August 13, 2011

I sense a presence
I sense a presence

Focal Length: 50mm
Aperture: f1.8
ISO: 160
Exposure: 1/8000

For as long as I can remember, Silver’s Garage in Bridgewater has always had a bunch of International trucks lined up alongside the road. Last year I stopped to snap a few pictures of these shiny beasts of industry.

 I like how the presence of the red truck in the background almost overwhelms the focus on the blue truck’s light. You want to examine the light in more detail, but it’s a struggle because your eye keeps getting pulled to the red truck.

It’s sorta like when you move into a new position, but the reputation of the previous person in said position is so grand and glorious, people can’t help but continue to focus on the past rather than the present and future. That’s pretty tough. Well imagine what it must have been like for Joshua taking over the leadership of the Israelites. He was just replacing the Amazing Moses!

Seriously… you think Joshua every heard the words… That’s not how Moses did it? Here is how the Bible describes the leadership challenge Joshua was moving into…

Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the LORD sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel. – Deuteronomy 34:10-12

Now those are some pretty big shoes to fill.

August 12, 2011

Valiant young Canadian

Focal Length: 50mm
Aperture: f1.8
ISO: 160
Exposure: 1/160

This is a photo of the sailor statue in Sackville Landing on the Halifax waterfront. The inscription on the plaque reads… The sailor statue representing those valiant young Canadians who served in both war and peace is symbolic of the thousands of sailors who were instrumental in the victory at sea and a fitting acknowledgement to those who continue to maintain the peace.

Before World War 2 began, the Canadian navy consisted of just 1,800 regular sailors with 6 modern destroyers and 4 minesweepers. By the end of the war over 98,000 sailors were added to the ranks, and Canada had the third largest navy in the world. That’s pretty amazing for a nation of only 11 million people.

Many of those enlisted sailors came from such landlocked provinces such as Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Imagine what went through their minds as they experienced the great, and seemingly endless, power of the ocean. It reminds me of these verses in Psalms…

They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. – Psalm 107:23-28

Between catching a glimpse of the awesome power of God’s creation… and the slender thread of wartime violence their life continually dangled from… I can’t help but imagine many sailors did cry out to the LORD in their trouble.

August 11, 2011

Leaving... on a jet plane
Leaving… on a jet plane

Focal Length: 48mm
Aperture: f5
ISO: 1250
Exposure: 1/1000

Sometimes, when I see an airplane fly overhead. I wonder what a person from centuries ago would think if they were standing there seeing the same thing. Imagine them inside the plane as it takes off – make sure they have a window seat. :-)

That would be hilarious to watch.

I think about what King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 1:9-10

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. – Ecclesiastes 1:9-10

When I first read those words I imagined the airplane situation mentioned above. Stick a recently-brought-back-to-life-in-the-21st-Century-King-Solomon in an F-18 Hornet Fighter Jet and then ask him if time and technology has marched on since he shuffled off this mortal coil three thousand years ago.

Seriously… shove him on one of those insane, gut-wrenching roller coasters and see what he’s got to say then.

Since Solomon breathed his last there has been a tremendous amount of change in society. In just the past century or so we’ve see some small advances in electricity… plumbing… television & movies… music (this would be a fun activity – play a few rap tunes for Solomon and watch his expression)… space travel… motor vehicles… computers… the internet… health care… cell phones… shall I go on?

The world is infinitely different than when King Solomon penned those words. So does that mean that he, and the Bible along with him, are out of touch… obsolete… irrelevant? Absolutely not!

When Solomon says there is nothing new under the sun, he’s not talking about specific things… inventions… or past-times… he’s talking about stuff in general. If you continue on and read Ecclesiastes chapter two you realize Solomon tried just about EVERYTHING to fill the sense of longing within him… and came to conclusion that stuff, no matter how grand and glorious, will never truly satisfy the human condition. Only God can do that.

It’s the same today as is was 3,000 years ago – stuff may entertain us… titillate us… numb us… but stuff WILL NEVER truly satisfy us. Solomon concluded his treatise on the search for fullfillment in life with the following words…

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. – Ecclesiastes 12:13

But still… I would love to get him on that roller coaster. **insert evil grin here**

August 10, 2011

Big Sur coastline
Big Sur coastline

Focal Length: 11mm
Aperture: f9
ISO: 160
Exposure: 1/640

Driving up the coast from Los Angeles to San Francisco was breathtaking. Simply gorgeous scenery which constantly reminded me that there is an intelligent creator behind all of this.

The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. – Psalm 97:1

August 9, 2011

Happiness is a boy covered in mud.
Happiness is a boy covered in mud.

Focal Length: 16mm
Aperture: f4.5
ISO: 160
Exposure: 1/500

As I mentioned in a previous picture… one of the highlights to a week of Bayside Camp is Mudd’n. The kids love getting in that mud pit and getting all dirty.

The little guy pictured above was having a great time picking up great gobs of mud and plopping them down on top of his head. I’m sure he NEVER gets a chance to do that at home.

