How to Find the Best Jordan-Hare Stadium #VantagePoint

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Auburn vs LSU 2008 from the South Parking Deck After the Game

This is an amazing time to be a photographer. Whether you’re a fan of the hype or not, the announcement this week from Apple about the iPhone 7 Plus, specifically the new dual camera, was something I was anxiously awaiting. The technical achievement to having two different camera sensors in your pocket brings a whole new life to what’s photographically possible… from something you can carry in your pocket! Another camera company working on multiple sensors I’ve been eagerly following is Light.co who have been developing a camera called the L16 which uses 16 different sensors. Light.co is taking a different approach to multiple sensor from Apple and LinX. The new iPhone uses two sensors to house two different focal length lenses where the user can choose to use one or the other. Light.co is taking a 16 images from 16 different sensors and stitching them all together for a final 50mp high res DSLR-like image. But none of those advances alone creates a beautiful or successful image. After watching the progress on the L16 for a while now I was thrilled when they asked me to explore the aspect of  finding a good “vantage point” here on my blog.

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Setting Up Field Astrophotography

Telescope Setup at Twilight

Setting up the telescope for lunal viewing as the sun sets

The clear summer skies are upon us it seems, so my nephew and I setup for some viewing and photography last night. For more of a how-to-tutorial I should at some point talk equipment and setup but I’ll save that for another day. The skies were clear last night but the atmospheric conditions were not the best for planetary astrophotography, so we stuck with “night shots” and the Milky Way.

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Not One is Missing Among 10 Billion Trillion of Them :: Isaiah 40:26

The Milky Way Galaxy and Jacob

I have been walking, and sometimes running, through the book of Isaiah over the last week or two. There are so many incredible passages in Isaiah, but this morning I came across something that made me stop, it was just one phrase, just four words, “not one is missing” (Isaiah 40.26.d). This passage, in context is Isaiah 40:25-26, is talking about the pagan worship practices, many of Isaiah’s contemporaries had failed to resist, which now surrounded the Israelites. They often worshipped astrological phenomena, but Isaiah here is saying that Israel’s God is the only thing worthy of worship, and he created the stars themselves.

Apparently astronomers say there were about 5,000 stars visible in ancient Israel, so saying that God created these stars would have been an awe-inspiring thing (and it reminded me of the star images above from last summer).[1] What is always so awe-inspiring to me, in a time and culture where not many people worship the actual stars, astronomers now estimate there are more than 400 billion stars in our own Milky Way galaxy, there are 125 billion galaxies in the universe, making the total number of stars 1×1022, or about 10 billion trillions. If this isn’t mind boggling enough to contemplate, Isaiah says God knows all these stars by name! In His own strength He created, controls, and sustains millions upon millions of stars, each one of which He, amazingly, has named (cf. Ps. 147:4).[2]

I’m not even sure I can fully understand what 10 billion trillion is in a numerical order. The only thing I could think to compare a number like that to is something huge, like our national debt which is around 15.6 trillion. Even something we are told is as huge as the national debt looks absolutely minuscule when compared to how many stars God has created. The point being of course, if God knows the name of every single star, such a God will surely never forget even one of his own people. After all, there are only about 7 billion of us for God to remember!


[1] See EXIF Data of Star shot above on Flickr

[2] John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck and Dallas Theological Seminary, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-), Is 40:25–26.

cf. confer, compare

Christmas Eve, Where Christ Lights Up the Darkness

It was a wonderful night at Cornerstone tonight celebrating the coming birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. I always love the candles, it is such a reminder that Christ is the one who brought light into the darkness of this world, and walked among us as well. Merry Christmas everyone.

Friday Night Auburn Lights Photo at Jordan-Hare Stadium :: Friday Feet

It’s the Friday night before the first Auburn football game and it’s become sort of a tradition with Deborah and I to walk around downtown and eat dinner while we watch all the “out of towners” stroll in. Last year it was Hamilton’s on Magnolia, this year it ended up being a very crowded Mellow Mushroom. It’s always interesting to see our quiet southern town turn into a crazy madhouse, but that’s fall, and that’s what makes Auburn such a unique town. It also makes for some great photographic opportunities. At this point I’m not sure how many times I have shot Jordan-Hare Stadium (one of my favorites came right off my iPhone), but it always seems to have another look, another angle, or different colors that I haven’t found or seen before. What’s even better are the countless shots of Jordan-Hare on Flickr and other places that seems to find even more looks to this great stadium.

If you are in Auburn take a walk down to the stadium and see the new black and white banners that went up in the off season, they look great and once again they changed the face of Jordan-Hare. So here is hoping Gene Chizik and the Auburn Tigers have another fantastic season down here on the the plains.

