Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Portraits

Here is another portrait I took a week ago.  He did such a good job posing and smiling.

Friday, August 26, 2011


A few weeks ago I did portraits for the kids at my school (or for their parents). It was a blast and I feel like I'm much improved from last year. I had a hard time with some of the younger kids, and a hard time with the group photos. But for the most part I am very happy with how they turned out. Here is a peek at them. I have only gotten one photo release back, but it is for one of my favorite photos. I also have a hard time with printing the photos. I crop the photos so they look good to me, but that doesn't mean they are cropped nicely for a 5x7 or an 8x10. So, I always end up having to go back and try again.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Had someone on Google+ suggest that I add more contrast to my photos to help them pop a little bit more. So, I started doing that. Here are two early samples.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Whidbey Sunrise 1

The first morning on Whidbey Island this weekend,  I got quite lucky, I woke up at 6:30, my normal time and instead of laying there, I decided to get up (mostly to see if there were nay salmon running), and I stumbled upon this beautiful sunrise.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Whidbey Island Sunrise

We had two beautiful sunrises on Whidbey Island, I'll post the other one another day.  Absolutely gorgeous.  I've been busy editing photos of portraits I did for the kids at work, so I haven't been posting as frequently.  It may be slow for another 2 weeks as we are shooting a wedding this weekend.  Exciting times.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Yellow Flower

Deb and I went for a walk Saturday evening and came across this beautiful flower.

Also wanted to remind readers that you can purchase prints and cards with my photos on them from redbubble.com.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


One of my co-workers brought in some beautiful dahlias for us to plant for the kids.  I got them planted this week and then had to take a few photos.  They are such beautiful flowers.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Auto Focusing my camera

When using my camera I like to have the auto focus use only one point (so I know where it will focus) and I compose my image around that point.  Normally I have been using points in the upper left or upper right (so that my picture uses the rule of thirds and is composed nicely.  I have felt for a while that my set up (canon t1i + 70-200mm F4 L lens) was having a hard time getting the focusing spot on.  I don't use a tripod as much as I should, but this week I was playing with my camera and moved the auto focus point to the center spot and I felt like a much larger percentage of my photos were tact sharp.  So I started looking online.  Sure enough, the center point is a much better auto focusing point.  In short it detects focus by using both horizontal and vertical information while the rest of the points on my camera use either horizontal or vertical, but not both.  The below information comes from http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/T1I/T1IA4.HTM.  This is a great website with lots of great information in their review.

"The Rebel T1i uses the same AF sensor as the previous XSi, which features enhanced precision at the center point. This AF sensor design achieves more precise focus when used with lenses with apertures of f/2.8 or larger.
SLR autofocus accuracy is governed in part by how far apart you can space the sensor elements for a single AF point from each other. The wider this "baseline," the more accurately the AF point can determine focus. What limits the AF baseline spacing in a camera system is the lens aperture. You can build sensors with wider baselines, but that also restricts the range of lenses they can be used with. By and large, camera manufacturers have set f/5.6 as the minimum aperture their AF systems will work with. Lenses with wide-open apertures smaller than f/5.6 just won't focus. But once the baseline spacing is set, using a faster lens doesn't improve focus accuracy any. That is, unless you add a larger baseline sensor, as is built into the Canon T1i's center AF point. (Note that only the center AF point shows this increased accuracy at f/2.8: The surrounding AF points are all conventional f/5.6 ones.)
The AF points on the Canon T1i cover about 60% of the frame width, and about 50% of the frame height. The illustration above shows the relative spacing between the various AF points, with the distances between them marked in millimeters, at the focal plane. (Illustration courtesy Canon USA.)
While the AF sensor used in the Canon T1i appears to be the same as in the XSi, Canon did tell us that the Rebel T1i's AF system is better at handling extreme out-of-focus conditions than was its predecessor. They didn't have (or couldn't share) details as to how this was accomplished, but there should be fewer situations in which the Canon T1i will have to rack the lens across its entire focus range to figure out where optimum focus is.
While the image sensor in the Canon T1i appears to be nearly identical to that in the 50D (the principle difference being fewer readout channels, yielding a lower continuous-mode frame rate), the AF system is one area where the 50D justifies its higher price. In the 50D, there's an additional cross-type (diagonal) f/2.8 AF sensor for the central point, and all points are cross-type, meaning they're sensitive to both horizontal and vertical detail. Other than its central point, all of the Canon T1i's AF points are line-type, with most being sensitive to horizontal detail, but the top-center and bottom-center ones being sensitive to vertical lines."

So know, I will almost always be shooting with the center point, and not the edge ones near as much. I will have to get better at composing my image from the center. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

More Eagle Shots

On Whidbey Island this weekend the Eagle made a close sweep by looking for some food.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fish On

Went Fishing with my uncle and his cousin on Sunday.  It was a fabulous time (isn't it always when you catch a fish?).  My cousin was able to land a 17.5 lb King Salmon.  Pretty awesome.  Here is a picture of me with it.  And then there are some pictures of the Eagle coming down and grabbing some of the guts while we were cleaning it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Being Good without God

Is it even possible.  This guy think so.  http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/2011-07-31-atheism-morality-evolution-religion_n.htm

Here is my thoughts on this article.  

I read this article on the USAToday website and found it quite interesting.  A few weeks ago there was a article about billboards atheists had been putting up with the saying “I can be good without God.”  I was curious as to what that meant, so I am glad that Coyne (the author of the article) took time to explain it to us.  However, I have some serious concerns with his arguments.  I hope to be able to address most everything in a thorough manner, however, I am not a skilled writer by trade and so I may leave out some arguments, but I hope not.

