Blog Archive

Sunday, December 29, 2013

My Ideal Digital Camera

In looking at some of the top end Digital Slr's and even the enthusiast models I have become less and less impressed with the technology overload.
The other day I met a camera enthusiast who has not been in photography all that long but has some top end Canon Digital equipment.

He was looking  for some basic instruction but was obviously caught up in the technology overload and was showing me all the settings he had his camera on and what he would do to take a basic portrait.

I must confess I was terrified of the world he had immersed himself in.

The menu on his camera was so much more elaborate than my  "lower end" Canon camera.

And he was an amateur enthusiast.

It put me off buying a higher end full frame slr.

There was a time with film cameras when you had a minimum of things to select and think about on your camera and when taking photographs.

1. Film type, Daylight or tungsten  and Iso of film? Colour or Black and white, negative or transparency?

120mm,220mm,35mm.5x4.

2. Camera type. 35mm ragefinder,35mm SLR, medium format SLR or TLR.(6x6,6x4.5,6x7,6x8,6x9)

3.Shutter speed.

4. Aperture

5. Lens type.

6. Flash or available light?

7. Tripod or hand held?

8. Was I producing prints or slides? Enlargements or standard prints.

9. Metering mode.

Any processing and printing and correction of faulty exposures was done by the film lab.

Now all of those things are in reality incorporated in one way or another in the digital realm.

But throw in.

Raw or Jpeg?

High Dynamic range.

Picture styles.

Various flash settings and adjustments.

In camera editing.

White balance.

GPS

WiFi

Full frame or APSc

Image stabilisation

Auto focus or manual focus

Focus selection points

Flash cards

Tethered or un-tethered shooting

Remote control

Slave shooting using on and off camera flash

Photoshop, Lightroom etc.

in camera special effects.

And the list goes on.

The closest I have come to my ideal digital camera was I think the first one I purchased.

The pentax *istD.

It had some basic digital adjusting to do but was effectively a digital version of the Pentax MZS which was the final flagship Pentax SLR film camera.

You could run with the default settings and produce some great pics.

The menu was no where near as confusing as the current crop of digital cameras.

6 mega pixels but still produced a very good picture.

Using it was more like the experience of using a film slr.

In addition it was compatible with my large collection of Pentax lenses.

I still have the camera.

It needs some repair at moment.

I think it would be a good investment to get it working.

It sufferred at my hands once from having coca cola spilt over it.

It did get fixed but now not working again.

There is a lot to be said for cameras that are sealed against such things.

I am being drawn back more and more to shooting film.

It may be more costly per shot but that will help curb the addiction of firing off digital salvos when ever I have a camera in hand and that is often.

It will also cut down on many hours spent "playing" on a computer.

The results will more than likely be purer and better.

So watch this space for some film shooting results in the future but not very often.

There are apparently a lot of photographers returning to film.

http://www.slrlounge.com/9-film-shooting-wedding-photographers-you-should-follow

The author with wedding couple Tidbinbilla ACT. Pentax *istD.Cropped from landscape original.2006.

Sydney Harbour Ferry Pentax*istD

Pentax*istD

Pentax*istD

Pentax*istD

Waiting for the Punt (Ferry) Pentax*istD





























"In Between" by Geoff Thompson

Below is the message and order of service  I brought to The Parkrose Nursing Home on 29/12/13.


Order of Service 291213

Call to worship  Geoff

Psalm 95:1-7

Hymns 58     This is my Father’s world
            529  All Things Bright and beautiful

Announcements:  Dean

Prayer:  Geoff

Reading:  Ephesians 1:3-10

Hymn 96 Never in a human story was a sight so wondrous seen.
Communion
Offering
Prayer


Hymn     28  Great is thy faithfulness.

Message:   “In between”  Geoff

Hymn  586  I know not why God’s wondrous grace
                           V1-2,4-5

Benediction 

Vesper   A new commandment I give unto you.


  
SERMON FOR PARKROSE 291213  IN BETWEEN

Call to worship
Psalm 95
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.
For the Lord is the great God,
    the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
    and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship,
    let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    the flock under his care.
 
Scripture Reading:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

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IN BETWEEN

At this time of the year we are about to see off the current year and welcome the next.
It is a time between Christmas and New Year for reflection.

Reflection on what has just gone by in the last 12 months, or even longer than that and what is just around the corner.

What does the future hold?

In the last 12 months we may have experienced some wonderful moments.
We may have been through some heartache.

We may have lost a loved relative or friend.

We may have had the joy of seeing a cherished son or daughter or granddaughter get married.

We may have seen the arrival of new babies in the family.

There may have been wonderful birthday celebrations.

Our emotions have been up and down and all over the place.

We may have struggled with continuing ill health.

Our Bible reading tells us if we are Christians,

“3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

There will have been times in the last 12 months where we have certainly felt blessed but times when probably we haven’t .

The hardest thing of course is losing someone we loved dearly.

We may still be grieving.

Jesus is still grieving with us and wanting to comfort us.

What lies ahead in the new year?

More than likely more of the same we have just experienced this year.

