It didn’t take me as long to come up with an image for “merge” this week as a part of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge (Merge), but it also looks like one of the more popular posts from the traffic as well. A sunrise might be a little more cliché than my previous posts, but we just got back from the beach, and this is what you shoot at the beach. I also have an extreme fondness for sunrises and sunsets. Twice a day we get such a unique view of God’s creation, and no two are ever the same. Last year I watched two sunrises and almost three sunsets in about a 24-36 hour period when I flew from Atlanta to Africa (which I actually don’t think I have posted yet).
I love the topic of photographically showing merge. There is no better way (to me) to photographically exhibit the topic of merge than a sunrise or sunset over the ocean, except perhaps a heavy fog. The night merging into the day. All the colors merging and blending all into one. Then the horizon disappearing or reappearing, marking a change in time from one day to the next. This shot was taken yesterday looking out over the Gulf of Mexico from St. George Island, FL just about 30-45 minutes after sunrise, just about the time all the color in the sky and water faded into dull blues. It was just as peaceful in person as it looks in the photo above.
I’m going to do another post later with just photos from St. George, so for now, here is my version of “merge” for this week. Be sure to check out some of the other entries below.
If you are wondering why I’m even doing this Daily Post series called the Weekly Photo Challenge (which is actually part of the larger WordPress series called the Post a Day series), it is because it makes me think outside the box, and that helps me with almost everything I do. When doing some photographic research for an artistic interpretation of “wrong” you get some really weird stuff, like this not-so-innocent looking cat. That really makes a true photographic interpretation of wrong open to almost anything the heart desires, emulating our world today I might add.
In keeping with my desire to photograph something unique amongst all the other posts I tried to figure out what the stereotype photo of what “wrong” would be, and I have concluded there isn’t one. So instead, I chose the ultimate wrong of our technology culture today by using my iPad as an example, but it’s more like a Where’s Waldo wrong than a smack you in the face wrong.
It’s probably overly obvious to some, but I’m sure not to all. Anyone… ?
Every year as the seasons change this tree puts on a different face. I’m guessing I have taken 100’s of photos of this one particular tree, and every shot looks different. Today we had a fog-bank cloud descend over the property making visibility a few hundred feet or so giving me this shot. The weather this year just seems freaky, like having 75*F and fog on December 6th, but in a few days it’s supposed to be below freezing. Oh well, that’s the weather in the south.
I know I post random photos on here from time to time but each individual photo I pull out of a shoot is part of a bigger set, and next year, I am actually going to do something I have wanted to do for the better part of 15+ years, and that’s Project 365 as it is so called now. Project 365 is something I will post about more later, but basically that is a project that refers to taking and posting one photo a day for 365 days. I know, sounds simple. Ever tried it? Maybe 2012 will be the year. Today this is the P365 [Day 8] photo.
This is the last trip post before we get on the plane in a few hours. I will continue to post some photos from the trip over the next several weeks and months as I go through the thousands of images I’ve taken over this trip. I can’t reflect over this trip any more, especially since we really have no distance in time for all our experiences over the last 7-10 days. For now I will leave everyone with the photo above that sums up our awesome driver, who took care of us the entire time. Everyone who has been over knows what this photo means. We love Eddy.
In this post are some shots of us in the crazy fast Eddy van along with one of Olive we all just loved. She was a super nice lady who went with us just about everywhere. It’s hard to sum up this trip. I think I probably will find it hard to sum up the trip for months to come, but overall it was a learning experience, a humbling experience, and hopefully one where we lived out the love of Jesus.
We have just about two full days left before we head back home. Today, at least I was thinking, was supposed to be a little easier than yesterday, but as when you try to plan for God, he often has different plans. This was by far the hardest day we have had, and as we met tonight we struggled with what we saw, and ultimately had to give it up to God and go to bed. There were 7 of us (out of the 9, the other two went to the University today) that went to the 2nd and 3rd children’s facilities today and when we got back to the guest house I think we all felt beat up and worn down. It was such a night and day difference between yesterday and today. We have compared and contrasted with each other for hours, struggling with what we can do, what we can’t do, and what we have to just give up to God and be ok with.
