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)
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Imbalances 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.
Photos are wonderful tools to force us still and insight an awareness of things we are too busy to acknowledge. God wants us to appreciate these precious little souls whose hearts are or were physically broken, but not nearly as broken God’s own for all His creation. What may appear to be a photo of scars, is really a reminder of hope.
Photo of Babies With Chest Scars From Open-Heart Surgeries | POPSUGAR Moms
A strong mom is using one photo to take a stand for all of the babies that go through life with heart defects — and it’s beyond stunning. read more at popsugar.com
Let us acknowledge photographers who have promoted peace through their work. The world longs for peace but seems to have a bit of trouble finding it. We need more great captures like Mr. Rodwell’s to touch our hearts and encourage us to seek peace, inspire peace, and photograph peace so that it is continuously in our vision.
Meet the photographer who took Time for Peace photograph – Belfast Newsletter
“This photograph remains a poignant and memorable image of Northern Ireland’s fractured past. The photographer who captured this snatched moment in time was Crispin Rodwell, here we find out more about him and his work, from his son Ryan Rodwell.” read more at newsletter.co.uk
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.
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.
“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…
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.”
There isn’t a single phase of this process that just doesn’t drop your jaw to the floor. I can remember all four of my miracles and while all were very different journeys, all equally amazing. From the moment you learn you will be a mother or father; To the preparation for the new arrival; Then comes the day God sends this little spirit down to earth and into your arms… And finally, the blessing of family. “This is the miracle of life!”
Beauty is in the eyes of the Creator; Not the beholder. All the contest participants were winners Sunday night. In fact, we all win when we celebrate beauty through God’s eyes. Steve Harvey didn’t get it wrong. He just didn’t get it at all. It’s not his fault however. I actually adore Steve.
“The host of the Miss Universe pageant, Steve Harvey, made a huge blunder by naming the wrong winner on Sunday night.
Of course, one might wonder if maybe that was the point. Cameras panned to reveal genuine looks of confusion and horror on both women’s faces as they realized what had happened, and what would happen still: One would be forced to give up the title she’d been given and the other would be forced to take it from her. Some members of the audience began to boo — in support of Miss Colombia or in reaction to Harvey’s blunder, or both”. read more at cnn.com
There is nothing wrong with being fascinated by beauty or even showcasing it. It is what God created. However, the consequences for haphazardly elevating some while subordinating others leads to a loss of the true definition of beauty itself. Beauty pageants should, and can be celebrations. Celebrations of cultures, celebrations of youth, celebrations of physical and spiritual diversity, etc. They shouldn’t be thrones with crowns. Not only pitting one individual against another, but even country against country at times. If anything was revealed by Mr. Harvey’s little faux pax Sunday evening, it should be that we are not very good at assigning beauty. Even with a sophisticated voting system. Beauty has already been assigned by it’s Creator – God.
David Leaser is using new technology and special techniques to capture God’s amazing handiwork embedded in all of nature. His images draw us closer to the detail and color we often miss for many reasons. Without a doubt, with the right intent, innovation and technology can enhance our appreciation for God’s creation.
It’s one thing to use a macro lens on a camera to capture the smallest details of flora and fauna.
Then there’s what David Leaser does, which is less like photography than it is like an MRI image. It’s called focus stacking and involves an array of photographic equipment that far exceeds the usual single-lens reflex camera equipped with a macro lens.
“I wanted to elevate these little tiny flowers into significance, give people a different perspective,” he said.”
And that he does. He also seeks to “have his works lower viewers’ blood pressure and cause them to smile.” I believe that this is exactly why God created such natural beauty on this earth. I pray we all seek ways to draw closer to God’s creation. The result – We draw closer to God.
Unfortunately, overused and under-appreciated. One way we can share God is to share Him by name in the form of a blessing. Nearly every culture, language, and faith holds such a prayer in the highest regard. But somehow, we have reduced this glorious expression of love to a reflex in response to a sneeze. I pray we all share God every day through this expression, even if someone doesn’t sneeze.
I have to believe that typing shortcuts into a device or simply dictating a message loses so much of the potential to communicate. Three aspects of communication are under attack by technology.
The first aspect is time. Time allows us to fully contemplate and complete our thoughts increasing the probability that our audience will understand what we are trying to communicate. Technology is an enemy of time because the more time something takes, the less effective the technology.
The second aspect is scope. In a world where we are increasingly shortening our messaging with technology (emails to instant messages to emojis, and beyond), we are sacrificing the spices of communication which include depth, detail, and emotion. A smiley face cannot fully articulate happiness.
Lastly, and possibly the most painful, is the loss of personalization. Technology, and the overuse of devices, have all but eliminated the personal nature of a handwritten note and the need for face-to-face engagement. We desperately need to preserve forms of traditional communication in order to stay “human.” It’s as if we are losing our thumbs!
We don’t need to understand God’s plan. We just need to participate in it and put our full trust in Him. It occurred to me that if we did understand or had full knowledge of it, we would likely get in the way.
“Justice” should never be “Just-For-Us.” It should be for all. But it can’t be if truth is not sought. I’m afraid the function of the judicial system is to favor the “one who gets the most marbles” rather than pursing, presenting, and prosecuting the facts. If the latter were the case, why would we need two sides? Wouldn’t we all be on the same side? The side of truth?