photographingGOD Photography

Tag: Image

Maps and Other Photographers To Locate Your Landscape Locations

Using Google Maps and Other Photographers To Locate Your Landscape Locations | Fstoppers

We have all been there: you see an image online that gives you the best perspective of a location but you have no idea exactly where it is located. Sometimes the photographer lists the location on social media, but more often they leave you wondering where exactly they were standing. Last week I set out to film a time-lapse of one of the most photographed skylines in the world.

Via fstoppers.com

 

No “Gear”-riority Complex Here!

Unfortunately, I own a lot of high-end camera gear. Why “unfortunately?” Well – I have concluded that a substantial portion of my energy is spent on selecting and fussing with equipment. Which camera body? What lens? What settings? And then there is whatever is left for actually shooting. It just doesn’t seem to make sense sometimes. Yes – there are both advantages and fascinations associated with certain equipment. However, if at the end of the day the result of all my work is the almighty image, have I really been faithful to pursuing my potential and the potential of the moment if I haven’t given nearly all my time to the capture itself?

I don’t think there is a black and white (forgive the pun) viewpoint here. I just think it is a question all amateur and pro photographers should challenge themselves to ask. As importantly, and as inspirations to the rest of the world taking millions of photos a day, we should acknowledge that ultimately it is not the equipment, but an appreciation for the art and/or significance of a photograph that matters most.

Pro Photographers with Amateur Gear vs. an Amateur with Pro Gear – PetaPixel (blog)

The photographers at Mango Street wanted to show that it generally takes more than “pro” camera gear to shoot “pro” photos, so they decided to do a shootout to test this. Pro Photographers with Amateur Gear vs. an Amateur with Pro Gear – PetaPixel (blog)

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“My Camera Was Like A Shield”

‘My camera was like a shield,’ says Syrian war photographer – Deutsche Welle

Karam al-Masri was shot, spent time in an “IS” prison and lost relatives to the violence in Syria. Now in exile, the photographer can’t get the images of war out of his head – and can’t wait to get back to the field. Karam al-Masri (AFP/Getty Images). ‘My camera was like a shield,’ says Syrian war photographer – Deutsche Welle

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Tunnels Of Love

These are some of the most amazing pictures of a subway system I have ever seen. So how does one turn a metro system into something visually captivating? Well, it certainly doesn’t hurt when the subject is an architectural phenomenon as are the case in Chris Forsyth’s images. However, all train stations, new and old, have elements that can be pleasing or interesting to the eye.

To start, train stations are loaded with interesting parallel lines that all lead to somewhere. Such geometry lends itself to producing cool perspective shots that vanish into somewhere or nowhere, or lead to a destination that is sharp in focus or blurred and blended into the background. Most stations do not offer the same menagerie of color as those featured in Chris’ gallery. However, nearly all have curious lighting that create all sorts of color casts that span the full range of color temperature. From the subtle bulb-lit sign to the powerful florescent fixtures that flood the space. Easily a lack of vibrant color can be substituted with shadows and highlights of blue to yellow light which can add mystery and contrast to the image.

Finally, what do ALL train stations have that can bring photography to life? TRAINS of course! And one can have a field day with the motion caused by a train entering or leaving the platform as well as the action and expressions of people sprinting in and out.

I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I did and get inspired to go “down under” for a day of metro station photography!

Photographer Chris M. Forsyth Exposes the Beauty of the Metro System – Interior Design

Photographer Chris M. Photographer Chris M. Forsyth Exposes the Beauty of the Metro System – Interior Design

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Smile! Wait… Don’t Smile

This is such a fascinating article. Comparing the photography of subjects from long ago to today is something we should probably do more often. This particular mystery tells a lot about our modern evolution in front of the camera. Quite the contrary from long ago, we are totally obsessed with our appearance. In addition, the popularity of the “forced” selfie smile suggests that we are a very different culture today. Perhaps, more self-absorbed and vain; more synthetic and commoditized.  This is one topic where there is more much to it than meets the eye.

Now You Know: Why Do People Always Look So Serious in Old Photos? – TIME

Some dismiss the idea that bad teeth could have been a possible cause for early photography’s close-lipped images, since that was a common condition and wouldn’t have necessarily been noteworthy at the time. Now You Know: Why Do People Always Look So Serious in Old Photos? – TIME

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Making It Real – The Refugee Crisis

A lot of jibber jabber about the problem of refugees on social media. Images however, for those who care to see, start to bring the problem home and make it real. I pray this article and these images perform an angioplasty on the hearts of those who have turned their head away from this tragedy. This is not their problem. This is everyone’s problem.

Photographer Captures Life In A Refugee Camp During Trump’s Travel Ban – Konbini US

Photographer Captures Life In A Refugee Camp During Trump’s Travel BanThe global refugee crisis is considered the greatest humanitarian disaster of our time. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, over 65 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution in 2015. Photographer Captures Life In A Refugee Camp During Trump’s Travel Ban – Konbini US

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Love Is Power

The most powerful force on earth is the divine ability to love one another and express it in nearly infinite ways. Blessed are those of us that embrace and promote love over any other emotion.

New Platform Promotes Images Of Black People Engaging In Acts Of Affection – Huffington Post

“Black Love Power” aims to reimagine and reflect the many ways black love can be experienced and perceived. 02/14/2017 08:28 am ET | Updated 6 hours ago. 6.3k. Lilly Workneh Black Voices Senior Editor, The . New Platform Promotes Images Of Black People Engaging In Acts Of Affection – Huffington Post

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Under The Sea… Under The Sea…

Genesis 1:9
Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.

