WHICH Light Stalking: Which PHOTOGRAPHY POST PROCESSING SOFTWARE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?


For some time now I have been reading the articles at Light Stalking. A site about photography which over time has assisted me in getting to understand photo editing software, more specifically Lightroom.

WHICH PHOTOGRAPHY POST PROCESSING SOFTWARE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

Depending on what area of photography you’re pursuing, there are several mainstream programs you can use to edit your images. Your post process workflow is the most important factor to consider when making your choice –  such as the volume of images and the extent of your editing. Whether you batch edit your images lightly or do intensive editing sessions on a select few, there is a program for your specific style.

The rest of the article discusses:

Read the full article here as well as find yourself exposed to many other relevant articles >>>

If you have an interest in photography, even if it is just like me with a simple point and shoot camera, this is a great site to learn how to get the best out of your efforts.

    On Silence and Hearing His Voice


    I am slowly but surely heading towards a first year of being a Christian and I guess that my good friend and pastor Gideon Hoekendijk could not have said it any better than yesterday when attending a pastor’s lunch with Jason Westerfield, the whitest black preacher I ever heard:

    talk about being thrown in the deep.

    I guess that is what has happened in no uncertain way. From being a skeptic with an unexplained urge to go to church, I found myself in the midst of a community and events that are after revival, after the restoration of the Tabernacle of David, after God’s presence in the here and now and not as some distant unpersonalized life insurance policy for the hereafter. So far it has been an amazing journey. Let it be said: a challenging one for sure. After seven years studying and working towards a book on debunking RELIGION, I ended up encountering RELATION, and no matter how smart, rational, intellectual you are (and with an IQ of 148-154 depending on which test in which language I guess intellectual fits the profile), it was in experiencing RELATION with the living God, not at all distant, but highly personal that  I was shook up in my ugg- boots and am on a daily basis.

    In all this I learned about the other side of prayer: loud, in tongues, long, with open arms, face down on the floor, for others, and I must say it has not always been easy.  A lot of my foundations, actually very similar to what Christchurch has been going through in the past weeks, seems to reflect what has been happening to me in  a personal, intellectual and spiritual sense. In a very direct and profound sense I had to came to a point where the adagio: I NEED TO UNDERSTAND SO THAT I MAY BELIEVE, was replaced with I BELIEVE SO I MAY UNDERSTAND.  And while I am far from perfect in that sense, a bit of the old rationalist, the facts and evidence based investigative consultant is still there, yet it is in reading the Bible and praying that real answers came, most of all when I stopped talking to God to give Him a  chance to speak.

    This Jason Upton song seems to reflect this need for silence the way I experienced it.

     

    I guess what it boils down to is that we spend an awful lot of time talking, requesting, to God, and don’t get me wrong, that may well be for all the right reasons; but it is, at least for me very easy to forget taking the time to listen to God and if anything it has been in the listening that I found my answers and actually am starting to experience the reality of the restoration of the Tabernacle of David, the power of His presence and the peace that comes with that. If there’s anything that typifies the past year as a Christian it must be that it is in the speaking to God that we get our issues sorted in the literal sense but for me it is in the silence that I seem to find the answers. I do not always like what I am hearing and in all honesty at times I thought I knew better. But it seems that the more you hand it over to Him the more peaceful you become in whatever comes your way. But… you need to take the time to listen, to ask at times

    what are you trying to tell me Father?

    Best of all: if you subsequently shut up and listen there is a good chance the answer follows, either while being silent or in the form of a sign straight after that, or when you read your Bible and some or the other passage seems to speak to you more than the others.

    And when it comes to being quiet, I have found the music of Kimberly and Alberto Rivera working miracles for me btw just as much as the music ministry within Harmony Church and I guess that’s why I enjoy playing there so much. And in hindsight: what a foresight! It was not through doctrine or intellectual exercises but through music, in the words of Gideon Hoekendijk, my love language, that I came to encounter the Spirit before I was converted, and in such a strong way that there was nothing left but to be converted: PRAISE THE LORD! And is it just not  miraculous, after seven years of diligent “religious fraud” investigation, what happened to me happened in the eight year, the year of restoration: for me now the year of RELATION. Talk about a God  with a biblically sound plan! BUT…. back to Kimberly and Alberto Rivera. Below some of my favorite youtube videos. I will post the highlights  but suggest you listen to the songs as a whole.

