Making Music with a Lens and a rant

     While I am out and about I sometimes see an image immediately drawing me home. This was one of those moments.  Walking down the sidewalk I saw an unmistakable symbol of music, and my thoughts turned homeward bound.  Over the last two years the ability to bring music back into the house, and into the lives of the children, through the Joyful Noise Homeschooling music program enlivened the family.  Initial cat gut screatches became music I can recognize.  Scales firmed up with practice.  Now both older children can teach me theory I never knew.  The little guy sung the Gloria at church with his two best buds with gusto this Sunday..  All very cool!

     So this image made music in my lens… 

     I also wanted to point out something about street photography as I see it.  While I was out walking a college age couple were shooting the streets.  Sitting on the side walk was a mentally ill man.  He was dishevelled, talking to himself incoherently, but otherwise not bothering anyone.  The lady in the couple thought he made a good subject.  So she switched to live view and took some hip shots of the poor soul.  

     Being in a public area means a photographer needs no consent to photography you.  However a photographer should exercise some level of respect for the man.  If the photo will be provided to people looking for him great..otherwise I worry that this is exploitation of personnel morbid curiosity.   In many people’s ciricles today this is just a chance to get a little self promotion on Twitter and Instangram.  It is an opportunity to exploit for themselves, not elevate humanity.  There are plenty of people on the street (such as street performers) who are interesting subjects, and more than willing to pose for a small tip.   

    If I photograph a person I have either their consent or they are doing something themselves to gain attention of passerbys.  For instance in Miami I photographed a skateboarder doing flashy tricks in a highly visible area on purpose.  A chef I photographed nodded yes when I asked to photograph him.  

    I know someone out there will say they are doing a social justice peace.  I just don’t buy it.  If you are doing social justice work you’d also be taking him to dinner. 

     With all that said…have a great night and PRAISE God!


PS For you techies this is the Fujifilm X-E1 with 23mm at 1/210, F8 ISO 800.   I used the film simulation of Velvia and applied a slight crop, small sharpening effect and vingette blur in Nik Snapseed.  My 23mm F1.4 is my current favorite Fuji lens…and it really wants a 56mm in the stable next to it!


The Coming Moment

     This cruxifiction moment the world changed, but the miricle did not end with that moment.  It benefitted those who passed before it, and those who passed after.  Each of us get shot at eternal life with God because of it.  

     As we said the Rosary last night, we reflected on the Sorrowful Mysteries.  It brought me back to recently read a chapter from St Thomas Aquinas, reminding us that God exists outside time.   God can use this past moment to inspire and save us now in this moment.  To God now is no different than if we stood at the foot of the cross then.

    In the midst of our prayers, I tried to place myself at the foot of the cross.  I kept asking myself if I would be brave enough to live my faith out in the face of the threats around me.  Would I have faith looking at pagan Roman soldiers, to whom I have no value except as a slave?  Would I be cowered in fear by the vengeful crowd who reject the law of God?  Would I stay silent knowing the enemy has spies ready to bear witness to their lords about my adoration for the man on the cross?

    I found myself wanting.  Still afraid, but slowly growing in the strength of faith for the tests that lay ahead of me.  I can see in this land this land today, those same threats faced by the fathers of the faith growing in strength.   Surely you can see the new tests arising for Christians everywhere as well.

    What can you say for yourself?  Are you ready for your coming moment?


Midday Prayers

Gesu Catholic Church

Gesu Catholic Church

     Whenever I travel have a little game..its called make a pilgrimage.  Today as I finished up the daily session, I looked at the weather and it said thunder storms due in town by 3PM.  Since I could fill out my homework anytime, I figured I better make the pilgrimage sooner rather than later.  

     The weather held up all of 15 minutes after leaving the hotel.  I then ducked into a resturant and got lunch.  I waited for a break in the weather to make the final dash up and over four blocks to the city’s oldest Catholic Church, Gesu.  As I walked up I could see all the symbols of my faith on the outside.   I entered the door and felt myself overwhelmed by a sudden feeling of being at home while being away from home.  I was happy to have a wonderful environment to focus on Jesus, the blessed sacrament, and have the story of salvation envelope my senses.  This was a wonderful gift people made a hundred years ago for us today.

     As I left out the door for another adventure I said a thank you prayer to those who labored and freely gave to make this sanctuary.  I prayed that others may also come and find the Lord’s lessons here in the stained glass, the lives of saints presented, and the sacrament of the Eucharist.  I also…yes…left a little contribution so it will be there for the next soul who seeks refuge for a few minutes from the wild world outside. 


P.S. I did a little experiment today and edited as much as I could with my camera for color, contrast, and sharpness.  I did a little cropping in Snapseed.  Interiors worked the 23mm out, and outside I used the 18-55mmm zoom.

The old and new altars in the Sanctuary

The old and new altars in the Sanctuary

An amazing baptismal font

An amazing baptismal font

I always try to find and photograph St. Joseph...what a good example of a father he is.

I always try to find and photograph St. Joseph…what a good example of a father he is.

Everything has meaning, everything presented beacons one to join Christ on the Cross.

Everything has meaning, everything presented beacons one to join Christ on the Cross.

Love a Rainy Night!

     I love a rainy night…ok twilight!  The rain was very, very light but the open ground was soaked!  So that of course means dark, contrast filled colors if captured right! 


   The mood was pretty somber as well.  I thought the taxis would get busier (and therefore happier), but the rain was so light it actually felt good in the humidity…sort of portable Miami air conditioning in an old school manner!


     Even the park benches were quite lonely.

Maybe some sun tomorrow?  Oh that is another song….”The Sun will come out tomorrow! Tomorrow! You can bet your bottom dollar….”  Ok I’ll be quiet before security comes up and makes me an offer I cannot refuse.


P.S. For you gear heads all these came from my Fujifilm X-E1.  Today was zoom day. I travels with my standard zoom (XF18-55 F2.8-4).  Nicely made lens, and it did allow me to reach out and grab a few photos without moving my feet.  I will say that the biggest thing it did for me was the mild telephoto effect.  The second and fourth photos show what happened when I racked it all the way out to 55mm…or a short telephoto of about 78mm Full Frame equivalent.  The telephoto allowed me to compress the elements in the frame, and they seem closer than they would with a standard focal length.

     Something else I learned is that I got the shots in low light by increasing my iso to 3200.  However this also made much the photo very bright, approaching daylight scenes.  So I went back into the camera and applied negative compensation to bring the scenes closer to what I saw.  I did not want a night vision goggle effect here. 

    Finally these are almost exclusively out of camera jpegs.  Your camera probably has a very powerful RAW converter.  Use it, save variants and shoot some more.  If the product is good, variants will help you explore the what if’s of your camera’s potential.