Archive for April 2014

The Clouds of Life   Leave a comment

P1130855-Edit-uploadBack in the 50s there was a gospel song that started out with the words: “Back of the clouds the sun is always shining.” I was thinking of that today as Duke and I went for our late afternoon walk in the woods. The temperature was 30 degrees lower than yesterday, the wind was blowing and it was mostly cloudy with a little sun peeking through sporadically. This after several days of warmth and sun and hope for spring. I was looking at the clouds and thinking, “Where is the sun?”

For the first 40 years of my life I lived around Lansing, Michigan in more or less the center of the state. We suffered through days, especially in winter, where we never say the sun. Blah days to say the least. Then for the next 25 years I lived just south of St. Petersburg, Florida in Bradenton where it was rare not to see the sunshine at least for part of the day.

On September 1, 1910, The Evening Independent, St. Petersburg’s first daily newspaper, initiated its famous ‘Sunshine Offer.’ Proclaiming St. Petersburg to be the ‘Sunshine City,’ Lew B Brown, editor and owner of The Evening Independent, vowed to give the paper away ‘absolutely free-without cost or condition-to subscribers and strangers alike…everyday the sun doesn’t shine on St. Petersburg.’ The offer, which remained in force until The Evening Independent merged into the St. Petersburg Times in 1986, attracted national attention, enhancing the city’s image as a popular tourist and retirement community. Over this 76-year period, the paper was given away only 296 times!

The last almost 11 years I have been back in Michigan, this time in West Michigan. I have lived in both extremes and I have to admit I like the sunshine better than the clouds. But we need the clouds.

Clouds bring both the snow and rain that we need for our world to flourish, to grow and survive. But often we lose sight of that necessity and suffer from what is now called ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder.’

I read an interesting blog post by T. Boone Pickens entitled “Career Curveballs: The Year I Was Diagnosed with Depression” In his post he tells about being depressed because he had been a winner since the start and all of a sudden things were going bad for him. He blamed the world for his troubles. He finally got medical help. “The things I felt I couldn’t change began to change. I felt better, exercised more, and was soon back to being Boone again. I began emerging from a really dark decade. Everything was starting to fall into place. I realize it’s not that easy for everybody, but I was fortunate. Looking back on my past, things began to make sense. It wasn’t the world against Boone. It was Boone against Boone.

And that is my thought: It’s often not the externals that cause the depression, it’s us and how we process the negatives. If we dwell on them they can overpower us and we lose sight of the positive. Like Pickens, we often need professional help to recover. Been there, done that. But I think there is a key that will help when we first start feeling we can’t cope with the things we don’t like….“Back of the clouds the sun is always shining!”

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Posted April 23, 2014 by hwilliam in Photography

Thoughts of a Dreamer   Leave a comment

P1150483-1st-Edit-Edit-Edit-Edit-upload “All human beings are also dream beings. Dreaming ties all mankind together.” – Jack Kerouac

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” – Gloria Steinem

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” ― Henry James

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” ― John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

And that, Mr Steinbeck is so very true. A bitter winter is finally over. The promise of Spring then Summer has been given. The dream of sunshine and leaves and flowers keep me company at night, give me peace throughout the day. Listening for the sound of the robin, the whirr of hummingbird wings, the call of the loon fill me with anticipation. The hope to see muskrats swimming in the lake, the feel the warmth of the sun on my face and the smell the newly mown grass give me purpose. These fuel the dreams of this moment, give me rest and give me peace.

I am a dreamer. I do not apologize, for it is the dream of tomorrow that guides me through today. Without dreams I would be lost. I do not dream to escape reality, but to enhance it. I have found it is the dream the produces the reality, therefore, I will continue to dream.

Posted April 17, 2014 by hwilliam in Photography

He Is Risen, He Is Risen Indeed!   Leave a comment

DSCN9365-Edit-Edit-Edit-uploadTwas the night before Easter and all through the land
The disciples were hiding and wringing their hands.
“We thought he was Christ, The Messiah had come
And now he lies dead in a tomb, we are numb.”
“The Romans will kill us just like they did him
Where can we run to? We’re out on a limb.”

So all through the night they tossed and they turned
While deep within them, their sorrow, it burned.
But while they lay worried the night slipped away
And soon it was dawn, a bright brand new day.
As the dawn broke the two Marys had plans
They’d go to the tomb anoint his feet and his hands.

But as they arrived the earth turned and it tossed
And with the earthquake, their hearts felt their loss
The guards all passed out for the Lord’s angel appeared
And said to the women “Be not afraid, be of good cheer
The Lord He has risen, you won’t find him here
Run, tell his disciples there is nothing to fear.”

