Wyoming Coal Trains

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These are pictures of coal trains near Guernsey, Wyoming taken inside Guernsey State Park.

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The coal trains run through this area day and night around the clock carrying coal all over the country.

In the picture above, you can see my shadow on the bridge in the middle of the train.

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Above is the front of the train looking in the other direction.

There are two sets of tracks here, I think to allow the trains to pass by each other.

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I’d like to see the mine where all this coal comes from.  I couldn’t count all these cars even in a photograph.

Dreamy Air, Gentle Water, and Sharing

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Soft silvery water reflects tall pine in gentle ripples through a warm dreamy air.

After taking this picture, I wasn’t sure what to think of it.  Maybe it was good, but maybe not.  Would others appreciate it?  I sent it to a friend who liked it a lot.  Her enjoyment caused me to like it a lot too.  Getting feedback is good for any artist.  Otherwise, the only reaction some pictures will ever elicit is a question: “Is this good, or not?”

Taking pictures for one’s own enjoyment can be a good hobby, but photography, as with any art, is really about communication with others.  Art should be a communal experience.  I’m not sure if the picture above communicates anything deep other than that God is good and beauty exists, but at least we can share that pleasant thought together.

Whenever we enjoy what God has created, we enjoy it together.

The Golden City of God

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“Jerusalem, thou city fair and high,
Would God I were in thee!
My longing heart to thee would gladly fly;
It will not stay with me.
Far over vale and mountain,
Far over field and plain,
It hastes to seek its fountain
And leave this world of pain.”

— “Jerusalem, Thou City Fair and High,”
Christian Worship, 212:1.

The golden light in the picture above was from the heavenly sunset, but the air of earth was bitter cold and biting.  It bit my fingers.

Soon after taking these pictures, and with fingers cold and hurting, I pulled my glove off to retrieve keys from pocket.  However, the wrist strap for my camera had caught the glove, causing my Canon G12 camera to go flying.  It dropped on the sidewalk, bounced on the cement, and slid through the snow.

A very nice camera damaged is not overly important, but it is a reminder of all the large and small frustrations and pain we feel in this world.  Jesus reminds us:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

— Matthew 6:19-21, NIV1984.

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Christ is our treasure.  It is He who prepares a place for us in the heavenly Jerusalem.  It is He who prepares us to be His heavenly Jerusalem.

“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”  Her husband is Christ.  The new Jerusalem is where Almighty God lives with man, lives in man, and is man.  (Revelation 21:2-5, NIV1984).

“Jerusalem the golden,
With milk and honey blest—
The sight of it refreshes
The weary and oppressed.
I know not, oh, I know not
What joys await us there,
What radiancy of glory,
What bliss beyond compare.”

— “Jerusalem the Golden,” Christian Worship, 214:1.

Our “citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20, NIV1984).

“Jerusalem, my happy home,
When shall I come to thee?
When shall my sorrows have an end?
Thy joys when shall I see?”

The time is short.

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The time is coming when Christ will return to earth in glory.  Until then, He gives us a taste of heaven in the Eucharist and the Communion of Saints.  In this meal we share together with new Jerusalem, Christ is with us, He is in us, and he is one of us.

“Apostles, martyrs, prophets, there
Around my Savior stand,
And soon my friends in Christ below
Will join the glorious band.

“O Christ, do thou my soul prepare
For that bright home of love
That I may see thee and adore
With all thy saints above.”

— “Jerusalem, My Happy Home,”
Christian Worship, 215:1, 4, 5.

The pictures are of St. Nicholas Church in Freedom, WI.

May God bless you in Christ.

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P.S.  Those white specks in the picture above are an airplane and its contrails.

Photography Video Tour of Namibia

These National Geographic videos are an interesting photography and video tour of the land of Namibia.

All the wonders of creation declare the glory of God.  “Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.”  (Psalm 19:2 NIV1984).

The Lord wants us to be good stewards of the world.  We must take care of His creation.  For the “Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”  (Genesis 2:15 NIV1984).

Be Still and Give Thanks

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“Be still, my soul; Your God will undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.”

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“Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.”

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“Be still, my soul; the waves and wind still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.”

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Lord, thank You.

Happy Thanksgiving!

All the pictures were taken on the same day at Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin.  The second photo shows the rising crescent moon and the setting sun over its eastern and western shores.

The verse is from the hymn “Be Still, My Soul,” Lutheran Service Book, 752:2.

G12 Electronic Level and Estes Cone

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Recently, God blessed me with the opportunity to go hiking in Colorado.  We got sick, so we were not able to hike as much as we had planned, nonetheless, we were able to hike to Dream Lake (elevation 9912′), Emerald Lake (10,090′), and to the summit of Estes Cone (11,006′).  The picture above was taken in a meadow on the hike to Estes Cone.

According to Trails.com, Estes Cone is an inactive volcano.  Ascending to the summit of Estes Cone involves mostly hiking and some climbing.  On the hike to the summit, I snapped an occasional picture, but felt dissatisfied with the photograph’s representation of the steepness of the terrain.  The hike looked too flat.  Then I remembered that my Canon G12 camera has a built in electronic level, and that I had recently calibrated the level:  It was accurate.

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The picture above is the first picture I took using the electronic level.

The picture below was taken using the electronic level (while on the climb to the summit).  The taller mountains are on the left, so the horizon itself is not perfectly horizontal.

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The picture below was taken on the way down from the summit.  Notice the man standing in the upper left of the picture.  Most people stand straight vertical, but having an electronic level built into the camera is still an excellent and handy tool.

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I appreciated the interplay of light and shadow on the other mountains in the distance (Mount Meeker, Longs Peak, Mount Lady Washington, etc).

The Lord is gracious, and may He bless you.

Neutral Density Filter

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My Canon G12 camera has an internal neutral density filter that can be applied inside the camera with the click of a button.  A neutral density filter is designed to reduce the amount of light hitting the camera’s sensor without affecting color.  This allows the photographer to open the shutter for longer periods of time while still accurately recording the amount of light and color in a scene.

This technique can be used to blur (or erase) moving objects, and is best used with moving water or busy city streets.  It can give a photograph with moving objects a slightly more dreamy quality than an average snap-shot.

The picture above is a fifteen second exposure of Lake Winnebago at dusk.  Please notice the somewhat smooth dreamy reflections in the water.  (The motion blur of the water causes this effect).

The snap-shot below was taken earlier in the evening and from a different location, so it may not be the best comparison, but please notice the sharper detail in the water.

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