In pictures: Stunning images of sea life from the Underwater Photography of the Year 2017 – Yahoo News UK

These amazing images were snapped in extreme conditions by talented photographers with a keen eye. They all feature in the Underwater Photographer of the Year 2017 competition, which showcases the best images below the surface. In pictures: Stunning images of sea life from the Underwater Photography of the Year 2017 – Yahoo News UK

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As It Was In The Days Of Noah…

Matthew 24:37
As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

Image of ‘hatred of our times’ wins World Press Photo – Malay Mail Online

Image of ‘hatred of our times’ wins World Press PhotoMevlut Mert Altintas shouts after shooting Andrei Karlov the Russian ambassador to Turkey, at an art gallery in Ankara December 19, 2016. Image of ‘hatred of our times’ wins World Press Photo – Malay Mail Online

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The Lord Must Build The House & Guard The City

Psalm 127:1
Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.

Amazing images of New York City before it was a city – Business Insider

New York City — a city known for Times Square, Central Park, and commanding skyscrapers — didn’t always look like the way it does today. Amazing images of New York City before it was a city – Business Insider

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Fear Not!

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

14 Not-Fake Shark Pictures From a Real Nat Geo Photographer

A phony photograph of a shark is the latest in a year of fake news. But these images are all real. When a man on Twitter claimed to be ‘s chief photographer, several photo editors at the magazine assembled to discuss. 14 Not-Fake Shark Pictures From a Real Nat Geo Photographer – National Geographic

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Buildings And Institutions Will Not Shape Your Child’s True Potential

At What Cost Does Our Current System Of Education Come?

The developed world spends billions of dollars on education and is continuously moving the goal post on what is expected from our children. Absolutely, we should challenge our children’s potential. God created us with expandable capabilities, skills, and talents. So, we need to be all that we can be (As individuals, and not machines of course).

But, have we stopped to think “at what cost” does this investment come? We push our children to become more educated and competitive. Have we given other forms of critical development equal time? For example, the ability to think creatively and globally. What about socialization and coping skills or what about what we older folks use to call “common sense?” Finally, let us not forget possibly the weakest skill among our entire population. The ability to discern the truth from an opinion. Many schools have debate clubs which provide a competitive forum for students to learn to “win their perspective over.” Yet, where is the Truth Club?

Less Is More; Much More

I tool this photo of a schoolhouse in East Africa. Very typical of what you mind find in the rural part of the Continent. In this one building housed the all the children in the community or tribe. All ages shared a single room and a few sets of school supplies. The pencils were little more than a narrow piece of charcoal. Their writing books were crudely attached, curled pieces of paper. The children were all in uniforms (made possible through donations) which barely separated them by physical appearance. Consequently, there was no competition over who had the best outfit or the “hottest” sneakers (which would certainly upset Urban Outfitters and Nike). Yet, they were so intent on wanting to learn with so little to get in the way or distract them. A perfect setting to inspire a true learning experience.

Lesson Learned

We should take a lesson out of this book and realize that money doesn’t buy love and it doesn’t buy brilliance or intellectual superiority either. God embeds the gift of knowledge our DNA. And it is as much, if not more, the process of how we learn over what we learn. Knowledge alone, may get us a good job or make us plenty of money. However, the pursuit of knowledge and truth will make us what God intended us to be as individuals first, and as a race of man.

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The Eyes Have It; But The Homeless Have The Eyes

Not all people who have met the misfortune of homelessness are homogeneous and can be lumped into one group. Homelessness does not define a person. Rather, it is a description of one’s circumstances and not who they are. Let us never forget that these are individuals with their own special stories and the blessing of life from God. Furthermore, the label alone will never define the potential of a single person. Just ask world-renowned author and humanitarian, J.K. Rowling.

However, one thing homelessness seems to bring out in most who are inflicted is a deep expression of soul and “truth” in their eyes. It would be wrong to quickly and categorically dismiss such expression as sadness or depression. I have personally felt an “angelic” or spiritual presence when engaging with people who are living on the street. It always seems like a more meaningful encounter than one I might have with a colleague or friend.

Incidentally, I don’t think this phenomenon is limited to the homeless. Life’s challenges tend to reduce us from what we have pretended to be to who we really are. I believe that when we let go of, or distracted from, what the world tells us is important, our true soul begins to shine through our eyes as well as our actions.

We become “real!”

Their souls are in their eyes, says photographer of the homeless – OCRegister

Pedro Oliveira of San Juan Capistrano holds his photograph of a homeless man named James. The image led to an ongoing series called “Careful: Soul Inside,” to raise awareness of homeless people. Oliveira has taken photographs of the homeless in … Their souls are in their eyes, says photographer of the homeless – OCRegister

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Exhausted On The Corporate Ladder? Climb This First…

Everything in life is relative. If we are open-minded, our perspective is constantly changing which is the way we were designed. As we learn and grow the more we know. A closed mind interferes with this process and makes us vulnerable to prejudice, ignorance, and neglect. Neglect for all the blessings in our life because we are not willing to know and appreciate the world around us.

Many of us are at a stage in life where “climbing the corporate ladder” consumes our purpose and passion. In its midst, we will likely forget that it represents only a slice of our life and fulfillment. In fact, it will unlikely be the most important thing we encounter as time passes.

