Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge

Sun Rise on St George Island, FL
Sun Rise over the Gulf of Mexico on St George Island, FL

It didn’t take me as long to come up with an image for “merge” this week as a part of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge (Merge), but it also looks like one of the more popular posts from the traffic as well. A sunrise might be a little more cliché than my previous posts, but we just got back from the beach, and this is what you shoot at the beach. I also have an extreme fondness for sunrises and sunsets. Twice a day we get such a unique view of God’s creation, and no two are ever the same. Last year I watched two sunrises and almost three sunsets in about a 24-36 hour period when I flew from Atlanta to Africa (which I actually don’t think I have posted yet).

I love the topic of photographically showing merge. There is no better way (to me) to photographically exhibit the topic of merge than a sunrise or sunset over the ocean, except perhaps a heavy fog. The night merging into the day. All the colors merging and blending all into one. Then the horizon disappearing or reappearing, marking a change in time from one day to the next. This shot was taken yesterday looking out over the Gulf of Mexico from St. George Island, FL just about 30-45 minutes after sunrise, just about the time all the color in the sky and water faded into dull blues. It was just as peaceful in person as it looks in the photo above.

I’m going to do another post later with just photos from St. George, so for now, here is my version of “merge” for this week. Be sure to check out some of the other entries below.

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Sunset Over McCotter’s Marina in Washington NC

McCotter's Marina in Washington NC
Sun Setting Over McCotter’s Marina on the Pamlico River

This photo is part of my Stories section in an ongoing series called Throwback Thursday, and this shot is from a marina where we use to have a slip for our sailboat back in 2004. The story behind this photo has actually taken on more significance after seeing what happened to this marina last year. McCotter’s Marina is a medium sized marina located just outside Washington, NC at the tip of the Pamilco River. We use to live a few miles up the road, father up the river, but kept our sailboat, called Jackpot, among the masts you see in this photo. Jackpot was a classic 1976 Chrysler 26′ Sailboat, a boat with a shallow draft and swing keel, something perfect for the unpredictable areas of the Pamilco River. And it seems last year was not friendly to McCotter’s Marina as this video of a huge boat fire on the marina shows, and then heavy damage done by Hurricane Irene.

If you have not spent a lot of time in a marina, it is somewhat of a magical place, just ask my friend over at Sailingbo (and check out his blog while you are over there). The constant rocking of the masts turns the entire place into a giant wind chime. The lines endlessly slap the masts with the periodic metal on metal knocking of buckles and cables. No matter how tight an owner ties his lines around his mast the sound never stops, and it something you hear even when you are away from the marina.

We didn’t get to sail out of this marina nearly as much as the time as we spent in the marina, but that’s not all that uncommon for sailboats. The Pamilco River is one CRAZY place to sail. The Pamlico is a shallow river that runs from Washington, NC down to the Outer Banks, and is known for its unpredictable changes in tides. One day the wind could blow all the water out of the upper river areas completely, and your boat would be left sitting in the mud, and the next day water would cover the marina docks while your dock lines straining to pull the boat back down to pre-flood levels.

Because of the low tides, we had to keep Jackpot’s keel raised, and one super blustery day caused Jackpot’s keel chain to snap, swinging this 800 pound cast iron keel immediately to the extended position, causing it to separate from its hull slightly. We had to move her to dry storage while she was repaired. Nothing is more sad to see than a sailboat up on blocks, but sometimes that’s what needs to be done.

McCotter’s Marina was our second of four marina’s where we housed three different sailboats over the span of 10 years or so, but the sounds of the marina never leave your mind, nor do images like the one above. There is just something so peaceful about the sun setting over the masts in a marina… until hurricane season arrives.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple, Oil and Water

Oil and Water in Purple and Yellow

This is for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge of Purple. I hate posting the same old thing, and trying to find unique and creative ways to do things is just one thing I love about photography. The photo above happens to also serve as my Project 365 photo for Day 243, getting closer and closer to that 300 day mark. If you are wondering how I did this, great, because it’s not that hard, but does take some patience and a bit of prep work. Every time I do this kind of photography it always turns out different, which makes it a unique technique to try.