The photos in this post were only taken at the 1st place we went to today. The second place we went to we were told the government would not allow any photos within the facility, and for the first time, in perhaps years, I really had no desire what-so-ever to take a single image away from that experience. It will be forever burned into my mind as God showing me what His heart breaks for in this world today. With my camera stuffed in my backpack I was immediately taken out of my own comfort zone, behind the camera, and shown the realities and challenges our world can deliver. I’m grateful for that opportunity and I think I will learn from it for a long time to come. There were several team members who suggested that I write a short post and not put up any photos at all to correlate to the experience we had with the second children’s facility, but that was really only half of the day today. So, the other half of our day is shown in the photos in this post, there were none from the second half of the day. I love the shot of Amy Frye at the top. I think that pretty much sums up the day, but we are thankful for God’s love and that he is in charge.
The other two members of the team, Probakar and Emile, went to the University today and had an incredibly positive experience. Probakar was able to give a guest lecture to about 100 students and Emile explained her process of making clean water from sale and light. They brought back many new connections for future work that can be done and had a very positive and uplifting day.
We took away several positive individual stories from both places, and we have planted many seeds for our local partner church in Buloba or Gaba to pick up the work where we just barely got started. The team is really looking forward to tomorrow where we will go across Lake Victoria to Bethany Village Orphanage and then on to Buloba in the afternoon where the ladies will share with some of the woman from Buloba Church and the men, plus Amy Frye, will install some rain catches.
I thought I would do a little photography 101 slash book review for this Saturday’s post. Only one more week before Auburn opens the 2011 football season so today is sort of the last “free” day before the fall goes into full swing, so to speak. The changes in photography over the last 10-15 years has been amazing to watch, and I’m glad I started shooting when film was the only option. Just about anyone can pick up a digital SLR today that is capable of taking photos that weren’t even possible a few years ago. Thankfully, it still takes more than just a finger pushing a button to take shots that look like more than just vacation photos. It’s quite possible to take great shots with a point-n-shoot and lousy shots with a professional camera (my nephew who is 12 takes amazing shots with his $150 Canon PowerShot SD1300).
One of the aspects of photography that attracted me to the art years and years ago was how easy it was to take a photo, and how hard it was to master the art. Just like anything worth doing, it takes a lot of time, study, experience, and a determination to get beyond the basics. One of the very basics of photography, and also one of the most difficult to master, is exposure. There are three basic elements to exposure in photography that make an image possible. These have never changed since the very first piece of film was exposed to light. For a “proper” exposure you need a combination of aperture (lens opening), shutter speed, and ISO value (film or sensitivity speed). Today’s cameras all have what is called a “P” or “program” mode that automatically calculates all three of these in an instant and creates what it thinks is the proper exposure. The only problem with that is the meter always exposes for a “middle grey”, or average, which attempts to take every lighting situation in the frame, average it out for medium, and that’s the “proper” exposure. That not necessarily bad, or wrong, and it’s probably how about 90% of all images shot are taken, but it also doesn’t always make the most exciting photograph either.
The two examples above I shot in the fading sun over the Atlantic, and both are considered to be improperly exposed according to the camera meter at the time. One is significantly “over exposed” (too light or bright) and one “under exposed” (too dark). I took several shots back to back and the “properly exposed” shot was quite boring. I love how both of these shots show a different mood and many different details. What often determines a “proper” exposure is what you are trying to create when you take the shot. What story are you trying to tell often determines what exposure best portrays your vision when you pull the trigger.
If you are interested in learning more about exposure and how light is used in creating an image I recommend the updated edition of Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera by Bryan Peterson. I have no affiliation with Peterson but I did read his first edition that came out many years ago and recently finished the updated version published last year. Peterson goes through an easy to understand explanation of how to best use exposure in your photography beyond just pulling the trigger. Anyone who is interested in improving their photography should start off with Peterson’s book and move out from there, it’s a great place to start.
Apparently I didn’t exactly take 1 photo per mile traveled on this trip to Africa but I came pretty close. I’m still trying to recover from sitting in a metal tube at 35,000 feet for some 20 hours but I’m also trying to figure out how to process what we saw and did on this trip. Last week I was sitting in mud watching some amazing people play soccer. This Friday I am back sitting in my air conditioned office looking out at a green pasture of grass. It’s 100*F outside, (it was much cooler in Africa) so there really is no going outside to “enjoy” the weather, but I am happy to be back home. I keep trying to figure out how to compare life in Buloba to life over here in Auburn but realized, probably yesterday, that there just isn’t any way to compare life in two different cultures that is so drastically different. It is like trying to compare the similar properties of a commercial jet and a bullfrog.
