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I check the mailbox more than usual this time of year. (My “usual” being “never,” in the vain hope that our friendly mail lady will take back the bills and three pounds of catalogs.) But I dare to open the little black box in June because—my husband being a youth pastor—this is the month we receive a flurry of graduation invitations (always a little bitter-sweet) and wedding invitations (pure sweetness).
In honor of all you June grads and brides we want to share one piece of advice Mom gave us when we graduated and then (later) got married.
Grads, you go first. Mom’s advice to her girls, and to you, is this: Keep studying.
We know, you probably don’t want to hear this right now—you’ve just finished studying for finals. So you might want to bookmark this post and read it after a week or two at the beach.
Bon voyage! Have a great time!
Ok, so now you’re back from the beach, refreshed and ready for Mom’s advice.
Whether you are heading back to school, into the workforce, or you don’t have a clue where: set yourself on a life-course of study. And don’t just study anything.
If Bruce Milne is right (and he is) and “getting doctrine right is the key to getting everything else right” then you can’t afford not to study doctrine. You must learn more about God.
Here’s a list of books to get you started, but don’t stop there.
Study biblical womanhood.
If Elisabeth Elliot is right (and she is) and “Being a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but being a Christian makes me a different kind of woman”—then we ought to understand what kind of women we are to be. So learn all you can about God’s design for womanhood.
Here’s some suggested reading for Biblical Womanhood 101.
(I’m done interrupting myself—for the present—and today we’re back to photography talk for everyone.)
Over the past couple of years, I’ve grown to appreciate the sun and its usefulness in photography. I know, I should have been more grateful before, but it’s easy to take that big fireball for granted. Used correctly, though, it can take an ordinary scene and turn it into something extraordinary.
There are two times during the day when the sun is the photographer’s best friend: morning and evening. That time of day when the sun is lower in the sky and is that glorious golden color—that’s when you want to be outside with your camera.
Now this time changes throughout the year as the seasons change and some seasons make the morning more convenient while others lend themselves to shooting in the evening.
The sun is rising here at around 5:45 in the morning right now so I’m currently taking advantage of the evening sun. My family is used to doing crazy things for my camera, but playing outside at 6 a.m. would definitely be pushing it.
Learning to use the sun to your advantage in photography takes practice. I used to hide from the sun when taking pictures outside. I looked for the nearest shade and ran for its safety. But not anymore! I’m forcing myself to be more willing to make mistakes, so that I can learn how to use the sun to my advantage. I still don’t know what I’m doing half the time, but that’s all part of the fun.
As a general rule of thumb (‘cause there are lots of ways to do this depending on your desired effect) you want the sun behind your subject at an angle. (This is called backlight, by the way.) If the sun is behind you, your subject is probably going to have harsh shadows on their face, not to mention they will be squinting. Not so good.
Try and position your subject so that you see their hair light up from the sun—almost like their hair is glowing. It usually helps if there are some nearby trees or other large objects in which the sun can filter through.
When using the sun like this, you will have to beware of haze (this can also be used to your advantage—but that’s for another time). You can use a lens hood to help eliminate haze. Or, if you are like me, you can hold your hand above your lens. This usually results in part of my hand making its way into half my shots. Oh well.
Okay, there is tons more I could say about this, but this post is getting long! I stopped reading a few paragraphs back!
Here are a few examples of shooting in the golden hours of morning and evening, to give you some visuals. We will revisit this topic again to talk more about exposure and techy stuff related to shooting with the sun. But until then, the best thing you can do is get out there and practice.
In case you hadn’t noticed, we get excited about the change of seasons here at girltalk. I guess it’s because Mom—who grew up in Florida—never got over the wonder of how different each season is in Maryland. Some of that delight must have rubbed off on us girls. And we haven’t lost it yet.
So as each season changes, we find ourselves writing about it on the blog. In fact, we started girltalk in June of 2005 and before the first week was up we wrote about—you guessed it!—summer!
Since then we’ve shared our favorite summer salads, summer shopping, summer pics, summer reads, simple summers, and even some interesting summer classes for men.
Two years ago, you all sent us enough summer ideas to fill a book!
