Monthly Archives: August 2014

A Reason for the Hope

The inside of lovely Sacred Heart Church in Johnstown, Cape Breton

The inside of lovely Sacred Heart Church in Johnstown, Cape Breton

“Now who is going to harm you if you are enthusiastic for what is good? But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but hold Christ in your hearts. Always be prepared to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do so with gentleness and reverence...” 1 Peter 3:13-16


A woman who I journeyed with this year made a decision to put Christ in the center of her life. I spent a long time with her, discussing with her and helping her to finally see that Christ takes nothing away but instead has come so she can “have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) One of the issues that came up was that she was afraid of religious persecution within her social and work circles because she has seen other people of faith be discriminated against.

This passage will always give me strength and hope. I will not always be strong and perfect before others, especially those who are critical, but I pray that I can keep Christ in my heart so that I can remain steadfast.

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Product Photography

My sister-in-law will be starting up a hobby cake business. Nothing too serious, but she will be making specialty cakes to order. I was very enthusiastic about this, and offered to help her by taking pictures of her cakes to put on her new website. Currently, the only decent pictures she has of her cakes are from me anyways! (I have a niece and a nephew…and their birthday cakes are always awesome!).

The prospect of learning something new about photography gets me really excited…but also really nervous. I am self-taught, so I always have this feeling that I have no idea what I’m doing and I will mess everything up. Certainly my technical skills are lacking, and I usually get a decent picture by fiddling around without really know if I’m doing it right.

I decided to read up on product photography to get a general sense of how to do it. Key ingredients are good lighting, a good camera with the proper settings, and a non-distracting background. I’ve got everything taken care of except the “proper settings”. I usually struggle with this. How often do I think I have this amazing image only to get home and realize I missed something crucial. Under/overexposed, too high ISO, focused on the wrong thing, wrong aperture, wrong shutter speed etc.  So frustrating!

I set up a little “studio” to practice. Here are the results!

I set myself up in front of my biggest window (for the best light). I used a (wrinkly) white bed sheet as my back drop. I was using my 35mm lens. I had my camera on a tripod because I had heard that the “best” settings are to have a very small aperature (f22 instead of f1.8) which would mean that I would have to have a slow shutter speed to let in enough light.

This is my first image. As you can see, the back drop is pretty distracting (I need to iron my sheets!). It’s also blurry.

0.5 sec at f/22 ISO 800

0.5 sec at f/22 ISO 800

In this one I slowed down shutter speed, increased aperture, and decreased ISO to get rid of the blurriness.

1.6 sec at f/16 ISO 100

1.6 sec at f/16 ISO 100

I had read that using a diffuser can help warm up natural light. I put up a white plastic shower curtain sheet over my window. It definitely warmed up my picture.

1.6 sec at f/13 ISO 100

1.6 sec at f/13 ISO 100

For this one I added a flash and slowed down the shutter speed to make it brighter.

3 sec, f/13 ISO 100

3 sec, f/13 ISO 100

I wanted to see what it would look like if I went to my biggest aperture. Moving it up to f/1.8 allowed me to speed up my shutter speed. As you see, the background, though more blurry, is still distracting. However, I was pleased to see that the image is still crisp even though the depth of field has changed!

1/30 sec, f/1.8 ISO 100

1/30 sec, f/1.8 ISO 100

I moved my display further away from the back drop and it fixed that issue!

1/30, f/1.8, ISO 100

1/30, f/1.8, ISO 100

Something not to be ignored is the perspective. The image above is great, but this one shows off more of these cool mugs. A winner!

1/30, f/1.8, ISO 100

1/30, f/1.8, ISO 100

Overall, I prefer the bigger aperture. It creates a more modern “bokeh” look by blurring the background. Some of the image crispness suffers in the places that are a different distance away from the camera. However, I do not need to shoot at 1.8 to achieve the blurry look. Simply changing it by a few stops might solve that issue!

Welcome Back

He guides my path

My last post on this blog was November 2011. That was almost 3 years ago! So.Much.Has.Changed.

I was in my 4th year of university struggling to find my purpose and my path. To say I was stressed out is an understatement. It was if a deep, dark cloud thundered over me, pressing down on me, making it hard to find joy. Making it hard to breathe. My life changed dramatically when I went to CCO’s winter conference Rise Up in Vancouver that winter. For the first time I abandoned myself to Jesus, telling him that finally he could have all of me. He could have my heart, my relationships, and yes, even my career. I would give it all to him, just as long as he did it all. I did what I thought was unthinkable – I gave up all control. I was that desperate. What he worked in my life was nothing short of a miracle.

His Spirit invaded me. That winter semester, He opened my heart and my eyes to the beauty of his friendship and mercy, and allowed me to have a beautiful part in others’ salvation history. I was convinced that my purpose and my path would be to help Him plant those beautiful, life-giving seeds. A beautiful surrender.

“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

(Romans 10:14-15)

From then, I worked as His missionary at Carleton University. Helping university students discover Him. Why He picked me, I have no idea. He seems to have a thing for under-qualified and rough-around-the-edges types to do His work. I’m not complaining. I needed to be a missionary – to save myself.

Not returning to campus this fall is a hard thing to think about. I know I am entering a new mission – one that will involve a cute little human (hopefully many!) – but my heart will always be with those who are facing the battlefield of being a 20-something, trying to figure everything out.