Dan's Thoughts On Photography
(UPDATED Oct 2013)

Lighthouse at Dawn, Stratford, Connectict, September 2006

I've updated this essay again, on how my passion for creative artistic photography has been re-invigorated by using digital cameras. I've had my Pentax digital single-lens reflex camera for almost 8 years (and a succession of smaller, cheaper cameras for almost 9 years) and you can see many of the results on our site here. I've shot over 26,000 digital photos now! I really enjoy making landscape and nature photographs that show the glory and splendor of God's natural creation. I find myself praising God for how beautiful his creation is while I look for photo opportunities. As the apostle Paul said, "...since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made..." (Romans 1:20, NIV)

While I enjoy coming home with good photos, that's really less important than the joy I experience observing the beautiful light, colors, textures, and juxtapositions of God's creation. Looking for good photo opportunities heightens my awareness of the visual beauty all around. To me, a great photograph, especially a nature photo, doesn't draw attention to the photographer, but rather to my Lord who created the subject. A great photograph has emotional impact, making me say "Wow!" and to praise God for the beauty of His creation.

What I do as a photographer, at best, is reveal the beauty that's already there, isolate a certain view of it, and share it with others. Any artistry I have is itself a gift from God. My only part is the choice of where and when to point my camera, and the portrayal of the results. God provides the subject matter, and any favorable response from viewers is to His credit and glory, not mine.

You can do it, too -- go here for a description of how I get my photos, and recommendations on cameras, editing, and printing.

Ultimately, regardless of what camera you use, photographs (at least the kind I shoot) are simply captured moments of what our eyes see. They serve as a reminder to look, to see, to appreciate the tremendous glory of God's creation that's visible to all of us, whether we have a camera or not. Go out, see, enjoy, and praise God for what He's created!

Note on equipment:

It's the photographer, not the camera, that makes the photograph. Of course you need a camera, but for the most part any camera will do, if you know how to use it and are in the right place at the right time and are paying attention. The image itself is what matters, in the same way that music is about the performed piece itself, and what it evokes in your heart and mind. The machinery you use to get there is just a tool. So, the kind of camera, or the kind of guitar, is much less important than the final result. An artist needs tools, and has to be able to use them, but they're really just means to an end. Some cameras can do more than others, but they don't do it by themselves...the photographer is the one using the tool and making the artistic choices. So, don't worry about the type of camera. Whatever you have is fine. Just go shoot, and practice seeing the beauty of God's creation!

Arrange things in your viewfinder so that it feels good to you, no matter what the 'rules' say. That's your vision and no one else's.
Rod Barbee, Photofocus Magazine

The best facility you have for making great photos is your own awareness, sense of composition and your own set of eyes.
Bruce Percy, The Light and the Land