2015 Year In Review

Hey You!!

Did you ever blank on someone’s name, and resort to calling them ”you”? Well, If you’re receiving this email, it means that you are not just a ”you” to us, but a special part of our lives, even if I (Rob) still can’t figure out how to merge a [NAME] field to make you feel even a little bit more special. Comfort Ye! We have not forgotten any of your names! Note to self: Learn how to merge fields in my email so people feel more special.

So, please do grab a cup of your favourite beverage and celebrate the end of 2015 together with us.

#1 This One Thing.. Family

One of the biggest parts of our lives is family. We have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with family, friends, and supporters here in Chiang Mai, as well as during our trips to Sweden and the USA. It doesn’t matter how tired we are at the end of those visits; we are soon ready for more!

 

#2 Our Boys Our Joys

When Veronica and I see the way Rasmus and Lucas allow God to work in their lives, it is an inspiration to us. We mostly appreciate the way they enjoy each other’s company. And we also love taking them on Mommy and Daddy dates! See some more pictures of the boys here.

 

#3 Today’s Reader

Rasmus loves reading books. At age 1 1/2 he helped us win a year’s supply of diapers in a Pampers video contest when I once filmed him in his diaper, reading a book. It might be noteworthy that the book he was reading was upside down. Who knew he would be such an avid reader today? I am pretty sure he has already surpassed me in the number of pages he has read. For those of you who know me, I guess that doesn’t say much. But I’m still really impressed!

 

#4 Artist and Mathematician

Lucas’ favourite past-time is drawing and counting. He is rarely seen without a pencil or pen in his hand. We framed and hung one of his pictures on our wall to remind us of the creativity God has put into him. And he is also fond of making mathematical observations everywhere he turns. The other day he was explaining to Veronica how simple 10 + 6 is the same as 9 +7. Duh Mom!

#5 Grounding Our Connections

We believe that to stay grounded and know who you are, and where you come, from means making time to reconnect with good friends. Last summer, in Sweden, we carved out some calendar time to spend with our good friends, the Thiessen family, who work in Nepal. It’s so cool to see them all change and grow every time we meet. You can see a few more pictures here.


My Food Ebook FOR SALE!

Do you like eating food? Do you like supporting mission? Then how about buying my ebook called Food Portfolio? It’s full of foods and drinks I have enjoyed living overseas. You can feel good knowing your money is going to something bigger than food and drink! Note! It is only available on iPad. Sorry Android users 🙁
Buy it here.. Now


#6 The Age Of Travel

I think our boys have collected nearly 100 flights together since they were born. We are a family of travellers, and the boys have their own system down pretty well. They pack their own little carry-on bags with all the necessities. I imagine if they ever owned an airline together, Rasmus would prefer that all seats be First Class, and Lucas would make sure their flights were the fastest on earth!

#7 New Home

No, these guys are not our new roommates. They are the movers who helped us put our furniture into our new rental, in a really great neighbourhood close to work, school and friends. Thank you God for finding the perfect home for us! I love how relaxed Thais are, when they can plop themselves down into someone else’s furniture, as if it was their own, and light up a cigarette.

#8 Party Time For Al

Date nights are something we have missed since moving to Thailand. But now that we have developed some deeper friendships, the boys get to enjoy sleepovers, and Veronica and I get to spend some quality date nights together.

#9 Classical

One of Veronica’s passions is her violin. This autumn she got to perform in a beautiful theatre in Chiang Mai alongside some well known Asian pianists. What a classy event that was! I recorded the entire concert. You can listen to it here.

#10 Photography

One of my passions is photography. I get to do cool photo shoots like this one – a graduation photo of a missionary  ‘kid’ from Chiang Mai. And the cool thing is I get to do what I love and sometimes make a little extra money on the side. You can see more of my grad and family photos here.

#11 A Rare Treat

Usually, Veronica’s and my work schedules keep us separated. The romantic in me often laments how nice it would be if we could work together more often. Well, last spring we got to work together on part of a film I was involved in. I was directing a live animation scene in a green screen studio, and Veronica got to be my script advisor. The thing that made me most happy was when she said she actually really enjoyed the entire day! You can watch the film here & photos here.

#12 Clovis

A family newsletter just isn’t complete without the family dog. Clovis, our beautiful Thai dog has proven to be a real gem. She has gained control over her addiction to chewing up welcome mats and plant leaves, and instead has turned her hobbies towards killing snakes, cockroaches and rats around our graden. She still is clueless as to what the words ”Clovis! Come!” means, but other than that, she’s doing pretty darned well!