Of course we are always kept up to date with all the latest disasters and atrocities if we watch the news or read the papers.
That is usually interspersed with some feel good stories.

A Christian Minister we learned much from once said he was, as he got older and more mature in his faith, able to look back on each year and say that it was better than the year before.

I can’t say I have had that experience very often.

I have personally known some very dark times with depression in particular.

Looking back on this year in many ways it has been overall, a great year for Lesley and I but you never know what’s around the corner.

Two days ago we found our favourite cat,”little Cat” we call him,(he’s anything but that) had broken his back leg in 2 places.

We were given a choice.

Amputate his leg or do corrective surgery.

We will be going ahead with the surgery.

This Monday in fact.

Our pets can be such a blessing and we grieve much when we lose them or can no longer care for them.

One young woman across the road has dubbed “Little Cat” as “The Captain of Clement Street” such is his popularity with everyone in the street.

I digress a little.


So what was the minister on about?

He wan’t discounting all those things that are bound to happen to all of us one way or another.

In fact this same Minister in his later years became bed ridden after suffering a stroke and lost his ability to speak properly.

Amazingly he could still say the Lord’s prayer fluently.

He could also sing Hymns.

But normal speech had deserted him.

He still had an amazing smile though.

He was talking about how if we continue to grow in our relationship with God, as we spend genuine time with Jesus each day,

He is the source of Joy and Peace.

We were in Renmark last weekend and Lesley just about bought out the local Christian bookshop.

She bought back this amazing wall plaque or sign.

“GOD I AM IN YOUR HANDS.
I KNOW YOU WON’T DROP ME”.

It says much about the concept of knowing not what the future holds but  knowing who holds the future.

He holds us in the palm of His hand.

We have a favourite Fridge magnet also which we sometimes share with others.

It goes like this.

“I was regretting the past
      and fearing the future
Suddenly the Lord was speaking:

“MY NAME IS I AM!”

He paused.

I waited.

He continued.

“When you live in the past
    with its mistakes and regrets,
    it is hard.

I am not there.

My name is not I WAS!

When you live in the future, with its problems  and fears, it is hard.
I am not there.
My name is not I WILL BE!

When you live in this moment,
It is not hard. I am here.
My name is I AM”

We may think

“that’s all very well for you to say but you don’t know how hard it is for me at this moment.”

I don’t of course.

But  Jesus , the God of all the universe, He does .

He knows your circumstances.

He knows our circumstances.

He loves each one of us individually.

By His death and resurrection he made it possible for us to know eternal forgiveness from our sins.

Possible to know assurance of having a place prepared for us when we pass out of this life to the next.

We may not  have arrived yet, as fully fledged mature Christians on top of everything.

In fact that is a lifetime process and we should be wanting to grow as Christians to the very end.

I read these words the other day as attributed to John Newton who wrote the hymn “Amazing Grace”

It I think encapsulates the experience we all have as growing Christians.

It sounds a lot like someone “In Between”

“I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am”


We will sing our closing Hymn

1.  I know not why God’s wondrous grace
  To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
  Redeemed me for His own.
o   But “I know Whom I have believed
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
  Unto Him against that day.”
o    
2.  I know not how this saving faith
  To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His word
  Wrought peace within my heart.
4.  I know not what of good or ill
  May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
  Before His face I see.
5.  I know not when my Lord may come,
  At night or noon-day fair,
Nor if I’ll walk the vale with Him,
  Or “meet Him in the air.”



Vesper

A new commandment
I give unto you
That you love one another
  As I have loved you,
That you love one another
  As I have loved you.
    By this shall all men
    Know you are My disciples
    If you have love one to another.








































Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Christmas Message by Geoff Thompson


Below is the message I shared with the Renmark West and Renmark Town Uniting  Church on 22/12/13.
To any who read this blog I wish you a joyful and blessed Christmas.
Make it a time of celebration and renewed faith.





EMMANUEL:GOD WITH US AND FOR US.

First reading.Matthew 1:18-25

Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[d]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[e] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[f] because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[g] (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”
  
2nd reading
Luke 1
The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”


Mary Visits Elizabeth
39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”


Have you ever thought about the real meaning of Christmas?

Christmas is becoming less real in the lives of many around the world.

Don’t you think?

We have just come back from a holiday to Canberra about 2 weeks ago.

While there we went one night to see a decorated house all  lit up with lights like some people do these days.

It was easily the most spectacular and glittering decorated house  we had ever seen.

Yet there was no evidence,no skeric of a Christian or biblical happening related to the real Christmas!

Not a thing?

We looked but couldn’t find a thing.

No nativity scene-----No angels----No shepherds-----no wise men-----no manger,no Mary,no Joseph,no Jesus.

A child visiting would be entranced but nothing of Christmas at all!

To defend Canberra however we went to a wonderful Carols by Candlelight with lots of traditional carols.



What is called Christmas these days and in the recent past has had little to do with the real Christmas.

The real Christmas had some of these elements in it.

A miracle birth.

The virgin Mary giving birth to a son conceived by the Holy Spirit.

