Category Archives: Still Life

I Just Smile, Once in a While

A few weeks ago I decided to buy a new camera. This isn’t the post about the new camera, because that one is going to get pretty deep into the weed, but this is a post that is happening because of that decision.

The short version is that because of the new camera purchase I started to look around at adapters. Something that happened while I was looking at adapters I came across some adapters that would hook my Dad’s Minolta manual focus lenses to my current camera and to my new camera. Those adapters arrived on Friday and I took dug out the lenses and took a few pictures:


I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

I Just Smile, Once in a While

In fact, my WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE submission from last week was a picture I took with my Dad’s lens of Logan taking a picture with one of my Dad’s lenses of my Mom:


WEEK 231 - FAMILY - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT

I’ll go a little more in depth on each lens in the future, but right now I just want to celebrate the fact that I can use them!

Your Real World Away

Today is Valentine’s Day. I have been told that today is a holiday invented by the greeting card companies. I don’t know if that is the case, but I can’t think of the greeting card industry without thinking about one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies of the last 10 years. 11 years actually. The scene where Tom quits the greeting card company in 500 DAYS OF SUMMER:

(Sorry, some mild profanity)

(set at a meeting to discuss new greeting card ideas)

Tom: Yeah, uh, this is… And Rhoda, no disrespect, but um, this is total shit.

McKenzie:
Tom!

Tom: “Go for it” “You can do it”? That’s not inspirational, that’s suicidal. If pickles goes for it right there, that’s a dead cat. These are lies. We’re liars. Think about it. Why do people buy these things? It’s not ’cause they wanna say how they feel. People buy cards ’cause they can’t say how they feel or they’re afraid too. We provide the service that lets them off the hook. You know what? I say to hell with it. Let’s level with America. At least let them speak for themselves! Right? I mean, look! What-What is this? What does it say? “Congratulations on your new baby.” Right? How ’bout, “Congratulations on your new baby. Guess that’s it for hanging out. Nice knowing you.”

Vance:
Sit down, Hansen.

Tom:
How bout this one, with all the pretty hearts on the front? I think I know where this ones going. Yep! “Happy Valentines Day, sweetheart. I love you.” That sweet? Ain’t love grand? This is exactly what I’m talking about. What does that even mean, “love”? Do you know? Do you? Anybody?

McKenzie:
Tom…

Tom:
If somebody gave me this card, Mr. Vance, I would eat it. It’s these cards, and the movies and the pop songs, they’re to blame for all the lies and the heartache, everything. We’re responsible. *I’m responsible.* I think we do a bad thing here. People should be able to say how they feel, how they really feel, not you know, some words that some stranger put in their mouths. Words like “love”… that don’t mean anything. Sorry, I’m sorry. I, uh… I quit. I’m… There’s enough bullshit in the world without my help.

Well anyways, I made you a picture for Valentine’s Day:


Valentine's Day - 2020

Happy Valentine’s Day! Hope yours is exactly how you want it to be!

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I’ve resolved to make public the dates and movies of Union Street Theater’s Monthly Movie Night, because (and get this) you are invited! February Movie Night will be very special, it is going to be a Leap Day Movie Night.

Date: Saturday, February 29, 2020
Time: 6 PM
Place: Union Street Theater
Address: 1416 Union Street, Boone, Iowa

The theme this month is romance. The B movie is TEETH.



TEETH

Here is a quick synopsis of the film:

Dawn (Jess Weixler) is an active member of her high-school chastity club but, when she meets Tobey (Hale Appleman), nature takes its course, and the pair answer the call. They suddenly learn she is a living example of the vagina dentata myth, when the encounter takes a grisly turn.

The feature will be RED ROCK WEST:



RED ROCK WEST

I get it. I know what you’re thinking. Nicolas Cage is the worst! And you are almost right. Kevin Costner is actually the worst and Nicolas Cage is the second worst. Remember that while Cage is awful, he did manage to make RAISING ARIZONA and ADAPTATION. 2 great movies! All Kevin Costner can say is that he was in THE UNTOUCHABLES where Sean Connery carried him.