It’s funny watching them slog around in the mud pit playing crazy games. Because of the sticky nature of mud people often have trouble getting to their feet and out of the pit, and somebody has to help them out. This reminds me of Psalm 40…

I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. – Psalm 40:1-3

Those verses have been among my favorites for years, probably because Irish supergroup, U2, used those verses for one of their most famous songs… appropriately named… 40.

For years U2 would finish each of their concerts with this song… leaving the stage one by one as fans continued to sing. However, in recent years, as is the case with any band with such a large catalog of hit songs, U2 hasn’t performed 40 in it’s entirety for about seven years… until 10 days ago in Moncton.

Those of you who know me well know how big a U2 fan I am. I have been a fan of their music for 29 years but have never had the opportunity to see them live… until July 30. It was an amazing concert featuring some special touches because it was the very last performance in a record setting 2.5 year tour.

For this tour U2 had been finishing concerts with the song, Moment of Surrender… but in Moncton they continued on with another song and then finished up with 40.

For a diehard U2 fan there can be no better, more classic way to experience the end of a concert.

Ironically, because of the torrential downpour in Moncton that day, many concert goers were about as muddy as the boy in my photo above… and just as happy too.

For those of you who didn’t make the trek to Moncton, check out this video of that final performance of 40 by U2 in Moncton.

For me it may not happen until we’re all together in Heaven, but I look forward to seeing U2 perform live again.

August 8, 2011

Rottweiler puppy
Love me… hold me… feed me.

Focal Length: 50mm
Aperture: f1.8
ISO: 160
Exposure: 1/100

While walking around the Halifax waterfront yesterday I happened to see this little Rottweiler puppy with his owner. He was such a cute little thing I had to ask permission to take a picture or two.

It was pretty tough getting a decent photo because he was squirming and moving around so much… but I got one quick shot where he looked right at the camera lens.

When I was growing up one of my favorite things to read was the Peanuts cartoon strip. I had a bunch of their books and loved to read and re-read them. Charlies Schulz, the creator and writer of the cartoons, slipped a lot of Biblical references and morals into the content. I still remember one strip when Charlie Brown was reprimanding Snoopy (my favorite character, of course) for being lazy and perhaps not deserving to be fed. Snoopy, in his usual position of lying on his back on top of the doghouse. got up and quoted Proverbs 12:10…

A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal… – Proverbs 12:10

That cracked me up.

August 7, 2011

Warpaint!
Warpaint!

Focal Length: 85mm
Aperture: f2.8
ISO: 160
Exposure: 1/160

This is the only photo (so far) in the series that wasn’t taken by me… it was shot by Jessica Rhodenizer, one of the dozen or so spawn of a good friend of mine, Glenn Rhodenizer.

The image was taken during the festivities surrounding my brother Kevin’s 25th wedding anniversary party. At this point in the debauchery, Kevin and his wife Tania, and Melissa and I were forced to participate in some sort of kissing contest. Shown above is the aftermath.

Melissa never wears makeup of any kind… when you’ve got flawless complexion and skin tone why cover it up with paint like some sort of tart.

Not accustomized to seeing her with any kind of lipstick on, let alone what I can only classify as Prostitute Red, she kinda looks like a member of the Insane Clown Posse.

Anyway.

As you can tell by the picture, Melissa was highly enjoying the experience of covering the more than ample canvas of my face and extended forehead in kisses.

Other than being covered in war paint afterward, I can only say… it was a great experience.

She took hold of him and kissed him… – Proverbs 7:13

August 6, 2011

Lunch time at In-N-Out Burger
Lunch time at In-N-Out Burger

Focal Length: 11mm
Aperture: f5.6
ISO: 1250
Exposure: 1/160

This is a look inside an In-N-Out Burger around lunch time. For those who have never been to the American Southwest, you haven’t had the privilege to dine at this famous chain of fast food restaurants, because currently they are only located in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas and Utah… with the vast majority in California.

In-N-Out Burger is regularly lauded as one of the top fast food restaurants in customer satisfaction polls, placing first amongst 53 quick-service restaurants in a recent Consumer Reports poll. The roots for this sparkling reputation can be found in founder Harry Snyder’s motto, which is still in use today… Give customers the freshest, highest quality foods you can buy and provide them with friendly service in a sparkling clean environment.

When you visit an In-N-Out location you will notice how clean the place is, and also how friendly and accommodating the staff are. That plus tasty food… what more could you ask for in a fast food joint?

Excellent service, it would appear, does win over people. We live in a society where we want to be served… catered to… taken care of. When you actually care for people you build up a reputation which attracts other people. I guess Jesus knew what he was talking about when he said…

…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:28

I wonder how different our communities would be if everybody who called themselves Christian didn’t expect just to be served on a Sunday morning, but rather dedicated themselves to serving others each and every day of the week. What kind of reputation would the church have then?

August 5, 2011

Alcatraz water tower
Alcatraz water tower

Focal Length: 15mm
Aperture: f8
ISO: 160
Exposure: HDR 1/100, 1/400, 1/1600

This is the water tower on Alcatraz Island… because even prisoners get thirsty. Even though their basic hunger and thirst were taken care of while on the island, the potential their lives once held, was lost.

They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. – Psalm 107:5