Reflections of Creation

One of the greatest things that God has given humans is the ability to see beauty in the world around us. I have never noticed my dog stop and stare at the beauty of a forest or the incredible colors of a sunset, but these things have the ability to stop me in my tracks in wonder and awe. This website is my attempt to capture some of the beauty and glory of an indescribable God by capturing reflections of Him that I see in His creation.


three pictures of one tired cat

One thing I love about photography is the creativity and variety you can put into it. I love playing with light and taking pictures in low light situations (just looking at the first month of blog pictures probably shows that). Today, I have three pictures for you that are not that great, but I had a lot of fun taking them. All three of these are taken in a room with only a desk lamp on. The most amazing part is seeing how still the cat sat for the two pictures with long exposures.

This first picture is just a picture taken with no flash and a four second exposure. Since there is little light in the room, the four second exposure allows that room to look lit since there was quite a bit of time for light to filter onto the lens.

Honestly, that picture was pretty boring, but you can get more drama by using a flash (well duh, it's not like it takes an Einstein level professional photographer to understand that). This picture is just a standard flash with an exposure time of 1/40th of a second that creates some great dark and light areas of the picture.

Now, this last picture is where things get interesting. Some photographers like to use a technique called "slow sync" where they combine the two. For this picture, I had the camera flash right as the picture started, so that little abby here is well lit. Then, I left the shutter open for four seconds to allow the ambient lighting in the room to do it's work, and you end up with the entire picture being lit up with a yellowish glow. You lose the shadows found in the second picture, but this technique creates its own drama.

See, an educational post with cats involved. I guess they can be used for something other than warming my wife's lap.

9 responses

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  • Christi said so, on

    lol! now that is one relaxed kitty!!! how do you change the length of that the aperture? someday I am going to learn how to play with the settings on my camera! smiles...

  • Travis said so, on

    Impressive, Dave. All this time I thought you were a trouphy husband. I had no idea you were smart...

  • Anonymous said so, on

    Length of exposure is shutter speed. Picture the shutter as a "hole" that opens as you take the picture. The shutter speed controls how long the hole is open and the aperture is how big the hole is when it opens. You can do great things with the combination of the two. Kara is taking all of her stuff with an aperture of 1.8 on a $70 lens that she bought. Yep - that's right - she does not use the $600 lenses that we have because she wants the 1.8 f-stop (aperture) because it makes the background out of focus which is what she wants for portraits. I am sure Dave will be able to explain it better.

  • Dave said so, on

    Will, I'm smart? High praise coming from the guy who has to carry me through Trivial Pursuit. Seriously man, you need a handicap pie piece for always having me as your partner.

    Christi, on your camera there are three modes most people ignore: A, S, and M. A is aperture priority where you set how big the hole is and the camera will pick your shutter speed. S is shutter priority where you pick the shutter speed and the camera picks your aperture. My favorite mode is M. This is manual mode where you have to pick the shutter speed and aperture yourself. When I first got into photography, it was with a manual camera that Kara and Dan gave me. With that, I learned all about this stuff, and a manual camera is probably the best way to learn how to take pictures. With a lower aperture, you get more light and need smaller exposure times. That's why Kara uses a f1.8 lens. That combination lets you focus on what's close while the background is out of focus. The problem with most regular digital cameras is your limited aperture range. My digital camera has a range of f3.2 to f8. This is incredibly small, and I am real limited with what I can do with my digital for this reason. For comparison, my favorite lens is for my manual camera which has a range of f1.8 to f22.

    Let me give you examples of how you would use these. For Kara, she takes portraits where you want the background to be fuzzy and out of focus. Here is the best example of one I had here on the computer (didn't feel like scanning anything). This is done with a small aperture and a fairly quick shutter time (small aperture means more light gets in which means you need a shorter shutter time). You would want a small aperture for pictures like this.

    Now, a large aperture is when you want a long exposure so that everything in the picture is in focus and sharp. The best example of this is probably landscape photography. Guys like Ansel Adams would used this technique. I do not do much landscape photography, but here is the best example I have without having to scan something. With shots like this, you get shutter speeds that can be up to a second or two so you will need a tripod to take a picture that way. This landscape shot I took would have looked much different if I had a tripod with me that day, because I would have done a longer exposure with a smaller aperture, and the colors would have been much more saturated.

    So, there's your long answer to your short question (although Daniel had answered it-I guess I just don't want to do any work around the house).

    Dan, where did you guys get a f1.8 for $70? I really want a 50mm at f1.8 for that A2. Any suggestions?

  • Dave said so, on

    I also like doing pictures where it looks like night during the day or vice versa. Those can be very tricky, and I am not that great at them. Here is an example of one. (it appears I even wrinkled the picture above the bright star)

    We have a really cheap scanner, and I cannot get certain styles of pictures to scan well. Take my word for it that the paper variety of this picture is much prettier. This shot was taken at a hiking trail up at our local college somewhere around 11:30pm. The trail winds around and you can find a few dark corners and I was in one of those. I wanted to get some star trail pictures with some kind of scenery in the foreground, so I tried here. I only had a flashlight, and it can get tough on a moonless night to position plants in your picture when you can't see them. So, my placement of the landscape is not good, but you get a general idea what the ground looked like.

    This exposure time on this was something like 5 to 7 minutes (I don't remember exactly). This allowed enough light to come in so that the plants could be seen. In reality, it was very dark here. The sky even looks blue, and it is only the star trails that give a clue to what time of day it really is.

    Kinda cool stuff and a fun experiment I tried a couple of years ago.

  • Dave said so, on

    Okay, I just proof read my comments, and there is something I want to make clear because it is really confusing.

    Small aperture setting=large aperture hole

    This is backwards, and can be confusing. A small aperture setting of f1.8 creates a big hole for light to reach your lens. A large aperture setting of f22 creates a tiny aperture hole for light to reach the lens.

    Above, when I would say "small aperture," I was meaning small aperture setting, not a small aperture hole.

    Does that make any sense?

  • Christi said so, on

    Thanks Dave {and Dan!} I appreciate all of the explanation. I sat here and tried to play with my settings, but I can't get any of my settings to change, even on Manual, so I am afraid that I am actually going to have to get my book out. UGH... I hate that! smiles...

  • Anonymous said so, on

  • Alison Bryant said so, on

    Ummm, I like the pictures! (That's my intelligent contribution.) =)


the most important part of this website

I enjoy photography and I always find myself wanting more time to be outside with a camera. The idea of posting my pictures was born out of the love for my wife, Alison (, who hates it when I do not take my days off. This website, reflections of creation, is a way to force me to get out of the office from time to time and putting me outside where I love to be. While a creative outlet for me, I hope this is an encouraging site for you, and one which helps point you to the Creator of all this beauty around us. God is so much bigger and amazing than we could ever imagine, and He loves you and me! What an amazing thought! He loves us so much that He was even willing to let His son, Jesus, die as a sacrifice for us. That fact is more beautiful than any picture you will see on this website. I hope you know Jesus, but if you do not, please email me or go to Thanks again for coming and stop by again soon.

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