For these children who climb to school, they are learning about a different kind of ladder. The ladder of character. I could barely get out of bed to go to school much less climb 800 meters to get there. It probably wasn’t going to happen for me. While I was blessed with more convenience, I missed the blessing that would have better shaped my perspective on life at the time.

In pictures: Steel ladder makes 800m climb easier – BBC News

A group of children in Sichuan, China, have a new ladder to assist their 800-metre climb down to school. An aerial view of Atuler village on a cliff on November 11, 2016 in Zhaojue Barcroft Images. In pictures: Steel ladder makes 800m climb easier – BBC News

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Rare Photos of Tribe Spur Urgent Pleas to Protect It

At most, only a plane flight physically separates us from people who live very different from anything we are familiar with. Interestingly, we are more than earthly neighbors and share quite a bit in common. For starters, we are all human and all created by God!

God has created an amazing spectrum of culture that we must protect and cherish. If we grow up thinking that everyone must look and live like us, we miss the blessing of diversity and the sheer potential of man’s inventive nature.

Rare Photos of Brazilian Tribe Spur Pleas to Protect It – National Geographic

Indigenous leaders and rights groups say illegal gold prospectors pose a mortal threat to a group of uncontacted Yanomami Indians. 0. Picture of the hut of an uncontacted tribe seen from a helicopter. View Images. Rare Photos of Brazilian Tribe Spur Pleas to Protect It – National Geographic

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Here Is Your Present… Now What? Seize Control!

The Present
by Greg Pai

God blessed your past
For good reason
It came first and not last

God blesses His plan
Your future by His hand
Not the one influenced by man

God is blessing this moment
Whether you feel joy or resent
Because God’s gift that keeps giving
Is not just any gift…
It’s THE present

The Purpose Of The Past

For every ounce of happiness in the past, we can certainly find an equal dose of sadness. Maybe more. So the true value of the past, and the reason it is behind us and not ahead, is to remind us of God’s grace and blessing.

The wake of life, like that which trails a boat, has the potential to hypnotize us away from the conscientiousness of the moment. It can have us drifting into one of those “Wish I could have…,” “What if I did…,” and “Why me…” kind of mental games which bind us from fully living in the day. Similarly, it can overwhelm us with the euphoria of what “once was” and set us sailing on the “those were the good times” and “remember when…” excursions which lead us to believe the best already came and went. This cannot be the purpose of the past. The past should liberate us, and more importantly, unleash the potential of the current moment.

The Purpose Of The Future

The future, as we know it, is at best uncertain. This is how I describe it:

We have what we know; I call this our instinct
We have what we think we know; I call this our righteousness
We have what we don’t know; I call this our ignorance
And finally, we have what we don’t even know we don’t know; I call this our future

The result is endless, pointless, wasteful worry. Worry about our children, our health, our things, our jobs, our retirement, our country, our future… It is a no wonder that developed countries have medicated populations struggling with anxiety and the like. This cannot be the purpose of the future. The future should breathe life into us and more importantly, invigorate hope into the current moment.

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The Present

There are gifts. There are presents. And then there is the ultimate gift which is the present. The moment. In fact, this very moment. It is the present that gives function and form to the past and the future as I illustrated above. Every new moment is a gift from God giving true, practical, and celebratory purpose to its two distant cousins, past and future. It gives us every reason to live, every reason to hope, and every reason to give thanks to God. Every moment of every day. That is my prayer for you.

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Can You Find Beauty In Hardship?

For most of us, the life of those depicted in the images from this NPR article is simply unimaginable. Still, there is an immense beauty about them that is not easily understood. Probably because hardship brings out the absolute best in us. It separates us from our comfort zone that tends to take off the pressure of truly “living life” and pursuing our full potential.

Hardship builds character. It inspires the possiblity of the impossible. It humbles us to the point where our humanity radiates love, forgiveness, and servitude toward our fellow-man and most importantly, God.

I remember flying back from the Middle East in the summer of 2014 and saying to my beloved wife, “I do not feel like I am taking pictures of subjects anymore. I feel like I am photographing the awesome beauty of creation even in the most destitute parts of the world. I feel like I am photographing God.”

And photographingGOD was born. Blessings…

Absolutely Gorgeous Photos Reveal The Beauty In A Hard Life – NPR

Can you find beauty in a life of hardship? If the photos from the Siena International Photo Awards are any indication, the answer is yes. Absolutely Gorgeous Photos Reveal The Beauty In A Hard Life – NPR

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When You Are All Out Of Hope

We should never doubt God’s provision in our lives. As I sit here now, I question areas of my life that I feel particularly challenged with. I actually don’t even remember a time that I didn’t. And I would not be forthcoming if I didn’t confess my vulnerability and frequent sense of losing hope. But I am quickly reminded of my own quote. “When you are all out of hope, the only thing left is hope.” And from there… I march on! -gp

Be sure to visit the post “Hope For The Hopeless”

Stunning Photo Of Moms Holding ‘Rainbow’ Babies Goes Viral

A pregnancy after a miscarriage can be difficult to endure. That’s why this viral image of six moms either pregnant with or holding their rainbow babies is beyond inspiring. Photographer Alex Bolen of Shutter Darling Photography gathered six clients who had either given birth or were currently pregnant with a baby conceived after a loss. Stunning Photo Of Moms Holding ‘Rainbow’ Babies Goes Viral

Photo Credit: Photographer Alex Bolen of Shutter Darling Photography

 

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You Say I Am Orphan; I Say I Am Loved!

