Photo Journal: Before or After


The other day we went to Akaroa for a good day out with the family. As always I had a cameras with me and in recent times I have started to try and capture the different members of the family. I find photographing people difficult for some reason, and my boys are not all that much into the posing. So I try to sneak up on them or using a the zoom, do it when they are not aware of me taking pictures. At some point I called to my youngest son “look look” and “gotcha.” This was the result:

Now while nice, with the beach dirt making for playful spots and discoloring, it was the post chocolate-ice cream that really brought a smile on my face.

Now there is a boy being a boy.

It got me to think about portraits and what has my preference. The nice shot like you get from school or the shot that shows the person as he or she really is. I think I prefer the latter. Maybe that is why I like street photography so much?

What are your thoughts?

 

Photo Journal: Flowers


Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. Song of Songs 2:12

… See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. Matthew 6:29

Summer to me, besides the beautiful weather is together with the spring the season of explosions of color and fragrance, of amazing flowers that never cease to amaze me, new ones that I had never seen before or golden oldies that look even more beautiful than before.  Hard to beat beauty, truly royal indeed, whether it is a magnificent big flower or the tiniest small one, they all have something of a very special beauty to be enjoyed while it lasts. The good news, next season WILL come, there WILL be a new summer again and again and again in which very often the flowers come out even more beautiful, in which the plant has grown to produce even more flowers.

And so it seems with my Christian journey, one day a blossoming flower the other day withered, just as Peter explained referring to Isaiah:

 “All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
1 Peter 1:24

But like I said there WILL be a new summer, in which like the flowers we come out even more beautiful than last season. Maybe that is what Paul meant when he said:

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Photo Journal: A Radical Change of Perspective is Sometimes Needed


We learn to focus on the things that are in front of us and this common human wisdom makes an awful lot of sense. Yet only when we are actually looking and going in the right direction. When our perspective looks beautiful, when what lies ahead of us looks beautiful, it does (as I learnt) that we are looking , walking, in the right direction. Sometimes we need to stand still and reevaluate our focus, our perspective. Are we indeed looking in the right direction, are we going the right way. I was carefully reminded of just that the other day. 

This weekend we spent some time in Le Bons Bay, a small settlement of holiday homes on Banks Peninsula. On the Friday evening walking along the beach there with my oldest son, we looked out over the sea while the sun was going down. As human logic almost naturally indicates our eyes were fixed on the water from the beach to the horizon. And there was plenty of reason to do just that.


However the real visual spectacle was there not in front of us but behind us. It took this 180 degree turn to understand that we were looking in the wrong direction. Looking back from the water to where the sun was going down behind the hilltops, were were treated with this view.

 

 

The whole experience reminded me of the New Testament stories of Jesus and the apostles, how they changed radically the perspective on religion, on what the Law meant, on faith, on what it means to be a believer, to live as a disciple.
On many occasions, that requires a radical change in perspective so that His Glory may be revealed through us.

That brought me back to mind the fantastic weekend at Harmony Church the weekend before with a conference lead by Chris Gore and Chuck Parry who were in essence teaching us something similar: a radical change in our perspective of what our identity in Christ means.

Curious now? I suggest you watch this part one and following parts of “Living Unbalanced” and see what it would mean for your perspective.

I guess for all of us it is good to stand still and reevaluate our perspective every now and then.

Photo Journal: To Muntanui, a walk through native bush


Recently we had the pleasure and joy to go and visit our friends Niki and Ewan at their new home and perma-culture adventure Muntanui. Situated in the Nelson Lakes area near St-Arnaud, the Rainbow ski-field and Lake Rotoiti around the corner there is plenty to see and do.

What an amazing place and what great people. I suggest you go and read about their adventure here >>>. Besides having a great time catching up, it was great to have a walk through the native bush that covers part of their land.  In this time of the year the colors were just amazing with the mosses growing on the old trees providing for amazing bright greens, the views and the birds, that could be heard all along the walk. The forest is a great place to walk in any event but this native bush had such a different atmosphere, the old trees, the mosses and fungus, the ferns covering the floor. Amazing to walk through a part of New Zealand’s natural history.

More photos to follow on my flickr photostream soon.

Photo Journal: Maruia Falls Revisited


Last month I wrote a blog post with the title “Water” which covered amongst others the fountain in Hagley Park in Christchurch, the Pupu Springs, the Wanui Falls, and, the Maruia Falls. I remember well how we were there that time in June and I wished that I had a camera that could zoom in more. My then Fuji Finepix A900 allowed for 3x optical zoom and I had never been that impressed with the digital zoom option. Now I had my birthday present, a Fuji Finepix S4000 with me which allows for 30x optical zoom. It is not easy to keep it still but you get used to it and it was amazing just to look through the view finder and close up in itself.

To see the sheer power of the water coming down in large quantities.

What an amazing sight and sound for that matter (Just thinking we may need to go back now to film it).

