Archive for May 2013

As The Road Turns   1 comment

For most of my life there was a soap opera entitled “As the World Turns.” While I never watched it, I know it was the longest running TV program of it’s type, so it was probably the most popular. I would also guess that the reason for its popularity was the ever changing story line. And while the events portrayed were fiction, the fact that the world and our lives are always ever changing, twisting and turning is reality.

We all travel down the road of life and there are times the road is straight and we relax and expect it to stay that way. We have the idea that is the way life should be, smooth and straight. But then up ahead, maybe hidden from view is a turn that takes us in a new direction. And since life doesn’t offer us the opportunity to go back, we have no choice but to head that way, away from the comfortable pathway we were on. It’s often scarey, sometimes dark but always unknown and for awhile we are out of our comfort zone.

Now that our lives (Shirlee’s and mine) are facing an unknown pathway I have given that much thought. I can not change the future nor do I want to accept it. Life without sharing the daily ups and downs with Shirlee is too painful. I want to stay on the straight path longer. I am not ready to face the turn. But I have no choice. There are no other options. And someway, somewhere I must find the strength and peace to accept that my road is turning.

I know that strength will come because of our faith in Jesus Christ and a motivating factor is How would I want Shirlee to respond if I was the one to go first. Would I want her to go into deep depression? Isolate herself from friends and family? Spend all her days in tears, mourning my passing? No, a thousand times NO!

I would want her to keep the love and the life we had in her heart. To live the rest of her life to the fullest, enjoying her friends, church and family. To do the things that bought her pleasure when I could share them with her. To still be alive!

So when the time comes, I will mourn, but in the words of David, the Psalmist, I will say, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me…” Not only God, but the memory of Shirlee. And I can live with that!


Posted May 27, 2013 by hwilliam in Photography

What Do You See?   Leave a comment

Seeing is the essence of photography and we all see things a little differently. That’s the neat thing that makes us all different. The way we interpret the world around us gives us all a unique perspective that make our photographs ours alone. No one can duplicate exactly the way we see, the way we feel and the way we chose to make images.

My wife and I drove by this tree several times a week for a number of years before I “saw” it and then one day it grabbed my attention. It registered in my brain as a prehistoric Wooly Mammoth! To you it might seem like just the old, dying remains of a tree, and that’s okay. Or you maybe you see it in some other way, but to me…It brings back a long ago time when the world was far different from today. It was fresh and new and the creatures we see in museums roamed our land. To me…it’s more than a dead tree…It’s alive!

Posted May 19, 2013 by hwilliam in Photography

When The Sunset Comes   6 comments

A little less than a year ago the doctors found a growth on my wife Shirlee’s left lung. After some tests it was determined to be cancer and she had directed radiation to remove it. The treatment was successful and late last year cat scans showed that it was no longer there. However, she was not feeling good and early this year she had an x-ray that showed there were new nodules in the same left lung. About three weeks ago she had a cat scan which showed that not only did they appear to be growing, but now had spread to the right lung also. After having a blood test to be sure they were not the result of a fungal infection, it was determined that her cancer was back.

The only treatment that can be considered it chemotherapy and with her severe COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) it is really not an option as she probably wouldn’t survive it. Her doctors have both suggested that we look into hospice care.

Last Sunday I told our church family what was going on in our lives. I asked them for prayer, not so much for healing (yes, God can heal), but more for strength, energy and peace for not only her, but for the family. And I ask the same of you.

Shirlee and I grew up together in a small Michigan town starting almost 75 years ago. We attended the same small church and in 3rd grade I announced to anyone that would listen, “My girl friends name is Shirlee Arlene Clum!” At the end of 5th grade her family moved to Grand Rapids, but I would still see her when her folks would come back to visit in the summer. We had one date in our senior year of high school, then for 45 years we lost contact with each other. But she was always on my mind.

