Gallery

Gallery of Canon G12

Last year, my Canon G12 died, so I decided to make a gallery of a few of my favorite images that came from that camera.  This is my first gallery post.

Just click on one of the small pictures to launch a carousel of higher resolution images.  (If you set your browser to full screen (press F11 in Chrome and Firefox), the images should display even larger).

May God bless you.

Happy New Year 2017 A.D.

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Happy New Year and Merry Eighth Day of Christmas.

Almighty and ever-living God, You make us both to will and to do those things that are good and acceptable in Your sight.  Let Your fatherly hand ever guide us and Your Holy Spirit ever be with us to direct us in the knowledge and obedience of Your Word that we may obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

— “For divine guidance” prayer, LSB, 310.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  (James 1:17, ESV).

Merry Christmas 2016 A.D.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

— Luke 2:6-7, KJV.

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And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

—Luke 2:10-11, KJV.

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And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

— Luke 2:18-19, KJV.

The pictures are from St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Merry Christmas!

The Lord’s Regard

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May you have a blessed Christmas Eve.

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.

For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.

— Luke 1:46-49, ESV.


*

The Magnificat, by Martin Luther

Mary confesses that the foremost work God did for her was that He regarded her, which is indeed the greatest of His works, on which all the rest depend and from which they all derive.  For where it comes to pass that God turns His face toward one to regard him, there is nothing but grace and salvation, and all gifts and works must follow.  Thus we read in Genesis 4:4, 5 that He had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering He had no regard.  Here is the origin of the many prayers in the Psalter—that God would lift up His countenance upon us, that He would not hide His countenance from us, that He would make His face shine upon us, and the like.  And that Mary herself regards this as the chief thing, she indicates by saying: “Behold, since He has regarded me, all generations will call me blessed.”

Note that she does not say men will speak all manner of good of her, praise her virtues, exalt her virginity or her humility, or sing of what she has done.  But for this one thing alone, that God regarded her, men will call her blessed.  That is to give all the glory to God as completely as it can be done.  Therefore she points to God’s regard and says: “For, behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.  That is, beginning with the time when God regarded my low estate, I shall be called blessed.”  Not she is praised thereby, but God’s grace toward her.  In fact, she is despised, and she despises herself in that she says her low estate was regarded by God.  Therefore she also mentions her blessedness before enumerating the works that God did to her, and ascribes it all to the fact that God regarded her low estate…

But for this one thing alone, that God regarded her, men will call her blessed.

Whoever, therefore, would show her the proper honor must not regard her alone and by herself, but set her in the presence of God and far beneath Him, must there strip her of all honor, and regard her low estate, as she says; he should then marvel at the exceedingly abundant grace of God, who regards, embraces, and blesses so poor and despised a mortal.  Thus regarding her, you will be moved to love and praise God for His grace, and drawn to look for all good things to Him, who does not reject but graciously regards poor and despised and lowly mortals.  Thus your heart will be strengthened in faith and love and hope.  What do you suppose would please her more than to have you come through her to God this way, and learn from her to put your hope and trust in Him, notwithstanding your despised and lowly estate, in life as well as in death?  She does not want you to come to her, but through her to God.

… who does not reject, but graciously regards poor and despised and lowly mortals.

Again, nothing would please her better than to have you turn in fear from all lofty things on which men set their hearts, seeing that even in His mother God neither found nor desired anything of high degree.  But the masters who so depict and portray the blessed Virgin that there is found in her nothing to be despised, but only great and lofty things—what are they doing but contrasting us with her instead of her with God?  Thus they make us timid and afraid and hide the Virgin’s comfortable picture, as the images are covered over in Lent.  For they deprive us of her example, from which we might take comfort; they make an exception of her and set her above all examples.  But she should be, and herself gladly would be, the foremost example of the grace of God, to incite all the world to trust in this grace and to love and praise it, so that through her the hearts of all men should be filled with such knowledge of God that they might confidently say: “O Blessed Virgin, Mother of God, what great comfort God has shown us in you, by so graciously regarding your unworthiness and low estate.  This encourages us to believe that henceforth He will not despise us poor and lowly ones, but graciously regard us also, according to your example.”

Luther’s Works, Vol. 21: “The Sermon on the Mount and the Magnificat.”
Concordia Publishing House, 1999, 1956, 321-322.
Emphasis in original.

Word and Water

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The light shines on the water.

The Spirit of God hovered over the waters at both creations: in the beginning (Genesis 1:2) and at Jesus’s baptism (Matthew 3:16).  God cleanses and recreates through the washing of baptism.  Simple water does not do this, but rather God’s word added to the water.  Jesus is the Word of God, and He went into the water to be baptized.