By Greg Pai
Inspired By Andrea Mani
Photo Credit: Andrea Mani

This is a time of the year where many feel lonely or empty.  Especially those who have no family to speak of. Our hearts have to place orphans at the top of that list. What we learn from this story inspired by Andrea Mani, is that we are all orphans if we don’t connect with and depend on God.

IMG_7211__© 2015 Andrea ManiOrphans have seemingly perfected that connection and dependence as a means of survival. In fact, they do not see themselves as orphans; They see themselves as God’s blessed children. Experiencing His abundant, unconditional love as no earthly parent could ever offer.

“You say I am an orphan,” the hearts of the unwanted cried out. “But, I say I am loved. Loved by He who made me.” Andrea Mani fell in love just moments after she arrived for what was six months of service. At a little known ministry in Jocotepec, Mexico, orphan children are changing everyone who comes in contact with them – One soul at a time.

IMG_7246__© 2015 Andrea Mani

IMG_7979__© 2015 Andrea ManiThe orphanage cares for twenty-one girls and one boy. “One boy!” you say. Well, eight-year old Chuy (pronounced “chewy”) is one of three siblings and when the orphanage converted over to an all girls institution a few years back, they didn’t have the heart to separate Chuy from his two sisters, one named Milagro (meaning Miracle in English). A victim of physical and emotional abuse, it was only by a miracle that 8-year old Chuy survived those earlier abusive years. Cigarette burns on his body and later, months of being mute, unable to speak. Inevitably, Andrea would take a special interest in Chuy as he faced the journey of healing ahead of him.

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The other children learned not to depend on “man.” God was the provider of everything in their lives and that suited them just fine. It wasn’t long before the children challenged Andrea. “You won’t last two months,” they said. These children were used to people revolving in and out of their lives, often under duress or anxiety.  Andrea not only endured, but also learned why others did not. When a person signs up for this kind of work, they do so assuming they are the “strength” coming to the aid of the “weak.” To the contrary, they quickly learn that the children become inspirational and essential to their own personal journey. Radically changing their heart and perspective. Maybe even feeling inadequate and unnecessary in the ways they expected to make an impact. This is when the process flips on its head and starts to become more of a self-examination of our own lives; a sometimes difficult awakening. However, necessary.

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Most of these children came from situations too difficult to write about. Even called “rats” by those the heartless of the community. Some had mothers who were prostitutes while exploiting their children sexually for favor. Absolutely tragic. However, how would you know any of this by just looking at them? They are beautiful in every way.  Inside and out, their hearts and smiles radiate.  Yet, they have nothing.  Or do they? Andrea expected overwhelming sensations of abandonment on her arrival. She did not expect what God was about to show her.

IMG_7836__© 2015 Andrea ManiThe children had a life about them that projected pure joy. Amazing as it may seem, the children had a ritual of occasionally going into town and donating their clothing to any one of four impoverished villages in the immediate area. Yes – you read that right. Even though their very limited wardrobes were precious to them, they believed that whatever they gave up would be replenished by God’s own hand.  And guess what?  They were never without. Somehow, newly donated clothes always found a way to their personal shelf (that’s a single shelf). Such faith. I suppose when we have nothing to lose and expect no earthly gain, we are capable of giving and doing our most selfless work in this life. These children are living proof. They see their glass not as a quarter full or three-quarters empty, but overflowing.

We have convinced ourselves that we are somehow more equipped or better off than they are. Hence, we neglect to ever seek or find the orphan in us.

What is orphan about these children. The dictionary says the noun form is defined as a child who has lost both parents. That is innocent enough. Interestingly, the adjective form is used to describe one who is abandoned. Quite a difference. Unfortunately, we have adopted the more negative connotation as the global definition. We have convinced ourselves that we are somehow more equipped or better off than they are. Hence, we neglect to ever seek or find the orphan in us. There is that “difficult awakening” thing again!

At some point, Andrea observed a young girl’s mother (a recovering prostitute) visit the orphanage expecting to take her little girl back home. However, with the best of intentions, the woman realized that her daughter was better off staying because she was unable to offer her the same stability and nurturing.

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However, I believe that God speaks to us through His beloved orphans. I now see the love of God when I see an orphan. Not an abandoned soul; But a soul that’s whole!

As I documented this story, I struggled with internal conflict and confusion. I love God and He fills my life, but am I abandoned enough to really feel the fullness of His love? Many of us have family and good friends around us who bring us a great deal of joy and companionship. But what is it like to have no one but God? Please don’t get me wrong. Family is a blessed gift from God. A special treasure from above. However, I believe that God speaks to us through His beloved orphans. I now see the love of God when I see an orphan. Not an abandoned soul; But a soul that’s whole!

One Nation, Under God…

Dear Americans:

Whatever your political persuasion and your feelings about the current environment, the real tragedy is that America is, was, and will likely continue to be a deeply divided people. Unfortunately, hate and prejudice are in the hearts of all men since the beginning of time. These traits do not belong to a particular political persuasion, religion, race, ethnicity, age, etc. However, man can and will use such mechanisms to promote his own divisive agenda. This vulnerability belongs to all of us.

Similar to President Kennedy’s election, President Obama’s was historic (no matter how you looked at it politically) because it had the potential for us as a country to embrace the notion that all men were created equal by God. Instead, it drastically widened an already existing chasm that separates Americans into adversarial groups. But I have the good news of hope for everyone, democrat, republican, apolitical, and those who may not care at all. God still loves ALL of us. No prejudice. No hatred. Just pure LOVE!

