Guys in cars with cameras

Last Saturday I embarked on a long awaited start of what I hope will be a extended rural decay tour of Jackson County with Johann and Nathan. We drove to Nathan’s family farm, and took many many shots of whatever we could find laying around. We all brought back great shots. At some point I started getting that feeling that you get at a museum after seeing 20+ exhibits. I felt like I lost my eye for the good shots. It was strange. I think it was probably from the cold. I brought home around 170 shots and narrowed them down to several good ones. I put them up on flickr. You can find Nathan and Johann up there too. Nathan also keeps some of his in his own gallery. I think it was a great start and I look forward to finding more places, although I doubt we will get the access to many barns like we did this time. Thanks Nathan!

My favorites from Nathan:

My favorites from Johann:

I have more favorites, but you should go have a look yourself.

Provocation #6

Faith’s conflict with the world is not a battle of thought with doubt, thought with thought. It is a battle of character. The person of faith is a person of character who does not insist upon comprehending everything. Now comes the conflict. The world insists that to believe what you cannot comprehend is not only blind obedience but obscurantism, stupidity, and so on. The world wants to alarm the believer against such foolishness. This is precisely why faith is a task for the person of character.

Beans and photosnaps.

I took a break from roasting during a particularly unfriendly spell of very cold weather. I am not sure if the beans would have even roasted with ambient temperatures around 5°. I admit, just before the temperature dropped, it was up in the 50s, and ideal for winter roasting. B even reminded me that it was a sort of last chance to roast for a while, but I declined. So lately we have been drinking some of TJ’s Ethiopian. I kinda like it, but B does not.

Last night I got back at it, and roasted up a batch of a blend I am working on. It is a sweet base of El Salvador Santa Rita, with some distinctiveness from small amounts of Yemen Mocha and Sumatra Mandheling. The first batch was a little heavy on the distinctiveness, so last night I added more Santa Rita. I am looking for a mellow and sweet blend with some chocolate and musky interest.

As I roasted I recalled a recent conversation with Nathan about the difficulty of photographing roasted coffee beans. They are always dark, and if you put them on a light background, the contrast throws the light metering and white balance off. So I thought it an interesting challenge for Max. The best results were achieved using a flash, with a darker background.

I was also trying to see how all the automatic settings fared in a low-light florescent environment.

Not too bad, I think.

Dreams taxes and Max

A few months ago I posted about a trade-in immediately followed by a reversal. It really was a good thing. Since then I have put the dream of a digital SLR at the back of the dream queue to wait for it’s number to be called. The numbers were being called randomly, so it was unclear how long he would have to wait. Recent events, including, but not limited to, root canals, and hoods flying up while driving at high speeds seemed to indicate that the wait could be long indeed. Fortunately, we are very limited in our perspective. It is early tax season for those of us who have no equity or investments and we bagged a great refund this year (not sure how to calculate the points on these babies, do you go by the amount, or the number of corners on the check?). If you are confused by that, remember that we live in one of the deer-hunting-est states in the union. Ok, so the number 723 was called, and it was exactly the number that Mr. Digital SLR had between his anxious fore-finger and thumb. By the way, his name is really Max, not Digital SLR. He comes from a prestigious yet recently extinguished family line (ok, maybe not extinguished, just adopted out). If you are interested in stalking him, there are plenty of resources out there. His mighty works are beginning to show up in the gallery.

Provocation #5

Every once in a while, EZ will ask a question that just cannot be answered. I feel the same way when trying to “explain” my faith. I cannot. Anything I offer as explanation seems to reduce, or dilute it. I can offer a history of those who have also found this faith, I can point to explanations that others have written, but I can not offer any more than my experience, which words still seem to dim.

All the objections to Christianity — what are they, after all, to the person who in truth is conscious of being a sinner and who has experienced belief in the forgiveness of sins and in this faith is saved form his sin? One conceivable objection might be: Yes, but is it not still possible for you to be saved in some other way? But how can one reply to this? One cannot. It is just like a person in love. If someone were to say: Yes, but you could perhaps have fallen in love with another — then he must answer: To this I cannot reply, for I know only one thing, that this is my beloved. As soon as the person who is in love tries to reply to this objection, he is by that very fact not a believer.

Thanks, Dale

After 6 months of abstinence, I have finally decided to say yes to haircuts. Tired of the expense and results of mallish shops like Bo Rick’s and Supercuts, I sought out a local alternative here in out little town. I found a place right off the main street called Dale’s Barber Shop. It is a tiny little place, and when I walked in, Dale was sitting in the sole barber chair reading the news. We greeted each other, I mentioned that I needed a trim, and he accurately determined the last time I had one. At the other shops, conversation was a little strained, with so many people around, and folks waiting for your seat. Dale took his time, and we chatted. He has been in this town since `71, and operating his shop since `88. He knows the people on our street, and knows of all the major events in their lives. As we chatted, two other men came in and started reading the paper. It was what you would think of a small town barbershop: small, bare, dated decor of hunting scenes, and men, silently waiting their turn under the buzzer. When he neared the end of the trim, and showed me how I looked, I had to try not to laugh. He had cut my forelocks (male bangs) high and straight across. I suppose I could have lived with it. I told him that I normally mess up my hair, and he got out his wax stick for flat-tops. He did trim it down, and now it is nice and short. When I got home and redid my hair in the usual messy way, I noticed something peculiar:

I rather like my aging hairline, and I especially like that they are identical twins at my temples. Well, they were identical. For some reason Dale decided that one needed to be straight.

Although I did not leave thinking that I got a good haircut for a good price, I left thinking “that was fun”. I learned about my community, connected with my masculine side, and had a good conversation. Thanks, Dale.