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Fall is in the air!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Auto Focus...

I had mentioned a few blogs ago that I had a variety of degrees, certificates of completion and college level classes in my life resume.  A good portion of those have been in the study of photography.  My love for taking pictures originated back in the 1960’s when I got my first camera, a new Kodak Instamatic 100 which was a very popular consumer camera that was produced from March of 1963 through 1966.  From that early age I began to devour books on the art of photography and actually enrolled in my first official photography class as a senior in High School.
After that I took the full array of photo classes offered at our local Junior College, and a few years later, I enrolled in all the advanced level photography classes I could fit into my schedule at Sonoma State University in Northern California along with various other mail order and online classes and courses throughout the following years.  One of the aspects of the art form that I discovered that I enjoyed was working in the darkroom.  It was always fascinating to me to see the images on the film reproduced in the chemical trays under the red safety light in the various darkrooms I had built.  I also like the added level of control that doing your own lab work gives you over the finished product from the photos you have captured on film. (Obviously this was all well before the days of digital photography!)
I learned early on about the importance of the photographer’s eye in taking control over the scenes they are trying to replicate in their cameras.  Things like lighting, focus, angle, setting, and lens types become of utmost importance every time a photographer picks up his or her camera.  You will very seldom find me raising my camera and snapping quick photos of an individual or nature scene.  I normally take my time to consider the various aspects of the intended purpose of the upcoming photograph.
Developing your eye for photography is a learned trait and takes training and lots of practice.  Over the years I learned to be able to size up a photo fairly quickly.  Some of that came out of the necessity to not let your subject get bored, tired and restless or in the case of wildlife, give them an opportunity to flee the pastoral scene you’re attempting to document! 
When my wife and I were taking lots of wedding pictures we could move through all the formals immediately after the service at a pretty fast clip!  And all it took was one mother of the bride to comment about an upturned cuff on the groom’s pants early on in our wedding photography career, and we learned to rapidly check every little detail in the foreground, background and on the persons of everyone in every photo before I clicked the shutter!  (Did I mention the young groom who had sport socks with colored stripes you could see through his white tux?  That was an interesting one…)
The intensity of that level of focus got me to thinking about the amount of focus I give the things of God on a daily basis. Colossians 3:1 tells us that “Since you were brought back to life with Christ, focus on the things that are above-where Christ holds the highest position.” (God’s Word ©)  My current DSLR camera has a multi-focus autofocus system in it.  When you look through the lens you will observe many red dots throughout the scene before you.  Each of those dots covers a particular zone of focus within the picture.  The camera software allows me the freedom to average all the dots or to apply more significance to individual sections in order to better focus in on the parts of the picture I want to highlight in the finished product.
That technology is similar to the mental and spiritual technology in us that I believe this verse is talking about.  Paul seems to be telling us that we are to be more particular about the areas of our lives that we focus in on with the things of God… or not!  As I contemplated this today, I had to do a quick mental inventory in order to check out the areas within me that needed some refocusing!  It is actually an easy task because all I had to look for were the areas in my daily existence that were a little on the fuzzy side in the ways I act, speak or think about them!
Then as with my camera, all I needed to do was open up the menu of my mind and attitude and change a few of the settings!  What do you think?  Are there any areas in your life that might just be a little fuzzy?  Well then, the Apostle Paul recommends that you take the time to learn how to use software in your personal camera and start taking some practice shots until you get your (and your Papa God's) desired results!  Have a great day.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What subjects am I expecting to bring into clear FOCUS today?”

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