So, I say to all of you in pain; turn your hearts to God for peace and the strength to see that God is above all of this. And I say to all of you in celebration, turn your joy to humility and put yourself beneath those in need. So that America may rise up as “One Nation Under God.” Peace be with all of you…

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Visit the Gallery Shop to purchase this fine art piece by photographer Greg Pai to grace your home or office:

Greg Pai On “The Voice of the Heart” and photographingGOD Podcast

Journey with photographer, writer, and photographingGOD Founder Greg Pai as he describes the perils of a destructive noise he calls the “Voice of the World” which seeks to separate us from our God-given purpose, peace, and passion. Greg’s diverse life experiences have led him to the conclusion that the systems of the world, under the design and authority of man including, but not limited to, education, media, healthcare, economics, religion, and government, have failed us and are at the center of the world’s chaos.

Greg shares how photographingGOD promotes man’s potential for purpose, peace, and passion when we learn to disarm the “Voice of the World” and replace it with the “Voice of the Heart” which is rooted in truth and love. The mission of photographingGOD is to bring together a global community of all cultures, ethnicities, faiths, beliefs, races, ages and genders hungry to connect with (1) their own hearts and souls, (2) their fellow man and woman, (3) the enormity of creation, and (4) God; the giver of all life and blessing. This is NOT as story about religion. Quite the contrary. It is a story about Life and Purpose and how one man is seeking it and finding it by going outside the boxes that we are all so bound by.

Figuratively speaking, our goal is to see the world “through the lens of God’s eyes.” Our hope is that we “Never See Life The Same Way Again!”

This Podcast will not only inspire you, but we can nearly promise that “You will Never See Life The Same Way Again!”

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Join “Beyond Your Wildest Genes” host Noah Dekoyer for Greg Pai On photographingGOD.

Click Here To Link To The Podcast

We Are Bound By A Ball And Chain

Power is handed down by God, who is the ultimate power, to politicians, teachers, corporate leaders, parents, etc.  Those who are blessed with power are given gifts and talents to inspire and bring out the best in us as a community. However, if the fever of power overcomes the leadership, humility is overwhelmed by self righteousness and the pursuit of personal gain.

Before long, people question the motives of the powerful and lose faith in the system. When people lose faith in the system, chaos, confusion, and a breakdown in confidence ensues which then jeopardizes the power and authority of the leaders responsible. The entire community, including its leadership, is kept from progressing as a result. It’s as if the entire society is bound by a ball and chain.

When leaders approach power with humility, and recognize that it is on loan from God, they earn the respect of the people they lead. They gain increasingly more influence to inspire and elevate the community, and bring out the best in God’s creation. The system flourishes, and is respected and perfected by the people, for the people.

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When The World Goes Low…

What Is True Joy?

Doing well and doing good not only go together, but are among the secret ingredients of true joy. Not the joy that comes from graduating from college, landing your first job, getting married, having a child, buying your dream car or home, or retirement. Those things are joyful, but they are also fleeting. Their elation will last for a time and will undoubtedly be interrupted by life’s unfortunate circumstances. However, true joy gives us the strength to look way beyond our circumstances. It is found when we take everything we are given, and multiply it for the glory of God and His creation so that every day is met without expectation and only gratitude.

…true joy gives us the strength to look way beyond our circumstances.

Letting Go

“Okay, I’m sold!” you say. “Where can I get some “true joy?” It starts with the difficulty of letting go, or the “jump” as I like to call it. Like a first attempt at skydiving. Once you leave the plane, you have gotten over the hard part because you really don’t have any choice in the matter after that. Letting go is the key. Letting go of expectations. Letting go of things you think you need. And most of all, letting go of everything we have including our talents, gifts, time, energy, money, resources, etc. Oh, and the most coveted of all, our love. We want so desperately to be loved, but we are so possessive and unwilling to give it up without some sort of fair exchange. Unconditional love is costly, but delivers the greatest return.

Free Falling Drives Passion

During the “free fall” stage, we begin to detect true joy because it inspires unbridled passion. Now, our day’s expectations are shaped by what we can do to positively impact someone or something and not by what we can achieve or get for ourselves. The deep emotional expression of PASSION is activated and gives our life its greatest sense of meaning and significance.

We have become so use to doing things for personal gain. Our culture drives this aim which only leads to empty purpose and obsession, not passion. If you don’t believe this, just ask “really successful” people what they think about that which gave them the success and was the driver of their daily purpose. Then reread this article.

Go High!

James Dickson spends nearly his whole day serving and protecting people as a first responder in New York City. When he is not doing that, he is serving and protecting people. He explores ways that he can take his love for skydiving and make it more than a personal 10-minute joy. So, he aligned himself with an organization called Friends of Jaclyn which aims to iwhentheworldgoeslow_gregpaimprove the quality of life for children battling brain tumors and pediatric cancer. Through an event he organized, he made 25 jumps in one day while many others jumped to raise awareness and resources for this cause. Risking life for life. Each and every jump lasting far more than the jump itself, but for the lifetime of a dying child.

In a world that achieves new lows every day in its preoccupation with selfishness and hatred, it is great to see others who choose to go high with passion.

 

When Does An “Ad” Subtract? When It Divides Instead Of Multiplies Of Course…

I cannot remember a time when the culture of advertising was truly inclusive (or the media for that matter). You would think that advertisers selling a product or service would want to appeal to the largest possible audience of potential customers. “Not just the perfect ones.” If I am selling soap, why would I only want to sell it to people who looked or acted like me?

