Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sample 138 - [Dramatis Personæ] Focused

This is Pastor Ronnie. I first met him more than 6 years ago during the church's overnight prayer meetings. I was long haired and looking all peculiar, with a concern which can easily be dismissed as shallow for most but definitely deep for me. But this man didn't care. He prayed for me. 

Fast forward to 6 years later, and though the Lord has done so many things in, with, and through me, I still thank God that Pastor Ronnie is still around to give advice, to listen and respond, to be patient with my many shortcomings. One thing about him is that he refuses to relinquish what peace he has even in times of great trial and trouble. In fact, he may be in all sorts of binds but you will never see his countenance troubled, and that in my book is sheer strength.

This man is a visionary - He has plans, and he is definitely able to get people on his side to accomplish what the Lord has put in his mind. Yes, even people as historically cynical as I am draw near to Pastor Ronnie simply because though he may have all the reasons to claim acclaim, he is still so humble and approachable. 

The man recently got a new cellphone, and then a new car. He has gotten promotions and recognition, and I believe that the Lord has so much more in store for him. Thank God for his life. 

Soli Deo Gloria. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sample 137 - Descent

Blurred is blurred.
Mextures Formula, 'Evans Descent' (Code: HBCNTEJ) used on pictures 1, 2, and 4
Mextures Formula, 'Benevolence' (Code: ZWMEHBG) Converted to B/W, used on picture 3

When you're on top, there's nowhere else to go but down. I suppose we should be thankful whether we be in the top of the mountain or in the bottom of a valley. When you're at the bottom, there's nowhere to go but up... and when you're on top, you're reminded that you still need to go down, just to come back up again. Not sure that makes sense, but I do know that wherever we are, and wherever we were, the believer can stay at peace, determined and encouraged by the fact that Christ will never leave nor forsake him. 

The snow turned to sleet and then to rain as we began our trip down Mount Evans. This gave us the opportunity to behold the mountain ranges in a different perspective - the rain was close to us, but the sun shone over the peaks in the distance. The sight was just so much better than what I shot at the time, thus the decision to spruce things up through Mextures. I will be posting more of these sorts of shots without edits, as the weather maintained itself for a good amount of time while we drove down. 

Soli Deo Gloria.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sample 136 - High

'They look so small from up here!' - Helix Helicopter, Cnc Generals

If I remember this structure was here for a very long time, and was converted to a view deck. 
This was a rare shot where my excitement to see and be in snow for the very first time was contained effectively. 

My brother striking a pose. 

My mom, dancing the way they would from the mountains she came from, on top of another mountain in a totally different range. She was just as excited as I was.

August 24, 2008 continued to be such a great day. I've seen so much so far - from Echo Lake, to Summit Lake, to the rare animal encounters - and I was already so extremely thrilled... but nothing could have prepared me for the top. See, not only was the view from the top breathtaking, but then it started to snow! 

Now for those of us who have never seen snow before, this was a definite treat! I was scrambling between protecting my camera and just enjoying the snow literally slapping against my face; Sure, it could have been more of sleet than snow, but I didn't care!  I was completely ignoring all the previous warnings against taking the (not weather-sealed) Nikon D40 out in rain and snow, and I was just taking all the cold in... 

This was such an awesome time. It's been 6 years since this day, and I can still remember how absolutely excited and thrilled and blessed and thankful I was for my beloved brother to take us up this mountain. It's a day close to my heart, and I just wish everyone would experience this same absolute happiness I had as an individual, and happiness we had as a family.

I remember eventually jumping in the car (where my loving dad was - he couldn't take the cold as much as we could), and just praying with the whole family, claiming the land for Christ. 

Now that I'm talking about it again after so long... Well, all I can just share is that the goodness of God really leads to repentance. Brother, sister, behold the glory of God in all His beautiful creation, and see how absolutely holy and good and powerful He is! 

That's... that's the reason I continued in photography, now that I'm talking about it... It's to project the absolute goodness and glory of God in all creation, for the sole glory of God Almighty! He is so good!

Solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sample 135 - Shots of the Locals, II (Colorado '08)

Shortly after this shot was taken, these ladies were approached by what looked like Park authorities, telling them that this sort of interaction with the deer would disrupt their routine. 

"As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God."
Psalm 42:1

Just when I thought the sight of mountain goats was a nice treat, we encountered a group of deer as we continued our drive to the highest point of Mount Evans. Though we were tempted to come closer to this friendlier group of locals, my brother spoke against that, saying it would be better to take pictures of them from a distance. 

Again, the 55-200mm shone here. I was on ISO 200, and f5.6 (not sure if this was the maximum aperture of the lens at 200mm). Not all my shots were sharp, but I was still able to get some good ones in. 

Up Next: We make it to the top, and Panoramania sets in. 

Soli Deo Gloria. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sample 134 - Shots of the Locals (Colorado '08)

What you lookin' at?