Maybe it is me but I just like a little child, in awe with God‘s creation. And while I was in awe, my eye caught this little bird that apparently was not half as impressed as I was as it was flying around dangerously close to the thundering down water. Or perhaps he was more aware or conscious than I how much “His eye is on the sparrow” indeed.

All in all it felt like a renewed introduction to these beautiful falls that formed the perfect stop for the boys: spectacular sights and heaps of rocks to throw in the (thundering) water.

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More to follow in my flickr photostream

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Photo Journal: His Eye is on the Sparrow (Again) and Psalm 84


Last year I wrote a post in relation to this beautiful hymn after a sparrow was kind enough to make it possible for me to take a relatively close up pic. On or most recent walk in Hagley Park, I noticed, while feeding both ducks and eels that there was this little tree along the waterfront of the Avon River that seemed to almost be like a gathering place for the sparrow. Overhanging branches made it possible to hide under there, yet at the same time they could warm up in the sun on the top of the little tree sheltered from the wind by the surrounding higher trees.

What a chirpy group of birds they were and again I started to sing because I became happy just seeing this seemingly happy bunch of birds.

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Psalm 84:3

In this Psalm we read how David almost envies these little birds.

3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
LORD Almighty, my King and my God.

Almost as by nature sparrows provide for themselves habitats in houses and buildings similarly to other birds in the woods or open country.  And David, uses the fact that the Temple was no exception to express how much he really loves God. While these little insignificant little birds live right there in the presence of God, he is living in a palace away from there, and it almost seems like he’d give it up just like that just so he could be there in the place where God lives.

And in seeing them again that day I realize how much of an example they are to us: seemingly happy, not waiting for God to offer them a place in His house but just doing it AS BY NATURE, living life day by day. We can learn a lot from this little sparrow.

His eye is on the sparrow

The lyrics to this beautiful song again:

Why should I feel discouraged / Why should the shadows come / Why should my heart feel lonely / And long for heaven and home / When Jesus is my portion / A constant friend is He / His eye is on the sparrow / And I know He watches over me / His eye is on the sparrow / And I know He watches me /

I sing because I’m happy / I sing because I’m free / His eye is on the sparrow / And I know He watches me (He watches me) / His eye is on the sparrow / And I know He watches / I know He watches / I know He watches me/

Do you get it, the song starts of with a lot of “why should I’s” . It is so amazing to get to the key point of the matter: by faith we are saved and more, when you realize that when Jesus died for our sins, he left with the promise of the Holy Spirit, and with Him living in us, we do no longer need to worry. We will never be worthy but Jesus paid the ransom so that we can be reconciled with our Creator, n0t because we deserve it (as we never will) but because of His will and His grace. It was never about us , it was all about Him. Not about what we can do so He may look after us, how we can deserve to be His children, it was already taken care off.

Christians have often disputed as to whether what leads the Christian home is good actions or faith in Christ. I have no right really to speak on such a difficult question, but it does seem to me like asking which blade in a pair of scissors is most necessary. A serious moral effort is the only thing that will bring you to the point where you throw up the sponge. Faith in Christ is the only thing to save you from despair at that point: and out of that Faith in Him good actions must inevitably come. (CS Lewis, Mere Christianity).

The Law, and adherence thereto cannot be our ticket, it is the promise, the fruit, that will come from the God’s Spirit  living in us and we listening to it, our comforter, our guidance so we may be lead from glory to glory, as chirpy as those sparrows.

Photo Journal: Being in the right place at the right time


This week, going up and down to and from Governors Bay we were treated with amazing sunsets as a result of the ash in the sky. The view from the Sign of the Kiwi parking over the Canterbury Plains was amazing on both the Monday and Tuesday afternoon, also the sort of magical landscapes earlier in the morning around the bays, with sun slowly showing made for some awesome views.

Earlier that morning the combination of mist, low sun and cold made for some almost magical views and I guess it reminded me that to a large extent making a special picture is all about being there in the right place at the right time.

Most spectacular however were the ash filled skies over the mountains during sunset. Christchurch, although hit by another severe aftershock looked beautiful, impressive and alive.

Now one does not need much talent to shoot a picture like this, and I bet that with a mobile phone the result would have been equally beautiful. It had nothing to do with me and all with being in the right place at the right time.

The next day I was prepared and decided to go and be there at the same time. The sky was not as impressive, but patience and seeing how the light was changing rapidly made a difference. And seeing the light change from

to

On the way back later that evening I stopped one more time at the same place and saw the city below like this.

A strange sense of peace came over me. Christchurch may be shaken, stirred, hit hard, damaged, ravaged and whatever negative qualifications one could think of, at the same time the sea of lights below me indicated that Christchurch is also very much alive, and a city with a bright future. If a city can shine like this after a massive aftershock than imagine what it’ll be like after restoration. Enough reason for me in any event to stick around.