    I hope you enjoyed the videos as much as I did again. I hope and pray that like me you will find answers in His Presence and your Silence.

    Quote of the Day: CS Lewis on Church Music


    As an active participant in the music ministry at Harmony Church, it makes sense to every now and then consider what you are actually doing. This urge became all the more prevalent when I came across some guidelines for music in church of one of the local churches. Here in Christchurch. At the same time I saw it as a good opportunity to actually dig a bit deeper in the subject matter of music and Christianity and some of my findings and thoughts will be posted here in other posts to come.

    In the past days, fed by several disturbing documents on what is and what is not to be considered “good” Christian music; whom are we to judge in any event, (I found this quote from C.S. Lewis. The intention and not what some make out to be the Biblical Guidelines (see f.i. the Dial the Truth Ministries).

    This quote by C.S. Lewis however said more than all the long tracts together.

    source photo: http://www.covenanteyes.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/cs-lewis.jpg

    It seems to me that we must define rather carefully the way, or ways, in which music can glorify God. There is … a sense in which all natural agents, even inanimate ones, glorify God continually by revealing the powers He has given them. And in that sense we, as natural agents, do the same. On that level our wicked actions, in so far as they exhibit our skill and strength, may be said to glorify Good, as well as our good actions. An excellently performed piece of music, as natural operation which reveals in a very high degree the peculiar powers given to man, will thus always glorify God whatever the intention of the performers may be. But that is a kind of glorifying which we share with the ‘dragons and great deeps’, with the ‘frost and snows’. What is looked for in us, as men, is another kind of glorifying, which depends on intention. How easy or how hard it may be for a whole choir to preserve that intention through all the discussions and decisions, all the corrections and the disappointments, all the temptations to pride, rivalry and ambition, which precede the performance of a great work, I (naturally) do not know. But it is on the intention that all depends. When it succeeds, I think the performers are the most enviable of men; privileged while mortals to honor God like angels and, for a few golden moments, to see spirit and flesh, delight and labour, skill and worship, the natural and the supernatural, all fused into that unity they would have had before the Fall.

    If this is a subject that interests you, or the Contemporary Christian Music “Debate” than come back for more posts on the very subject matter.

    In the meantime I will do what I always did, knowing that my intentions as well as all those of all the other musos at Harmony are good. Looking forward to see you there Sunday 10 am.

    Related Articles

    Dead Sea Scrolls Online


    I don’t know about you but I recall having read to several of the translations available online of the Dead Sea Scrolls. I also recall seeing the pictures and wondering how fantastic it would be for those not nearby to be able to access these scrolls for study.

    How exciting it must be for scholars and others to read the following news.

    Source: Reuters

    Dead Sea Scrolls Going Digital on Internet

    dead sea scrolls 1

    (Photo: Sections of the Dead Sea scrolls at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, May 14, 2008/Baz Ratner)

    Scholars and anyone with an Internet connection will be able to take a new look into the Biblical past through an online archive of high-resolution images of the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls.

    Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the custodian of the scrolls that shed light on the life of Jews and early Christians at the time of Jesus, said on Tuesday it was collaborating with Google’s research and development center in Israel to upload digitized images of the entire collection.

    Advanced imaging technology will be installed in the IAA’s laboratories early next year and high-resolution images of each of the scrolls’ 30,000 fragments will be freely accessible on the Internet. The IAA conducted a pilot imaging project in 2008.

    “The images will be equal in quality to the actual physical viewing of the scrolls, thus eliminating the need for re-exposure of the Scrolls and allowing their preservation for future generations,”the Authority said in a statement.

    It said that the new technology would help to expose writing that has faded over the centuries and promote further research into one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century.

