Category - photography

Daffodils

The daffodils came out early this year.  Or so it seems… maybe they always seem to come up early.

It just seems a bit strange to see such a vivid sign of the coming spring so early in the middle of the winter.

The woman who comes to clean my house every other week took it upon herself to cut some of the flowers and leave them on my kitchen counter.

I wrapped them in a black drop cloth and made this photo (with my iPhone 7) which serves as the ‘cover photo’ on my Facebook page for the time being.

Farewell, “Alive Now”

….and thanks for all the fish?

For the past several years, it has been my unique and singular privilege to have photos from my visits to the UK (and other destinations) featured in “Alive Now,” a bi-monthly journal of prayers and meditations published by the Upper Room Ministries here in Nashville.

Sadly, “Alive Now” has just published the last issue of it’s ‘print edition’ – another victim of the relentless transition to digital media in the 21st Century.

On the other hand, I’m pleased to report that this final issues features not one, but two of my photos from England and Scotland – and this time, one of them (finally!) made the cover.

The cover photo is from Jervaulx Abbey – a Cistercian monastery that lies in ruin on a private estate in Yorkshire England. The interior photo is from St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Scotland, a destination known more for its golf than it’s ecclesiastics. St. Andrew’s Cathedral was once the largest church in all of Scotland, now all that remains is the East Facade, seen here through the arch of the West Gate.

I am forever indebted to Nancy Terzian,  Beth Richardson and Gina Manskar for their support and patronage over these past several years. The inclusion of photos like these in their publications has provided some much needed validation of my fascination with these ruins.

It is appropriate, I guess, that the theme of this final edition of “Alive Now” is “Thresholds,” as we all pass through the thresholds of our daily existence to whatever awaits on the other side.

Thank you, Nancy, Beth, and Gina.

Onward…

Where’d Paul Go??

I can’t really know if anybody besides me has been asking that question, but if you’re one of the regulars around here (the numbers may not be legion, but the affection is sincere…) you may have been wondering why the frequency of posts to this site dropped off dramatically in the second half of last year (2016).

At least, I hope somebody noticed, and even if nobody did notice, I’m going to attempt to explain the absence.

So, where did Paul go?

He sorta went into hiding for awhile. His innate tendency to be reclusive and withdrawn when things “go all pear-shaped” got the better of him for several months.

Or, rather, maybe, he just had the wind kicked out of him, and he’s been trying to catch his breath.

Or maybe he’s been thrown into the middle of a lake and is treading water, trying to figure which shore to swim to.

Yeah, that’s it. Treading water.

Chalk it all up to disruption on a personally cosmic scale.

– – – – – – –

I remember exactly when the fabric of my universe started to tear: April 29, 2016.

Ann and I were in Portland, Oregon. She got back in the car and said,

“They want me to start August 1st.”

At that moment, the Big Bang Theory went into full reverse and my Universe started to implode….

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Exit 2016, Enter 2017, Exit…

Well, here’s something good that happened in 2016 that bodes well for 2017…

For the past several years, I have been a regular contributor to the publication Alive Now – a bimonthly publication of the Upper Room Ministries which “speaks to the opportunities and challenges of following Christ in the modern world.”

Anybody who knows me and my lack of (organized) religious conviction will appreciate the irony in that mission statement.

Nevertheless, over the years Alive Now has featured many of my photos from my wanderings amid the medieval ruins of the U.K.  I am endlessly grateful for the patronage of the magazine’s art director, Nancy Terzian and its editor, Beth Richardson – who also selected one of my photos from Scotland to serve as the cover of her book, Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings.

Alive Now has published enough of my photos – and actually paid for them! – that I’ve probably earned enough over the years to reimburse the trips I made to England and Scotland to shoot the photos of medieval ruins that they used (OK, not ALL of the photos were from the UK, but who’s counting?).

alivecover

click to embiggen

Now, the capstone of that fruitful relationship is in place.  After however many years, I finally secured the cover of March/April 2017 edition of Alive Now.  I know it’s a sin, but I’ve coveted a cover for as long as I have been submitting photos, and I finally have one.

Unfortunately, in what feels like a hangover from the annus horribilis known as 2016 (trust me, you want to follow that ‘2016’ link…), the cover comes with its own sad tidings: this will be the final print edition of Alive Now.  The publication will continue, but as has befallen so many print publications in the past decade, all future editions will be online/digital only. Once again, The Medium Is The Message (#TMITM).

The photo on the cover was taken at a monastic ruin in Yorkshire, England called Jervaulx Abbey. I stumbled on Jervaulx while touring the UK in the fall of 2014 looking for more “Portals of Stone.”

Unlike the neatly manicured ruins that are maintained by well-endowed institutions like English Heritage, Jervaulx sits on a private estate. Its owners have gone to considerable effort and expense over the past decade to rehabilitate the ruin, but it still lingers in a state that is more reflective of how these ruins must have stood before their preservation became pet projects for the British aristocracy starting in the 18th century.  That made spending an afternoon at Jervaulx an exercise in time travel that stopped in at least two different centuries at the same time.

And here is the ‘Portals of Stone’ version:

pa160471-edit

I was afraid I’d missed the boat…

…when I waited until  after the World Series to get myself a Cubs cap.

I’ve been wearing it ever since, and it has provoked endless greetings of “Go Cubs!” wherever I go.

And it’s a walking illustration of my default answer to the question, “How are you?”

“How about those Cubs?”