When advertisers choose certain “types” of people to represent their product and intentionally exclude others, they have somehow managed to convince those that are excluded, that they should be more like the ones that are included, and not themselves.

However, advertisers have taken control of this problem with some slight-of-hand psychological magic. When advertisers choose certain “types” of people to represent their product and intentionally exclude others, they have somehow managed to convince those that are excluded, that they should be more like the ones that are included, and not themselves. The “included” are superior and the excluded need to be like them tapping into our deepest, darkest insecurities. The media drives this identity crisis. Advertisers find benefit in homogenizing the globe into a one size, figure, color, type, culture, etc. fits all. This is not how we were created and abandons the richness of our diversity.

I don’t really believe that people should be called “disabled.” My preference is to acknowledge them as people who are able in ways that others are not.

People who have disabilities are among the excluded and have possibly suffered the most because they have to deal with both their affliction as well as trying to fit in. First, I don’t really believe that people should be called “disabled.” My preference is to acknowledge them as people who are able in ways that others are not. This is an important truth because the physical, mental, intellectual, and emotional coping mechanisms of people who may not function exactly like the masses are nothing short of extraordinary. Their resourcefulness to compensate and develop nearly supernatural abilities is evidence that they are God’s special children. To witness their daily perseverance is like watching the entire Star Wars Trilogy wrapped up in one human being. There is little on this earth that can motivate, inspire and give us hope like these individual miracles. I don’t understand why they aren’t dominating the content of all our media!

We should not underestimate the significance of growing up in a media-driven world that pretends you don’t exist. We should be able to grow up in a world where our environment not only accepts us, but promotes all of us as a community of one people without leaving anyone behind.

ADORABLE! Ga. baby changing perceptions of beauty in advertising – 11alive.com

A local mom’s push for more inclusive advertising is going viral after she called out a company so that they would use children with disabilities. Kaitlyn Ross, WXIA 10:49 PM. EDT October 22, 2016. ADORABLE! Ga. baby changing perceptions of beauty in advertising – 11alive.com

thumbnail courtesy of 11alive.com

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Wasting Away In Consumerville

The waste generated by consumer electronics, or e-waste (primarily computers and peripherals, audio and video equipment, telephone and wireless devices, most office machines, and video game consoles), is a serious problem as you may know or will learn from the images and statistics in the Guardian article below. However, the waste is one problem and the cause of the waste is yet another. More specifically, we have allowed ourselves to become a major part of a destructive “throw-away” economy.

The E-waste problem is created by the consumer electronics product cycle. It is the “cycle” part that both creates and amplifies the problem.

Innovation is “dripped” into the hands of consumers to maximize sales and revenues. Similarly, obsolescence is also dripped into the other end of the chain which forces the more conscientious (or frugal) die-hards into the next generation product whether they like it or not.

Manufacturers of consumer electronics have a business growth strategy that requires a continuous cycle of innovation and is strategically timed with driving company value. Innovation is “dripped” into the hands of consumers to maximize sales and revenues. Similarly, obsolescence is dripped into the other end of the chain which forces the more conscientious (or frugal) die-hards into the next generation product whether they like it or not. Companies have intimate knowledge of our buying behaviors and the cycle is fit around those patterns. Worst yet, advertisers (who are paid by the manufacturers) know how to shrink the cycle even further through “must have” incentives and deals, as well as guilt marketing.

Take mobile phones . New versions with new features. New sizes and new colors. Better cameras with higher resolutions. All these new devices will also need new peripherals like chargers, docking stations, etc. More waste without haste. And in the end, the capability of connecting with others and data really doesn’t changed much. One could argue that in some cases the quality of the product, service, and experience has suffered.

We should put pressure on the largest of manufacturers to lengthen the product cycle by (i) building higher quality products made with more durable materials, (ii) improving a product’s upgradeability to adapt to innovations like antennas and storage, (iii) standardize peripherals, like chargers, to be used across multiple products from different manufacturers, and (iv) discourage discounting, trade-up, and other incentive programs which unduly and prematurely tempt buyers.

The e-waste mountains – in pictures – The Guardian

4928Sustainable development goal target 12.5 is to reduce waste. But with a planet increasingly dependent on technology, is that even possible? The e-waste mountains – in pictures – The Guardian

thumbnail courtesy of theguardian.com

A great and informative video from The Story of Stuff Project and Free Range Studios.

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Powerful images, quotes, and thought-provoking narrative serve to inspire your search and need for daily purpose, peace, and passion. The ingredients to pursuing true joy in this life. WOW posts muffle the destructive 24/7 “Voice Of The World” which serves to separate us from our divine and natural creation and promote chaos. Chaos in our minds and souls; Chaos in our relationships and families; Chaos in our jobs and interests; Chaos in our world…

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Un-spinning the noise of the news by adding editorial commentary to image-rich stories in an attempt to “see the world through the lens of God’s eyes.” Voices is an alternative news source that pursues the truth, hope, and beauty in God’s creation as an alternative to gossip, propaganda, and sensationalism.

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The World According To The World. A Frightening Look.