    The scrolls, most of them on parchment, are the oldest copies of the Hebrew Bible and include secular text dating from the third century BC to the first century AD. For many years after Bedouin shepherds first came upon the scrolls in caves near the Dead Sea in 1947, only a small number of scholars were allowed to view the fragments.  But access has since been widened and they were published in their entirety nine years ago. A few large pieces of scroll are on permanent display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

    dead sea scrolls 2

    (Photo: A preservationist works on a fragment of the Dead Sea Scrolls in a laboratory in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem October 18, 2010/Baz Ratner)

    See also our earlier posts on the Dead Sea Scrolls –

    Israel rejects Jordanian bid to claim Dead Sea Scrolls

    Sorting through a digital history

    Photo Journal: Blown Away by Ron Mueck Sculptures


    From 2 October to 23 January the Christchurch Art Gallery has an exhibition of the works of Ron Mueck, an Australian born, London based artist sculptor. The exhibition is claimed to be the largest to have been presented in the southern hemisphere. (More information can be found on the site of the Art Gallery).

    For those who’d like to learn more about the artist, it is best to refer to the wikipedia page of Ron Mueck, which gives you a good starting point. My youngest son an I were all curious and did not know what to expect. We were both blown away and I had a hard time having the youngest one not to touch the sculptures so as to verify whether the hair was real or not.

    His sculptures could be typified as super-realistic, and because of the way he uses size and detail they truly seem to have an impact.

    And a closer up view should give you an indication of the enormous amount of detail.

    It was similar with this pregnant woman.

    Initially you are drawn to the face which looks tired, and once you start looking down yo realize that you are dealing with a giant pregnant woman, or as my youngest son’d call it a giant “nudy dudy rudy lady with a baby in her tummy.” Amazing shapes and lines that made me realize again how special a pregnant woman really is.

    Also hard to be missed was this enormous sculpture of a wild man.

    The facial expression is just amazing.

    And no it is not the nudity. I was particularly struck with the following two smaller sculptures and the sense of isolation they seem to express.

    More photos of the exhibition can be found on flickr here>>> but my suggestion would be to go and see it for yourself. It is definitely worth it.

    On youtube I found the movies that are also shown in the context of the exhibition and give you an idea of the artist and his work.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYX_jV-lAfk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTy5cORM3CI

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nh3SBzY658w

    I’d be keen to hear your thoughts on Ron Mueck’s work.

    Revival and Thoughts on 2 Samuel 17:27-29


    27 When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Makir son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim 28 brought bedding and bowls and articles of pottery. They also brought wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans and lentils, 29 honey and curds, sheep, and cheese from cows’ milk for David and his people to eat. For they said, “The people have become hungry and tired and thirsty in the desert.”

    It may well be because of the way things are going in Harmony Church and the books I am currently reading (Graham Truscott), but the bold highlighted verse somehow spoke to me. Here we have a King David, on the run because one of his sons has conspired against him and it is best to stay of the scene, to lay low and David and his men end up going into the rugged country side/desert, while Absolom his son is playing Kind in his father’s Jerusalem.

    So, when David and his men are generously provided it is because “the people have become hungry and tired and thirsty in the desert”. But there seems to be a spiritual side to it. What seems to me significant is that David and his men are not just short of food, the are also away from the hard won Ark that had been returned to Jerusalem by David. In a sense David and his men were not just short of food in the physical sense but also in a spiritual sense where they were separated from the presence of God in between the cherubs of the Ark. And as we can read throughout the Old Testament that is what the Ark is all about, it is about God‘s presence with all the power and glory that comes with that. So in a sense David and his men were also cut off from the spiritual food and the living water that keeps us alive spiritually.  It does not take too much imagination to figure out what happens when we are deprived of food and water: without food we will weaken and without water we will surely die, we may last somewhat longer without the food if we have sufficient fluid but we will surely decay in power and ultimately we will still die.  It is not too hard to imagine that this process will speed up if it is (as in the case of David and his men) accompanied with substantial physical hardship such as traveling through the desert.