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“Baptism is not simple water only, but it is the water included in God’s command and connected with God’s Word.”  Baptism “works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.”  “Christ, our Lord, says in the last chapter of Mark, ‘Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’”  (Mark 16:16).

— Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.

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At the Holy Family Shrine in Nebraska a channel of water leads to the sanctuary.  This water symbolizes baptism which saves us.  In baptism, God puts his name on us, adopts us, and makes us part of his family.  We become his, and come under his protection, he brings us into his sanctuary.  Through baptism God works faith in our hearts.

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For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.  Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ

— 1 Peter 3:18-22, ESV.
Emphasis added.

Test Shots New Camera G7X Mark II

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Recently, God blessed me with a new camera, a Canon G7X Mark II, so I took it out to High Cliff State Park for a few test shots.

In the above shot, most of the trees are bare, but it still has nice color because of the leaves on the ground and the golden light of the sun setting over Lake Winnebago.  I appreciate the detail and sharpness of the bare trees.

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Here, I like the subtlety of color on the horizon and the wide dynamic range on the trees and leaves.

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This picture seems like it could have been better.  Maybe I got there too late to see the leaves lit up by sun rays.  At full size, it doesn’t look too bad though.

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The G7X has a relatively large sensor and a lens with a relatively wide aperture, so it captures low light scenes fairly well for a small compact camera.  All the pictures in this post were taken with the camera hand held (no tripod) and the jpeg files are straight out of the camera (no post processing).

It is rare for any of my pictures to see Photoshop or any editing program.  Although, maybe I should do more cropping and leveling of my horizons.

I took a hand-held sample video down by the lake shore, and uploaded it to YouTube.  Unfortunately, every video I upload looks crummy: the images are not sharp and the colors are washed out.  (I assume it has something to do with YouTube’s compression algorithms).  Even though the colors are washed out, the static noise in the video sounds accurate.

I thought it would be nice to record the gently lapping water and the occasional distant call of a bird of prey.  But in the video one has to strain to hear anything over the static.

Audible static noise in every video is an unfortunate and disappointing problem with the G7X Mark II.  The audio quality in its videos is poor.  My old G12 which cost less than the G7X Mark II had much better audio and much cleaner audio.

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The sun sets over Lake Winnebago.  I try hard to keep my camera level when taking pictures of flat horizons.  It’s not easy when standing on wet rocks.

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The G7X Mark II has a view screen that can flip back 180° so you can take a picture of yourself, if you wish.  So I did.  The sun was right below the horizon, and its light was rosy.

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The flip screen also helps to take pictures from lower angles.  Without the tilt screen, I would have had to lay in the water to get this photograph.

After that shot, I hiked up to the top of the first cliff.

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This last picture is of the half moon rising over the sunset.  The moon (in the upper left corner) is very far away, and therefore a little out of focus.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

IMG_0233bEvery one who lives has something for which to be thankful.  Gratitude is the joy of life.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

— John 3:16-17, ESV.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Fall Haiku

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Blue skies wispy clouds
honking skein over corn fields
moving through crisp air.

Bare trees in a line
crunchy leaves under the foot
rich smells of the earth.

Sights scents sounds
Autumn.

BoC Drawing 2016 Followup

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In recognition of the four hundred ninety-nine year anniversary of the beginnings of the Reformation, Light from Light hosted a giveaway of a copy of the Christian Book of Concord, Second Edition from Concordia Publishing House.

Over seventy people entered.  The winner chosen at random was Abigail L.

Congratulations.

The Book of Concord should be in every Lutheran home.  If a person isn’t familiar with this book, he’ll think, ‘That old book is just for pastors.  I don’t have to preach.  After working all day, I can’t sit down and study in the evening.  If I read my morning and evening devotions, that’s enough.’  No, that is not enough!  The Lord doesn’t want us to remain children, blown to and fro by every wind of doctrine; instead of that, He wants us to grow in knowledge so that we can teach others.

Dr. C.F.W. Walther.

Click here for additional reasons why every Lutheran home should have a copy of the Christian Book of Concord.

May God bless you in the upcoming holiday / holy-day season.

Veterans’ Day 2016

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This picture is of the Fort McPherson National Cemetery in Nebraska.  The men and women buried here served their country with honor.

Whether you gave your life to the end or not, whether you were wounded or not, whether you served in combat or not, your service to our country is appreciated.  Service is not easy, but it is good.

Thank you.

May you have a blessed Veterans’ Day.