If you have a picture in your head of a stereotype late night commercial where they show photo after photo of people crying and dramatically upset with every unimaginable horror in great detail that just isn’t what I saw in person. Yes, there are humanitarian needs everywhere, but the people I saw and met, and photographed, were people like Joy in the photo above. They were happy, many full of love for their brothers and sisters in Christ, and overjoyed to spend some time with us.
It’s Friday and this week’s feet post comes from Africa of course. This week the feet are mine and Joy. She is an amazing woman from Buloba Community Church who helped with everything from translation to installing rain catches (although I did see her kick a chicken, which, sorry, was hilarious).
I started thinking about all the photos I take during the week that never see the light of day. They could be photos on my phone or when I haul around my DSLR (which is most places right now until I find a suitable replacement for everyday stuff like the x100), but most get archived and are never seen from again. This odd collection of photos has nothing in common with the other except they all took place within the last 7 days. I’m calling this gallery a “Saturday Summary” and just including a hodge-podge of 5-10 photos from the previous week. These in this post are from July 2nd to July 9th, which included a weird set of images from stuff like the one rain we actually got in Auburn to the Cow Appreciation Day photos for Chick-fil-a my sister wanted of my nephews (which could be the cutest photo ever even if I do say so).
Call me strange but I love looking at the week in photos. It’s just a narrow frozen piece of time in the normal routine of daily life, something photographers rarely covered years ago, but something we now have the ability to document quickly, easily, and in great high quality. It may be the product of our age or culture, and it also may be just too much in general, but I would love to have seen photos of everyday life from my grandfather’s house, or great-grandfather.
You can find photographic opportunities literally everywhere, these were within walking distance of my house and I’m now thinking they actually look better as a photograph than they do as I walk by every day. I must have looked at these old cars for 5 years, every single day, and never thought about capturing some images until a few days ago. These trucks have seen a lot of my personal history over the years, and at some point I’ll try to get back in there closer so I can avoid all the weeds. I’m thinking about making the middle shot into a nice 16×24 print. I would like to say I have something profound to write about junk and possessions and storing up treasures in heaven where moth and rust don’t eat your vintage trucks but they were really just cool trucks sitting in the dirt being overtaken and claimed by the earth once again.
On another subject, this weeks is going to be another crazy crazy busy week, but towards the end of the week Deb and I will be heading out to Dallas for the annual National Polka Festival. We try to go every year but we missed it last year. Hopefully by Wednesday I will be posting some news about an upcoming trip in July, and then my blog will probably turn into the family trip blog on I-20 from Alabama to Texas. This time we are making the 750 mile trip in one day and I will probably attempt to max out our Verizon MiFi on the way out of boredom. I am looking forward to bringing back a bunch more images than I have in the past, for some reason, perhaps because of everything going on at the end of last year, I have keen desire for sheer photographic documentation.
Summer certainly seems to be here at this point in Auburn. We can’t seem to get out of these upper 95* days (although it seems really early for that), and everyone seems to have scattered to the wind like they always do once school lets out. This trip to Dallas is actually going to be our first trip out of the area since about January 2010. As a person who once loved to travel, I’m a bit apprehensive about this trip and others coming up this summer. Time to let go and give it up to God and let him handle the worrying, but I would appreciate your prayers, at least for this coming weekend.
Coming up, hopefully tomorrow, is a shoot from the Museum of Fine Art in Auburn, info about a trip coming up in July, and then it’s on to Polka days.
For some reason I like to photograph gas pumps (see also Is the Auburn Opelika Metro Area Really Out of Gasoline :: Photos) they just seem like they are part of Americana. I took all three of these photos with my iPhone, on Sunday, and the last two photos are actually working pumps at a gas station about 3 miles from my house (all three shots were taken in the Auburn area). When the pump on the bottom was originally put into service they didn’t even have a way to charge over $2 a gallon, the dial didn’t include a number “3” on it, so now they don’t use a decimal point, that’s actually $3.9899 even though you can’t see it (I asked). So when they manufactured that pump (had to be before I was born) they never thought there would be a day when they would ever go over $2 per gallon of gas. How’s that forward thinking for you.
The first pump was obviously out of order some time ago, but when I looked at it I tried real hard to remember when we actually paid $1.22 for a gallon of gas, not the $4 a gallon we are paying now. I’m sure it’s my age but I actually remember paying $.79 a gallon one time when a gas station in Dallas put their gas on sale for a short time. Just something a little different for the photo of the day today. Those pumps