    The hungry, tired and thirsty church

    Is this not striking for what has happened with so many churches: as a result of deprivation of the presence of God: the word as the living bread but more importantly the spirit as the living water, they managed to survive but grew weaker in power. In effect the churches and their members grew hungry, tired and thirsty but in a spiritual sense and whether they realized it or not. There was the physical presence still but it lacked the power and given the absence of spiritual food and fluid (living water), resulting in declining numbers and ever decreasing lack of power.

    Many have been around that have been longing for the spiritual food and the living water so as to see the rejuvenation of the church, of the congregation  and it’s individual members. The rejuvenation of a church that got tired and thirsty wandering around in a spiritual desert of religious legalism that required a lot of works without being provided the required spiritual bread of heaven and the living water to survive under these harsh circumstances. Yes we are talking about a church and a religion that became more of a “life-after death-insurance policy” where as long as you pay your premium, eternal life in heaven was “covered.”

    But God is not a God just for the hereafter, He is the God of the here and now. I can no longer accept rationally and by now experientially a God that is being transformed into something or someone distant, abstract and in any event no longer present in our daily lives. And with me many individuals as well as churches. And I guess that is thew good news.

    All around, very similar to other periods in history we see how people are seeking God’s presence, the (spiritual) Ark so as to be revived with the bread from heaven and the living water, churches, congregations and individual members actively seeking God’s face so they may be rejuvenated with His food and water. I can not understand how someone can say:

    I know God should be present in my life but somehow I do not experience it as such.”  (See: http://www.jjabeenakker.info/)

    I guess this is important for me and I am still working my way back through my own history which is filled with years of absolute skepticism against anything religious, but I guess it has a lot to do with placing man made religion before the divine relation. It is I am finding that it all starts with the relation, with the acute presence that the Law becomes the promise, the presence provides with peace and purpose and why would God get into a relationship and subsequent covenant with us? It is not because He is almighty and therefore He sets the rules: it is because He loves us and only wants the best for us.

    I found an important clue on the ration of  any covenant in  1 Samuel 18:3:

    3 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.

    See that: a covenant has nothing to do here with setting the rules because He can, and all with love. The covenant is all about loving the other party like we love ourselves. So, all of a sudden the Law becomes something we want to live up to, a promise.   And with that comes the seeking His presence or to be in His presence, which as can be read throughout the whole Bible, comes with power and glory, in David’s time as much as in our here and now. Ain’t it great to see that people around the world are hungry, thirsty for His presence and with that His food, His water, His power His glory, His peace, His love.

    Al of this because (considering the ratio of a covenant) He loves us like He loves Himself and vice versa we love Him like we love ourselves: with all out hearts, minds and spirits.

    Just to be clear here: I am not trivializing a relationship wit God here, or considering Him to be some great “buddy”; far from that. It is because of the marvel of even being in  a position to have something like a relation with the Creator  I write this. Like all of us, I am far from perfect and in desperate need of salvation, like some of us I have found that there is such a thing as His amazing Grace and it is in gratitude that I write this post.

    If you think I lost the plot or am off the mark (biblically) by all means let me know.  I’m just going from the heart here.

    To be continued.

    How Low Can One Go?


    It is terrible if you lost your house in the earthquake or if you house suffered severe damage. It is absolutely terrible if you are so shaken up by the aftershocks that you end up going (temporarily) to another part of New Zealand or even overseas to get some rest, leaving your home and contents behind. What is even worse though is that there are those that find in all this an opportunity to rob you of your personal possessions. I could not help but being appalled when I read the following news clipping:

    Burglars targeting empty homes

    Thieves are targeting Christchurch homes left empty after the earthquake, police say.
    Detective Sergeant Mike Earl said “quite a number” of unoccupied houses had been burgled.
    Hot-water cylinders had been taken for their copper. The price of the metal has increased recently, making it attractive to opportunist burglars.

    Police were in contact with scrap-metal dealers to tackle the sale of stolen copper, Earl said.

    The targeted houses were not just in areas badly affected by the earthquake, such as Avonside, but throughout the city.

    Read the full article here >>>

    I guess this is the perfect time to extend the communal spirit to no just helping each other out physically but also by being on the lookout: an unofficial version of Neighbourhood Watch maybe?