Here is a quick synopsis of RED ROCK WEST:

When unemployed ex-marine Michael Williams (Nicolas Cage) stumbles into a bar in Red Rock, Wyo., the owner, Wayne (J.T. Walsh), mistakes him for a hired killer and offers him $10,000 to kill his wife, Suzanne (Lara Flynn Boyle). Michael plays along, taking half the money up front, then tells Suzanne what her husband is planning. She seduces Michael and proposes that he kill her husband instead. While he weighs his options, the real killer (Dennis Hopper) turns up looking for his money.

I believe that Jay will be holding his second Root Beer Symposium that night, so an added bonus will be blind taste testing a series of root beers.

I can’t guarantee your mental health if you attend Union Street Theater Movie Night. I still believe that Movie Night broke Willy.

March Movie Night will be a tribute to the great Kirk Douglas. Movies have yet to be determined at this time.

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This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is FAMILY:


WEEK 231 - FAMILY
FAMILY

A FAMILY photo is any photo of a group of people that share a common relationship or common values or common purpose or even common DNA.

Happy photo harvesting!

WPC – WEEK 230 – REFLECTION

Today is a very big day in the history of my oldest friends. Not just because one of my old friends climbed a building and set his shirt on fire and got arrested yesterday. No, because today is Bill’s birthday!


February 9, 2010

9 Emotions - Bill

March 12, 2019

Happy birthday Bill!

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Looks like the streak lives on for one more week. 19 weeks in total. REFLECTION struck a chord with the absolute bare minimum to extend the streak of double digit submissions!

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates. You came to see the submissions:


WEEK 230 - REFLECTION - MICKY AUGUSTIN
Micky Augustin

WEEK 230 - REFLECTION - MONICA HENNING
Monica Henning

WEEK 230 - REFLECTION - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker

WEEK 230 - REFLECTION - MICHELLE HAUPT
Michelle Haupt

WEEK 230 - REFLECTION - SHANNON BARDOLE-FOLEY
Shannon Bardole-Foley

WEEK 230 - REFLECTION - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson

WEEK 230 - REFLECTION - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett

WEEK 230 - REFLECTION - CARLA STENSLAND
Carla Stensland

WEEK 230 - REFLECTION - ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp

WEEK 230 - REFLECTION - ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp

WEEK 230 - REFLECTION - BECKY PARMELEE
Becky Parmelee

WEEK 230 - REFLECTION - JESSE HOWARD
Jesse Howard

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:


WEEK 231 - FAMILY
FAMILY

FAMILY! What a great theme! But what is a FAMILY picture? A FAMILY picture is any picture that involves a FAMILY. And don’t let any Scrooge McDuck’s from Ankeny try to tell you that FAMILY can only be defined by DNA. Remember, a true family provides its members with emotional and spiritual kinship through:

+ Shared values, beliefs, and traditions
+ Common experiences and activities
+ Unconditional, non-judgmental support

I look forward to seeing your interpretations!

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HOUSEKEEPING


A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 RULES DIVISION

The picture has to be taken the week of the theme. This isn’t a curate your pictures challenge. This is a get your butt off the couch (my personal experience) and put your camera in your hands challenge. Don’t send me a picture of you next to the Eiffel Tower, when I know you were in Iowa all week. I will point out that I have let that slide some in the past. I will not in the future. Since it is literally about the only rule.

Your submission needs to be emailed to bennett@photography139.com by 11 AM on the Monday of the challenge due date.

OR

I now allow people to text me their submissions. In the past, I had made exceptions for a couple people that aren’t real computer savvy, even though it was an inconvenience for me and required at least 3 extra steps for me. I am now lifting that embargo because I have a streamline way of uploading photos. I’m not giving out my phone number, but if you have it, you can text me.

It should be pointed out that this blog auto-publishes at 12:01 on Mondays. So it wouldn’t hurt to get your picture in earlier.

That is it, them’s the rules.

