Flowers of Spring Have Finally Arrived

Iris in Bloom in Auburn
Iris in Bloom in Auburn

I took a break from my blog for a while, which always seems to be the case during the cold dark months of the year. Now that Spring is in full bloom here in Auburn things look so full of life and so colorful it just brings new inspiration to everything. Even though I took a few months off from my blog I still kept writing throughout the winter, but for some reason it always seems to be a little different. I wish I could find a way to better merge my offline writing with my writing here, but it would probably change how I write offline. Anyway, hope everyone is enjoying their springtime colors as much as we are down here in the south.

This Week’s Project 365 with Sunset Over the Fillmer Farm

Sun Setting Over the Pasture
Sun Setting Over the Pasture on the Fillmer Farm
Wow yet another week has come and gone. This is my weekly Project 365 post which includes a week where we had our kids and grandkids out to visit from Colorado and go to do a quick family photo shoot one afternoon. The images below are the chosen images for Day 223 through Day 229. You can see the entire shoot on Flickr at http://P365.me.

My favorite shot again this week was a sunset (above), which ended up being a little similar to last week but not. I love sunsets, and this one came right after a heavy summer rain shower when the sun peeked just below the clouds. The shot above was taken with my iPhone 4S, a camera that continues to amaze me each week. We finally started to get some rain in our area and this week was one afternoon shower after another. Hard to complain about the rain when we have been in a drought for so long, but it did make for some very hot and humid days, something our family from Colorado thought was a little less than pleasant. I love how different each week’s photos turn out in this project, next week is sure to be more of the same… different.

Project 365 [Day 170] Retreating into the Safety of Our Shell

Project 365 [Day 170] Turtle Waiting to Be Released

I captured this big guy crossing the road over by our house on the way home from work yesterday, and while he was sitting in my truck I took this shot with my iPhone. My intentions were to keep him from getting run over by picking him up, putting him in the trunk, and bringing him over to a new greener pasture (literally) and a nice pond already stocked with his friends. He was quite heavy and as soon as I picked him up his nails pushed my hand off his shell and I dropped him in the grass. Luckily he was only about a foot off the ground, but as one of my little nephews pointed out, his leg was bleeding. It wasn’t bad, but the turtle was startled for sure, and spent the better part of 30 minutes in his shell, refusing to come out even when he was put in the water.

He eventually stuck his head above water to take a breath, and then finally stretched out his legs and swam away into the big open expanse. It got me thinking about how often we shrink back into the safety of our shells when someone is trying to help us, even if the help sometimes hurts. Well, he should be making new friends now, and he also made my Project 365 photo of the day (gallery), hopefully he will stay off the roads now.

Project 365 [Day 158] Tree Swing on the Farm at Sunset

Project 365 [Day 158] Tree Swing on the Farm at Sunset

This is one of my favorite places in our backyard, and of course if you have been around this site for a while you will recognize the tree swing, but I keep finding unique ways to shoot it. I’m working on getting all the photos on my site of this swing to be searchable through “my swing” but they aren’t all up there quite yet. Yesterday afternoon I was cutting the grass and noticed the sun setting right behind the tree and actually took this shot while I was on the tractor, mowing. I later stopped and tried to setup a better shot with Deborah in the swing but none turned out as this one did with the sun right in my face. Today it was my Project 365 photo for Day 158.

A Good Friday Feet on the Farm with John Deere

Friday Feet on the John Deere Tractor

This is a very late version of Friday Feet today, but it’s technically still Friday. This late post is because We had an incredible, very humbling, Good Friday service today-tonight, (a post which will have to wait until tomorrow when I can get to the images). After finishing up a book review for Liberty this morning, my Friday-day-off became a mow as much grass as can be mowed in one afternoon. That’s not as bad as it sounds, I actually like getting out on the tractor, it gives me an escape of sorts to be able to listen to a book or something like that.

I know many people who do their thinking while they run, or ride, but I do mine while I’m on the tractor. It takes just about as long (that’s a good thing) to ride 30-40 miles, or run 10-15 miles, as it does to mow acres of grass. All that and I have less of a chance to get run over by a passing car too. It’s hard not to think about Holy Week, and the significance of it all, but I’ll elaborate on tonight’s service in the next post.

For now, the grass is green and growing fast, and the garden is about to be washed in purple. Our purple Iris’ (photo below), are about to bloom surrounding our red Double Knockout Roses. You may not look for the symbolic among creation, but I do, and I love the fact that we have purple flowers about to bloom, the day before Easter, surrounding blood red roses… royalty of a King, surrounded by the blood shed for me and you, all displayed in a tiny little flower garden in south Alabama. The larger version taking place on Auburn’s campus is seen just below, but then again, all of creation proclaims the Glory of God (Romans 1:20 and others).

Purple Iris About to Bloom

Azaleas on Auburn University Campus

Cutting the Pasture on the John Deere Tractor

Foggy Spring Meadow of Funnel Spider Webs in Morning Dew

Funnel Web Spider in Dew

Funnel Web Spider in Dew

Funnel Web Spider in Dew

Last Thursday we had a convergence of sorts in Auburn where super high humidity came in and stayed overnight, leaving us with thousands upon thousands of Funnel Spider webs on the ground. The common Funnel Web spiders derives its name from the unique webs it spins. The Funnel Web spider kills garden pests, but the bite of this common spider is harmless to humans.

After receiving a few texts and messages on Twitter to get out there and shoot some of these I did, but I didn’t have to go far, just down my driveway. The last image on this set you can see the funnel where the spider was sitting, not wanting to come out and see my camera. I love the beauty God creates in nature, there is just always something new and changing for us to see.

