How I know God guides my photography.....

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies announce what his hands have made. Day after day they tell the story; night after night they tell it again. They have no speech or words; they have no voice to be heard. But their message goes out through all the world; their words go everywhere on earth."
Psalm 19: 1 - 4 (NCV).

Every time I look through the lens of my camera I see God working. Every day He reveals His majesty. Every night He shows me how He creates beauty even in the darkness. Even if I had not known Him before I started taking photos, the moment I looked at His creation up close (or far away) I see His glory and He guides me to see His beauty in all He has created. Photography just allows me to capture an image of what He has created.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Between the garden and the camera lens…

Between working in the garden and taking time out for
Between working in the garden and taking time out for
photography, Spring is really a busy time of the year for me.
Having a perennial English garden to look after and having a
hobby like photography, is really a double blessing. I am
allowed to grow many of my own subjects.
In this posting I'm just going to share some of the many
varieties of plants I am able to grow in my part of the country.
Over the years I've traveled extensively and seen many
beautiful gardens and fantastically beautiful plants. I've
brought some of the plants into my own little corner of the
world and have been able to adapt many that I was told
would not grow in the heat of the Central Valley of California
(the climate I live with for four to six months of the year).

After all the hard work in the yard, comes the fun part… sharing. In the years since I first moved here (1971), there have been many redevelopments in the garden. Today, through photography, I’m able to capture many of the changes and share them with others. I hope you enjoy what I am able to view every day and you get as much pleasure out of the pictures as I do with the actual plants.

As the year goes forward, I'll be posting more and more pictures of the garden... It has a habit of changing throughout the year... so each posting will be just a little bit different. It changes constantly between the garden and the camera lens...

And yes.... "Memories are the Sweetest Flowers in the Garden".....

Thursday, March 19, 2009


What a great time to live in the Central Valley of California. We are right at the beginning of that time of year when thousands of varieties of flowers are breaking open from their buds and giving us the greats show on Earth.

This is also a great time to experiment with your camera. If you have a DSLR camera, take a look in your Operating Manual for ideas on what you can do with your camera and then just go out and practice. Just today I ran across a section titled "Interval Shooting".... in the old day of video that would have been called "Time Laps Photography". I didn't know that a DSLR had that capability. Well, it seems some do. I set my camera on a tripod, set all the functions, adjusted the lens and meter readings and then set up about two hours of automatic shots set about 8 minutes apart. The result is this short video. This is not a digital video, it is a series of actual photos placed into a movie maker format with music added. Just one more fun thing to do with the camera. I can't wait to go to the ocean and try this on some sunset shots....

As I said, open the Operation Manual... you will be surprised just what your camera can do.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Inspiration comes from many sources. In our local newspaper (The Modesto Bee) on Thursday, March 12, 2009, a local “Community” columnist by the name of Yvonne Holt wrote an article titled: “Poppies paint the hills with vibrant springtime color”. The Bee in a promo on the front page of the “Local News” section had a photo titled “Sea of Orange”. As I’ve often said: “Take inspiration where you can”, and I often follow my own advice.

The article came out on March 12th and bright and early March 13th (and it was a Friday), off I went on a drive to where the article spoke. I’ve driven this route many times and had seen the wildflowers of the Central-Western side of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. It had been a long time since the last time I saw (as Yvonne Holt wrote: “a phenomenal sight along the Merced River Canyon”) where the poppies covered the hills in full bloom.
Never wanting to let an opportunity go by to take a photo or two (and in this case I ended up taking about 500 photographs in the four hours I was in the Merced River Canyon east of Mariposa, California on Highway 140 (stopping just before going up to the Yosemite National Park entrance). An interesting side note to the Merced River that I did not know prior to this recent outing is how the Merced River got its name. In 1806, a Lieutenant Gabriel Moraga (yes, the same person the city of Moraga near Oakland is named after) was at the end of a forty mile march when he and his exhausted thirsty men came upon the river and in gratitude he called the river “El Rio Nuestra Senora de la Merced” or “The River of Our Lady of Mercy”.
Well, rather than bore you with all the details of the trip, I’m just going to post some of the pictures I took. These were taken with a Pentax K20D with various focal lengths starting with 24mm all the way up to 600mm. F-stops from 1.4 to 8, and because I like to experiment with different filters, I used everything from Polarization filters, Neutral Density filters, warming filters, and a variety of other filters I carry in my bag. I also had my ISO settings all over the board: 100, 200, all the way up to 800 just to see the affect it had on the photos (experimenting really helps me learn because then I can adjust what I think would be good for a shot, to what actually is good in the shot). From time to time I even doubled up on filters using a Polarization filter with a Neutral Density 2+ the 4+ filter (just to see what adding exposure time to a photo – which does require the use of the old tripod - would look like)… I took some of these shots as slow as 1/30 of a second to as fast as 1/250 of a second. I encourage everyone to do this every once and awhile just to remind themselves what they have in their bag and what changes it makes in your photos.

The only thing missing from these photos were the clouds I love… Using the Neutral Density and Polarization filters allowed me to capture deep blue skies. I guess if you can’t have big puffy clouds in your pictures, the next best thing is to have deep blue skies. Well, I hope you enjoy the photos.

(I often carry poster boards with different colors and place them behind objects that I shoot for a contrasting view. This is a matte black board to highlight the poppies. Try it, it's fun, it's different, and every once and awhile, you'll see something when all the background is gone.)

If you know of any good areas (areas of interest) for a photoshoot, please let me know in the comments section of this blog. I'm always looking for new "Inspiration" and really appreciate ideas. I specifically am interested in Northern California from Fresno to the Oregon boarder. Hope my photos gave you some inspiration to go out and take photos.