You can see Clovis kill a snake here!

God’s richest blessings & Merry Christmas to you!
Rob, Veronica, Rasmus and Lucas

Drive by shooting nära Chiang Mai

Jungle shack 003
Ibland när jag ser ett motiv som jag vill fota, åker jag förbi flera gånger innan jag till slut tar med mig kameran och gör slag i saken. Här kommer några såna’ bilder.

Field workers dwelling

Den första är tagen bredvid vårt bostadsområde. Jag tror att det är jordbruksarbetare som bor i hyddorna under det stora trädet, men jag ska ta reda på mer när jag kan mer thai.
Jungle shack 002
Den andra är på vägen till ett av mina favorithak, ett café där jag gör min thailäxa – och övar att prata med ägaren. De är alltid så hjälpsamma. Den lilla hyddan är innästlad i djungelväxterna och lockar mitt öga om och om igen. Vad finns lite längre bort egentligen?
Palm tress in a field
Utsikten 180 grader från djungelhyddan.

Fun foto contest

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.

Good luck!

Here are the Facebook comments and the answer:

  • Rob Darby I’ll also give the recipe to the winner!
    19 hours ago ·
  • Shine Phinao I only know Rob Darby took the photo.
    19 hours ago ·
  • Jonathan Fullerton with a camera, surely I am not wrong 😛
    19 hours ago ·
  • Angela Hedley I have no clue.. But the food looks absolutely delicious…shame i no nothing about photography….or cameras…only that you are an amazing photographer…much love to you… Veronica n your handsome lads..xxxx
    19 hours ago ·
  • Mick Burke Rrrrright…
    18 hours ago ·
  • Veronica Darby You are a true nerd Rob, I love you:-)
    18 hours ago · · 1
  • E Sarah Masters ‎50mm lens, 1.8 to 2.8 aperture, natural light, light diffusor/reflector, lunch time/noonish…..Did I WIN!
    18 hours ago · · 1
  • Marie Hörnell nerd was the word – and he has good talents for pedagogic
    17 hours ago ·
  • Kris Jack there is a stronger light source behind and slightly to the right, i would guess to be a window and morning sunlight, possibly an overcast day… for fill light a diffused on camera flash possibly a ceiling bounce??. Aperture 2.0-3.0 on a 30mm lens.
    16 hours ago ·
  • Rob Darby I’ll give the answer in a day or two. Pass it on to other photographers – or NERDS! – you know and let them try to guess too.
    14 hours ago ·
  • Abby Minnich I agree with Angela. Haven’t the slightest clue, but the salmon looks wonderful!
    10 hours ago · Edited ·
  • Jo Plummer Same as Kris for light sources but you used 50mm lens 1.8 aperture
    9 hours ago ·
  • Sharon Ash You’re getting way too creative for my brain, Rob.
    8 hours ago ·
  • Rodney Blevins Its salmon…and lemon! Oh yeah and there are some tomatoes and potato salad involved. Did I win? (Sorry, I have a one track mind when it comes to food.)
    4 hours ago ·
  • 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.
    Link: http://www.icakuriren.se/mat-dryck/recept/saftiga-gr%C3%B6na-blad/

    www.icakuriren.se

    Letar du efter goda matrecept – besök Icakuriren.se din kokbok på nätet, 9000 ut…See More

Make somebody happy, keep your promise

Nun and friendsI 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.

Waiting For Spring.. has arrived!

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 plan to make many more books in the future, and I hope you’ll buy every single one of them 🙂

Let my people go!

let-my-people-go-2Every 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.

Some thoughts on boundaries

boundariesI 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.

Have camera, will document

Helen and the girls with the evidenceI 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?

Giant Gymhall Hamburger $3.95

image

Today, I heard an inspiring photographer say ”Shoot what you like to shoot. Don’t just copy someone else’s style.” His point was that if you build a porfolio of work that you enjoyed making, there will be an audience that also likes it, and they’ll hire you to create something for them too. but, if you always do what others want you to do, or try to copy someone else, you might not enjoy what you do.

So, here’s my first attempt at having fun with the camera – not that I’ve never had fun before! But I mean with this new perspective. It’s one of those FX pictures, where the hand looks incredibly ginormous because of the way I placed it in the frame in front of the gym hall. Pretty nifty, huh? My brother and I tried this once when we were kids, in our parents’ back yard. So much fun!

I think I like this new way of shooting. Maybe I’ll make lots of bucks selling pictures of giant gymhall hamburgers. Or, maybe, just maybe I’ll develop unique a style out of it and become the next Ansel Adams.