Friday, January 03, 2014

My first DSLR

Small Christmas tree with LED lights from Walmart = $20.00
Dem bokehs in shallow-DOF Big Face shots of loved ones = priceless.


Ever since college, I have always believed in capturing moments using photos and videos (see my earlier posts on this blog). When it came to photos, I also believed in (what I called) Big Face shots; photos composed with at least a third of the frame dominated by the head and shoulders of the subject.

After birth of Joshua, I came across other parents (online and offline) who said that a proper DSLR was the best investment they made, and that they wished they had made that investment sooner. After doing some reading, I figured that I could get a DSLR+Lens system optimised for shallow depth-of-field portrait shots for under $500. By above calculation, we actually spent under $400. We prayed about this purchase for several days, and what really clenched it for me was the following exchange with Joshua:

It’s good enough!

Just hours after arrival of the lens (more on this below), we are already shooting away and enjoying the pictures immensely. TYG!

There was kind of an “episode” with this purchase of camera + lens. Ordering the cheapest options online meant that we purchased camera body and lens separately. Now the camera arrived five days before the lens (body arriving just after Christmas 2013, and lens arriving on the second day of 2014). During those five long days, we had a camera that could not take any pictures. It could change shooting modes, it even made clicking noises when you pressed the shutter; but it was a useless camera, not able to do what it was made to do. Now, it probably helped that we had these days to play around with the camera settings and have time to actually read the manual etc, but the fact was: the camera could not take a single picture without lens.

This got me thinking: Could it be that my 2013 was a year of “camera without lens”? And now, with the arrival of my “lens” in 2014, would I now start producing? God, may it be true!

As the New Year crept up on us, I decided to take a day out just to fast and read Deuteronomy. Several things stood out to me:

  • In chapter two, God instructs the Israelites not to provoke the following people-groups. Descendants of Esau (v.5), Moabites (v.9), and Ammonites (v.19). Each time, God tells them: “I will not give you any part of their land.” So often, I think we only focus on the Promised Land: the “land that the LORD swore he would give to your fathers”. But the truth is, God also has set for us boundaries. We need to know our proper place. What are the boundaries that God has set for me and my family? Moses was a shining example in this regard. He really wanted to set foot on the Promised Land, but God would not have it. He humbly accepted his lot, when God responded to his plea with “That is enough. Do not speak to me anymore about this matter.” (3:26) (See also 19:14 “Do not move your neighbour’s boundary stone”)
  • Cities of refuge. One of the first things God instructs the people Israel upon entering the the Promised Land is one of cities of refuge. It is almost puzzling at first why this should be such a high priority. They select three central cities, and build roads just to make these cities of refuge accessible (19:1-3)! Not commerce, not tourism, etc. but to provide those who unintentionally killed someone with a place to hide from the family members seeking vengeance. But that is exactly it. God was so concerned that among his holy people, there should be no innocent bloodshed. So remarkable. Am I as passionate about justice? “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.” (10:17)
  • In chapter twelve, God instructs them on how to worship Him: namely, that they should only do it in Jerusalem. Three times, he repeats the following phrase: “There, the in the presence of the LORD, you and your families should eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the LOD your God has blessed you.” (v.7, v.12, v.18) Do I count it all joy whenever we have family devotions? Whenever I go to church? True rejoicing (just enjoying the blessings and Giver of those blessings) honours God and pleases Him. Do more of this this year! (See also 16:14 “Be joyful at your Feast”)
  • You see a real glimpse into the heart of God in 5:29, just after God gives them the Ten Commandments again: “Oh that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!” Amen, amen, amen!
  • Forgetfulness is the beginning of all sin. It is amazing how many times Moses warns the people of God of forgetting God when all is going well throughout chapter eight. 
  • The possession of Canaan by people of Israel was not because of their righteousness; rather it was a divine reckoning on the wicked people of Canaan (9:1-6). Joseph, do not attribute to your own righteousness whenever some blessing comes your way. In fact, do not think that you have any inherent righteousness apart from Jesus.
  • Circumcise your hearts (10:16). You are the children of the LORD your God…for you are a people holy to the LORD your God…the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession (14:1-2). There will always be poor people in the land (15:11). No man should appear before the LORD empty-handed (16:16). You must be blameless before the LORD your God (18:13). When you capture a city, do not destroy its trees…because you can eat their fruit (20:19). When you come across a bird’s nest…you may take the young, but be sure to let the mother go, so that it may go well with you and you may have a long life (22:6,7). As part of your [military] equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement. For the LORD your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy (23:13). 

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