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Friday, January 8, 2016

"Man Up!" - What Filters are in Your Bag?


I have mentioned many times in past blog posts of my infatuation with the art of photography.  From the earliest days with my Kodak Instamatic 100 camera through the years with a fully accessorized professional Canon F1 outfit and onward to my current DSLR model, I have always loved observing and capturing images of my world through the lens of a camera!  With the help of all kinds of photo related classes from High School through College as well as multiple mail order and later online classes with literally tons of experience as both an amateur and at the professional level, I actually became pretty proficient at the art.

Over the years I have also taught many seminars and one high school level course offered through our children’s large Independent Study Program.  I also had the experience of teaching a good sized room of participants at a weekly variety of classes offered to Mormon women at their local ward.  It was actually quite fun and entertaining… It also pushed my expertise as many of the questions asked were quite technical concerning specific camera equipment and photo composition.

Remember now, that the majority of my training and experience began in the mid-nineteen sixties and went through the early 2000’s.  Which means that my background is mainly in film and not digital photography.  I developed a lifelong fascination with the use of filters after being introduced to their usage in high school.  Throughout my school years and into my adult and married life, I built up quite a collection of special purpose filters used mainly for black and white photography.  I even went through a period where I experimented on the effects of these black and white filters with color film and came away with some interesting prints.

I think the most unique photo was taken one day while I was at the coast with my young wife and shot a picture of the clearing sky with a red filter just as a seagull flew through my frame.  What turned out was a spectacular print where the red somehow separated throughout the blue sky while the clouds and bird maintained their natural color!  I still have a large print of that picture although most of the red has faded out over the years.  Every time I see that picture I think about Jesus’ triumphant return in the skies!

The interesting advantage of using filters is that they can change the original look of whatever you a photographing.  They can enhance colors or tones, brighten or dull the lighting exposure, change the mood of the scene or give the print a completely different sense of purpose than what your physical eyes and mind comprehend. 

The purpose of filters goes hand in hand with the next tenet that the Lord has been showing me concerning my need to “Man Up!” in 2016.  Ephesians 5:2 instructs us to “Live in love as Christ also loved us.  He gave his life for us as an offering and sacrifice, a soothing aroma to God.” (God’s Word © Translation)  Remember the last part of this scripture talking about “a soothing aroma to God” as well touch base on that thought in another upcoming blog.  But for now let’s concentrate on our ability to “live in love as Christ also loved us.”

To me the idea of living in love is comparable to seeing the photo you desire to capture through the eyes of the particular filter you have attached to your lens.  Most times when I would take a black and white photo I would imagine the finished print before I ever raised the camera to my eye.  Then I would select the filter in my collection that would give me the results I desired.  I think that the writer of Ephesians, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is telling us the same thing when it comes to the effect or result that we wish to see or have in our interactions with other people.
According to our scripture, our desired result should always be love… just like the results that Jesus attained after His death, burial, resurrection and assumption to the right hand of God.  His finished work has given us the ability to love all whom we come into contact with… whether they deserve it or not!  But I believe the key is how we see and/or enter into each interaction with those we come into contact with in our daily lives.  Do we see and enter into each new day with the filter of Jesus’ love attached to the lens of our hearts, thoughts, body language, mouth and subsequent actions?  Contrary to the vast array of filters that I packed around in my camera bag for the various pics I would be taking, Jesus’ filter of His type of demonstrated love is a one size fits all!  His love can change the visible outlook of any situation you enter into… no matter what the composition of the natural scene or need you may be looking at!
Another interesting discovery that I made concerning this verse is that when it says to act “as Christ also loved us,” it is instructing us “to love in a social and moral sense.” (Strong’s)  Thayer’s Greek Definitions says it means “to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, and to love dearly.”   My explanation of that directive would simply be “to do the right thing for whatever the situation or need required.”  In other words, to physically reach out and physically help the individual in any way you can.
As I have stated on more than one occasion, love is considered to be a verb… an action word!  An English grammar dictionary will tell you that without the verb the subject of the sentence cannot express its meaning.  Without seeing the situation or individual you are with through the filter of the kind of love that Jesus showed us and then putting physical action to it, we will never see the results that Papa God desires us to exceed in!
The new age of digital photography has done away with the need to carry a variety of filters in your camera bag anymore as you can now change anything about your photo later on through the technology of photo editor software.  But when it comes to the photographs of your daily life, it is still of utmost importance to always carry with you and to use the specific filter of Jesus’ love… wouldn’t you agree?  See, you are quite the photographer and maybe never knew it until now!
Have a great weekend.  Keep your filter handy and see the results of His love in your daily interactions with others… Oh yeah… and keep asking yourself: “What results am I expecting my love–infused actions to make today?”

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