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION DIVISION

Nobody showed class, taste, and sophistication this week by signing up for a Photography 139 email subscription. I’ll try and do better next week.

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That’s all I got for today, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will commune right here again next Monday. Hopefully it will be a very familial Monday!

WPC – WEEK 229 – WORK

A HUGE week for THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE! A COLOSSAL week! WORK was the 18th week in a row with double digit submissions!

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates. You came to see the submissions:


WEEK 229 - WORK - MICKY AUGUSTIN
Micky Augustin

WEEK 229 - WORK - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker

WEEK 229 - WORK - CARLA STENSLAND
Carla Stensland

WEEK 229 - WORK - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson

WEEK 229 - WORK - CARLA STENSLAND
Carla Stensland

WEEK 229 - WORK - SHANNON BARDOLE-FOLEY
Shannon Bardole-Foley

WEEK 229 - WORK - MICHELLE HAUPT
Michelle Haupt

WEEK 229 - WORK - CHRISTOPER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett

WEEK 229 - WORK - STEPHANIE KIM
Stephanie Kim

WEEK 229 - WORK - BECKY PARMELEE
Becky Parmelee

WEEK 229 - WORK - DAWN KRAUSE
Dawn Krause

WEEK 229 - WORK - DAWN KRAUSE
Dawn Krause

WEEK 229 - WORK - LOGAN KAHLER
Logan Kahler

WEEK 229 - WORK - LOGAN KAHLER
Logan Kahler

WEEK 229 - WORK - LOGAN KAHLER
Logan Kahler

WEEK 229 - WORK - ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp

WEEK 229 - WORK - CATHIE RALEY
Cathie Raley

WEEK 229 - WORK - JEN ENSLEY-GORSHE
Jen Ensley-Gorshe

WEEK 229 - WORK - JEN ENSLEY-GORSHE
Jen Ensley-Gorshe

WEEK 229 - WORK - ELIZABETH NORDEEN
Elizabeth Nordeen

WEEK 229 - WORK - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:



REFLECTION

REFLECTION! What a great theme! But what is a REFLECTION picture? Well, a REFLECTION picture is any picture that includes a REFLECTION as an essential part of its composition. A picture with a mirror would be the most common kind of REFLECTION picture. But many things have RELFLECTIONs. Including water and really anything that is shiny.

Remember that REFLECTION has more than one meaning. I look forward to seeing your interpretations!

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HOUSEKEEPING


A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 RULES DIVISION

The picture has to be taken the week of the theme. This isn’t a curate your pictures challenge. This is a get your butt off the couch (my personal experience) and put your camera in your hands challenge. Don’t send me a picture of you next to the Eiffel Tower, when I know you were in Iowa all week. I will point out that I have let that slide some in the past. I will not in the future. Since it is literally about the only rule.

Your submission needs to be emailed to bennett@photography139.com by 11 AM on the Monday of the challenge due date.

OR

I now allow people to text me their submissions. In the past, I had made exceptions for a couple people that aren’t real computer savvy, even though it was an inconvenience for me and required at least 3 extra steps for me. I am now lifting that embargo because I have a streamline way of uploading photos. I’m not giving out my phone number, but if you have it, you can text me.

It should be pointed out that this blog auto-publishes at 12:01 on Mondays. So it wouldn’t hurt to get your picture in earlier.

That is it, them’s the rules.

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION DIVISION

Nobody showed class, taste, and sophistication this week by signing up for a Photography 139 email subscription. I’ll try and do better next week.

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That’s all I got for today, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will commune right here again next Monday. Hopefully it will be a very reflective Monday!

Tenderloin Appreciation Society – Don Williams Field Work

It is hard to believe, but I haven’t published a tenderloining blog since August 26, 2018 when I recapped Michelle and I’s trip to The Filling Station in Ames. I actually made a few tenderloining trips and I just never got around to telling the world what I experienced. I feel guilty about this because I have a gift. A true gift for evaluating tenderloins. The fact I’m not sharing this with the world is very greedy of me.

