Life is so full of unpredictable
beauty and strange surprises.
~Mark Oliver Everett
I’m not a professional photographer, but over the years I have and still do take some pretty good photos. However, when I go out on a photo shoot, I’m so focused on the object I’m trying to capture that things often appear in the background that I didn’t see or anticipate. Most of the time it means I have to toss those photos out because something has marred their beauty, but every now and again the unexpected surprise does create a thing of beauty. Such is what happened this morning while I was trying to capture morning glory images. It was very early and a few times my flash popped up, and I don’t really like to take close-up photos in nature with a flash because I find that it distorts the color and in others, the background remains too dark. Then when I edit them and try to lighten the dark background up, bad effects occur on the object(s) in the foreground. But this one above, I really liked because the flash picked up the adjacent neighbor’s pool slide and other objects around his pool that together with the two morning glories created what I think is a nicely colorful vignette.
This second one was taken several years ago at an indoor rodeo. The barrel racer I was trying to capture was riding extremely fast of course and alongside a railing decorated with American flags which in the camera’s eye created wavy bands of red, white, and blue along with yellow bands from the artificial lighting as well as double visions of her. My daughter and I loved this one so much that as a gift to her I’ve had it blown up and created into what looks like a painting. Surprises like what’s in these 2 photos and other ones I’ve taken are the reasons I’m so passionate about taking photographs and gardening. And I’m fairly sure that I am not the only one surprised and intrigued by strange and unexpected sights.
So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” ~Exodus 3:3 ✝
You can listen to silence, Reuven.
I’ve begun to realize that you can
listen to silence and learn from it.
It has a quality and a dimension all its own.
It talks to me sometimes.
I feel myself alive in it.
It talks. And I can hear it.
You have to want to listen to it,
and then you can hear it.
It has a strange, beautiful texture.
It doesn’t always talk.
Sometimes – sometimes it cries,
and you can hear the pain of the world in it.
It hurts to listen to it then. But you have to.
~From THE CHOSEN by Chaim Potok
Be still and listen to the rhythm of your beating heart.
Be still and feel the in and out movement of your breath.
Be still and find the peace at the center of your being.
Be still and seek the presence of your inner child.
Be still and remember childhood’s simple pleasures.
Be still and recall the unadulterated innocence of a child
Be still and let joy now bubble up from gratitude for the gift of life.
And finally in the silence of your thankfulness be still and listen so that you hear the Lord calling you by name.
Be still, and know that I am God… ~Excerpt from Psalm 46:10 ✝
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand,
while imagination embraces the entire world, and
all there ever will be to know and understand.
Creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen,
and thinking what no one else has thought.
Why should you think that beauty,
which is the most precious thing in the world,
lies like a stone on the beach
for the careless passer-by to pick up idly?
Beauty is something wonderful and strange
that the artist or writer or musician
photographer or dancer fashions out of
the chaos of the world in the torment of his soul.
~Edited and adapted excerpt from
W. Somerset Maugham
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. ~Ephesians 3: 20-21 ✝
There is a sacredness in tears.
They are not a mark of weakness,
but of power. They speak
more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.
They are the messengers of
overwhelming grief, of deep contrition,
and of unspeakable love.
Nikki was born to us after nine years of marriage, 5 days before my thirtieth birthday and ten days before her father’s 37 birthday. From the instant of her birth, she was, has always been, and is still the greatest joy of our lives. And though James and I know intellectually that she is only 12 hours away by car or an hour and a half by air, somehow it feels like she is far, far away, on the opposite side of the world now. And it’s not that we don’t wish her and her family well. We truly do wish them the very best always, and we know that the Lord has laid this opportunity upon their altar of their lives for a reason. But James and I are lost in sadness at the moment and don’t want anyone to try to minimalize what we’re feeling or tell us it’s foolish or that it will be all right. Also, what Mr. Lewis said is very true because some of what we’re experiencing does feel like fear. Long ago I read in a piece of literature (The Miracle Worker) that we don’t just keep our children safe; they keep us safe as well. So today has been hard, very hard, and for me there have been tears, lots of them as well as fears for both of us. And when I’m hurting like this, I withdraw and become introspective as I search to find my bearings, my balance, my true north again.
When someone you love is gone
in some way from your life,
Your life becomes strange,
The ground beneath you gets fragile,
Your thoughts make you unsure…
~Edited and adapted excerpt
by John O’Donohue
“…Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~Excerpt from Joshua 1:9 ✝
A Ming vase can be well-designed
and well-made and is beautiful for that reason alone.
I don’t think this can be true for photography.
Unless there’s is something a little
incomplete and a little strange,
it will simply look like a copy of something pretty.
The annual beauty in a garden once spent is gone forever, except in memory, if not captured in some way. A camera is one of the ways we who love nature’s fleeting glory take it captive. Unlike Loengard, I believe photos can be more than just an uninteresting copy of a beautiful thing. For example part of what you see in the photograph above started out as that of a single rose. However, as an experiment with some computer technology, I turned the image into something “a little strange,” as Leongard suggests, and it added another level of interest. If one looks carefully at the altered image, fragmented pieces of what used to be negative spaces in the original photograph now have merged into engaging patterns, and so what can be seen raises questions about how much one really sees. “While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see,” claimed documentary photographer and photojournalist, Dorothea Lange. So it is that Hawthorne’s idea could be applied to my rose or his trees or to the reflection of anything, and it would speak a profound truth. We often don’t see what is right under our proverbial noses. The eternal underlies everything mankind sees, tastes, hears, touches, and smells, so much so that all things seem to quiver from the Divine energy emitted from them. But it’s only when the Lord’s demure presence is acknowledged that it becomes more and more keenly perceptible.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:18 ✝