I heard much sad news, was stuck indoors, and saw the constant clouds out the window today. So I looked for a moment of solace. To find one I went into "view my memories mode"...and found a bit of color to share. It helped me think of the glory of God, and crack at smile to end the day.
One thing I love about spring in our home in Georgia is the ever unfolding reminder of the march of time. All through the summer the blooming bushes and flowers will rotate with a beauty to remind me of how much greater His Glory will be in heaven. If you can find a loveliness like this here in a fallen world; imagine what beauty will await where perfection, justice and holiness prevails everywhere.
Happy Sunday! Enjoy some time with God today!
A few weeks ago a most incredible person told me a story, a story of forgiveness which humbled me. The story goes something like this...
Years ago this person suffered a great injustice at the hands of another. Bonds of trust broke, and a relationship broke into pieces. The breakup effected more than the two inside the relationship. The shattered relationship hurt many others, and still does to this day. Defenses went up to prevent additional pain, but the grace of forgiveness remained open to the offender. Not only does forgiveness flow, the offender gets prayers and encouragement to return to the church and obtain salvation from the victim!
I suffered a few injustices in my life, and I will admit my pride gets the best of me from time to time when the wound resurfaces. When I asked the person, their response was "To hold on to the anger and hate is to condemn your own soul to Hell. We can only move forward to Christ when we release the hate and let it fade away. We can only achieve heaven when we wish for those who harmed to repent and join us again on the path to heaven."
I prayed about this on a few nights since I heard this sermon of word and deed. I realized how much more I need to grow as a person to reach this type of holiness...and I hope I can imitate their example with a few more years of practice. Until then, I'll also pray this incredible person continues to show people like me the true path of Christ in this fallen world.
P.S. The photo is of Kellie at the Antiedam Battlefield Museum. It was a wonderful moment to watch her enjoy flowers, amidst the stories of war. It reminded me of the decades it took to heal the wounds from the Civil War, and the lesson above being the path towards reconciliation.
What is an anniversary without flowers for your beloved? Thankfully after 17 years of marriage I can tell by sight what she would like....I just wonder if she noticed I put some roses in this one for a change. Red roses at that! That was the sneaky item this time.
I know you all wanted a portrait of my lovely and dear wife for my project! No better time than an anniversary or Father's Day to get such an achievement done! If your wife is at week 34 of pregnancy, feeling achy, nauseous, and reminding you it is all your fault than you should probably wait a little longer for a portrait opportunity. it is best for the health of the photographer. I am sure I can get a fabulous photo, but I don't know if I could live long enough to develop it.
So until the better opportunity appears, you get a little memory of the flowers I picked up for my wife in the late summer sun on our front porch.
Just a reminder...if you have art needs please let me know. I would be happy to help capture your special day, a portrait or make some special art for your home. Ten percent of your final purchase price will go to charity..right now Regina Caeli Academy our family educational and spiritual home!
This is my third annual tribute to two of my Grandparents on what would be their anniversary month....my Babcha and DjaDja. This was the flower Babcha loved dearly, and my grandfather scrounged up for all their dates during World War II in Boston, Massachusetts. A special couple and full of love. Through better and worse they made a good life together, and have a wonderful love story. I miss my DjaDja and wish I could visit my Babcha more often...
What is hard to tell here is that two years ago this bush almost died in the coldest winter in decades. We had no blossoms last year. So this year I am loving the sweet fragrance of these flowers, and their beauty before my eyes.
My next project is to get my Nana's favorite flowers so I can do the same in the memory of my other grandparents! Such good people, and examples of time hardened marriages! Their grey hair are crowns of glory as spoken in proverbs, and had so much to pass on I just did not have time or the experience to fathom.
The last few weeks are the prettiest of the year in Atlanta. Flowers and blossoms exploding with wonderful color all over town. Our metro area is the most forested in the United States, and we have lots of blooming trees and bushes! It is also the only time my eyes want to be closed shut to fight off the pollen! I am doing a little better this year thanks to my doc...but it is really tough!
Today is Techie Wednesday is about color, or lack thereof...
Today we have a lovely photo where the color of Blues and Greens provided a nice compliment to each other. However I wanted a bit more...I wanted contrast of the blue on grey to make the blue really pop on the screen while the leaves provided context without distraction.
So remember that! Black and White focuses the eye on the structure, patterns, form of the photograph. Color can sometimes enhance this, but many times will detract from it.
In this case I wanted to place each element where it would help me make an image with impact. So I used both to the best effect I could.
Hopefully if you like these little techie moments I'll make sure they get out to you more often.
One of the great arguments about photography is whether it is an art or merely the capture of something that already exists...
I bet you can guess come down on the side of art! Well I'll also add in there that there is a bit of science and art in photography.
See the art is the composition, light and shadow. The science is the math of aperture, shutter, ISO.
In this photo I added selective color just for fun. Well also because flowers deserve some color to show off their glory.
I think all of life is a mix of science and art. We have science that defines physical interactions, and art that defines how we use science to effect perception. The moral compass that keeps the art and life on track? The Bible.
I married my wonderful wife sixteen years ago on June 27, 1998. We changed careers four times total, had eight places we called home, learned to pull out of life's valleys, and overcame health challenges both to ourselves an our seven children.
Yes I said seven children. See we have four with us, and three who passed in miscarriages. I believe those three are in the embrace of God as I write this. My wife chose the photo above to remember each one of them this past April.
In this voyage between 15 and 16 years of marriage losing a child at nine weeks of pregnancy delivered us the worst emotional pain we've endured as a married couple. The reason this became the worst pain stemmed from three major factors. First we know we are nearing the end of our time to bring children into the world. Second we never grieved properly for the first two lost children many years ago. Finally our spiritual growth growth over the last several years of homeschooling made us more aware of God's calling to participate in creation by raising children to know and love the Lord.