The tenderloin I’m going to recap today comes from a trip to the Don Williams Golf Course Clubhouse. It came a few weeks after I ate breakfast there with my Mom and wasn’t overly impressed. A trip that really hammered home my loyalty to The Whistle Stop Cafe for those treasured Saturday morning breakfasts.

Despite the fact that I wasn’t impressed by the breakfast there, I was intrigued by the passion of the new operator of the Clubhouse. He spoke eloquently about his tenderloin and more than one person in the restaurant backed up his bragging.

I decided to organize a trip out there with Scottie D. to give it the test.

Because it is over 6 months since I’ve been there I won’t go into detail about the quality of the tenderloin we experienced. To say it wasn’t very good should be sufficient. I shouldn’t be surprised because people in that area think that The Lucky Pig has a good tenderloin. They are sadly misguided.

Here are a few pictures of our trip:


Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

Tenderloin Quest - Don Williams

I have a couple other tenderloining trips to post about eventually. I promise that any 2020 tenderloin trips will be reported on as quickly as possible. Hopefully with the taste of tenderloin still swirling around my mouth.

I know for sure that at some point I have a trip to Corning with Shannon on the books. I will also be visiting New Hampton for a date with a tenderloin at some point soon. The lucky person to join me on that venture is still to be determined. Could be you. But let’s face it, do you really think you have what it takes? Search your soul for the answer.

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This is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is TEXTURE:


WEEK 226 - TEXTURE
TEXTURE

A TEXTURE photo is a photo that concentrates on the feel, appearance, or consistency of the surface of a substance. A reminder that often TEXTURE is more apparent in a black & white image.

Happy photo harvesting!

WPC – WEEK 226 – FOOD

FOOD was another very popular theme. We have reached 16 straight weeks of double digit submissions! Someday I’m going to have to have a look and see what is the record for the most submissions for one week. I don’t think today is that record, but there were a healthy number of people that enjoy photographing their food. I spoke about the “Doris Gene” when I wrote about my Grandma recently. Photographing your food is definitely a “Bennett Gene”. I discovered that when I visited my cousin Sarah in New York City what feels like… well way too long ago.

In fact, there could have been even more submissions, but apparently people don’t eat cats. I’m sure there are some people out there that eat cats, but I digress…

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about submission rates. You came to see the submissions:


WEEK 226 - FOOD - WILLIAM MCALPINE
William McAlpine

WEEK 226 - FOOD - ELIZABETH NORDEEN
Elizabeth Nordeen

WEEK 226 - FOOD - MICKY AUGUSTIN
Micky Augustin

WEEK 226 - FOOD - DAWN KRAUSE
Dawn Krause

WEEK 226 - FOOD - ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp

WEEK 226 - FOOD - TERESA KAHLER
Teresa Kahler

WEEK 226 - FOOD - ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp

WEEK 226 - FOOD - LINDA BENNETT
Linda Bennett

WEEK 226 - FOOD - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker

WEEK 226 - FOOD - LINDA BENNETT
Linda Bennett

WEEK 226 - FOOD - SARAH KARBER
Sarah Karber

WEEK 226 - FOOD - STEPHANIE KIM
Stephanie Kim

WEEK 226 - FOOD - CATHIE RALEY
Cathie Raley

WEEK 226 - FOOD - JEN ENSLEY-GORSHE
Jen Ensley-Gorshe

WEEK 226 - FOOD - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett

WEEK 226 - FOOD - CARLA STENSLAND
Carla Stensland

WEEK 226 - FOOD - BECKY PARMELEE
Becky Parmelee

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:


WEEK 226 - TEXTURE
TEXTURE

TEXTURE! What a great theme! But what is a TEXTURE photo? A TEXTURE photo is simply a picture that accents and object that has TEXTURE. An object that isn’t smooth. If you are looking for more of a challenge than just taking a picture of your siding, here is a good opportunity to combine two pictures to add texture to a subject that doesn’t have texture. This would be called multi-exposure in the old film days. But you can replicate double exposure in image editing software.

