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Yesterday I ran a fun foto contest. Here’s how.
I uploaded a photo to Facebook and then asked people to guess how I took the photo. The winner got a full-size copy of the image plus, in this case, the recipe to the food that I photographed.
Look at the picture and see if you can guess how I took the photo, where, when, what light sources and camera settings were used.
Here are the Facebook comments and the answer:
Rob Darby Settings: 1/60 sec @ f 1.8, ISO 200 Lens: EF50mm f/1.8 II Time: 14:03 Place: kitchen table in front of window, Light sources: natural light from window/no direct sunlight, aluminum cereal box lid as a reflector from the front left side of the picture. Winner: E Sarah Masters!
Rob Darby And, since this is the first contest, I’m giving away my delicious grilled salmon recipe for free! Grilled Salmon with potato salad recipe
Salmon: Grill four salted salmon steaks over hot charcoal for 10-12 minutes, turning once. I added some large oak chips to the colas to add a smokey flavor. I also closed the lid for extra smoke flavor.
Potato salad: I bought some ready-made potato salad from the grocery store and added my own boiled potatoes, fresh dill and a bit of apple cider vinegar to add bulk and save some money.
Garnish: lemon and tomato wedges.
Drunk: Goes great with black current leaf saft.
I asked a very cool photographer in Nepal what her one bit of advice would be to a traveling photographer, and she said this, “If you take someone’s picture, and you tell them you’re going to send one to them when you get back home, then do it.”
So I made it a point to keep my promise every time I had such an encounter with a local. It happened a couple of times, and this photograph is an example of one such encounter. It happened this way.
It was a hot and sunny day. My friend, Preston, and I were walking up a steep mountain road. “Why were we walking?” you may ask. Well, that’s fodder for another post. Anyhow, we met these three women about half-way up the hill. We greeted one another, and then, in good Asian fashion, began to chat about how far it was to the top, where we were from, and stuff like that. Oh yeah! They were wanting to take a group photo, but their camera wasn’t working right, so I offered to take it with mine and then send them the picture when I got back home.
“Okay Rob! Remember what your photographer friend said; keep your promise.”
Funny how powerful one bit of advice can stick with you, because every time I saw this photo on my computer, I felt this urgency to send the photo to the nun in the photo.
So, after soon as I got home, I dug out that crumpled piece of paper where the nun had written down her contact information. But the paper showed only the name of her ‘nunnery’ – Is that what you call them? I should have paid better attention in Cathecism! Anyhow, I did a search on the web; it took about 10-15 minutes. I finally found something that seemed to match the name on the paper. So I sent the photo to the main email address and waited.
I never heard back from the recipient, so I don’t actually know if the photo ever reached her. But I can sleep at night knowing I followed through on my promise.
Veronica and I were walking along the streets of Gothenburg the other evening, when we came across a stuffed teddy bear lying on the cobblestone street.
Veronica commented with emotion only a mother could express “Aw! The poor child who lost this stuffed animal must be super sad.”
Then she said, “Hey! I wonder if it belongs to that family with the stroller that just passed us!”
So she turned around and caught up to the family. Within seconds all of them were heading back towards the ‘crime scene’.
Sure enough! The toy belonged to the little baby in the stroller. The family was very thankful that we made the effort to return their teddy bear.
Even doing a little act of kindness for a stranger, even if it’s a little thing like returning a lost teddy bear, sure makes you feel good inside.
A year-and-a-half ago I set out to create my very first photo book. And now it finally arrived! I thought I would never finish the book, except that I kept being reminded that I should finish what I start.
I had some free time one evening this week to do anything I wanted. So I told my wife I wanted to finish “that book I started when we were living up in the north of Sweden.” So I grabbed something to drink, sat my butt down on our living room sofa and worked out the kinks that were left in the book I had already started, and within a couple of hours, it was uploaded to Blurb’s bookstore.
Preview the book here:
The book was written in response to a Facebook message I received after God prompted me to post a photo to encourage anybody who might be struggling through a difficult situation. I decided that if only one person was encouraged, then I would be happy. Sure enough, only one person responded! But the whole thing seemed so orchestrated by God, because this person needed a timely encouragement.
The following Sunday, I had a chance to weave the person’s story into my sermon that I was preaching at a local church service. And then, again, at Veronica’s home church later that week. Both events brought the most profound reaction by the congregations, and they were noticeably inspired by my little story.
That’s just part of the story about my first book titled “Waiting For Spring“.
I encourage you to buy my book, because I’m selling it at a very low mark-up from Blurb’s base price. I’m doing it this way because 1. I want the book to be available to encourage as many people as possible, and 2. Since it’s my first book, I don’t think I’m in the position to charge an outrageous price.. at least not yet anyway! heehee!
I overdosed on my blood pressure medicine this morning. I put my pills in this little pill box, all in place so I will take the right amount time. But this morning I accidentally opened it too far and took the evening’s dose as well as the morning’s.
As I was swallowing the pills my mind flashed back 2.5 seconds where I envisioned two pink pill lying in my hand instead of one. Yikes! So I rang the medical assistance number that you can ring here in Sweden if you have a medical concern, and they told me to take it easy for the rest of the day; no driving, drink lots of water, and have someone around me at all times in case I get dizzy and pass out, in which case I should ring 112 – Emergency.
