How Are We Suppose to Become Invisible?

kiss_110214_1Street photography is hard – plain and simple; taking stealthy pictures of people in a public place is a challenge even for the most skilled photographers on the planet. How are we suppose to become invisible and capture precious moments without being noticed?

I have found that trying to capture an intimate moment with a clunky dslr is near impossible. The closest I have ever come to complete photographic anonymity was in Rome. The streets were packed and the city thrummed with a constant energy. Nobody looked at me, and nobody noticed my small mirrorless camera.

I love this photograph because every time I look at it, I am reminded of how serendipitously I stumbled upon this couple kissing. There are literally hundreds of people featured in this image, yet the light from the setting sun perfectly illuminates the couple. They are oblivious to the word around them, and so I was able to bring my camera up to my eye and snap a quick shot. I am not a street photographer, but whenever I have the chance to dabble in the discipline, I am often times rewarded with a beautiful moment like this one.

I have to remember to dabble more often,

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The Courage to be Christian

The Woman taken in Adultery, c.1621 (oil on canvas)

Christ with the Woman Taken in Adultery, by Guercino, 1621

Are you courageous?  Do you consider yourself to be brave?  Would someone who knows you say about you: “I would go into battle with this person”…?

Have you seen the classic war movie with the scene where an officer gives a fiery speech and inspires his soldiers just before they have to go off into some great battle?  Perhaps some of you have not seen the movie, but rather have actually lived it.  If so, thank you.

Or have you seen any of the Patriot’s Super Bowl Championship films which recount their ascent to the top?  There are always scenes of Coach Belichick inspiring the players, saying things like: “Do your job!”  Anyone who has watched Super Bowl 51 and that crazy, historic comeback win knows that those players would, and did, go into battle together.

I read today’s Gospel (Matthew 10: 26-33) as a fiery inspirational speech, one where Jesus calls upon his disciples to get ready to go into battle together.  To do their jobs.  And to know that despite whatever was to come in the future, which he knew was going to be very, very difficult for them… they were to have courage.

I’m sure you get the fact that if Jesus was delivering a message to his disciples back then, that he was also delivering it to us today as well.  So that’s why I ask… are you courageous?  Do you have the courage… to be a Christian?  Remember that we are called upon to pick up a cross and to follow.  This was not supposed to be a cake walk.  So, are you ready to go into battle?

Going into battle.

This is what that means to me…

Consider the crowd standing in a circle and pointing at sin in the form of a woman caught in the act of adultery.  Then consider that same crowd after Jesus ministered to them, touched their lives.  Of course, he instructed that whomever among them was without sin themselves could throw the first stone.  You know the rest of the story.  There was the crowd before and the crowd after.  A crowd transformed by Christ.

Are we willing to be similarly transformed by Jesus?

Into those who forgive.  Those who ask for forgiveness and admit that we are sinners ourselves.

Are we willing to embrace those who disgust us?

Are we willing to step outside of our comfort zones and to admit that we do love Jesus and that we would like very much for him to become the center of our lives?

Are we willing to prioritize our faith and to live lives that showcase this fact, even among those who think we’re strange… or worse… for doing so?

Are we willing to show restraint and not give in to our every desire?

Are we willing to see the good in others, even when we are the ones standing in a circle and pointing our fingers at them?

This is what it means to be touched by Jesus, to be transformed by him.  This is what it means to say… yes, I will go into battle for him.  And I will not be afraid.

Linger

linger_040915_1Linger, linger on my love
Clad in armor of white.
Linger a moment longer love,
Stay with me through my fight.

Dearest, you never think that it will have an end,
But Eros makes his prey blind to times flights,
And here we are, your tomb, my closest friend.

Would that you were in my bed every night,
And every morn be first to wed my sight?
But eyes gaze and arms reach to spite, my dread.

Ahead of me a flock of doves alight.
The grey clouds abate. Blue skies take their stead.

I know you’d want me to show strength ahead.
If you were here you’d want to see my smile.
Maybe someday my smile will daily spread.
I’ll try, I vow, for you, I’ll try, meanwhile.

My eyes close. I lift my head. I linger.
A warm breeze. A faint smile. We linger.

Linger one moment longer, love,
Draped in your gown of white.
Now linger on no more, my love,
I’ve made it to the light.

You can read more from TH Ponders here

Somewhere over the rainbow…

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It’s a well worn story arc.  Early on, the main character pines for deeper meaning, adventure, confirmation that there simply has to be more to life than just this.  It’s somewhere over the rainbow where all this lies and more.  Perhaps the purest depiction of this is the in character and story most of us have deeply etched into our memories: Dorothy Gayle of The Wizard of Oz.  There’s the beautiful song, and title of this post, that serves as the soundtrack for this sentiment, for Dorthy and for any of us who have ever felt the metaphorical equivalent of being trapped on a Kansas farm, pinned down to a black and white backdrop that never changes, and helpless to do anything at all about it.

Pardon the melodrama, but the metaphor holds: this has been my photographic tale.  And I’m far from alone.

Continue reading

Behind the Photograph: Light Striking a Twisted Pine

A lot of times, people ask me, “where did you take that photograph,” or,” how did you get your image to look that way? Many of my photos are from far off cities and distant mountain ranges. But this image was taken right around where I work. I want to talk a little bit about how this image came together and make a point or two about keeping your eyes open for the beauty around you.

light_tree_06142017_1 Continue reading

Make Your Own Photograph

candleHaven’t we all wanted to post a picture to social media and see the likes compile one after another? I know I most definitely have. Oftentimes I find myself lamenting the less than ideal shooting conditions outside my front door and before I know it, I haven’t posted anything of note to my account. Sometimes we have to make our own photographs out of everyday items and lighting. Continue reading

Joy

Rey Spadoni-1020102-wm

I’m very much in a get-back-to-basics state of mind these days.  That is part of a simplification quest, a desire to root out distraction, excess, and glut.  Pope Benedict 16 once said: “Silence is God’s first language.”  I’m bringing in some silence.

It has been in this self-reflective mode that I have realized that as I’m now well along on my 365 Day Project (day 237 in fact), the trials of the past year have resulted in some somber images… and some even more somber accompanying captions.  A quick stroll through my Instagram feed will make the point.

So…

I’m looking to bring some joy back into the picture.  Or should I say… pictures.