Here is another hint, black and white photography shows off texture more than color photography.

I look forward to seeing your interpretations!

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HOUSEKEEPING


A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 RULES DIVISION

The picture has to be taken the week of the theme. This isn’t a curate your pictures challenge. This is a get your butt off the couch (my personal experience) and put your camera in your hands challenge. Don’t send me a picture of you next to the Eiffel Tower, when I know you were in Iowa all week. I will point out that I have let that slide some in the past. I will not in the future. Since it is literally about the only rule.

Your submission needs to be emailed to bennett@photography139.com by 11 AM on the Monday of the challenge due date.

OR

I now allow people to text me their submissions. In the past, I had made exceptions for a couple people that aren’t real computer savvy, even though it was an inconvenience for me and required at least 3 extra steps for me. I am now lifting that embargo because I have a streamline way of uploading photos. I’m not giving out my phone number, but if you have it, you can text me.

It should be pointed out that this blog auto-publishes at 12:01 on Mondays. So it wouldn’t hurt to get your picture in earlier.

That is it, them’s the rules.

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION DIVISION

Congratulations to Randy Rios (not actual last name) for being the latest person to show taste, class, and sophistication by signing up for a Photography 139 email subscription. I don’t know that she really wanted the subscription, but Jorge told her it would be good for her. Jorge is the law.

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That’s all I got for today, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will commune right here again next Monday. Hopefully it will be a very textured Monday!

Will You Pardon Me?

I spent a few moments taking pictures of flowers one day back in May. Here are some of my favorites:


Will You Pardon Me?

Will You Pardon Me?

Will You Pardon Me?

Will You Pardon Me?

Will You Pardon Me?

Will You Pardon Me?

Will You Pardon Me?

Will You Pardon Me?

Will You Pardon Me?

Will You Pardon Me?

The tulips belong to my Mom. The rest belong to me.

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One thing I wanted to bring back this year was happy birthdays. Today is Lowell’s birthday, so happy birthday Lowell!


Little League - 2009

I hope it is a good one!

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This is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is FOOD:


WEEK 226 - FOOD
FOOD

A FOOD photo is any photo that centers around FOOD. A picture of FOOD. Preparation of FOOD. People eating FOOD. You get the idea!

Happy photo harvesting!

WPC – WEEK 225 – HDR

I’m not surprised easily, but you guys surprised me this week. Enough of you dipped your toe into the HDR world to keep the streak of double digit submissions going and to hit 15 straight weeks!

But you didn’t come her to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates, you came to see the submissions:


WEEK 225 - HDR - MICKY AUGUSTIN
Micky Augustin

WEEK 225 - HDR - LINDA BENNETT
Linda Bennett

WEEK 225 - HDR - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson

WEEK 225 - HDR - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett

WEEK 225 - HDR - SHANNON BARDOLE-FOLEY
Shannon Bardole-Foley

WEEK 225 - HDR - MONICA HENNING
Monica Henning

WEEK 225 - HDR - MONICA HENNING
Monica Henning

WEEK 225 - HDR - MONICA HENNING
Monica Henning

WEEK 225 - HDR - STEPHANIE KIM
Stephanie Kim

WEEK 225 - HDR - ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp

WEEK 225 - HDR - ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp

WEEK 225 - HDR - JEN ENSLEY-GORSHE
Jen Ensley-Gorshe

WEEK 225 - HDR - JEN ENSLEY-GORSHE
Jen Ensley Gorshe

WEEK 225 - HDR - DAWN KRAUSE
Dawn Krause

WEEK 225 - HDR - MIKE VEST
Mike Vest

WEEK 225 - HDR - JESSE HOWARD
Jesse Howard

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:


WEEK 226 - FOOD
FOOD

FOOD! What a great theme! This is about as easy as a theme can get. Just take a picture of FOOD or somebody preparing FOOD or somebody eating FOOD or anything that is related to FOOD.

