Praise God in the holy temple; praise the Lord in the mighty firmament. Praise God for powerful deeds; for boundless grandeur, praise God. O praise the Lord with sound of trumpet; give praise with lute and harp. Praise God with timbrel and dance; give praise with strings and pipes.
This photo was taken at the end of our first (full) day in Alaska. We were driving from Seward back to Girdwood. I remember looking across the road and seeing this lake (Tern Lake) and noticing the beauty. We stopped and took a few pictures and got back in the car to finish the drive to where we were staying.
It was only much later, when studying this photo to write this reflection, did I realize that the tops of this mountains are brown because they are above the tree line. Turns out the tree line is about 1500 feet in the area.
So often, what seems obvious in hindsight was not-so-obvious at the time.
I read a reflection this week from the Center for Action and Contemplation. It was taken from “Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice” by Christine Valters Paintner. She talks about our use of the word “take” to describe photography. She proposes that what we are actually doing is receiving the gifts around us. We need to be open to receiving a photographic moment when it arrives.
“We can create conditions for a ‘good’ photo, but ultimately we must stand in a posture of receiving and see what actually shows up in the image.”
This photo is one of my favorites from Kiawah Island (and I’ve taken a lot of photos there). I think what I really like is that it suggests a story to be told. A story about someone riding to the end of the world.
On the Camino de Santiago, that place is Finisterre (from the Latin, meaning “end of the world”). There is tradition for pilgrims on the Camino to burn an article of clothing if they hike to Finisterre (about 90 km further after reaching Santiago). This symbolizes the transformation that occur along The Way. Pilgrimage is about seeking transformation by encountering God (burning clothes not required).
My wife and I were out biking on Kiawah Island when we passed by this area with all these birds. I can’t help but wonder why they were all gathered at that particular moment in time. I assume it has something to do with food. Toss a few crackers on the beach and in no time you’ll have more birds swarming around you than you can count.
I’m not sure human behavior is dramatically different- food can have a similar effect. In the Gospel, Jesus feeds the multitudes. The people pursue him because they “ate the loaves and were filled.” Jesus tells them (and us) there is something far greater to seek (John 6:23-27).
This photo was taken at Kiawah Island, during a morning bike ride on the beach. I saw these birds from a distance and assumed (hoped) they would take flight as I approached. For me, there is something mesmerizing about watching birds fly just above the water. I think it is in part because it seems so effortless.
There is something special about watching something (or someone) doing what they were created to do.
We truly live in an Information Age! This photo was taken at Sweet Arrow Reserve near Bellbrook. I wanted to learn what this purple flower is. Lots of information pops up on the internet when you search “purple black eyed susan flower.” I found that this is a coneflower (Echinacea). Echinacea is a supplement used to “boost” the immune system, and there are numerous studies that show it may or may not have a beneficial effect.
We live in a time when it is relatively easy to find good information on so many different topics. But it is important to remember that there is still only one source of truth.