Whatever belief system you subscribe to, I think most of us can agree that civilization is becoming increasingly self-destructive. I suppose we may have been more barbaric in the distant past (and that may be debatable). Yet, has man’s creation of increasingly complex systems including government, finance & economics, health & medicine, organized religion, education, agriculture, commerce, technology, science, communications, media, and transportation, promoted progress for the human race? Is progress leaving anyone behind? Are we eradicating sickness and poverty; improving the quality, beauty, and integrity of life; preserving our environment and resources, or increasing peace, tolerance, respect, love, compassion, service, and faith around the world? These are all very important questions to ask ourselves. Right here and now.

l1020691-editImbalances Often Signal Something Is Not Quite Right

Who has benefited and at what cost? This is the first question. The resource-rich United States is split in half politically with each side believing their respective needs and wants are not being met. The result is that no one seems to be content and the frustration and hate index is going through the roof.

We should ask, “Are the systems to blame? Do they consider the totality of the population or just a chosen few? Are they creating catastrophic imbalances that grow division?” Another example, the US is the greatest consumer of the world’s resources. It represents 18% of the world’s energy consumption* and only 4.5% of the world’s population. How can we think for a moment that such imbalances will not have intentional and unintentional side effects. Just to be clear, the United States is not the only producer of “imbalances.” Imbalances exist throughout the entire developed and underdeveloped world unfortunately. It’s a simple problem of cause and effect.

Manmade Systems Are Just That, Manmade; Not God-Made

We are not advancing as a civilization. Progress has not only stalled. It is going in the opposite direction. We need to look deeply and honestly into the design and consequences of the systems we are designing and managing.

In education, for example, we do not teach our children how to learn. Educational institutions have replaced those more natural abilities with tools and techniques that encourage memorization of facts and accumulation of information; Not knowledge. Furthermore, children are classified instead of individually nurtured due to the demands placed on these institutions to produce “results.” Progress is rewarded at the sacrifice of process. Moreover, test results and grades define potential instead of passion and conviction. Unfortunately, no training to seek or discern the truth. Rather, programming in nearly every course that teach our children to debate and promote a perspective or point. What some of us would call “lawyering.”

The more we learn, the more we may earn, and the less we will grow, because the less we will ever want to know.

The subject of manmade systems is is a fairly complex discussion and will invite much debate. However, it is central to how we live together in this world while seeking purpose, peace and passion. It will be a theme that will certainly present itself often on this platform because it is both a catalyst and disruptor to the different definitions of progress. Progress as humans. But more importantly, progress as a creation. An amazing creation with amazing potential to attain true joy on this earth.

Cynical, But Hopeful

In closing (for now), Please do not see me as cynical. I truly apologize if I disturbed the balance of your day at all. However, I am willing to disturb your day if it has the potential to enhance your life. Man has extraordinary talents, gifts, characteristics, and blessings that have been created for good. But… WARNING: When man relies fully and only on himself to pursue good, without God, it seems he too often ends up with not so good and not at all God.

iamnotacyniciamasinner_gregpai*Source: US Energy Information Administration

The Beauty Is In The Details; Not The Devil

We are in constant pursuit of the fountain of youth and all things new. When something gets old enough, we discard, retire, or replace it. When something gets worn enough, we polish, enhance, or renovate it. My concern is that we may be losing an appreciation for the precious relics of this earth and moreover, the beauty and richness that resides in age itself.

Photographer Beth Moon successfully uses special techniques to accentuate the age of the world’s oldest trees. One such technique involves extending the camera’s exposure time (i.e., the time that the lens stays open to let light into the camera). By this technique, the resulting image is far more vivid and sharp which amplifies the details and age of the subject. A welcomed effect by this photographer.

“I wonder what would happen to our culture and appreciation for age if we were to embrace and promote the qualities of age rather than spend so much effort hiding it.”
-Greg Pai

So, we can conclude that the more detail we see in an image, the more the subject’s age, wear, and tear are likely to be amplified. This is really not a big secret at all. In fact, the multi-billion dollar cosmetic industry thrives on reducing human detail. Particularly, but not exclusively, facial detail for example. Unfortunately, the consequence is that we promote an adversity to age when we spend so much time and resources hiding it. It is ironic that we would go out of our way to augment the details in nature. Shouldn’t we pursue the same beauty in ourselves? I wonder what would happen to our culture and appreciation for age if we were to embrace and promote the qualities of age rather than spend so much effort hiding it.

Nocturnal Photographs of the World’s Oldest Trees – Hyperallergic

Nocturnal Photographs of the World’s Oldest Trees. Photographer Beth Moon documents the world’s oldest trees by the starry light of the night sky. Allison Meier 13 hours ago · Advertise on with Nectar Ads. Popular. Nocturnal Photographs of the World’s Oldest Trees – Hyperallergic

thumbnail courtesy of hyperallergic.com

Congratulations! You Are Destined To Conquer The Impossible!

Congratulations! By clicking this article, you are on your way to conquering the impossible – Your special impossible. The term “impossible” places such a burden on our lives as we grow up being told that more things are impossible than possible and that those things that are possible by someone are simply not possible by us. The reality is the contrary. Each of us has our own possible impossible. However, it requires a self-confidence and more importantly, a strong faith in God who makes all things possible. But how do you put this to work in your life to take on the impossible?

“Each of us has our own possible impossible.”

Maasai Tribal DanceThere are five principles that one must cultivate to pursue the impossible. First, we must surround ourselves with people who encourage us and at least, ignore those around us who seek to bring us down. The great Imangineer, Walt Disney, was told by a former employer that he lacked imagination and creativity. One of the greatest inventors of all time, Thomas Edison was criticized as being to simple-minded to ever accomplish anything of significance.  Media mega-mogul, Oprah Winfrey was fired as a local newscaster after being told she was unfit for television. Had any of these people listened to those harsh voices, they would have never achieved what everyone else thought was impossible by them.

