A Few Words on Exposure


Yes, that’s a professional digital SLR camera in the hands of a 10 month old girl. A question regarding my sanity likely comes to mind, which we may address in a later post-but for now, let’s remain objective. When I think about exposure, I’m generally thinking about light. How can I tell the story using the tools I have available to me? Things like light ratio, aperture, shutter speed, etc. immediately fill my mind, and begin to interact in an often chaotic manner. But the type of exposure I write about today is different-and MUCH more important.

Back to the original question. Why in the world would anyone give their young daughter a $2500 camera body to play with for a few minutes? The answer is here…

What does this look like to you???
What does this look like to you???

So why does she look like she is having so much fun? BECAUSE SHE IS!!!! My money says that she is happy to be interacting with objects that she sees her daddy use on a regular basis. Can she make a correct exposure using daddy’s camera? Probably not just yet. But the purpose here is her exposure. Exposure to different aspects of life, art, and culture. She can touch the camera body, study it, play with the dials, and mash the buttons. We were created with five senses-why not stimulate each of them on a regular basis?

Let’s take this a step further. How many of us are constantly exposing ourselves to new ideas, thoughts, people and places? I don’t necessarily mean traveling the world, but what about exploring the areas around us? The art gallery across town. The little ghost town 20 minutes from our house. The woods at the local park or wildlife refuge–you get the idea. So often we dig ruts for ourselves by exposing our senses to the same things each and every day. There are no external stimuli to cause us to think, look or appreciate anything outside of our normal routine. I can’t think of anything positive to arise out of this deprivation.

I think of my young daughter again. My wife and I want to expose her to as much as we possibly can (within reason!), and give her the opportunity to discover and develop the passions God has given her. We obviously don’t have all the answers, and haven’t been able to communicate through conversation with her just yet-but it can’t hurt to start exposing her now! She had her first visit to a local art gallery several weeks back (The River Gallery in West Monroe, http://rivergalleryartists.com/) and loved to look at all of the art on display. Who knows, her art may one day hang on the wall of a similar place? She loves to bang on my keyboard, and keeps nearly perfect time with her egg shaker-maybe one day she will make music to share with the world?

My wife loves to paint, and produces some great work. Perhaps our daughter would like to paint too? We picked up a set of finger paints one afternoon and decided to let her give it a try. Sitting on a cardboard-covered carport, we squeezed paint onto a canvas for her and let her go to town.



Fingers, knees and elbows all worked well to produce her first masterpiece. Who needs fancy tools?

DSC_6766wAnd what good would a painting session be if it didn’t end up all over her face and mouth (non-toxic paint of course!)? Cleanup was a snap-throw the cardboard out, put the paint up, and put her in the bathtub! Done!



Will she remember this painting session? Probably not. But she has been exposed to something new. Something different. A temporary space where rules don’t exist-and the only limits are self-defined! I believe the look on her face in the snapshot above says it all.

So what are we to do? We have each been given passions deep inside of us-have we searched for, pursued, and developed them? If we haven’t, what are we waiting for? Most of us don’t like change (even in small amounts), but there may be a life-altering experience just waiting for us to embrace…..If we will only take a step of faith and try something new. So get out there and experience something new-what do you have to lose?


The Power to Inspire

A thick fogs welcomes a cool summer morning on the Little Red River near Heber Springs, Arkansas.
A thick fogs welcomes a cool summer morning on the Little Red River near Heber Springs, Arkansas.

Do you remember the first time you cast a line into your favorite fishing hole?  You know-the one that fills your mind as you watch the autumn leaves receive their glory through the window in your office.  What about that spot on the end of your favorite trail?  The spot that few have discovered and even fewer risk the necessary time and energy to reach.  That place.

Do you remember these initial experiences?  Something draws us back here over and over again.  But what could it be that draws us? It is the experience we have in this place that is likely unattainable in any other environment.  Our distractions are removed, and our entire effort is focused on that next cast, or the next revelation we receive as we listen to our spirits commune with our heavenly Father.

Ok, Jason, this sounds great-but what does it have to do with me?  The reality is that it has everything to do with you.  And me.  And every one of our fellow human beings.  The demands of our daily lives slowly rob us of our creative potential and eventually drain our spirits.  We spend hour after hour trying to be all that we can be-only to fall short over and over again.  These inspirational experiences refill our tanks and bridge the chasms that separate us from who were created to be.

Many of us seem to make time for others-which we must-but we often neglect ourselves in the process.  I have a tendency to neglect these necessary “recharges” on an all-too-regular basis.  Then I find myself there once again-a creative slump.  I struggle to find something to write about or something to photograph.  Or I’m so burned out that I can’t be the husband that my wonderful wife needs, or the father that my beautiful daughter needs to lead her.  Woe to me for neglecting this vital part of my existence!!!!

Water cascades through a rocky channel near the Little Red River.

What do I have to lose by disconnecting for a few hours, or even a few days? Might I neglect a few emails that could be returned?  Or some task on a list that really doesn’t amount to anything in the big picture? Perhaps I’m worried that I might discover my true self and unlock the fullness of my potential-the very thing I was created for?  Who am I really shortchanging here?

You see, without inspiration, we grow stale.  The same ideas and experiences drive us to repeat the same actions over and over again, with the same results.   When we refuse to be inspired, we choose to stay in that same rut that we can’t seem to pull out of.  But when we allow ourselves to be inspired, our chains are broken and we are free to create again.

My vantage point on the Little Red River as I disconnect from the chaos.
My vantage point on the Little Red River as I disconnect from the chaos.

The horn at the dam sounds in the distance.  They are about to release enough water through the turbines to completely transform this lazy mountain river I’ve temporarily occupied.  I’d better move my chair.