Summer Goals and Projects
We love summer because, as John Piper says, “Jesus Christ is the refreshing center of summer. He is preeminent in all things (Col. 1:18), including vacations, picnics, softball, long walks, and cookouts…. The summer sun is a mere pointer to the sun that will be: the glory of God. Summer is for seeing and showing that.”
In all you do, may you see and show the glory of God this summer.
At 15 weeks pregnant I’m just beginning to come out of that first trimester yuckiness that plagues so many of us. In order to keep Caly from being afraid over the last couple of months, I have tried to explain to her that Mommy’s throwing-up is a good sign and means that the baby is growing. Well, she thinks that’s great and likes to provide encouragement when I get sick. I can’t say it makes throwing-up any better, but it does make me smile. Later, that is.
Here’s a conversation from the other day:
Me: (throwing up in the bathroom)
Caly (yells from her bedroom): Mom, are you throwing up?
Caly: Is it because of the baby?
Caly: Good! Keep throwing up.
Ever get discouraged in your mothering? In your attempts to disciple a new believer? In your efforts at evangelism? By your own lack of spiritual growth?
At the recent NEXT conference, Kevin DeYoung described it like this:
“When we are dealing with the Word—whether its with our kids, our roommates, our congregation—we feel like they are behind a six-foot deep cement bunker and we have spit wads and it is just little spit wads against this six-foot concrete bunker. And you think, “that’s never going to happen; this is a complete waste; that person will never grow, never come to the Lord.”
What can penetrate the six-foot concrete bunker that is the heart of a foot-stomping toddler or God-cursing neighbor?
In this mini-sermon within a sermon (which includes him singing a song from Finding Nemo!), Mr. DeYoung shows us the answer in Mark chapter four.
Take ten minutes to listen today and be freshly filled with hope for mothering and ministry.
Summer is almost here for the Chesemore family. School ends next Friday and I am excited to have my three boys home for three months. They can hardly wait for Summer Celebration, hours of swimming, and ice cream at Jimmy Cone.
My boys don’t know it yet, but I also have some serious goals for their summer—and topping the list is Scripture memory.
At these ages (6, 7, 10), kid’s minds are like sponges: they absorb and retain information very easily. So I want to soak my three little sponges in God’s Word all summer.
One of the most effective (and fun!) ways to help kids memorize Scripture is through song—and that’s why our summer soundtrack will be Seeds Family Worship.
I know I’ve blogged on this before, but I love these cd’s. The music is upbeat and fun to listen to (even for a mom!). And what better way to make good use of those drives to and from the pool or ice cream and especially long road trips.
Seeds Family Worship has kindly offered girltalk readers a free download of one of their songs (my son, Owen’s favorite): “The Good Song.”
I’m interrupting myself—and my general comments on photography—to answer a question which I’ve received a lot: “what kind of camera do you use?”
Up until a few months ago, I was shooting with the Nikon d70. This past February it died, and I made the upgrade to the Nikon d300s. I love it!
But my favorite pieces of equipment in my camera bag are actually my lenses. The lens is as important—if not more so—than the camera in achieving a good image. I have the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 and the Nikon 105mm f/2.8. (You can find comparable lenses for the brand of camera that you use.)
My 50mm is on my camera 75% of the time. If I could recommend you buy one thing to improve your photography, it would be this lens. It is a fixed-lens which means it has no zoom. Your feet become the zoom—don’t worry, you get used to it!
Fixed lenses produce sharper images. And that little “f/1.4” means that you can shoot with a very wide aperture. Translation: you can shoot in low light situations without using a flash. There are more advantages than the two just mentioned. Google, and you will find more than you can read.
(This lens has a cheaper cousin known as the 50mm “f/1.8.” It’s cheaper because of that little “f” number again. Not a big deal. Simply means that with the “f/1.4” I will be able to shoot with a tad less light than you.)
My 105mm is fun. It took me many birthdays to save for. It is also a fixed lens (I like those no-zooms). It’s a telephoto lens so I can be far away from my subject while seeing them up close through the viewfinder. It produces a really beautiful soft and hazy background, which I love. It also has macro capabilities so I could take a picture of a single eyelash if I really felt like it. Hmm…don’t think I’ll ever feel like it.
Hope that answers your questions. Feel free to keep ‘em coming.