"The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats..." Psalm 104:18a KJV

I've been playing with my X-E2, and I completely forgot that before I started posting shots from it I was going along with posting my backlog, starting from the shots I took with my very first proper camera... the humble Nikon D40, and its kit lens, the (Non-VR) 18-55mm. Well, actually, for these shots I was blessed because my brother's roommate happened to have a (VR) 55-200mm lens I took with me during our first (and, God willing, not the last) trip to the highest points of Mount Evans. 

For us to see these mountain goats was a consolation blessing, a break from the breathtaking landscapes we already beheld on the way up. It was as if they were so used to cars and people - though they kept their distance, they didn't flinch when I took their pictures again and again. 

Now that I look at these shots again, I am seriously thinking of the XF 55-200mm as my next photography purchase. I suppose expanding my focal range would give me more opportunities than, say, a fast prime. 

Next: Deer.

Soli Deo Gloria. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sample 133 - [Dramatis Personæ] Action Men

That's Randy holding a bowl of Pinikpikan (Smoked Chicken boiled with Salted Pork Belly), and that's Allan with a chicken foot. Yes, he uses a fork for a bracelet. 

Allan transferring freshly cooked rice from a cooking pot to a proper container for portioning. On this night, he and a team of hardy Church folk cooked 390 portions of fried chicken, pancit and rice for an event the next day.
If you need something good cooked for a whole bunch of people as soon as possible and even in the smallest budget, you can count on Allan and Randy. In fact, these two are not only good in efficient and effective cooking, but you can count on them to spring to action as soon as a need is realized - if a roof leaks or if a flagpole pulley needs to be installed (while the flagpole is standing, mind you), they will do something to address it.

These two inspire me to respond more and to react less. When it comes to an obstacle, I am led to act more than to complain just because of the wisdom these two unconsciously share - that action definitely makes you part of the solution more than being part of the problem. I sincerely believe that the confidence these two have to act at once comes from experience, and God's grace with them through all that they have been through in the past. 

There is no doubt that the humility and selflessness of these men will have an impact on their children. God bless them. 

Soli Deo Gloria. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sample 132 - Convalescence

The bedside scene. Liquids, snacks, and supplements ready to be consumed at any time while I lay, my body still trying to make sense of everything that was going on. 
Soup's up. During the whole time I was served Arroz Caldo overloaded with turmeric (but great with fish sauce and lemon juice), and Cream of Mushroom packet soup overloaded with celery, carrots, garlic, and onions. I am blessed with a good household. 

Steam. If you take baths while you recover from a sickness, cranking up the heat and sucking in that steam does all sorts of wonders. Times like this I miss hot running water. And showers. Yes, that's a shower head you see - it works, but water pressure in our part of the Philippines isn't exactly as strong as we'd like.

This was part of a set of identical pictures taken while I was playing with the X-E2's Burst Mode. Guess who was bored.

"O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me." 
Psalm 30:2

It never fails. You strain, and you get sick. You push yourself too far and your body goes over the edge. You wake up and  decide to work out all of a sudden, and end the day with a little more beer in your system all of a sudden, and it's almost guaranteed that you're going to have a bad day the next day.

...and boy, that bad day easily became a bad week. I had muscle pains, my head was in all sorts of pain, topped off with a case of hard coughing and a runny nose. I lacked decent sleep on that first night because I was up either taking a piss, or taking a drink of water to just purge everything out of my system. 

On any normal day one can easily think that these times are some of the least productive times of our lives. And this is one thing that 30-somethings (like me) would look down upon. 

But I am thankful because I believe that even during these times, the Lord has been faithful to minister to me in more ways than one. I may have thought I wasted my time, but I believe the Lord made the best of everything that transpired. 

That's what I got going on. It has to be the prevalent thought especially during this crazy month of September. 

Soli Deo Gloria.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sample 131 - Luis' Last Night

Mansion 'Lake'

Test Shot

The Knowledge of Good and Evil

First things first - the Mextures formula for this series of shots is 'Kalmaegi' (International name for Tropical Depression Luis). Code is RPKZCDM. Simple Landscape Enhance, more stress on Exposure and Contrast, I just had to go with Cross-Process type simulation for this one. 

The rain was hard but the mist and the fog was absolutely wonderful on the way home last night. I just had to whip out the camera and use it with yet another expensive photographic accessory - my beloved car. Thank God for this camera. Thank God for this car. 

Soli Deo Gloria.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sample 130 - [Dramatis Personæ] Man vs. Masala

This could have been cropped. But I guess it's okay.

I don't necessarily have the 'inspiration' it takes to write up an elaborate good word about this man right now. Just being honest. What I'm really doing is writing to just add some words to this photo. Donn would understand. This guy is the guy I asked to be the best man in my wedding with Pao. I will say that he was instrumental, no, vital in pushing someone like me to go for such an awesome lady... And I have been so blessed with her ever since.

God has and is using this man in an mighty way. I believe and declare that there are greater things to come in store for him and his wonderful family.

Thank God for Donn.

Soli Deo Gloria.

**This was taken in Ali's House of Shawarma. Ali ensures that genuine Pakistani food is made available to the hungry people of Baguio. I'm thinking, it'd be nice to take and post a shot of him too one day. 

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