Creation Proclaims the Milky Way Galaxy on the Summer Solstice

As I mentioned in my blog post last night we were going to try to get some shots of the Milky Way Galaxy, and these above are what I ended up with last night. There are so many different aspects of creation but this one always blows my mind. I love how Paul puts it in Romans 8:20-25

…ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

The lights at night out where we live are always interesting. Some nights it’s so dark you really can’t see your hand in front of your face, but most of the time we have a good bit of “glow” from Auburn-Opelika on one side and several other cities on the other side, but they are farther away. The shots of the Milky Way above (the first three) were taken when it was very low in the night sky facing south east. Turn around and you see the difference between the glow facing south and the glow facing Auburn. That last image still shows a good bit of stars, but nothing like the shots from the other side of the sky, and that shot was an entire f-stop longer (in other words the shot in the direction of Auburn let in twice as much light as the shots facing the Milky Way and showed less stars). Still, either way, the number of stars visible is always just amazing to me. Thanks goes to my nephew Jake who stood in and modeled for the first shot and explained to me what I was looking at in the night sky.

A Midnight Summer’s Dream in the Night Sky

Ok, well it’s not Shakespeare but it is just about that time of year when the days are really long and the nights are clear and hot. Sometimes it’s hard to find new and fresh images when your routine seems to stay the same, but there is always a lot more to creation than meets the eye. Out here we actually still have a dark sky at night, most of the time. We can still see the lights from the Auburn-Opelika metro area and on the other side we can just see the glow from Columbus, GA, but it isn’t anything like what the sky looked when we lived in the big cities like Dallas. Those big cities like Atlanta and Birmingham have almost no night sky left. Luckily out here we still do… so… I’m off to try to get some shots of the Milky Way or whatever else my nephew finds while stargazing. Hopefully I’ll have something interesting to show for it tomorrow night.

The Dallas Skyline at Night on Our Arrival

So we made it to Dallas, just a quick 12-13 hour drive and we arrived. The trip was pleasantly uneventful and after dinner I was thrilled our hosts wanted to stop at their favorite skyline view so I could take some photos. I love photographing traffic at night, it has a unique motion all it’s own, but being here in Dallas standing over the I-30 bridge with a large tripod looked conspicuous to someone driving by and it only took about 10 minutes before the Dallas Police Department showed up. For once the police didn’t make me pack it up and go home, instead she just wanted to know how much my camera cost? The three above were my favorite of that shoot. At dinner tonight I found out I am going to get to go to the PGA Byron Nelson Championship, so hopefully I will get my first decent PGA Tour shots while I’m there, after that it’s Polka time.

Auburn 4th of July Fireworks Celebration Photos

4th of July Fireworks Photography

4th of July Fireworks Photography

4th of July Fireworks Photography

4th of July Fireworks Photography

Last night we went to see the fireworks display in Auburn. It was a very enjoyable night to have even just an hour or so to hang out with some friends and family while we waited for the fireworks. The fireworks display that the city of Auburn Alabama puts on each year is great, and we have been to see fireworks all over the country.

This year they started a little early, we presume because a storm was on its way, but they were still great to see. I decided to take my camera equipment and do some fireworks photography this year. I have not shot any public fireworks display in many years, but still came away with a few good shots.

Normally when doing fireworks photography you want to setup using a sturdy tripod so you can use your remote shuttle release in manual mode, but I found another Auburn photographer on Twitter (ToomersCoffee) who also got some great shots hand holding with a faster ISO.

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July weekend.

Do it Yourself Low Light Fireworks Photography

Low light photography is probably one of my favorite genres or areas of photography. It has so many possibilities and you can really get something special that the eye doesn’t always notice. One easy way to try out low light photography is with the 4th of July holiday (for those here in the U.S) or on New Year’s Eve.  You can of course accomplish this at any time of the year, all you really need are healthy collection of sparklers, but the opportunities during those two times of year make it quite easy.

The camera is going to record any light source you have, so the bright lights of a fireworks display or something like this sparkler above is good place to start. The only light source in the photo above is the sparkler, but notice it also is enough to light up the subject as well.  You will of course need a camera, and some type of support (like a tripod) would help, but is not totally necessary.  This shot above was taken hand held and the exposure was placed on the sparker itself.

If you want to try something other than the program mode or automatic settings, place your camera on the “bulb” shutter speed setting, and hold the exposure open for different amounts of time depending on what effect you want to see.  The concept is very similar to photographing lightning.  For a full and detailed explanation on how lightning photography is done, see How to Successfully and Safely Photograph Lightning.  If you can place the camera on a sold surface or tripod it will greatly help the sharpness of the image.

Since most of us now use a digital camera, just shoot away and experiment with different settings until you get the desired results.  I have created several posts on low light photography, you can also see these on my low light gallery.  Any questions at all just ask.