My first issue is that Coyne, seems to jump to the conclusion that because he is capable of doing a good action that it makes him a ‘good’ person.  Never mind the fact that the terms ‘good’ and ‘moral’ were never defined, there is another serious issue with this conclusion.  It assumes that actions make a person good.  A clock telling me the right time doesn’t make it a good clock, after all, what if it was a broken clock (it’s still right twice a day).

My main concern in this article is the portrayal of being a moral person as an end (goal in life).  This seems to me to be his reasoning as to why people are religious, is so they can live a moral life (“why it[morality] couldn’t be God”).   He fails like so many people to see that Christianity isn’t about producing ‘good’ moral people.  That is an effect that Christianity has, but it is not the end.  The Christian walk is about being transformed into the person God intended us to be (that we have rejected through ‘the fall’).  Coyne seems to be content to be a ‘good’ fallen human (how good can that be?).  God calls us to be Sons and Daughters of God Himself.  We are to become a new creation.

I’ve made this argument before and will continue to.  An apple seed makes a crummy apple tree if it continues to be a seed.  It is only when it is transformed into something new entirely can it be a good apple tree.  We haven’t been called to be good humans we have been called to be holy (perfect and blameless) and it is only through being transformed by God’s love can that be possible.   We are called to produce fruit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness and Self-Control), in accordance with our new standing as a Son or Daughter of God.

Another issue I have is that the author makes the case that morality comes from outside God and we all have it built into us from evolution and secular reasoning.  However, his argument falls apart with morality through evolution.  Because you can’t always punish people for doing wrong, sometimes they get away with it.  Evolution is about survival of the fittest.  There may have been some very moral (working together, punishing evil and producing good) English towns along the coast, of England in the middle ages, but they weren’t somehow less moral than the attacking Vikings (morally bad thieves) that “stole and plundered” because the English were killed and the Vikings survived.

The next issue is that the author never really explains what secular reasoning is, other than it helps us be nice to others outside our social group.  Finally he says that secular morality is changing and helps us to deal with new challenges that arise.  So he is arguing that social morality is a ‘better morality’ because it can change?  How is that better and how is that morality?  Morality can only be important if it is laid on from outside of humans.  If fallen humans create a ‘social morality’ it can only be a fallen morality, we are not capable of producing perfection as we are not perfect.

Lastly he says that “And really, isn't it better to be moral because you've worked out for yourself — in conjunction with your group — the right thing to do, rather than because you want to propitiate a god or avoid punishment in the hereafter?”  As we just discussed this can’t be a perfect morality because it is made by humans.  And using this argument we can easily say that the Vikings were good moral people acting with all the morals that they as a group decided was the right things to do.  Or that the crusades were all good and moral because the group decided that it was a good thing to do.  Or gang violence is good, because that is the way they have chosen to live.  This is also the sentence that led me to my transformation.  He states that Christians are trying to be good to propitiate a god or avoid punishment.  But that is not it at all, we do good because we have been transformed.  We love because we have been loved first (Romans?), not to please, but as an outpouring of the love poured on us.  We do good because we have had good done to us (not to please) as an outpouring on the goodness given to us.

Minor issues:

Another issue that jumps out to me is that I was not aware that evolution has become a fact.  I was under the impression it was a theory with some proof, but a real scientist is always questioning and trying to prove (or disprove).  This was just a minor issue, but one that bugs me, because lots of schools teach it as if it were fact, even though we can’t prove it.  But we are side tracked.

Plato’s question has a flaw, it is like saying do we love because we are dictated to by God or are we dictated to love because of love.  But God is love, and good.  He is the definition, he isn’t dictating, he is love and he is good.  We don’t do good because we are dictated to by God or we are not told to do good because it is good, we do good because God Is Good.

Bible Verses:

Slavery – The bible is quite clear if you have slaves you are to treat the very well.  Just as God your father is your master in Heaven.  You are to treat them just as you would want to be treated.  Which in my opinion would include paying them and treating them as well as possible. It’s very similar to having employees now (although its not at will employment for sure).

Genocide – This one is a little more difficult, but not too much, God is perfect and can not be around imperfection, the people in the land had been given plenty of warnings and they still did not repent.  The same argument could be made of the flood, how could God do that?  He knew that the people in the land would lead his people astray (as they did) and he wanted them routed.  We see this as genocide but it could just be justice.  When Osama Bin Laden was killed people celebrated, was his death moral?  (that’s for a different article) I’m just trying to say that sometimes justice looks immoral to those on the outside.

Sexual Sins-  What did they use for birth control back then?  Oh, yeah, they didn’t.  Could you imagine how STD’s could have just wiped them out? It really could have been a matter of life and death, not just for those involved, but for the entire population (see modern day Africa where AIDs has wiped out generations).   Imagine being able to stop the AIDS pandemic in Africa by killing just a few people when it first started.  That would be quite possibly moral (and if you are a utilitarian it would be the good action).  I don't see the difference between this possibility and the stoning for sexual sins.

Matthew 19:24 Jesus never bars the rich from heaven, he says it is quite impossible, but with God all things are possible. The rich have a struggle all their own, and in this case the rich man was unwilling to give up his possessions for God’s Kingdom, he was unwilling to be transformed.

Luke 12: 47, 48 This verse talks about being punished for not doing something that you know needs to be done, or doing something you know shouldn’t be done.  It does talk about beatings, but it is the punishment for the crime of knowing the masters will and not doing it.  It is more bearable to be ignorant and go against the masters will than to know the masters will and not do it.  It basically says you wouldn’t punish your kid as severely for doing something they didn’t know was wrong as you would if they did wrong willfully.

Good is the enemy of greatness.  – heard this quote somewhere, not sure who to give credit to.

In summary, I don’t want to be good, I want to be transformed by God’s love.