A prayer to stand apart, to astonish

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“Continue to be who and how you are,
to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.
Continue to allow humor to lighten
the burden of your tender heart.”
Maya Angelou
Let us pray that in our world of separation and misunderstanding, where many live without hope, and in a time when we so easily dismiss our common interests while so sharply accentuating our differences, that we may stand apart as those unafraid to astonish.  May we distinguish our efforts by our compassion.  May we cross to the side of the road between Jericho and Jerusalem to aid the forgotten, to offer hope to the suffering, and to uncover and liberate the light that guides our work.  Amen.

I will never get rid of this camera!

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Photo by Joey Spadoni

Despite all the internet blather posts (I’m not talking about Joey’s recent one here) about the fact that cameras and gear don’t matter much to photographic pursuit (many of which also include inducements to buy a new camera or some other piece of kit), I would have to say that most photographers I know like equipment.  It’s part of the fascination.  Part of the hobby.  As such, I’ve been known to spin the dial and sample up the new.

But there’s one type of camera that I never get rid of.  Currently, it’s the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5 which replaced a trashed TS1.  For these, it’s never pure image quality, never features, never even usability that drive me.  It’s the fact that these things are indestructible.  You threw them into a pocket and forget about them, save for making sure the battery is full.

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Don’t be a Ding-A-Ling

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“Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God.” (Matthew 22:21)

This is Jesus’ masterful deflection when the Pharisees attempted to box him into a corner and force him to anger the Jews… or alternatively, the Roman occupiers and their sympathizers.  Talk about getting caught between a rock and a hard place, yet Jesus sidestepped brilliantly.

This was more than mere linguistic prowess, however… Jesus was also drawing a sharp and important distinction between the things of this world and the things of the next.  Between the fleeting and the enduring.

As a child of the ’60s and ’70s, I remember well when a toy called the Ding-A-Lings was being heavily advertised.  You could not watch television without learning about these small robots that were capable of driving toy vehicles, interacting with each other, and probably best of all… moving along a configurable track in a variety of dimensions.  The Ding-A-Lings could follow the track up, down, sideways and even upside down.  As this was over 40 years ago, there was nothing else like it.  My brother wanted this for Christmas and he wanted it bad.  Secretly, I did too.

For a little Ding-A-Ling madness, see this:

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362 wins, 3 fails… and a remarkable year of marking moments one day at a time

There’s nothing so unique about the 365 day project.  Photographers everywhere set out to take and post one image per day for an entire year in order to accomplish specific artistic objectives.  These include ‘learning to see’ more keenly, developing a specific photographic style, challenging oneself to be more present… more in the moment creatively.  I forever contemplated pursuing such an endeavor (especially after listening to this podcast) but never quite got around to it.  Then, last October… nearly on a whim, I started (@reybabes).

Some years pass by uneventfully, others less so.  We mark each 365 day interval, across four distinct seasons, never knowing in advance what could transpire, what might come to pass.  We expect there will be joys and there will be heartaches.  One year ago, I started marking time by taking and posting one image each day.  As of yesterday, that process is complete.  On 362 occasions I succeeded, on three I failed.  To get it out of the way, here are the three failures:

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