So for lunch we ate this amazing grilled salmon. I grill as often as I can, because I simply love to grill! I added a little oak wood – or was it ash.. or birch? Hmmm! Not sure. – Anyhow, I salt my salmon an hour before grilling and put it straight on the grill for 10 minutes. I’m sure that the extra salt helped counteract the effects from the excessive BP medicine.
I served the salmon with white jasmine rice and ricolla salad – included tomatoes, red onion, feta cheese, sunflower seeds, lemon juice and olive oil.
You might be wondering what all this food stuff has to do with overdosing on blood pressure medicine? Absolutely nothing!
I have to have some excuse to write about food.
I learned you should never tell your audience to Smile when you’re forcing them to stop and pose for a photo when all they want to do is get back to that minibus and get home, after a long day at the River.
It’s not that we had a bad time down at the river. It was lots of fun. The kids got to swim, we managed to get most of the food into their bellies before it hit the dirt and sand. No one fell from a cliff.. or from the swinging bridge. Yup. All in all, you could say it was a pret-ty fun day.
But, as most parents know, time wears thin on the nerves. And by the time I took this photo, I could see the actual nerve proteins glistening through the thin veneer of each nerve in each parent’s body. The phrase ‘conniption fit’ comes to mind right now.
Oh, and the best part of the story – I didn’t say the best thing, but the best part of the “These people are all pretty annoyed right now”, story – is that the boys you see standing on the other end of the bridge; well, they started swinging it back and forth when all the little kiddies had reached the middle of it. This was too much for my friend Preston, and he shouted at them with that angry, protective father voice, “Hey! Cut it out!” with a really strong Canadian accent. Hmm. I think they understood what he meant, even if they didn’t speak English.
It’s easy to look back and laugh about it now, but at the time I didn’t say a word.
Hey Preston, we’re living the dream. Whooooooo!
Every year my wife and I spend a coupe of days alone just to retreat with God. So last weekend, I stayed at a friend’s house – they were on vacation. One of the ways I like to relax is to try out new techniques with my camera. So, this morning, I was listening to the audio Bible and letting thoughts, images and the Holy Spirit inspire me. That’s when I came up with this image which I title “Let my people go!”
How the process went
During my last visit to Gothenburg, I saw a large advertisement of some fruit, as I was walking through a mall in Gothenburg. It looked quite tasty, and I thought I might like to replicate the lighting setup. So, while I was in the kitchen this morning, I spotted a jar filled with pieces of dry bread and thought “Here’s my chance.”
I poured the crumbs out onto the dining table, set up my flash and gave it a go. The first images were too light. I could see the light wood color behind the pieces of bread. So I poured them out onto a chair which had a dark fabric seat. – Sorry Fredrick! – This worked!
As I came closer to what I was looking for, I thought, “Why not shoot the flash through the back of the chair and create long shadows. When I did this it looked like shadows being cast through prison bars upon little crumby prisoners. Next, I moved one piece of bread out closer to the bars as if to call out to the prison warden.
That’s when I thought of Moses and the Isrealites.
I took this photo in our friends’ back yard in Kathmandu. There’s a garden just on the other side of this gate. Look closer. It doesn’t even have hinges. It’s just leaning against the fence, held in place by a crooked branch.
If you push on the gate it nearly topples over. But, it gives the appearance of “PRIVATE GARDEN. KEEP OUT!” Or perhaps, “Welcome to the garden.” Either way, it’s making a boundary statement.
I’ve been taking an inventory of my own boundaries in the form of fruit trees in my life. Fruit trees are the things I choose to do every day. I want to see if my fruit trees are bearing good fruit. If they’re not, then I need to take some action. So I’ve been asking myself questions like: Does my character reflect God’s character? Do I have peace? Do the things I do bring meaning and purpose to my life?
The photo of this gate reminds me of how I need to make and keep certain boundaries if I want to see that kind of fruit in my life. So the next set of questions I’m going to ask myself sound like: “When’s the last time you went on a walk with God.. without your phone in your pocket and your headphones stuck in your ears? Compare that with how often you check your Facebook status.” or “How are you prioritizing your time with your family? or “How many times do you complain every day, compared to how many times you say something positive?”
I suspect I’ll be pruning some branches, putting up some fences, maybe even chopping down some fruit trees entirely! And, the boundaries don’t need to be ten feet high. They don’t even need hinges, really. They just need to be clear enough for me to understand them and respect what they stand for.
I think It’s so cool that we can document those little – or big – moments in our lives within seconds just by pulling out a mobile phone. This simply wasn’t the case years ago, unless you were one of those geeky photographers who had a huge SLR camera permanently strapped around your neck.
Many pro photographers today are choosing instead to carry small point-and-shoot cameras, or use their mobile phones, when they’re not working on a regular project, or when they’re on vacation, because their work cameras are too cumbersome.
this is a photo I took yesterday at our midsummer celebration. Helen and these two little girls were having fun swinging on our hammock when suddenly, “RIP!” went the fabric. I heard the screaming and laughter, turned around, and got the shot.
Sniff! Sniff! It was a good hammock. it served us well. Actually, who cares about an old hammock? But, 10 years ago I would have missed the chance to document this humorous event.
Look at me! Here I am ranting about how cool it is that we can document life’s little happenings with our small cameras or mobile phones, when actually, I made this photo with my big bulky SLR.
Ah! Well, the principle still applies, doesn’t it?