Friday, January 29, 2010

Tomorrow's Photo of the Day

"Light and Shadow"
50mm, f4.5, 1/60, Canon 7D, processed in Lightroom

You're probably asking, "How do you post a 'photo of the day' before that particular day has even happened? Good question...

Well, never you mind. It just so happens that I took some neat shots tonight that couldn't wait until tomorrow!

Having been by these mansions on Ivy Lane quite a bit lately, I knew to expect good evening light around 5:30 p.m. - perfect timing since I get off work at 5:00. This evening the light was truly spectacular. I wish this JPEG could display the depth of color that was in the original shot, because even with minimal editing the golden evening light was incredibly striking.

I even had one lady walk by with her dog and ask, "Are they selling the house?" I should have said, "Yeah, and I'm buying it!"

Photo of the Day

"The Mansion"
28mm, f3.5, 1/45, Canon 7D, processed in Lightroom

Finally! A Photo of the Day that wasn't taken over a month ago! This is a shot of one of the big "Ivy Lane" mansions (well, more gate than mansion I guess), in our neighborhood.

Tell me honestly, is this over-processed in your opinion? I experimented with some split toning (contrasting red and green in the highlights and shadows), and fairly heavy vignetting. Maybe it's overdone... What do you think?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Photo of the Day

"My Backyard"
75mm, f5.0, 1/100, Canon 7D, processed in Lightroom

I shot this when I was back home for Christmas. Of course, in the original, everything was intensely green, but for this shot I wanted to focus on the contrast created by the bright light and shadows.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Photo of the Day

"Fountain at the McNay"
65mm, f5.6, 1/100, Canon 7D and 28-135 f3.6, processed in Lightroom

This was one of the very first photos I took with my new Canon 7D, and it was also the very first time I employed some really cool techniques in Lightroom to give it that special "look." If you're interested I can clue you in on some of the editing techniques I used to process this shot. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Photo of the Day

95mm, f5.6, 1/100, Canon 7D, processed in Lightroom

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Photo of the Day

109mm, f5.6, 1/200, Canon 7D, processed in Lightroom

This is a shot of beautiful sister Aimee taken a few weeks ago. (I know, I'm cheating again. This isn't a photo shot today...)

I hope it doesn't appear too washed out - one of the downsides of JPEG images is their tendency to appear undersaturated. Depending on your screen calibration, the color might be completely different than I intended. There are my caveats! I hope you enjoy the image.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Photo of the Day

"Alamo Heights Presbyterian Church"
28mm, f3.5, 1/60, Canon 7D, processed in Lightroom

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Photo of the Day

"Red Light, Green Light"
135mm, f5.6, 1/45, Canon 7D hand held, processed in Lightroom

In keeping with my goal to take one "Photo of the Day" each day, I decided to let the weather dictate my subject this evening. To be honest, I didn't know what to look for. I was leaving the office a little late, and it was getting dark and starting to drizzle. The options seemed limited.

I was just about to enter the neighborhood back-roads and bid farewell to all the city lights and most of the traffic. Then I saw the perfect opportunity!

I turned the car around, parked on the side of the road within sight of this intersection and started shooting. This is the result. I think this shot has a nice atmosphere to it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Photo of the Day

"First Presbyterian Church"
28mm, f3.5, 1/45, Canon 7D hand-held, processed in Lightroom

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


"Denial" - The act of denying oneself something which "oneself" greatly desires.

Coffee - Since I finished my Christmas Starbucks blend, I have not had any coffee. Not a drop. It's been about 1.5 weeks now. Why, you ask? First of all to prove that I can, and secondly because tea is almost as good.

Candy - NO MORE. The "Candy Age" is over. Why? Because it makes me feel sick, and makes my face break out.

Soda - That's out too.

Now that I'm eating the "healthy stuff" pretty much exclusively, and feel great almost all of the time, why is it that I still crave all the "bad stuff?" After all, I used to live off candy and donuts. Why can't I do that now?

