the rabbi at Temple Israel.”

This story is a testament to the absolute fact that God is sovereign and loves all of His creation. Not just some of us.

We, at photographingGOD, prefer the sound of “All Are Welcome Here” over “Some Are Welcome Here.” And on this day celebrated as the birth of Jesus in the Christian world, I suspect He too would have said, “All Are Welcome Here.”

Read original article at npr.org