Kung Fu Shoot With Shawna

Here’s a couple of images from a shoot with Shawna a couple of weeks ago. She’s post black belt in Kung Fu and I wanted to do something different.

This first image is a multiple flash image. Set up three strobes, put camera on the tripod. 8 sec exposure. Set off first flash, have her move, set off the next flash. Repeat.

Learned you have to block off each strobe so it doesn’t cast light into another strobe’s place or you get transparency. Also I was shooting this with a wide lens and not everything ends up in focus because the sides are further from the lens than the middle. (I was using manual focus).

Then we did some standard Kung Fu pictures.

I’m going to write some kind of WordPress plugin to handle the display of images so they don’t go all over the place like this one.

Snap. Visual Link Preview

Via Duck Tape Marketing Blog: Snap.com offers a free tool that shows previews of links when you mouse over them. It is real easy to install, you just put one line of javascript in your page header. Then anytime you over over a link you get a preview of the site. Sometimes it takes a second, but it finds a lot of site instantly.

For instance it knew Reactuate Photography immeadiately. And the Goth Swimsuit Calendar.

I’m not sure about the usability, or the traffic implications, but it is at least cool enough to add for now. Feel free to let me know what you think of it. And comment if you decide to use it on your site and link back here, I’d like to see what it looks like.

5 Things Christians Do That REALLY Annoy Me

Freak out at any mention of sex.

My minister taught on “Looking For Love In All The Right Places” and made a big deal about saying “the P word”. The P word is pleasure.

Give me a break.

Supposedly Christians are having better sex than non-Christians. You’d think we could talk about it without embarrassment or fear. In the world right now there are lots of people who are perfectly happy talking about sex. If we want our worldview to be heard we need to learn to talk about sex as easily as our opponents do.

Assuming a big church has sold out the gospel because they are big.

Talk to most people who don’t attend a mega church and at some point they will say something about how the big church must be doing something wrong if they are that big. The “logic” is that your church can’t get that big with the true gospel.

Here’s my view on church size. Church size is dictated by the church’s culture.

Some churches don’t want to be big. They want to know everyone in their church personally. You aren’t going to grow much over 100 if that’s what your church values. If you want to continue to grow the kingdom, you better understand church planting.

Many churches feel the way they do church – the songs they sing, the order they sing them in, the times they meet, the way they preach – can’t be changed. The problem is most of these things are based on what was culturally relevant in the 1950s. So when people come into your church today, they find it “old fashion,” boring, or irrelevant. So the only people who are comfortable there are people who feel comfortable in the 1950s.

Another cultural problem is we are just too inwardly focused. We talk about reaching out, but we just don’t do it.

Really big churches focus on reaching people with the gospel. They change their culture to put that value at the top. It is more important that a non-believer is drawn to the message than it is that the Christian enjoys the song.

You can choose to put reaching people first and not be a mega church. I went to a church in Austin that valued planting churches. They’d reach about 800 people, filling their small building. Then they’d plant a new church, often sending off hundreds of their best and most involved members. With in a few months they would have replaced those that left and the church would be growing toward another plant.

The truth is this is thinly disguised jealously. And a little guilt. They feel like they should be as attractive as that big church.

Making a big deal about minor things.

The denomination I grew up in is famous for splitting churches because of stupid things. They split over whether to use 1 cup for communion or multiple cups.

The reason this annoys me so much is the church can no longer afford this. We need to first understand what the core beliefs of a Christian are and accept as brothers anyone who has those beliefs. We’ve got big enemies that are tearing our church’s apart and we can’t spend time arguing about stupid stuff.

Don’t think about or understand audience.

Most Christian ministry and communication doesn’t give any thought to who is listening. As Christians we need to “be all things to all people, so we might win some.” But we don’t think about the other people first. That is the key to good communication and ministry. We think about what we want and need, not those we are trying to reach.

It’s like giving someone the gift you want for Christmas. Even if you are doing it because you think the gift is cool, or receiver would like it. You need to ask and find out what the person would want.

I’m not talking about watering down the gospel, but rather putting the good news in a context that people will listen to.

Assuming people understand what you are talking about.

There are two manifestations of this. One is churchese, that language that is all our own. The other is assuming biblical or philosophical understanding.