Gay Dallas Judge Tonya Parker Refuses to Marry Homosexual Couples in her Court

On the surface, if you are one who stands behind Paul on Romans 1:24-27 (among many other verses of course), you would think this judge refusing gay marriage in her courtroom is a good thing (see YouTube video Judge Parker talks about LGBT issues in her court). But today of course, you can never look at something on the surface level, or by the headlines, and really get the full picture. This judge is taking her stand as a form of protest that the Texas legislature has not passed a law permitting Gay marriage, so she is refusing to marry gay couples in her court room, and instead is choosing to pass the buck down the line to her fellow judges (I’m sure they appreciate that) to wed all the gay couples coming to her courtroom. She says:

“I use it as my opportunity to give them a lesson about marriage inequality in this state because I feel like I have to tell them why I’m turning them away,” Parker said. “So I usually will offer them something along the lines of, ‘I’m sorry. I don’t perform marriage ceremonies because we are in a state that does not have marriage equality, and until it does, I am not going to partially apply the law to one group of people that doesn’t apply to another group of people.’ And it’s kind of oxymoronic for me to perform ceremonies that can’t be performed for me, so I’m not going to do it.”

I pick this topic up this morning briefly (this is a great post too), as I have about once a year, because of the similar nature it has to do with a post I did years ago that still resonates with the gay marriage debate, Christian Photographer Who Refused Gay Wedding Lost Lawsuit. Our culture is at such a point today where we have utterly refused to see the Truth that before long, posts like this will be considered hate speech. It is already to a point where in Colorado you can’t openly speak what the Truth of Scripture says about the homosexual lifestyle, something you haven’t been able to do in Canada in a long time.

Frankly speaking, I’m tired of this country acting like the homosexual debate is a matter of civil rights, but that’s what happens when we blend Truth with sin. Eventually when the state of Texas makes it legal for Gay couples to marry, as I am pretty sure all states eventually will, I hope as the post above stated, they will offer the same courtesy to a judge who refuses to perform Gay weddings due to their religious beliefs, though that judge will probably be sued. My point is basically this… I am for equality, free speech, and the freedoms this country were founded on, but don’t exchange one freedom for another like they seem to have already done in Canada and elsewhere. I have the right to say homosexuality is a sin according to God’s word (one that is equal with any other sin we all commit on a a daily basis, both needing of repentance), just like others have the right to say it isn’t. My question is, when does openly speaking about Romans 1 become “illegal” in America?

None of this changes Paul’s words in Romans. Nothing ever will. No matter how much we debate the topic in this country of whether homosexuality is a sin or not, God’s words in Romans (and many other places) will never change. You can change the laws in the country, you can even put people in jail or sue them for speaking the Truth or taking a stand for their beliefs, but even if Heaven and Earth pass away, God’s words will never pass away (Luke 21:33).

Backyard Photo Walk with a 35mm Lens and Some Bokeh :: Photos

I love doing the back yard photo walk, mainly because you really don’t have to go anywhere to shoot. Every time you go out in your yard you will be surprised at how many new things there are to shoot each time you try it. It doesn’t seem that way at first, especially since you look at the same setting every day, but if you look hard, everything changes as the seasons move on, and there is always something new to shoot. Yesterday I went to test out this Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX and this is what I came back with. Years ago when I was shooting Nikon’s FX (Full Frame sensor) I loved to shoot specifically at 50mm using a fast 50mm lens. Over the last few years I have been shooting with a crop sensor (or DX), which makes my 35mm lens a 52mm. All that to say this is about the same as something like this but with a different lens.

Have a great rest of the weekend everyone.

Dagger Kayaks on the Apostle Islands and Columbia River

My wife and I in days past were quite active paddlers. We spent about 5 or so years kayaking all around the country in between conventions (our work), and because we were always traveling we were able to kayak in some really neat places. Just to name a few, we went out to the caves in Lake Superior near the Apostle Islands, the slot canyons at Lake Powell in Arizona, coastal surf in the North Carolina Outer Banks, rivers and lakes from Ohio to New York, and out to the great Columbia river in Oregon. Only problem, for me, was I never did like my particular kayak (the Dagger Cortez 16.5), for various reasons, but I never could get comfortable on a long paddle.

Since then we have tried to find different outdoor activities that we could both enjoy together, but never really found anything we both equally liked (other than sailing, which we might do again some day), so we decided to go back to kayaking, but with shorter, lighter, smaller, less expensive, kayaks we can just throw in the back of the truck and take to the nearest body of water (like Chewacla which is only a few miles away). Anyway, below are some of our previous paddling trips, wish we had time to go back to some of these great places.

These below were all shot with film so they are a little grainy, HDR high res images are in order soon.

Waterfall on Society Hill Road in Lee County

A little local flavor for Friday. I drive by this waterfall all the time and have never in all my years of looking at it stopped to take a photo. There are a few small waterfalls in Lee County and this is one of them, privately owned of course, but still quite beautiful and visible from the road. I was trying to work on a little HDR with the Nikon D90 but this didn’t turn out how I was hoping it would so I offer up this single shot image.

I am still testing the HDR on the iPhone but so far the results have been fantastic. I just love the HDR look but haven’t really been able to find a result I like myself, so I will just continue to experiment. Now that HDR is available on the iOS 4.1 I am going to at least try to get a decent HDR image with my iPhone at the Clemson game in about 10 days, especially since technically speaking you aren’t allowed to take in your DSLR, even though I was able to take it in at the Arkansas State game.