Second, know that failure is not an option, it is a requirement. Failure is the mother of invention, truly. You have heard, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Well, we must take measured risk to have measurable success. And the more “lean” failures we have, the more we learn and the closer we get to achieving the impossible.

“…failure is not an option, it is a requirement.”

Again, Thomas Edison, who in spite of thousands of significant patents, was most known for his invention of the light bulb. What most people do not know is that it took 1,000 failed attempts at the invention until he got it right. Had he been discouraged at any of the failures between 1 and 1,000, we would not have light, at least not by him.

Third, is the reality of adversity. You might be reading this in the midst of a great loss, an inability to cope, extreme challenges and distress and saying “I can not even see the potential of the day much less do the impossible.” Well, I have great news for you. Adversity can be your friend. The simple fact is that when you have nothing to lose, you have everything to gain.

“Adversity can be your friend.”

JK Rowling, the famed author of the Harry Potter series, was destitute, dependent on welfare while raising a young daughter, and suffering from clinical depression when after five years of perseverance, she became one of the richest women in the world. She credits her trials and troubles as a valuable source for her inspiration. She did fall off the billionaires list because she donates so much of her wealth to people in need. God bless her…

Fourth, when you pursue the impossible, be prepared to experience an emotional juggernaut. Periods as long as weeks and as short as hours will be met with extreme ups and extreme downs. But do not fret. Trust in God. Enjoy and savor the journey. You will overcome and be surprised by your progress as you look back with clarity. Just place your trust in God.

“Trust in God.”

Which brings us to the fifth and most important principle. Believe in yourself… But place all your faith in God. For your impossible is that which God made possible only by you. Blessings…

thedefinitionofimpossibleisthatwhich_gregpai_v2

Minimum Wage? Not!

You can honor God in all you do. Especially in your profession, whatever it may be. Working for God is NOT a religious position. Working for God is the ONLY position. We can seek, serve, and honor God in every aspect of our profession. Often however, it means comprising our selfish ambitions for success and wealth creation for greater and a more impactful purpose. Always, it means performing our jobs at the highest levels and acknowledging God as the giver of all talent, skill, opportunity, and blessing. There is no pot of gold at the end of any rainbow here on earth. Just ask really rich people and they will tell you they are not rich enough. However, heaven holds the ultimate reward. A retirement laced in gold.

Hope For The Hopeless

While in Central Park, I took this photo called “Prayer In the Park.” I could not help but capture the peace of this man in meditation. Maybe he was praying for a greater purpose, the healing of a loved one, or perhaps the world. Regardless, it is an amazing gift that we can connect with God through prayer.

The Thieves Of Hopelessness And Despair

The thieves of hopelessness and despair exist to breakdown gratitude and faith. Hopelessness operates like a well-planned heist. First, it shuts out the lights so we cannot see or find gratitude. All gratitude including gratitude for the moment we are occupying and gratitude for the moments of joy we already experienced, however few or far we may think they are. It wants complete darkness and control. It fills the dark room with obstacles like self-doubt, anxiety, and a preoccupation with everything that has gone wrong in our lives.

The Crown Jewel: Faith

The final stage of the crime is to run off with the crown jewel, Faith. In the confusion and sadness of the darkness, hopelessness convinces us that God doesn’t exist or if He does, He just doesn’t care. Then faith is ripped from the typically guarded protection of our heart and soul and the thief runs off with the goods.

The Real Thing: Hope

Except, the thief was unaware that the faith he stole was counterfeit. Just like the Mona Lisa in the Louvre in France, the real one is often relocated to unknown location. “True” faith cannot be taken from us. God protects and guards it just like His love.

So, when you think your hope has been stolen, remember that hope still remains.

whenyouarealloutof-hope

If The Shoe (Truly) Fits…

All too often we look to others as an example of who we want to be. This process starts from childhood and works its way through our career. However, God made us special with a special purpose of our own. It was planted into our souls long before we were born. Empty your mind and heart of those expectations and leave a hole just big enough for God to expose your personal grand design. It may feel terribly uncomfortable at first like any brand new pair of shoes. Once worn however, you will be walking on a cloud! You truly have your own shoes to fill!

 

The Problem With Making Plans

When we become too committed to what we think is “right or best” for us, we do not open our hearts to what God may have in store for our lives. I call it the studio apartment syndrome. We do not leave any room for God to live and work in our lives. Letting go of our conviction, for at least a moment, may reveal a better plan to be convicted to. Often, such plans, would never have had an opportunity to enter our imagination or consideration.

If we want God to work in our lives, we have to mentally move into a “McMansion” because God takes up that much room and more!

 

Ever Feel Like Your Life Is Going Nowhere?

Do you feel like your life is going nowhere? I have great news. Nowhere is always somewhere; It just may not feel like anywhere right at the moment. Yet, life is not just a moment, but a continuum of moments strung together to form a glorious story. Your story. How do I know this is true?

God created you for greatness. You are an amazing creation with amazing ability and potential. Be patient and savor the moments. Be intentional, yet regard your current circumstances as part of a bigger plan. There is a bigger plan. Think back to the many times in the past you felt this way and then suddenly your circumstances changed. You may feel like you are in the middle of nowhere right now but rest assure, you are very much in the middle of somewhere. Blessings…