The Coming Moment


     This cruxifiction moment the world changed, but the miricle did not end with that moment.  It benefitted those who passed before it, and those who passed after.  Each of us get shot at eternal life with God because of it.  

     As we said the Rosary last night, we reflected on the Sorrowful Mysteries.  It brought me back to recently read a chapter from St Thomas Aquinas, reminding us that God exists outside time.   God can use this past moment to inspire and save us now in this moment.  To God now is no different than if we stood at the foot of the cross then.

    In the midst of our prayers, I tried to place myself at the foot of the cross.  I kept asking myself if I would be brave enough to live my faith out in the face of the threats around me.  Would I have faith looking at pagan Roman soldiers, to whom I have no value except as a slave?  Would I be cowered in fear by the vengeful crowd who reject the law of God?  Would I stay silent knowing the enemy has spies ready to bear witness to their lords about my adoration for the man on the cross?

    I found myself wanting.  Still afraid, but slowly growing in the strength of faith for the tests that lay ahead of me.  I can see in this land this land today, those same threats faced by the fathers of the faith growing in strength.   Surely you can see the new tests arising for Christians everywhere as well.

    What can you say for yourself?  Are you ready for your coming moment?


And the world fell silent

And the world fell silent The world fell silent on that Holy Saturday.  The Lord who lowered himself to become a mere mortal man, in death went even lower.  As he opened the gates of hell, we could not see his preaching and the legions coming to the sound of his voice and the promise of salvation.

This thought from todays Divine Office sermon in the daily Office of Readings made me think a lot differently today.  The rain here last night stopped baseball and sports in its tracks across northern metro Atlanta.  My day went from overfull to silent in outside activity.  We were able to do what my heart really no desires, focus on preparing for the big religious celebration tomorrow.

I spent time with my father collecting a few final supplies for the big Easter feast.  It was busy out in public, but the time we spent together reflectively.  The children were at home with my wife, mother and sister prepping the house and the easter cake (A two foot tall bunny cake).  When we arrived home we all decorated the eggs made with care in the morning by my mother, dad and I.  My wife was checking out the clothing for Easter Sunday, and making sure we had enough of the vitial things like dark socks cleaned and folded.  Then a final treat when my Dad took us all out for dinner...before we shuffled everyone off to bed.

Now the house is quieting down...only the two year old remains calling for anyone to get her out of the crib to play a few more hours (this kid does not sleep enough...GO GO GO).

I'm now reflecting on the incredible challenges we overcame, the love of friends helping us in deed and prayer through those challenges, and finally the growth my family went through spirituallyin the 40 days of Lent.

I am happy the world went silent today.  It gave me the time to now go to bed with a long list of thanksgiving prayers I need to say.

The first to the Lord for his suffering and final victory.  The rest to all those who followed his teachings to lift us up when we were down.


Easter Weekend Easter Weekend Easter Weekend Easter Weekend Easter Weekend Easter Weekend Easter Weekend

Lessons in Silence

Lessons in Silence One of the things about being the Dad with a camera in Little League is you have to learn to be an observer...and nothing more.

See if you capture the critical play and know the umpire got it'd better stay quiet.  It is the umpire's field, he called it the way he saw it, and he's the authority not you.  To kick, shout or throw a tantrum is to dishonor your team and status as a photographer.  It will also get you asked to leave and not come back!  Anyway the umpires called a good game, excellent strike zone and kept it all moving. Besides if you focus on your craft, you capture a moment and show how to be a good relaxed Dad.  

My son did well.  Pulled in a fly out in right, grounded into an infielders choice, and caught for an inning.  He got settled down and did well behind the plate.  He had a great play guarding the plate...but I will refer back to the lesson in silence and not tell you the call!  See whether he got credit for the out or not it did not matter for the purposes of me getting to stay on the field!  He hauled the ball in, got a tag on the runner, and improved during his second tour behind the plate this season.  I got to see all this without a fence in front of me, and with a 60-250mm (90-375mm with a 1.5 crop factor) telephoto lens!  HEHE!

So that takes me to today...first game I was able to shoot all season from start to finish.  I vowed today to make sure I did as little as I could in post production.  So I shot RAW + JPEG, set the camera to vibrant, worked the exposure settings between shots to get the best one, played with highlight and shadow controls in camera...and worked it as well as I could.  Big thing in post is cropping, and then some extra highlight controls (it was very bright!).  By working hard, and getting the JPEGs right I got the work done quickly today.  If something needed extra work it would only take a few seconds to switch to the RAW and try to recover a few more highlights of shadows to enhance the shot.  Today I did not have to do that at all.

So in a few minutes I'll share the photos with both teams (the other team's coach was my son's coach last fall)...and head off to bed...job all done!

Now all I need to to get paid for this sometime!


P.S. Mr Pentax K-5 with 60-250F4 all day long

Ground Ball!

The Slow Spring

The Slow Spring I don't know about you, but this almost feels like we're going to have a year without a summer!  The flowers and blooms though are trying to come out and enjoy the sun.  Just a quick shot from the yard in the fading spring light this weekend.  These flowers are very graceful for a day at most, then they get twisted, and lose a lot of their appeal.  So if I want a shot of them, I need to photograph them as soon as they open.  So the lesson of the day is to take the shot now, because you never know if it will be there tomorrow.

Good lesson for life as well.


P.S. Fuji X-E1 with 60mm close up lens.  (This is not a true macro as it will only do 2:1, not the full 1:1 a traditional macro will obtain)

Premium or Regular?

