God in all things, Photography, Scenery, Travel

Little Joys

This is a view overlooking Horseshoe Lake in Denali National Park. The lake sits on the East side of the park, near the Nenana River. There were beavers at work in the lake; we saw a couple of them swimming through the water with small tree branches. Not sure we would have even noticed if there had not been signs pointing out the beaver dam.

How often do we miss noticing the “little joys” in our lives?

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God in all things, Photography, Prayer, Scenery, Travel

Proper Perspective

Aialik Glacier

It was an odd experience approaching this glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park. You could hear all of this ice banging off of the bottom of the ship. We were fairly far from the glacier, so these were relatively small pieces of ice. We could see large chunks of ice breaking off the glacier and were told that they were the size of a bus!

It was hard to keep a perspective on sizes and distances in Alaska. The same thing happens in our lives: things “close” to us seem much larger (more important). How to keep things in proper perspective? Reflection. Humility. Prayer.

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God in all things, Photography, Scenery, Travel

Solid Ground

This is a photo of Savage River, where we did our first hike in Denali. It was also the farthest (15 miles) you could drive a private vehicle into the park without a special permit (available through a lottery). We took the bus further into the park the next day. I recently heard that the road is now completely closed at mile 43 due to a landslide. This is not a new problem; it is actually a rock glacier which has been moving since the 1960’s. This summer, the rate of movement increased to 10 inches per day!

In the Gospel, we are told about the importance of building on solid ground. The parable is about a house, but it obviously applies to roads as well!

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God in all things, Photography, Prayer, Scenery, Travel

Obvious

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.

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God in all things, Photography, Scenery, Travel

Receiving a Photo

Exit Glacier, Kenai Fjords NP

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.”

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God in all things, Photography, Prayer, Scenery, Travel

Finisterre

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).

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God in all things, Photography, Scenery, Travel

Food

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).

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