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.
Here, I like the subtlety of color on the horizon and the wide dynamic range on the trees and leaves.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
And God said, …
— Genesis 1:1-3, ESV.
In the beginning, God created everything from nothing. He is the original creator.
We are sub-creators. We create only from what has been created. One of the reasons I enjoy outdoor photography is because it embodies the very concept of capturing or reflecting the reality of what has already been created.
Because we are made in the image and likeness of a Maker, we can all make. (Genesis 1:26). Using our creative imaginations we can step into the picture above, stand on the shores of Lake Winnebago, and ponder the glory of God. We could even write a short story or description of the experience.
Passing through Wausau on my way home from a business trip, I decided to stop at Rib Mountain State Park to get in a little hiking. Since it had been cloudy most of the day, I considered whether to take my camera. Figuring this would be just an outdoor, exercise, and fresh autumnal air hike without the possibility of any reasonably good pictures, I decided to take my camera anyway.
While hiking on the quarry trail, the sun came out in glorious warm orange, lighting up the autumnal leaves of the trees and the forest floor. A man and his dog jogged by, and commented on the wonderful light. It was a nice reminder of the grace and mercy of God.
“Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun” (Ecclesiastes 11:7, KJV).
I would have taken some pictures of the actual sunset, but I kept dithering about returning to the car. The leaf covered trail I had taken to this spot had been hard to follow even in the daylight. (I had considered turning back a number of times before the sun came out. But when the sun came out, I felt compelled to keep going). Nonetheless, the last thing I wanted to do was stumble back on that rocky, meandering, leaf covered trail in the dark. There were a lot of leaves still on the trees, and a cloudy starless night in the forest can be very dark. I had a flashlight, but was uncertain of the strength of its batteries.
“Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun: But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many.” (Ecclesiastes 11:7-8, KJV).
In all your days, may you rejoice with discerning eyes.
In case you were wondering, I did safely return just as the last usable light of the day had ended.
Sometimes the sunset is too big for the camera lens.
The truth is beautiful, and when beauty and truth are more than we can grasp, we are left in awe and wonder.
The world God created reflects His order and His infinity. It is incomprehensibly large, and full of things that are incomprehensibly small.
So no matter how much we learn, a full understanding of God and His logical creation will always be beyond our grasp. It will always be beyond our ability to fully know. We will always be left in awe and wonder.
If the logical creation leaves us in wonder, how much more so the Infinite Creator?
Yet, just as a camera can catch part of a sunset, so also we can understand and receive in part.
That is why God comes to us in means. Means are ways we can understand and receive God. Jesus Christ is the one true God. He comes to us in words that we can understand and sacraments we can see, taste, and feel.
May we always appreciate the gifts of God, always grow in learning, and always stand in awe of His infinite wonder (both great and small).
Nobody does art better than God. We draw with mediums like paint and photography, but God paints with reality.
When He paints a sunset, He does it on a scale so large that even people can live in his creations.
Our art is best when it reflects the truth of reality. The truth is beautiful.
God’s word is truth. With words God created the reality of the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1 & 2).
I hope you enjoyed these sunset pictures. The picture above was supposed to be redder, but I went through three successive dead batteries. The charged battery was in the car. So the reddest part of this sunset was lost to unrecorded history. Still, God is good, and beauty exists even if it goes unseen.
No one does beautiful reality better than God. Moreover, God does not create with just pretty lights and colors, He also creates with the truth of His love.
There is another reality that is ugly in every way except for the love it confesses. That reality is Christ crucified. His sacrifice was not a beauty of the eye, but rather a beauty of the heart. Only in faith can we truly appreciate the deep beauty of His love and sacrifice.
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