Sep 11 2009


Fall Buckwheat 2Fall can be a wonderful time of year. When my wife and I with our kids moved to California from Minnesota nearly 16 years ago, a lot of people told us we would miss the seasons. Even folks in California said there were no seasons here. That is really not true. While we don’t have the dramatic fall foliage of the Midwest and East, we do get a distinct change in the vegetation, such as the wonderful red-browns of California buckwheat as seen here. I love buckwheat throughout the year — it is a very Western type of flower with hundreds of species throughout the West and none in the East.

I got really excited when I saw this expanse of buckwheat going up the hill along the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains. I know that not everyone will be. A lot of folks want the extreme color of the East, but I feel we are blessed by God with a unique vegetation and a unique fall color. God did not make the world the same all over. There are cold places and hot places, wet places and dry places. As I have traveled around the country and the world, I have visited all sorts of natural areas and loved them all. I really do feel that God created this world with a wonderful complexity that makes it fascinating and interesting. People often ask me where my favorite place is. I usually answer wherever I am because I truly believe that. I never feel apart from nature and God because there is always an interesting spot of nature everywhere. Even in cities or at least nearby. So right now, my favorite place is Southern California, especially the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, and I thank God for all of it.

As it says in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” or as The Message interprets it, “A right time for everything on the earth.” For me, that right time is fall in Southern California.


Jul 31 2009

Distracted by the Right Things

CA SMMRA 0709-4In our day-to-day world, there are so many things vying for our attention. Bills are due, the President is doing something right or wrong that we have to know about, the news tells us about people doing terrible things to other people, the economy is better but not great, and so it goes. It is easy to be distracted from what is really important in our lives because these things always seem so very important. Or at least the news people think so.

I knew a pastor once who would simply quote scripture as if that would make these things go away. Scripture can be very important for our spiritual growth and for connecting with God, but I don’t believe it has any magic talisman properties that will make the world stop bugging us.

Today I hiked in the Santa Monica Mountains with a friend. While he is also a photographer, he is also a serious hiker. Still, he is good natured when he has to stop and wait for me to catch up because I got distracted by another wonderful scene or subject. We were on the trail by sunrise and hiked about six miles, returning to our cars by late morning. Even with me being distracted.

I like being distracted by the beauty of our world. Often it truly amazes me. The challenge is not to find a good subject as there are lots of them, but to find a way to capture that subject that will do it justice. I feel like I am in the presence of God’s craft and art and get excited to experience it. And with photography, there is always the opportunity to share that beauty.

The photo here is of one of the Calachortus or mariposa lilies that grow in the chaparral. I have not gone through my photos from today — this is from earlier this month, but also up in the Santa Monica Mountains.