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I'm trying not to border on legalism here, but I think that passage might just have something to do with how we take care of ourselves. How we eat. What activities we do. Am I right?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Time flies...kind of like a duck

I used to not notice it. Or maybe it just didn't used to be this way. But if my sojourn in Texas has taught me anything it has taught me the importance preciousness of time. I like to say, "Time is like money you have to spend." You can't put it in a bank or a mutual fund and then someday pull it out and use it then.

I think there are two general classes of people when it comes to their philosophy of time. Some people act without self-discipline, as though their time was being taxed, sucked involuntarily into their favorite entertainment or hobby. Others view time as an investment, something that must be used wisely to further their long-term mission. The first kind of person is usually shallow and frivolous, the second is purposeful and visionary.

Ironically though, I've found that the bigger your vision, the less time you seem to have! The more you want to accomplish, the less you feel like you're accomplishing day to day. So wouldn't it be easier to set small goals, things you can achieve with relative ease from the comfort of your favorite armchair?

Absolutely not. When you begin to look at life from a biblical perspective you begin to grasp just how brief life really is, and just how little we understand of the victorious Christian life! There are stories of great men of the past, men full of purpose and vision, who made investments for the future, knowing full well that they would never live to see the fruit! Their investments are paying off even today. (I'm thinking of men like John Calvin, William Tyndale, and countless others).

I feel like I'm rambling, so I'll wrap up this "longer-than-I-meant-it-to-be" post and let you move on with your life. The point is, time flies...kind of like a duck. If you've never paid close attention to ducks (I'm talking about wild ducks, not those plump barnyard types), you probably don't realize just how fast they can fly. They don't soar leisurely like eagles do, drifting ever-so-slowly upwards. Most ducks can fly like quadruple-shot caramel mocha on wheels. In other words, they're fast! If you're not on your toes, they'll fly by before you ever get a shot at them.

So what exactly do ducks, history books, armchairs and quadruple-shot caramel mochas have in common? Not a lot. The point I'm driving at is that you really need to evaluate how you view time. It really is like an investment! You can invest it in things which you know are never going to bring a good return, or you can choose to invest it in those things which absolutely will pay off, not only in this life but in the next!

My Eminently Color-Coordinated Sister

This is my younger sister Aimee in her snow gear when we were up in the mountains sledding a few weeks ago. I don't know if you can see it in the photo, but her outfit actually matches her braces!

Talk about color coordination!

Photo of the Day

This was taken yesterday evening, so technically this is photo of yesterday, but since I didn't get around to posting it then I'll keep things in the present tense and pretend it's my "Photo of the Day" anyways.

"Back-lit Wispy Things"
135mm, f5.6, 1/1000, Canon 7D with tripod

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Another Day, Another Tri-tip

Most of my readers ought to know by now that I'm a big-time barbecue fan. Not the type that just enjoys eating it though, I love actually firing up the grill (charcoal of course!) and watching those beautiful cuts of meat sizzle and sear.

Tri-tip steaks have kind of become a family tradition. My Grandpa was the tri-tip master, my dad picked up that talent, and I like to think that I'm doing pretty well in my own right. The thing is, they're kind of expensive - around $3.50-4.00 per lb. That being the case I don't do them very often, but it's a special treat whenever I decide to buy a few.

Tonight I did one using a different method than my last two. I would normally use a very basic cajun rub before puting the tri-tip on the grill, but this time I decided to try a technique that is generally used on brisket.

I started by completely thawing the meat, then this morning I smeared some generic course mustard all over it, wrapped it in shrink wrap and put it in the fridge. The idea with the mustard is that the vinegar content will break down the meat fibers and make it more tender. Like I said, mustard is generally used on brisket, which requires a MUCH longer grilling time (roughly 10-14 hours, compared to about 20-30 minutes for a tri-tip). Still, I figured the mustard would have a similar tenderizing effect on my steak, so I gave it a try.

