Looking Up

It is such a joy to write another post! It has been well over a year (probably closer to 2!) since I have last touched this blog, or sorted through any of my photos, and coming back to it all is like a much-needed breath of fresh air.

Where to begin? First of all, I write to you from Louisiana, once again. After realizing my career path in Tennessee was not what I wanted, I was blessed with an opportunity to change courses with further graduate studies at my alma mater, LSU. As much as I hated to leave the mountains, I decided it was best to take the opportunity and hopefully develop a career more suited to my personality and talents. With that said, the journey so far has been a tough one! Without going into needless detail, the weight of forging my own path and taking the lead in my career and adult life has brought more difficulty and anxiety about the future than I expected. Between some computer troubles shortly after my last post, life transitions, and keeping up with my graduate program, my photography hobby fell to the way-side.

. . .

F11, 2.5s,  ISO200, 55mm 
View of the sunset looking towards the Red River. My favorite from the evening - I like how the rich colors came through and contrast with the horizon's silhouette, as well as the decent amount of contrast that make the cloud textures visible. 
. . . 

I think when we lose sight of what inspires us, and get lost in the everyday hustle of keeping up our earthly endeavors, our creativity, confidence, and hope give way to dullness, anxiety, and that horrible feeling of "being stuck." This is exactly where I have been for the last several months; wholly focused on my shortcomings and everything that is unclear in my path that I need - but can't seem - to figure out. And I think what gets us out of these ruts isn't in constant self affirmations. While it may be true that we are indeed awesome and capable, trying to convince ourselves of that when we are stuck can only do so much (I know from experience...). Rather, I think a shift of our attention away from the personal and towards something greater and beyond ourselves is what engages us and lifts our focus. What I love about photography is not so much what I manage to create with my lens - but the interaction that I get to have with the Creator of our beautiful world (who created me also!). Although photography is very much a creative endeavor, we don't actually create anything with our photos, we simply glorify He who created with our own personal touch and unique perspective. It's a process that inherently reminds me of my smallness, while at the same time reminds me of my significance and connectedness to the most powerful being and source of life in the universe. In other words, I'm not in this life alone, nor was I haphazardly thrown together and left to produce and prove my significance by myself. 

. . .

Today's photos were shot on an evening post-run stroll around the Red River Research Station, where I am spending my summer doing agricultural research. As I was cooling down, I noticed that the threatening rain clouds didn't really deliver much precipitation, but provided some awesome cloud formations. I ran inside for my camera and took a few shots, but due to the poor lighting and no tripod, I had to use an ISO level of 1600, which resulted in some rather grainy photos. The one below is the only one worth sharing from that session.

F11, 1/800s, ISO 1600, 18mm
Walking around the station before a light rainstorm. I wish I had a wider lens for this one; 18mm is the shortest I can go. But I loved the swirl of the clouds tinted the tiniest bit with fading sunlight. 
. . . 

Later, after dinner, I noticed we had a gorgeous multi-colored sunset. Not your average red and orange sunset, but one with everything from red to purple. So I quickly grabbed my camera again, along with my 75-300mm lens and travel tripod, and took my bike out to the closest open field to catch the (literally) last two minutes of sunset. The results were much more awe-inspiring.

F11, 3.2s, ISO100, 95mm
Another view of the sunset looking toward the Red River, but zoomed in with my longer lens. Again, I like the silhouette against a rich sunset palette, but would have liked more texture, like in the first photo. 
. . . 

I can't say I came to this wisdom by myself. In true fatherly fashion, I believe our God lets us know what we need in subtle but very intentional gestures, motivated by His love for us. These are the musings of my soul after reading this little gem.

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