On June 15, 2001 we reconnected thru and fell in love. She was living in Michigan and was unmarried and I was living in Florida and was also unmarried. In October of that year she came to visit and we were married February 1, 2003. After retirement, later that year, I left Florida and became a resident of Michigan again.

It’s now been over 10 years since we both said our “I dos” and other than the time she has spent in the hospital we have not had a day apart. She is such an important part of my life and because of her belief in me I started singing in church again, took on the choir leadership, started walking in the woods with my camera, and writing my memoir, “Granddad and the Kid.” I really don’t think I could have or would have done these things without her beside me. How do I continue to function when she is no longer there beside me?

I know life goes on. I know that when the time comes I will be strong because that is what she wants. Before the events of the past year or so, talking about death was something I had a problem with, a conversation to be avoided. It was not that I was afraid of death, both Shirlee and I have trusted in Jesus as our Savior and know where we will spend eternity, but thinking about life without the one I loved was not a pleasant thought. Now, through her strength, it is something to be discussed. Where do we go from here? How does she want things handled when her time comes? What family memorabilia will go to which family member? All these kind of things are now out on the table. Our lives have changed.

I have probably rambled in this post. These are the hardest words I’ve ever typed. Everything is happening way too soon. We haven’t had enough time together. There are so many things I want to share with her, places to go…but we are running out of time. We’ve had the dawn, the noonday, the afternoon and the evening. We are now in the sunset. And I stop and remember…sunsets can be beautiful…even the stormy ones.

Posted May 18, 2013 by hwilliam in Photography

Is It a Photograph or Is It Art?   3 comments

I have been reading some posts by photographers who are really into the idea that their images are pure and pristine because they take great pains to get all the settings right in the camera so they do little or no post processing. They harken back to the days of film when post processing in a wet darkroom was a long and time consuming process and you really needed to get it right on the film. While they are not quite beating their chests about the fact they are producing “pure, real” photographs, they are coming close to it.

Rest assured, I don’t have a problem with this approach to photography, however I do have a problem when they proclaim that those of us who do a lot of post processing are sloppy photographers. They are so hung up on what they consider “real” images that they fail to realize there are no such things!

To my knowledge, there are no cameras on earth that can produce an image that is exactly what the human eye sees. As Garry Winogrand:wrote, “A photograph is the illusion of a literal description of how the camera ‘saw’ a piece of time and space.” Notice the use of the word, “illusion.” A photograph is not, nor never will be a literal translation of what the eye sees.

The photographer makes a choice of what focal length lens to use, what shutter speed, aperture, white balance, where to focus, where to shoot from and many other considerations all which influence the final image. And then they proclaim that their image is a true representation of the scene. I’m sorry, it’s not!

If the photographer is an artist, then his camera becomes his brush, pallet and canvas. He is free to interpret the scene before him in any way he chooses in the same way as an oil or watercolor painter. Abstract, Cubism, Expressionism, Fauvism, Impressionism, Pointillism, Pop Art, Postimpressionism, Primitivism, Realism or Surrealism are all valid styles. Some of these styles may not be to your liking, but so be it!

The same should be true in photography. We have fought long and hard for our creative output to be considered as art and qw as artists. Why do we now get so upset when someone goes in a different direction than realism? I may not like a garish HDR photograph, but if that is the way the artist wants to present his work, then what’s the problem?

Yes, if an image is presented as “this is the way it was” such as news or documentary, then it should not be altered so as to change the facts. But for the rest of us we deserve the right to alter our images in any way our vision dictates. You go your way, I’ll go mine, but, don’t ever let anyone tell you your way is wrong!!

Posted May 11, 2013 by hwilliam in Photography

Spring Storm Clouds   Leave a comment

Spring time has finally come to Acker Woods. And with the warm spring weather comes frequent rain storms. And with the rain storms come interesting cloud formations. This is the way our Eastern sky looked as Duke and I took our morning walk. Fortunately we haven’t gotten the rain, and that’s a good thing! We’re still recovering from the excessive rains of April.

Posted May 3, 2013 by hwilliam in Photography