Category Archives: Photography

Kisses from God- Part 1, In which we both become blithering Idiots

Last week we took our second trip to Alaska in two years. We had such an amazing time on the first trip we just had to go back to share it with our kids. Amongst everything going on there were a few little incidents that were kisses from God. You know, those events or moments that weren’t by any means necessary but tap you on the shoulder as being put there by a loving Father to remind you of His love. Yeah, we had several. The most spectacular one was for Brian. I mean, we were all thrilled, but it was definitely put in place to touch Brian’s heart.

Brian has a thing for whales; for years he wanted to go whale watching. In fact, that was what prompted us to take our first Alaskan cruise: his desire to see whales in the wild. That first trip we had a beautiful time hanging out in a cove with one mama whale and her baby, watching them repeatedly bubble feed. This time was different. It took a while to find the whales, but when we did, there six of them. Six! One showed up just as we were leaving to wave its tale at us as we drove away in the fishing boat we had hired, but the other five swam around, spouting and showing off their tails. (The photo above is one of these whales when it was positioned just right in relation to the sun and us to make a beautiful spectrum appear as it spouted.) I didn’t know until later that Brian felt like, as awesome as the experience was, it was a little incomplete because we didn’t get to see bubble feeding. But God knew.

After a lovely lunch of freshly caught fish and chips sitting on a restaurant deck overlooking the water, Brian and Amanda decided to take a walk on the rocky beach below before heading back to the ship, and Adam and I opted to stay on the deck enjoying the cool breeze. I was enjoying the view, thinking back on the morning’s adventure, when I noticed something strange in the water. There was a ripple. A huge, circular ripple, not more than 30 or 40 feet off the shore. My first thought was that it looked like bubble feeding, but it obviously wasn’t, since it was so close to shore. I kept watching and noticed the ripple was intensifying, and finally saw a huge bubble along the ripple, and realized it was in fact a whale about to have lunch.

At this point 3 conversations broke out in my head. Conversation #1 was with Brian and Amanda. It was “Hey, guys, look! There’s bubble feeding just a few yards off shore right in front of you!” The second was with Adam: “Hey, look, Adam! Down there by where your dad and sister are standing. See that ring in the water? That’s bubble feeding. If you watch, you will see a whale burst up through the center of it grabbing a giant mouthful of fish!” The third was with myself: “I can’t believe there’s bubble feeding so close to shore, but there’s no other explanation. You need to pick up the camera, turn it on, and get the settings right. You need to hurry; there are just a few seconds before it’s too late.” Yes, I had all those thoughts, all at once, as the world seemed to switch to slow motion. In the heat of the moment, though, all I was able to say, while reaching for my camera with my right hand, pointing with my left hand, and pushing my wheelchair out of the way with my foot, was “Look look look look look!” Not very erudite, but it was effective. Not only did Adam manage to look just in time to see the whale above water, but 100-200 of my closest friends/total strangers heard and ran (yes, RAN) to the railing to see whatever it was that was causing the crazy old lady in the wheelchair to freak out.

Brian and Amanda had a front row seat (to everything except my freak-out). The whale surfaced directly in front of them. Not up the shore a ways, but directly in front of them. What I didn’t know until later was that Brian noticed the bubbles right away, and knew Amanda might not notice since she hadn’t experienced bubble feeding before. Being the good dad he is he wanted to say “Look, daughter. See that ring of bubbles? That might be bubble feeding. Watch closely and we might see a whale.” Instead, he pointed and said, “Bubbles bubbles bubbles bubbles bubbles!” Once again, not eloquent, but effective! Amanda looked in time to see the whole event unfold right in front of her. After that the whale swam along the shore a ways, gave us a wave of his tail, and was gone.

The whole family knew this was for Brian. It was God saying, “I know what moves your heart, son. I’m here. I love you.” Like I said, it wasn’t a necessary part of the trip. None of us prayed for it, or was even looking for it (before the babbling started, at least), but what a beautiful token of affection we were given that day! God is faithful and really knows how to throw a party!


Brian and Amanda, pointing excitedly as the whale swims away.


Brian and Amanda (lower left) watching as the whale waves good-bye

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Filed under Family, God Stuff, God's Love and Mercy, Photography

Green!