After I got home from church I gave the meat a few more hours (for a total of about 9 hours marinating time), then fired up the grill and began prepping it for cooking. The first step was to scrape off most of the mustard and then apply a rub on the moist meat. Here's the rub I used:

1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1 tablespoon chille powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cayenne
1 teaspoon cajun spice

You could modify this any way you want to. The main thing is just to get a pleasing blend of spices that will jazz up the flavor of your steak. This combination really worked well in my opinion.

I seared it over direct medium-high heat for about 5 minutes per side, then gave it another 15-20 minutes of indirect heat to finish it off. I was aiming for an internal temperature of about 160, at which point I figured the steak would be about medium-well, just the way I like it. As an added touch, I brushed a bit of red wine over it toward the end to make sure it didn't get too dry.

The end result? A super-rich flavor with a hint of mustard and a great authentic steak texture. I loved it!

Brit Hume Tells Tiger What He Needs

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Words of Encouragement for the New Year from C.H. Spurgeon

Casting all you care upon him; for he careth for you.
-1 Peter 5:7

It is a happy way of soothing sorrow when we can feel that He cares for us. Christian, do not dishonor your faith by always wearing a brow of care. Come and cast your burden on your Lord. You are staggering beneath a weight that your Father would not feel. What seems to be a crushing burden to you would be like a little dust on the scale to Him. Nothing is so sweet as to "Lie passive in God's hands, and know no will but His."

O child of suffering, be patient. God has not passed you over in His loving care. He who is the feeder of the sparrows will also furnish you with what you need. Do not sit down in despair. Hope on, and hope ever. Take up the arms of faith against a sea of trouble, and your fight of faith will yet end your distress. There is One who cares for you. His eye is fixed on you, His heart beats with pity for your sorrow, and His omnipotent hand will yet bring you the needed help. The darkest cloud will scatter itself in showers of mercy. The blackest gloom will give place to morning.

If you are one of His family, He will bind up your wounds and heal your broken heart. Do not doubt His grace because of your tribulation, but believe that He loves you as much in seasons of trouble as in times of happiness. What a serene and quiet life might you lead if you would leave providing to the God of divine care! With a little oil in the cruse and a handful of meal in the barrel, Elijah outlived the famine, and you will do the same. If God cares for you, why do you need to worry? Can you trust Him for your soul, and not for your body? He has never refused to bear your burdens; He has never fainted under their weight. Come, then, soul; be done with fretful care, and leave all your concerns in the hands of a gracious God.

-C.H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, January 6, morning reading

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Creation Museum

Last month (December), I was able to go up to Cincinnati OH for the Sufficiency of Scripture Conference, and as part of the conference package attendees got a free pass to the Creation Museum!

If you're familiar with my other blog you already know that Creation science is one of my main interests, so this was a dream come true! It was far beyond what I had imagined and I'm so thankful that Answers in Genesis put this one-of-a-kind museum together to showcase the true history of the earth and the majesty of God's Creation.

I don't have time to write in-depth about my visit, but enjoy the following images I took with my new Canon 7D. (These have been lightly edited, but my computer is being cranky so I couldn't spend more time on them).

The "Tree of Life" display

"Now the serpent was craftier than any beast of the field..."

Adam, after the Fall

The construction of the Ark

Only Noah and his family were saved (this was a really neat miniature)

And the Ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat (another neat miniature)

Noah offering a sacrifice of thanks to the Lord

Our film The Mysterious Islands, for sale in the "Dragon Hall" bookstore

Saturday, January 02, 2010

I just updated my blogroll

Check out my sidebar links. I just got them back up to date (with revised URLs where necessary, new links to friends' blogs).

In the new year I hope to get this blog back on its feet (that may even involve another redesign...). If you think I should have linked to you, drop me a comment and I'll think it over. :)

And even though I'm a few days late....HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!!