Soul Searchers

Canon 60D, Canon 70-200 mm 2.8 IS L Series Lens, Canon Camera, Canon Live View, Christmas, Christmas Lights, Farmhouse, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Homestead, Light Intensity, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Winter
Christmas Heart - High Level, Alberta

Christmas Heart – High Level, Alberta

Homestead -  Rycroft, Alberta

Homestead – Rycroft, Alberta

Wagon Wheels - Beaverlodge, Alberta

Wagon Wheels – Beaverlodge, Alberta

Crosses - Bezanson, Alberta

Crosses – Bezanson, Alberta

At Christmas, Love amplifies, powerful and lifting, scrabbling through the dark mess of tangle. Care and pardon affirm, anchoring you, there, in other Hearts – disgrace yields, grace overcomes. Love finds its way. At Christmas, the first steps within the incarnation are taken; a betrothed groom and fiancée making the best of things, travel within a colonized Israel to add their names within a census, a decision perhaps that may have to do with the practicality in it being safer to identify as a family with what will follow from the census; the fiancée is pregnant, a surprise to the groom and his betrothed. Are the two young? Is Joseph older and knowing something of how to live a Life within this colonized world? Is he prepared for this night? A makeshift moment allows the two to shelter among animals in a barn or cave. Mary moves into labour, a baby is born, a new Life that becomes central to a grand narrative we all are participating in. The name Joseph is first used with Jacob’s wife Rachel, when she conceives and bears a son after many years barren; Joseph literally means ‘he who takes my shame away.’

All this and more become the Christmas story. A few songs tell the story well; but, the one that might best fit today’s times and needs could be that provided by Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds in ‘Christmas Song.’ I like the conceptualization of any of us as ‘soul-searchers.’ The blood of the children reference is, while scary, accurate within this song – blood covers sins; Christ’s blood was shed for all to overcome their/our sin-state and thereby becomes the blood of the children referred to within the song.

The incarnation is an inconceivable event, something that needs more acceptance than figuring. You need to involve your imagination in such reckoning as precursor to such an event in preparation to be able to recognize when and if such an event does happen, has happened or will happen. You’d have to consider how involving God here on earth might play out.

The song that brought this kind of precursor imagining about best was a Joan Osborne, grunge-rock tune, that I heard most helpfully sung by Martyn Joseph on Radio Ulster’s ‘Rhythm and Soul’; thank you to Presbyterian Pastor, Steve Stockman for bringing all of that about. Here’s Martyn’s version.

Here’s the Joan Osborne version of ‘One of Us.’

Quote to Consider – “The camera doesn’t make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But you have to SEE.” – Ernest Haas

Listening to – Martyn Joseph’s ‘Beyond Us, ‘Not a Good Time for God’ and Martyn’s take on Bruce Springsteen’s ‘If I Should Fall Behind’ and ‘One Step Up.’ Also, taking a listen to Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Highway Patrolman.’

There’s a lot of grace encountered in ‘Highway Patrolman;’ Springsteen goes on to tell that it deals with family, responsibility and duty when those things conflict. The lyrics are good dealing with brothers sharing good times as much as the morality involved in dealing with a brother who is straying – lyrics catching my attention follow ….

“Well if it was any other man, I’d put him straight away
But when it’s your brother sometimes you look the other way.”

“Me and Frankie laughin’ and drinkin’
Nothin’ feels better than blood on blood
Takin’ turns dancin’ with Maria
As the band played “Night of the Johnstown Flood”
I catch him when he’s strayin’, teach him how to walk that line
Man turns his back on his family he ain’t no friend of mine.”

May you find Grace this Christmas – my gratitude goes out to each of you who have been part of each step and evolution of this photoblog. Thank you – take good care of your good selves.

Painterly Farm Shed – Canada’s

Best Practices - Photography, Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Canon Lens, Farm, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Light Intensity, Photoblog Intention, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Winter

Canada Flag - Shed

On the drive northward to Peace River from Edmonton, a few kilometres past the turnoff east to MacLennan and High Prairie you’ll find these grain bins and shed on the west side of the road, something unexpected, something to cause you to look into your surroundings, something that could perhaps have been a Canada day project – painting a farm shed with the Canadian flag … for all to see. The shed and grain bins serve as landmark along this road, visually positioning people who travel on it in terms of hours north towards Peace River and minutes before you’ll reach the valley of the Little Smoky River as you head south toward Valleyview.

