Saturday, January 19, 2008


ISO 100 ~ f/13 ~ 1/200 ~ 135mm

Can anyone guess what a picture like this is a good candidate for? And once you tell me, explain why you think so. Kind of like a reverse tutorial; I want to see your views and inputs rather than just mine.

Another thing. I'm going to stick my neck out a little bit in hopes that you will stick yours out too. How about some constructive criticism on my photos. You know; "hey, I think opening your aperture, and giving that photo a little less DOF would really make the shot." or "Placing the subject's eyes on one of the 'third' lines catches your eye a little more than focusing the face in the center of the frame." You get the point. This does two things: 1) it improves (hopefully) everyone's photography, 2) it keeps me humble.

No, seriously, I think reader input is valuable. None of us are perfect, and I'd hate for my friends/brothers/sisters to think that I am trying to set myself apart as a superior photographer. I wish I were some 'awesome' photographer, but the truth be told, I'm just learning how to "see as a lens sees". One thing that has really humbled me is that the best photographers I know appear to be less aware of their talent than I am. I see their work, and my jaw hits the floor sometimes as I wonder how they thought of something so unique, yet they seem to take no credit for their work. It challenges me even more.

I tend to cringe and hide away from baring my heart publicly. There is a certain degree of 'safety' that you can build up around you through the internet, over the phone, and even in reasonably close friendships. That safety is something that the Pharisees of Jesus' time had perfected; the art of fooling everyone into thinking you're something you really are not. The Greeks were a little more honest in their view of this "art" and called it hypocrisy, or, in modern English: acting. This was one thing that Jesus was adamantly against. He openly criticized it, publicly humiliating both the Scribes and the Pharisees with that moniker. Why? Because God hates lies. And when we live a life that does not tell the exact story of our true self, we're lying to others. What do we think this will profit us? I'm really not sure! It certainly does not fool God, and it isn't going to fool a soul on that Great Judgement day that is coming, when we stand naked before Him. Not even our filthy rags of righteousness will follow us to that throne. Not an excuse, murmur, defense, or word of vindication will escape our lips on that day. Bowing before Him, we will be exactly who we always knew we were.

One of my favorite challenging quotes (written on the back page of my Bible) follows: "When your reputation exceeds your character, you are in bondage." Think on that one for a while. And then think of it through this quote: "Reputation is what men say you are; character is what God says you are." So basically, once you start placing an image of something that is better than you truly are before men, they will expect that from you. If you do not want to disappoint them, you'll always be running to keep that facade up while you are in front of that brother or sister. Where does the bondage come in? The running. You'll wear yourself absolutely ragged trying to uphold that godly image that you portrayed yourself as. Why? simply because you are living the life of an actor every single day.

Friends, brothers, sisters; this is not Hollywood, nor should we be 'acting' like it is. If there is any role-model to follow in acting, check out the life of Lucifer. Angel of light in one breath, roaring lion in the next. Subtle serpent, fiery fiend. A wolf covered up in a sheepskin so nobody notices his carnivorous fangs. The list continues. Now contrast that with the life of Christ. Open, honest, candid. He lived what he spoke, hid nothing, concealed nothing. When asked where he lived, his prompt response was: "Come and see." (John 1:39) You could read His very soul in His face. Even the reprobate centurion that was in charge of Jesus' crucifixion admitted that he must have been the Son of God.

I try to hide so much. I don't want brother so-and-so knowing that I listen to this kind of music, and I certainly don't want sister so-and-so finding out that I watched a movie. What does this profit us? It only draws us farther and farther down the path that the devil has so clearly cut for us. The broad and 'smooth' path; who's end is destruction.

Wow. You know how hard that was to write, knowing that anyone can read it? Real. Hard.

Oh, and a special thank you to a very dear brother of mine who's open, humble heart inspired me to write this. God will bless you for it, brother! Keep pressing onward!

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  • Thanks for posting this Ryan, because it's something God's really been dealing with me on too as I've found myself doing things like not always showing my iTunes music track because I see so-in-so is online. You're so right, it's putting up a front like the Pharisees would do when God just wants our humble obedience. I see I fear man, and think about them WAY too much, when I would know so much more freedom if I lived only for the applause of Christ. Thanks you for this timely reminder!

    By Anonymous Shelley baldridge, at 12:32 PM  

  • Amen, again! Who's approval are we really living for? If God's, does it really matter what other's think? If man's, even the "good" things we do are nothing but, as you said, filthy rags of righteousness.

    Looks like you have another excellent beginning for desktop wallpaper! A couple verses that came to mind...

    "How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee." Psalm 139:17-18

    By Blogger Andrea, at 1:28 PM  

  • P.S. Sorry, didn't read all of your instructions. :-) I think the picture is a good candidate for wallpaper because of the subject being off-centered, and the broad space of neutral colored and textured sand filling the majority of the picture. :-)

    Will we see any results from you? :-D

    By Blogger Andrea, at 1:31 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Emily, at 10:06 PM  

  • Hello,

    I have hopped over to your blog on occasion from Bethany's and I will now add a comment even though you don't have a clue who I am. :)

    About the picture. I would use it for a background (as others have suggested)because I don't think that it is powerful enough to make a statement on its own in most circumstances. My family makes name cards using my photos so that was the first thing that popped into my mind. But I also like the thought of placing other photos of the beach over the one side in a digital storybook. That can look really neat (I am doing that with some of my pictures right now). I hope that makes sense.

    About that critque: I will try to comment more often. Maybe you could do the same for me once in awhile...?

    That writing was very interesting (must admit that I skimmed some of it) as I improve my photography skills I understand more and more how much I need to work on it. but at the same time I see other's work and think that I could have done better and I have gotten really picky. At the same time people continue to tell me how good I am and I don't know how to respond. Does that make any sense?

    I will have to give the character quote some more thought...


    By Blogger Christina, at 8:03 PM  

  • Ah, the importance of accountability! You expressed very well what many of us cringe to admit, that: who we are is what we do when no one is looking.

    Your picture struck me as a background for something as practical as a graduation announcement. The color is subtle and inoffensive to what would want to be kept the focus of the invitation, and the layout could allow for several pictures (when he/she was a baby, teenager and a senior pic, for example). Allowing, of course, that they love the ocean :).

    I feel very inadequate to be a contributer of constructive criticism to your work, but! I know full well your desire to refine, refine! I will add a thing or two here and there :-).

    Thank you for the time you took to think, pray, and write. God will bless purity in perseverance!

    By Blogger Emily, at 1:08 AM  

  • Wonderful!!!!

    By Blogger Sqeeksis, at 10:54 PM  

  • @ Shelley:
    Thank you for sharing also! It is my prayer that I can live only for the Master's approval! “How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” John 5:44

    Thanks for your input! Yes, I'm guessing that you'll see something from me in the future with this one. I had completed a few prototypes, but wasn't all that pleased with the results, so I'm waiting for more time and inspiration.

    The collage tip is a wonderful idea! I'll have to play around with that one, and see what comes. It's quite a versatile backdrop for anything nautical.
    Yes, your statement about other's comments on your photography made sense. I usually find it both inspiring and humbling to follow other good photographer's work... Their ideas are usually way better than mine are!

    Thank you so much for the encouragement! Yes, a grad card is also a great idea! I'm going to have to get you all to start submitting some of your work as well, and make this more of a community effort! :-)

    Thanks for bearing with me, everyone!

    By Blogger Ryebread, at 9:17 PM  

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