Don’t be surprised if your FOOD picture ends up looking disgusting. In some ways, this is THE GREASY STRANGLER of themes. Delicious food often looks disgusting when photographed. That is why in most food advertising, food is often fake. Also, why when local restaurants just do their food photography themselves, the food ends up looking disgusting on their menu. Looking at you Colorado Grill.

I look forward to seeing your interpretations.

+++++++

HOUSEKEEPING


A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 RULES DIVISION

The picture has to be taken the week of the theme. This isn’t a curate your pictures challenge. This is a get your butt off the couch (my personal experience) and put your camera in your hands challenge. Don’t send me a picture of you next to the Eiffel Tower, when I know you were in Iowa all week. I will point out that I have let that slide some in the past. I will not in the future. Since it is literally about the only rule.

Your submission needs to be emailed to bennett@photography139.com by 11 AM on the Monday of the challenge due date.

OR

I now allow people to text me their submissions. In the past, I had made exceptions for a couple people that aren’t real computer savvy, even though it was an inconvenience for me and required at least 3 extra steps for me. I am now lifting that embargo because I have a streamline way of uploading photos. I’m not giving out my phone number, but if you have it, you can text me.

It should be pointed out that this blog auto-publishes at 12:01 on Mondays. So it wouldn’t hurt to get your picture in earlier.

That is it, them’s the rules.

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION DIVISION

Nobody showed class, taste, and sophistication this week by signing up for a Photography 139 email subscription. I’ll try and do better next week.

+++++++

That’s all I got for today, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will commune right here again next Monday. Hopefully it will be a very hungry Monday!

#totallyfiltered

Going to go ahead and add a Sunday entry for a bit as I effort to get caught up with the 2019 backlog. I don’t think these Sunday entries should last too long as I don’t think I’m that far behind with Sunday photo editing, but truth is, that I am 100% in denial about that.

This collection of photos is mostly me just playing around with physical filters and in-camera filter effects with Naima as my unwilling model. Little known fact about Naima, she doesn’t really like getting her picture taken all that much. Which is weird, since she loves attention so much.


#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

#totallyfiltered

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Probably a lot of “what the hades was that” thoughts when people viewed those images. That is okay. Not all of my photography is for everybody.

Advent Candle – Christ

It is Christmas Eve. It is one of my favorite days of the year and it is my favorite worship service of the year. I LOVE candlelight service. I don’t think there is any other service (perhaps a few on the mission trip) where I can feel God as much as I can during Candlelight Service.

Before we light the Christ Candle, I want to share a picture of the Youth Group the night we did our own Candlelight Service:



Anne Lamott is one of my favorite Christian writers and she distilled prayer down to the following:

“Help, Thanks, Wow.”

While I think that those three words can say just about everything you need in prayer, for the last two years I have the youth close our little service with the following poem, that I consider to be an amazing prayer. Or at least an amazing affirmation:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

The poem was written by Marianne Williamson. If you’ve heard the name, yes, the insane lady that is running for president. The author aside, I do love closing with this poem because candlelight service and the poem have the same message. We are not to keep our light to ourselves. We are to share it with others. When we share our light with others, they will share their light with others.

Let’s light the Christ Candle:


Advent Candle - Christ

One: For weeks we have listened to obscure messages from ancient prophets.
In their words
we have caught glimpses of the light that is promised.
Now, though the wreath is ablaze
and all the candles of anticipation have been lit,
still there is one last prophecy to hear.

All: With eyes wide open,
ears attuned and hearts unguarded,
we gather around the wreath one last time,
longing to receive the Word within the words.

One: A reading from the Prophet Isaiah, Chapter 9, verses 2 to 7.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.


All: This night these words are fulfilled in our hearing
and in our living
for the promise of God has come to us.
Our lives are the manger
in whom the Christ child is born.
No longer do we seek light from another source;
now the light burns in our hearts
and we become love’s lamp.

One: So, we light the candle at the center of our wreath and our faith.
We light it in the name of the One who is the light,
and, as Mary did so long ago,
we name this light Jesus.

Have a great Christmas Eve everybody!