“The tomb it is empty, take a look before you go
But hurry go quickly, for his disciples must know
He’ll meet them in Galilee; He’ll see them all there
Until then just tell them they’re all in His prayer.”
And so it was, way back in times past
The Savior arose with salvation to last.

The cross it is empty, and so is His tomb
The dawn brought new life, for gone is the gloom
Christ, He has risen, He’s alive, Praise His name
And because of that Easter we’ll not be the same.
He took all our sins to the cross when He died
And He’ll take us to heaven where we’ll be his bride.

He Is Risen, He Is Risen Indeed!

Posted April 15, 2014 by hwilliam in Photography

Feelings   Leave a comment

DSCN9379-upload“Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man.” – Edward Steichen.

“Feelings, nothing more than feelings…” – Barbra Streisand.

Last night (4/10/2014) we had a great choir rehearsal for the two songs we are doing on Palm Sunday. Everyone had left and I stayed awhile longer to finish up some notes for the Tech Team so they would know when to turn microphones on & off during the performance. It must have been about 8:20 when I locked up the church and went out to the parking lot. The sun had just sunk below the horizon and what was left was the beautiful afterglow of sunset. I had my old Nikon 5700 CoolPix in the car so I took a number of photographs of the cross atop the bell against the wonderful display of color. One of those I will post next week at Easter as to me it gives a feeling of that sunrise the first Easter morning.

Driving home I watched the display as it changed and was overcome with the beauty of the color. After a few miles I pulled over and took some more shots to the West facing the display then looked over to the south and saw this display, the afterglow reflected in the low clouds, the bare trees silloutted against the sky and the moon looking over the whole scene.

When I got home and loaded the photographs into Lightroom I was struck by this image. For some reason I get the feeling of sunset in the west, somewhere on the prairie. Hearing the howling of the coyotes, the soft sounds of the cattle, the crackling of burning wood on a campfire, the smell of bacon, the taste of bitter coffee, the feel of the bedroll with a saddle for a pillow, a feeling of the west.

And, to me, that is what the art of photography is all about, creating an image that provokes a feeling. A photograph that speaks to the heart of the viewer and causes a reaction. In a sense it doesn’t make a lot of difference if the feeling is negative or positive, if people can hear it speak then the artist has done his or her job. There is nothing worse than a bland image that causes no reaction from the viewer. Even God has a problem with mediocrity. Revelation 3:15-16 ” “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” – Rev 3:15-16 (NLT).

Passion – Feeling – Purpose. Make your art say something. Share what you feel through each image. Send your world a message of how you see life. The joys. The happiness. The sorrow. The pain. The bold. The subtle. The colors. The monochrome. Somehow find a way to make a way for your two dimensional image speak with the force of all the dimensions of life. Your life!

Posted April 11, 2014 by hwilliam in Photography

The Storms of Life   1 comment

HPIM1542-Edit-Edit-Edit-Edit-uploadNothing is more beautiful than the love that has weathered the storms of life. The love of the young for the young, that is the beginning of life. But the love of the old for the old, that is the beginning of things longer.
Jerome K. Jerome

I came across this quote while looking for something that would verbally express the attached image and it spoke to my heart. A couple of days ago, Sunday, was the fourth month anniversary of my wife’s (Shirlee) passing. She was just past 75 and was dying from a combination of lung cancer and COPD. It really was a blessing that the Lord took her when He did as we have had the coldest and snowiest winter I’ve seen in the 10 years I’ve lived back here in Michigan. But even though I am at peace with her passing, I miss her so very much.

“The love of the old for the old, that is the beginning of things longer.” We only had about 12 and a half years together since we reconnected on the internet in 2001 but she had been in my heart and mind since third grade. To me, she was my elementary school sweetheart, to her, I was a close friend that she could talk to. She moved away at the end of 5th grade but we used to see each other at church once or twice a summer when her folks would come back to visit. Just before high school graduation we had one date and then for 45 years we lost touch. But during that time she was always in my mind. “I wonder what happened to Shirlee” was a constant thought and sometimes I even put it into words. When, in God’s time, we reconnected I discovered that she had remembered me all those years. When we spoke on the phone for the first time it was like those years had melted away and we were picking up where we left off in 1956.

“The love of the old for the old, that is the beginning of things longer.” True love. Endless love. The beginning of things longer. What more can be said about the wisdom of time that changes us and strengthens us to not fear the storms of life anymore. We can see that they are coming, but we are able to meet them head on knowing that they will soon be over and no matter what life throws at us, with God’s love and help, we’ll make it through okay.

“The love of the old for the old, that is the beginning of things longer.”

Posted April 1, 2014 by hwilliam in Photography