God is now among us and is called Emmanuel and Jesus.

The word Emmanuel means God with us.

His birth has a future  impact on the eternal destiny of millions of people yet to be born and then present  and living at the time of His birth.

Now to the people who God called to be part of this Divine Drama.

Mary and Joseph.

Zacharias and Elisabeth.

Elisabeth  and Zacharias had longed for a child but this had never happened.

They must have felt like many who in this day think they must have done something wrong to not conceive.

Elisabeth was past the Child bearing age.

Yet God’s plans and ways are often much bigger than ours and in this case Elisabeth and Zacharia.

Elisabeth gave birth to John the Baptist who was very much part of this drama.

This  plan for mankind.

They Elisabeth and Zacharia  were humble people who loved God.

They were prepared to do whatever God asked of them.

God chose them!

Not anyone of the stature of a world or local celebrity!

Mary’s amazing response to the angel.

Total abandonment to God’s will!
“And Mary said,behold, the handmaid(or bondmaid) of the Lord:be it unto me according to thy word” Luke 1:38.
To the Lord I belong ,body and soul.It must be as you said: (paraphrase of Phillips translation)).

How many wonderful people does God have who live in total obscurity who love Him body and soul.

They are never in the spotlight.

Who among the great and the wise(?) religious leaders of that day would have picked Mary.

They would not have given her a second thought.

The more one ponders this remarkable event the more one is filled with wonder.

The choice is so accurate,

so right!

God knew the innermost being of Mary.

Body and soul God knew her to be His.

Here was a pure love for Him

A genuinely single love.

God knew that she loved Him with all her heart,mind and strength.

There was nothing else that she shared her devotion with.

There were many prominent people in Israel at that time yet God seems to have by passed most of them.

Is this a lesson for us?

Most of us serve God making allowance for the pressures bearing in upon us.
:what will happen if we do what God wants;

how will my popularity be affected?

 What will others think?

And so it goes on.

Our love of God is mostly a mixture of other things and devotion to God.

As Christians we are also ordinary people called and chosen by God.

We are called to be part of the Divine Drama.

The following verses are some of Lesley’s favourites and should be for us all.

Ephesians Chapter 1

Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

 We now  come to the place God chose.

We know it was Bethlehem.

No one knows the actual location.

We do not really know the year, the  month , the day or the time He was born.

We don’t really know who the wise men were or how many there were.

People have made many assumptions about the birth of Jesus over the years.

What is now called Christmas.

We do not really know whether Mary travelled on a donkey.

We can imagine the long journey they were on.

The anxiety as the baby’s birth drew closer.

Then they came to Bethlehem.

They were crowded out.

We could get angry with the people who crowded them out but they were just ordinary people going about their ordinary lives.

We are ordinary people who often in going about our ordinary business have no room for Jesus.

He gets crowded out.

Our loss when we allow ordinary things to take precedence over Jesus is immense.

Then we come to  the wonder of this truly supernatural event.

Shepherds and Joseph and Mary are in awe as they take part in the birth of our Saviour.

It occurred to me recently that one of the reasons God came to us as a baby was because our own children can identify with babies from an early age.

Just the simple story of the birth of Jesus when told to little ones is something they can relate to.

A  manger on the mantlepiece or under the Christmas tree can have a big impact! 




 more so than we might think.

The rejoicing angelic choir.

Imagine what this must have been like.
The angels knew the significance of what was happening.

They sang their hearts out.

There is arguably no more beautiful song  to evoke the first Christmas than “Oh little town of Bethlehem”

It is a prayer.

A most beautiful song of praise  and in part a  telling prayer.

It is also a marvellous summary of all that was put in motion, the gospel,THE GOOD NEWS, on that night.

We went to a carols night in Canberra on our recent holiday and this same  carol , for me, was the highlight

It would be wonderful if everyone who sings this prayer this Christmas would enable God to answer it!

The prayer part.

5. O holy Child of Bethlehem,
    Descend to us, we pray!
Cast out our sin and enter in,
    Be born in us to-day.
We hear the Holy angels,
    The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
    Our Lord Emmanuel!

The full song.

1. O little town of Bethlehem,
    How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
    The silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
    The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
    Are met in thee to-night.

2. O morning stars, together
    Proclaim the holy birth!
And praises sing to God the King,
    And peace to men on earth.
For Christ is born of Mary
    And gathered all above,
While mortals sleep the Angels keep
    Their watch of wondering love.

3. How silently, how silently,
    The wondrous gift is given;
So God imparts to human hearts
    The blessings of His Heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
    But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
    The dear Christ enters in.

4. Where children pure and happy
    Pray to the blessed Child,
Where misery cries out to Thee,
    Son of the Mother mild;
1
Where Charity stands watching
    And Faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks,
    And Christmas comes once more.

5. O holy Child of Bethlehem,
    Descend to us, we pray!
Cast out our sin and enter in,
    Be born in us to-day.
We hear the Holy angels,
    The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
    Our Lord Emmanuel!


We will sing this as our closing Hymn.

Shall we make it our prayer as well,

as a congregation and as individuals.