The image above, and the other below, are simply a mixing of ordinary cooking oil, and tap water, placed together in a glass cooking bowl or cake pan. Making the colors is the fun part, you can be creative here, use food coloring, fabrics, a colored bowl, or like I did here, just different colors of copy paper. Here I used two yellow and two purple pieces of paper off-set with each other where they all came together in the center. That is how you get that the bubbles with a mix of different colors. To use paper, you just place is under a clear glass bowl, to use food coloring, just place a white piece of paper under a clear bowl.

The hard part is getting the focus to work because there are several different focal points, like the bottom of the bowl, the water, the bubbles, and paper under the bowl and so on. In this case, I used a Nikon D7000 camera body, a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 lens, mounted on a Nikon PK-13 (27.5mm) extension tube (extension tubes are really cheap if you have a DSLR). Using an extension tube is a way to do macro photography without having to buy an expensive macro lens. If you try to use an extension tube, just keep in mind the lens will have no aperture value, especially if you are using a newer lens with no aperture ring. You will only have the ability to change the shutter speed to gain the proper exposure, and the focus will be very very narrow.

I will say that purple is one of the most difficult colors to shoot photographically in the digital age. The color tone always wants to shift blue, so getting a true purple is actually very difficult. I did try this out last year, and got totally different results, but you can see those at Testing the Oil and Water Theory Close Up. So this is my interpretation of “purple” for this week. See you here again next week with whatever the theme happens to be next week.

Related articles

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(digital-photography-school.com)

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Cornerstone Baptism Celebration Event in Auburn :: Photos

Baptism Celebration at Cornerstone Church in Auburn

Last Sunday we (Cornerstone Church) had our first large Baptism Celebration event where about 35 people were baptized, including a whole group of young confirmands. To me at least, this was an incredible event in the life of this little church in Auburn. Baptism should be a celebration, a time of renewing and commitment to the Lord, but sometimes the Christian Church body makes this such a solemn, if not somber event in a believers life when it should be one of excitement and joy.

For some reason, that afternoon in my mind, the story of Phillip and the Eunuch kept coming to my mind. This story told in the book of Acts (Acts 8:26-40) has a tone of excitement and joy. The Eunuch was so excited to be baptized that he made Phillip baptize him in the first bit of water he saw. I can just see this Eunuch, reading the book of Isaiah one minute, and the next just jumping up and down pointing at the water pleading with Phillip to be baptized.

And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.

So, last Sunday, we as a church, baptized a group of people with two horse troughs side by side. Before they went under we all worshiped with the band leading, and afterwards we all ate hotdogs and hamburgers and had some time to just fellowship with one another.  The photos below are a small representative of the evening. I will have some posted to the Flickr photo stream shortly, and will upload a set to the Church’s Facebook page or go to straight to the Baptism Celebration Album on Facebook. I love the expressions on their faces when they come up out of the water, proclaiming a new life in Christ.

Foggy Spring Meadow of Funnel Spider Webs in Morning Dew

Funnel Web Spider in Dew

Funnel Web Spider in Dew

Funnel Web Spider in Dew

Last Thursday we had a convergence of sorts in Auburn where super high humidity came in and stayed overnight, leaving us with thousands upon thousands of Funnel Spider webs on the ground. The common Funnel Web spiders derives its name from the unique webs it spins. The Funnel Web spider kills garden pests, but the bite of this common spider is harmless to humans.

After receiving a few texts and messages on Twitter to get out there and shoot some of these I did, but I didn’t have to go far, just down my driveway. The last image on this set you can see the funnel where the spider was sitting, not wanting to come out and see my camera. I love the beauty God creates in nature, there is just always something new and changing for us to see.