As painful as the time was, I know God's care for us surrounded us in a hundred ways. We met two women who had four and five miscarrages before having two children make it to birth describe the joy they had when they held their new arrivals. We had family and friends pray so hard for us, that when I started to collapse on hearing the bad news I could literally feel them holding me up in prayer. Melanie Levergood responded to a prayer request with "Absolutely! Storming Heaven. What do you need?" It was amazing to get notes from the His Light team: Nick Coury, Jim Begley and Bill Fortney out of the blue filled with prayer hours just after the bad news. My wife received good health care, and she is doing as well as ever thanks to a good doctor and his team. I also had supportive bosses at work, in the midst of a few critical incidents, let me run to my wife's side to care for her and the children.
Equally important to us was the fact that two clergy from church provided blessings and sacraments to us with love and compassion. Over the last few years my family gained a greater understanding of the form and meanings of prayer and sacraments. As a result, we were fully open to receiving the graces they offered in our times of need. For all the bad press people hurl at our Catholic clergy, I wish they could see the millions of good people beyond the few bad apples. Without those two men (Father Mario and Deacon Joe) ministering to this family, I know my family would still harbor damaging grief and pain. They follow in the tradition of my good and faithful friends who minister with love and kindness (yes I'm looking at our wedding priest/friends Father Mark Spring, Father Ed Kacena, and my Army Ukrainian Orthodox friend Father Peter Dubinin).
So after sixteen years of marriage I will offer the two greatest lessons I've learned. The first is that both parents must make our first priority for the house to stand with the Lord in heart, mind and action. This creates a foundation for love to grow between each family member and God. The second lesson is that when we travel through life we need to be attentive to the messages God sends us. God sent us those women, friends, doctors, my job to pay the bills, and clergy to help us get through the pain. By choosing to embrace the goodness God sent our way, we left bitterness behind and rejoined the community of life he wants us to travel in. Now we are ready to help someone else at God's beaconing.
Oh...and I do love my wife Carrie Anne Baker Wojtkun more now than ever.
Spring is barreling its way into Roswell, Georgia. Those of us with hay fever are also remembering why Atlanta Metro is known as the friendliest city to trees in the entire Untied States. The pollen count went well over 2000 for trees this week. Lovely time of year, the weather is great...but your cars are yellow...and don't touch your eyes!
We had a crazy week around my house, and a zany week to come with all sorts of fun and Holy Week to wrap it all up!
This year I found myself able to take off the last three days of Holy Week. SoI grabbed it. It is my favorite time of the liturgical year. I love the opportunity to contemplate on the fact that Jesus, God Incarnate, dies for me and everyone so we may be free. It brings me hope and peace.
The photo today reflects that thought as well. The tree went to sleep in fall, shedding its outer layer of leaves to survive the winter. Now with the light and warmth of spring new flowers arise. In them we see a mere prelude to the glory and beauty that is the love of God in our lives.
I like to surprise my wife with a flower or two on occasion...and seeing these flowers reasonably priced for sale by florist made me a bit homesick. It was fun to poke my head under he plastic shroud protecting the 25 foot long booth of flowers...and find the smell of flowers could still overwhelm the dozens of cars, garbage cans, and multiple restaurants outside just a few feet away.
If I could have brought them on the plane I certainly would have!
It was a nice moment to feel the power of a flower in both vision and smell to remind me of what really matters in life...the love of my family and the little ways we need to share it.
-ehw P.S. This is the old X-E1 with the 35mm at night walking the street on the way to the hotel from church. The effects were done in Nik Snapseed.
Today I made an accidental study in under exposure. See I was shooting away, in what I thought was aperture priority mode. Well I accidentally also moved the shutter speed from Auto to 4000/sec. As a result, the vast majority of the shot became way under exposed. The most highly exposed parts of the photo, did expose properly and created some beautiful colors. Obviously the contrast between dark and light came out fantastic, with a bit of a magical air to it.
The mistake I made reminded me of a basic need...to make sure I sometimes learn what creative possibilities exist by working around the metered perfect. It can teach me why "right" is "right," and what happens when you push the boundaries to sometimes make some magical air.
P.S. X-E1 with 60mm obviously underexposed!
P.S. When shooting flowers outdoors I highly suggest wind breaks and diffusers. One keeps your subject still. The other helps control the highlights by making harsh light bigger.
Each year, right now, the gardenia's bloom in my back yard. When we moved into the house I was drawn to their complete package of beauty and fragrance. If I had seen these flowers before, I had no memory of them. I just knew they were something important to capture and enjoy.
Last year I shot a few of these wonderful flowers and sent them off to my family, only to hear a wonderful love story. See paternal grandfather, DjaDja, brought these to my Babcha (grandmother) when they were dating since she loved them. This was expensive during the war, especially up in the cooler climate of Boston. My Babcha enjoyed them so much, they made up her bridal bouquet!
That love story took place during World War II, but I only found out about it the day I sent her the photos some seventy years later. For years that lovely story laid dormant, untold and a my connection to these flowers unknown. Only by sharing this image, which cannot compare to the real thing, did I learn how they are part of my story.
Since that day last year, when my Babcha sent me a lovely note, I've found myself anxious for them to reappear. I've also shared other flowers with my wife a little more impulsively than in the past. With each gift I think of my Babcha and DjaDja as I knew them as a child around thirty five years ago. Two people very much in love, smiling together, and loving each other through the better, poorer, health and sickness parts of life.
So with the gardenia bloom I think of those two people in love, and try to show my wife the same devotion I remember my DjaDja doting on his bride. That is a legacy I don't want to ever forget.
So as i used to tell him....Thanks Dja