I entered the @EpiphanieBags Picture It photo contest! http://bit.ly/xN3Pqc . The contest topic is “Green!” Here’s my entry. What do you think?

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Adoption is Greater than the Universe…

While I’ve been silent on this blog for quite some time, it hasn’t been because I haven’t had much to say. Quite the opposite, really. I have so much in my heart it’s hard to weed it out and put it in any form that makes sense outside my own head.

The last few months have been a time of focused attention to the plight of orphans and to the topic of adoption. The reasons these topics matter so much to me is rather involved and really too personal for such a public forum, so suffice it to say it fills my mind and heart, day and night. While adoption isn’t an option for us at this point in our lives, that doesn’t keep it from burning in my heart.

I recently finished a photography project to help raise funds for an organization that is about bringing together birth mothers and adoptive families called The Zoe Foundation.  You can see the project here (then click on “buy a calendar”. While you’re at it, why not pick up a copy? One hundred percent of the money goes to The Zoe Foundation, and you’ll be blessed with a whole year of photos of beautiful children and their adopted families.

The title of this post comes from a teaching by John Piper on the subject of adoption. It’s a beautiful teaching, and only takes five minutes to watch. You won’t be sorry!

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Filed under adoption, God Stuff, God's Love and Mercy, God's Wisdom, Photography, pro-life, Social Justice

Fall is Here

Well, it’s that time of year again; time when days are shorter, weather is cooler (praise God!), and leaves turn. Leaves turn, and then they fall. And fall. And fall. Can you guess what I did this week? I’ll give you a photographic hint:

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Filed under My Achievements, Personal, Photography, Random Ramblings

Philly Fun

Another weekend, another adventure! This Sunday we decided to take a trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art: except that, well, we didn’t actually go into the museum. I was actually there to photograph some of the sights around the museum. I had a great time shooting, since the weather was perfect and the crowds were relatively small. I finally managed to get a shot of Boat House Row (click here to see one of the shots) behind the museum, although, as is usually the case, I got shots that were almost what I wanted, so now I’ll have to go back and try again. I also got some fun shots of some geese on the Schuylkill River, which will be posted on my photography blog tomorrow. That wasn’t the whole adventure though.

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Filed under Photography, Quirky Things..., Random Ramblings

Blob Fest 2008

Anyone who has spent much time around my blog is familiar with Brian’s and my hobby of finding obscure, odd, eccentric things to see and do. We hit the mother lode a couple weeks ago when we attended the opening night of Blob Fest 2008. Just what is a Blob Fest, you may ask? It’s a community-based festival in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania that celebrates the 1958 sci-fi thriller movie “The Blob”. It seems that the theater used in a pivotal scene in the movie is located in this borough, which is apparently as good a reason to have a party as anything else! The festival is in its ninth year, and includes the opening night festivities, a Blob window decorating contest for local businesses, a parade, a classic car show, the “Blob Ball”, and assorted other street fair type activities. It should be noted that the opening ceremonies of the festival are held in the actual theater used in the movie, and include a concert by a local band, a screaming contest, and a tin foil hat contest (because everybody knows if there are aliens or other icky monstery things around, a tin foil hat will keep the creatures from being able to read your mind). It was truly an amazing event! As pictures speak louder than words, I thought I’d include a couple of photos I took that first night just to give you a feel for the evening. Continue reading

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The Mercy Seat 2008

On Saturday, April 26, Brian and I were blessed to join the Philadelphia chapter of Bound 4 Life for a road trip to Washington, D.C. to take part in an event called “The Mercy Seat”. It was a nationwide prayer event taking place at all 50 state supreme courts, as well as the national Supreme Court building. We are a couple hours from both our state’s capital and the nation’s capital, so we really could have gone to either. We chose to go to the US Supreme Court, since we have learned in recent years you never know what God has in mind for your future, so who knows if we’ll be this close next time there is an event in Washington, D.C.

Be that as it may, bright and early Saturday morning we climbed aboard a bus of total strangers to go stand before our national Supreme Court building. Continue reading

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Filed under God Stuff, Personal, Photography, Social Justice