Premium or Regular? I received a blessing from God today...I went out to fellowship and take photos with the His Light Workshop Crew.

If you have a few minutes I suggest you take a look at the work of Bill Fortney ( and Jim Begley (

What you will find are stunning images of life.  You will not find subjects created for shock value or pure sex appeal.  You find written word and art which lifts you upwards...toward an appreciation for God and all his wonders. Bill is fond of saying he loves texture in his photos.  I also think he is very good at helping you appreciate the textures God adds to your life.  Jim makes High Dynamic Range (HDR) photos which knock your socks off in content, technical excellence and message.  When you talk to him, you can see feel his love of God coming out in the same manner of an HDR photograph where something we think is too dark for perception reveals itself and the composition makes sense so the message takes root in your heart and mind in equal parts.  How do these men do this?  By actively listening to you, and letting God work through them in a very humble manner.

See if you come to a His Light Workshop, you better be ready for God to speak through its many members.  You need to understand that when you join the crew, they will care about you more as a person than as a photographer.  The funny thing is when they do this, they offer more of themselves to you as teachers than most others ever will if they did the reverse.

I saw many examples today of agape love in HDR.  People freely giving of themselves to care for others,  offering a prayer for others in need, and providing an environment for people to engage in the sharing at a level their personalities and life texture permits.  It is not loud, it is not is quiet and is the sound of the Holy Spirit working his way through people bringing Christ where needed for their sustainment.

So why the title?  Well we all have many choices in life for everything we do.  In choosing friends and services I think we also have a choice...we can chose Premium or Regular friends.  A regular friend will be with us as we travel through life, but when a challenge arrives they'll just walk on their own trying to help you with a man's knowledge.  A premium friend with walk with you, and when the time comes not be afraid to invoke God in the discussion of how you shall overcome life's challenges using his revealed laws of nature and scripture.

The men and women of His Light...they are Premium.


PS X-E1 with the 35mm Prime





The camera you have with you

The camera you have with you captures the best photo The old saying is that the best camera you have is the one you have with you.  Here is an example in point.

During mass on New Years Eve Kellie was not being bad, just demonstrating she had more energy than the two parents sitting with her in the pew.  She also had more curiosity in everything around her than the next fifteen people you could find in the adjacent pews.  So of course I had to take her out to the narthex for most of mass.  While we were there, she of course found the nativity scene fascinating.  Not having time to get good angles, or my good camera sitting in the pew...I grabbed my iPhone and snapped two frames.  Then like a hawk I switched into protect the church property mode, and became the hover parent.  Meanwhile one of the deacons from the parish sat behind me, laughing with his whole family.  He just looked up and said, I've been there three times myself!

So I would not have an image to share with you of her sweet doting on the nativity set without the small little camera I had with me.  If you want an image you have to have something to capture it.  You have to know the tools you have with you as it should behoove me to learn a little more about the darn thing as well.  I guess I should give it some of the attention I normally reserve for my "good" cameras! It just might pay off when I capture the moment I would otherwise lose to unrecorded history.


P.S.  iPhone in Program mode using the standard camera program.  Post processed in Perfect Picture Suite 8 and Nik Define to reduce some noise.

Dodo Bird spotted in Alpharetta!

The Last Dodo Bird Contrary to most textbooks, the dodo bird does show up from time to time in the wild.  This one wore a mask to disguise itself amongst the busy downtown Alpharetta Canton Street.

For this photo I did a little bit of work in Capture One 7 Perfect Effects.  One thing I've learned is that many, many effects can be done in your primary photo editor.  Programs like Perfect Effects and the Nik products (I own both) can make the process of having fun with your image faster.  Yes there will be some things you can only do in Photoshop, but reality is that for 95% of your work these tools will do just fine.  Yes I did use some one shot HDR work with Perfect Effects for RC Conception says...everything can look better in HDR.


PS Fujifilm X-E1 with the old 18-55 again.  The darn thing is just so versatile!

To color or not to color

_DSF3126 Art Shop

During my work around in Alpharetta I began to work with my camera settings internally.  In this case I shot the jpeg with Artisa Film mode on high color and contrast.  It as nice, but I also wanted to see what the B&W would look like.  So I simply reprocessed in RAW using the B&W setting with increased contrast and detail.  The more I get comfortable with adjusting settings in camera, I think I may be able to reduce my time at he computer after the shoot.

I also wanted to experiment with the B&W because out of camera, many much more experienced and savvy photographers, say this machine is a B&W dream machine.  I think it did pretty well, but I'm not an expert yet.

In either case, it makes a good study of how removal of color can change up a photograph and focus your eyes and experience on different parts of a photo.  While the white frame and dress draw you in while it is in color...the shapes and patterns box you in for the B&W version.


P.S. Fujifilm X-E1

Fall Colors in town...

Signs of fall all around... I went for a walk yesterday and learned I have a lot to learn...while using my tools.

Fall is a wonderful time.  Great light, cool weather, and some things slow down around the house.  Well as the kids get older it does not seem to slow down much, but it does a bit.

This photo is an interesting juxiposition (well to me at least) of nature's leaves, a service panel on the sidewalk and a spray painted spot of blue!  Not expected with the fall and natural colors in there!

I hope you enjoy it!


P.S. Fujifilm X-E1 with the not so kit 18-55 lens.  RAW file conversion and edit right in Aperture.