This image is a High Dynamic Range (HDR) shot created using the camera’s Automatic Exposure Bracketing to fuse three exposures (one darker, one average and one lighter image) of the same shot together into a single image; the intent in creating the shot is to produce greater accuracy and to expose a broader range of what the eye sees naturally in terms of light and shadow. The image is toned mapped, yielding a moody, painterly feel to its rendering. Beyond this, the image seems to emphasize true geometric angles and does not really show much for backdrop but the sky  … it sort of seems like you’re on top of the world … but that’s a few miles north, up where I live.

Listening to – Coming Down from Martyn Joseph’s Vegas album; there’s been U2’s Fez – Being Born and David Gray’s We’re Not Right from the White Ladder album.  Then it’s been Minor Swing from the Chocolat soundtrack.

Quotes to Inspire – (1) “I can look at a fine art photograph and sometimes I can hear music.” – Ansel Adams.  (2) “When people ask what equipment I use – I tell them, my eyes.” – Anonymous.

Alone – A Life Resigned, Complete

Canon 50mm, Canon 50mm Lens, Canon 60D, Canon Camera, Canon Live View, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Night, Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Prime Lens, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Still Life, Winter

Vale Island - Boat in Woods, Hay River, NWT

The photograph presented, here, is one of the five boats on Vale Island at Hay River, NWT. While several wordpress blogger photographs this week explore the theme of ‘simple’ in a weekly photo challenge, this photograph more accurately conveys the sentiment of ‘being at rest or at peace.’ This photograph is quirky, though, a boat dragged among the trees, a boat left to rot away … and still the lighting, the subject and boat’s shape suggest simplicity, perhaps a simplicity in resignation. As a concept, simple can be construed to mean the basics involved in the minimum equation for living; it can refer to what one finds easy to do and tangentially it can refer to limited cognitive capacity, perhaps a capacity less than what is required in order to live. Again, the photograph really presents the simplicity of resignation – a life resigned, something complete, something simple.

Listening to The Good in Me is Dead sung by Martyn Joseph in his album Don’t Talk About Love, Volume 1

Quote to Inspire – “There is no such thing as ‘correct’ composition, just bad composition, good composition and inspired composition.” ~ Andrew S. Gibson, Beyond Thirds – A Photographer’s Introduction to Creative Composition

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photograph – Alexandra Falls

Canon 50mm, Canon 50mm Lens, Canon 60D, Canon Live View, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty, Project 365 - Photo-a-day, Shuttertime with Sid and Mac, Winter

Alexandra Falls HDR 2

At the Alexandra Falls I used the AEB (Automatic Exposure Bracketing) in anticipation of working with HDR software soon. The Automatic Exposure Bracketing on a Canon camera takes three (3) shots of the same subject in sequence – a darker image, the average exposed image and a lighter image. I downloaded the Photomatix Pro HDR software (thank you for the recommendation Maciek Sukolski – MiKS Media) with Lightroom plug-in and have been experimenting, tonight. The HDR software combines the images to create better (or perhaps more accurate) definition of the subject and an exposure that more accurately sees all that the eye sees – we see a broader range of dark and light than our cameras; HDR overcomes this limitation. Taking these photographs also requires a tripod so that the camera accurately records the same image three times … without movement. In looking at the image of the falls have a look for the level of detail produced throughout the image. I find myself wishing I would have taken more time at the Hay River shipyard taking photographs in Automatic Exposure Bracketing.  Alas, it was cold and I needed to return home 300 km south.

Listening to Cardiff Bay by Martyn Joseph from his Evolved album (first heard on Stocki’s Rhythms of Redemption and seen more than few times in Edmonton with friends).

Quote to Inspire – “Photography is like making cheese. It takes a hell of a lot of milk to make a small amount of cheese just like it takes a hell of a lot of photos to get a good one.” – Robert Gillis