Any organization is going to develop jargon. Those words that are needed to describe things unique to their what they do. There is nothing wrong with this, but you need to understand outsiders don’t understand this. My best friend is a doctor. Every so often I’ll ask a medical question of him and he’ll answer in a flurry of medical jargon that really sounds like a foreign language. That’s what is like when we use words like sanctification, holiness, worship, and many others to an outsider or in our public communication. Then like my doctor friend we have to put it words our listeners can understand. Start with that next time.

The majority of Americans do not know the stories of the bible. They don’t know who King David was. Who Cain and Able were. The only thing they know about Peter is he’s a frequent guardian of heaven in jokes. For the names they do know they probably have wildly wrong ideas. Don’t assume people understand anything.

Most people don’t have a well worked out reason for how the world works. They’ve kind of developed what they think is right and wrong, what is important, and how the world works by absorption. They put together things that just don’t make sense when looked at together, but work when used in isolation. Don’t assume a coherent worldview. But that shouldn’t be too hard considering most Christians don’t have a coherent worldview either.

This is a bit of a rant, but I’ve been thinking about these things for a while and finally decided to post them.

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Lazy Thanksgiving Holidays

I’m at my folks home in Arkansas doing a whole lot of nothing. Which is good. I find when I’m here I sleep a lot, probably making up for the sleep debt I have at home.

When I’m at home and have time off I still feel like there is a long list of things I need to do. I have websites to manage, blog posts to write, TIVOed programs to watch, stuff around the house that needs to be done and it goes on and on. Intellectually I know I don’t have to do these things, but they weigh on my psyche. When I’m here I know I can’t do those things, so there isn’t any feeling I should be doing something else.

SF Book Meme

From Blogonomicon: Bold means I read it. Italic means I liked it.

The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
Dune, Frank Herbert
Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
Neuromancer, William Gibson
Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
Cities in Flight, James Blish
The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
Gateway, Frederik Pohl
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
Little, Big, John Crowley
Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
On the Beach, Nevil Shute
Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
Ringworld, Larry Niven
Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein
Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
Timescape, Gregory Benford
To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

Best H2 Hummer Comment Ever

I know I said I didn’t want short posts, but this line from Tamara couldn’t be over looked.

…a Hummer H2 (which isn’t really a Hummer at all, just a Suburban with a codpiece…)

My in laws had a Hummer H2 and I drove it once. What amazed me was how cheaply made the interior was. Everything was crappy plastic. I remember the gear shift wiggled. I don’t think anything in a Hummer should wiggle.

Oh well, they got rid of it when they had a second child because it was too small. They got an Expedition to have room from that second car seat.

My Version of Asides

Ben at Open Switch – my new favorite Christian blogger – seems to have started trend with asides. He is at least making it famous because Personified gave him credit for the idea.

Now I like the idea, because I often am surfing and find an article, page or site that is interesting enough for me to want to save and mention, but the post would be really short. I’ve decided I don’t want a lot of short posts. So what to do?

The aside idea put forth by Ben uses a special category that has the asides in it. Since I’m essentially bookmarking these tidbits around the web, I decided to just use my online bookmarks via del.icio.us. To make them blog like, I make sure I add a meaningful description to each bookmark.

So if you look at my side bar you’ll see a list of the interesting things I’ve come across on the web, with a short description. If for some strange reason you wanted to subscribe to these, all you have to is use my del.icio.us RSS feed. I’ll add a link to the template to make this more obvious.

Photoshop Snap Technique

This comes from the Lightsource Podcast, specifically from the guest Kirk Voclain. I just used it when working on the images that are at the top of my pages and really liked it. But I had to go listen to the podcast again to find out the specifics so I thought I’d write it down. And if I’m going to write it down, I might as well blog it.

Take the image you want to make pop and open it in Photoshop.

Make a Levels Layer

Hold the Option key (mac) down and click on the black shadow slider. When you do the whole image will turn white. Then slide until you just start to see the eyes and back off a little.

Now Option click the white/highlight slider. The whole image will go black. Slide until you just start to see any red in the image.

That’s it. Look at your preview on and off to see the difference.

As an aside, if you want to know what your image is going to look like in Firefox, go to Assign Profile and say don’t color manage the image. Then go to proof setup and select WindowRGB. That’s what your image will look like. Now adjust your images color.