Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Just Got Volume 1!

After some fairly significant publishing delays I just received Volume 1 of Dr. Joe Morecraft's 5-Volume series on the Westminster Larger Catechism, entitled Authentic Christianity.

"Not since 1731 has the Reformed world seen a comprehensive commentary on its most detailed standard of faith, The Westminster Larger Catechism... Culminating a lifetime of learning, preaching, and pastoral care, this five-volume work incorporates the most stalwart of Reformed theology from recent centuries as well as past masters, and exegetes the teachings of the Catechism through potent insight, consistent application, and relentless recourse to God’s Word. In a time when the Church faces many doctrinal challenges, Morecraft’s Commentary calls her back to the foundations of the Reformed faith, directing her to the spiritual power of God’s Word as taught in the Larger Catechism."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone!

HDR in the backyard

I did some HDR this morning in the backyard. The sun was shining through the trees and fog, glistening on the grass creating a really high-contrast situation which I thought would be perfect to try my HDR technique.

These photos were generated with a program called Photomatix, but I'm currently using the trial, hence the watermarks.

Which version is your favorite?

A Great HDR Tutorial from Trey Ratcliffe!

Yesterday I came across Trey Ratcliffe's website and found this really great tutorial he wrote on HDR photography. He recently authored a book called "A World in HDR" which also looks amazing.

In case you don't know what HDR photography is, it's essentially a technique where the photographer shoots multiple images of the same scene at different exposure settings (1 at the regular setting, another under-exposed, another over-exposed - usually 5 images total) to capture the full "dynamic range" of light in the scene. He then uses special software to create a composite image which brings out the best-exposed sections of each of those photos, creating one single photo which represents a much fuller range of light.

That was probably confusing...

Take a look at some of Trey's photos to get a better idea of what I'm talking about.

I tried this technique on one of my photos of the Roebling suspension bridge in Cincinnati, and got some neat results.


HDR Version

Go through Trey's tutorial (it will only take 30 min. to an hour), download the trial version of the software he recommends and give HDR a try. I think you'll really like it!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Out in the Swamp

Yesterday morning Zach, Mike and I got up at 4:00 a.m. to go out in the swamp and hurt some ducks with Jonathan. We arrived at the agreed-upon location around 5:30 a.m. and, after a fairly long walk along the levy, met up with Jonathan who had been waiting since 4:00. We claimed a nice little patch of logs and reeds which had been engineered to work as a blind, and after adding some additional camouflage and setting out our decoys, we sat back to wait for shooting time.

Since I'm only back for a week it wasn't worthwhile for me to purchase a license, so I didn't go along to hunt. I was their driver and photographer, joking that I shot more than they did and got better results...probably because I was using a Canon instead of a shotgun! :)

Jonathan did some "live-tweeting" from the blind.

The guys had a few opportunities throughout the morning, and Jonathan and Mike came away with a hen Mallard each.

As the sun came up the action died down quite a bit. We kept going on the calls and occasionally would make some of the smaller flocks interested, but they wouldn't get close enough.

We had a really great time together, as these shots demonstrate.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sufficiency of Scripture Conference - Part 1

A few weeks ago I was privileged to attend the Sufficiency of Scripture Conference sponsored by the NCFIC. It was held in Covington KY (just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati), and was an enormous success in so many different ways!

First of all, it was the first conference put on by the NCFIC (National Center for Family Integrated Churches), who's staff did a remarkable job pulling together all the details and ensuring that everything ran smoothly. Secondly, it attracted around 2,600 attendants! This is almost unheard of for a conference of this nature during what is arguably the busiest season of the year. The Lord really blessed the whole event, and it was clear that many people's lives were impacted and changed as a result of some of the things they heard.

I worked the Vision Forum booth with a co-worker from Texas, so I didn't have much of an opportunity to listen to the various speakers. But the vendor hall was directly adjacent to the main auditorium, so whenever a speaker delivered a message in there the sound was piped out to the vendor hall. Even though I got to hear only a fraction of the messages, I really enjoyed the fellowship with customers at the booth, as well as the other vendors I got to speak with.

And the cold weather was fantastic too! The first few nights it lingered anywhere between 15 and 20 degrees, but when you factored in the wind chill it was more like 7-10 degrees. In my book that's pretty cold! We even got some light snowfall the first morning (I happened to be up at 6:30 am to photograph it).

I'll follow up with some more pictures and thoughts later on.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Posts are on the way...

I'm leaving TX for home tomorrow morning, so I hope to finally make time to post some photos and updates from my recent trip to Cincinnati as well as a variety of other things. You can expect some new content in a day or two!