Oct 16 2013

There’s More to Autumn Than Colorful Leaves

_CES1172I love autumn.  During the long hot days of summer I start counting the days until fall arrives.  I enjoy the cooler temperatures that come this time of the year but I especially enjoy the show nature puts on during the autumn months.  I get excited when I start to see the foliage changing on trees.  I know what lies ahead and eagerly anticipate the time the leaves will “peak” and display their awesome palette of reds, oranges, yellows and burgundies.  After all, isn’t that what fall is all about?

whitetail-buckIf you happen to live in an area where there are plentiful deciduous trees you might be tempted to say “yes” but I hope you understand that when it comes to seeing Creation fall has far more to offer than just colorful leaves.  There is so much more to see and observe this time of the year.  Wildflowers may be more plentiful in the spring but fall also has its own delightful specimens.  My favorite are the asters but there are others to choose from.  During the autumn months you might notice birds you don’t typically see other times of the year as they migrate south.  If you look closely perhaps you will also notice changes in behavior and looks in various animal species.  Deer and elk, for example, experience the rut season during autumn and lose the velvet on their antlers.

_CES2593During the autumn months the length of daylight diminishes significantly.  You may even notice that the sun now sets in a different direction than it did a couple of months ago.  An elder in my church has a home that sits on a hill overlooking the Ohio River.  Earlier this year he asked me to come to his house and take pictures from his porch of the sun setting on the first day of each season.  The first image I took was at the summer solstice.  When I took the autumn equinox picture I was amazed at how much to the south the sun now set.  I had not really paid that much attention before.

Asters2-crAs we continue through the autumn season I encourage you to pay attention to all the changes you see happening around you.  Don’t focus on the obvious alone.  I often write about God’s two books on this site, the Bible and Creation, and would suggest that when we do focus only on the most obvious changes in nature it would be comparable to only reading the books of the Bible we like the most.  There are lots of wonderful passages in the Scripture that people rarely read or take notice of.  They miss out on a lot when they are selective with their reading.  In the same way we will miss out on learning what God has to teach us through His book of Creation if we just pay attention to the parts we like the most.  By all means enjoy the beautiful fall foliage this year but keep your eyes open to the other signs of autumn.  There’s much more beauty to behold and lessons to learn.


(I took the top image at Breaks Interstate Park, the whitetail buck at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the sunset on the Ohio River in Henderson, KY, and the asters at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park.)

Jan 5 2011

The God of Surprises

elk 3178This morning my wife e-mailed me to tell me there were some elk hanging out behind where she works.  I immediately packed my camera gear and headed in that direction.  What a pleasant surprise it was to find a bull elk and five does hanging out.  Since this is the first time I have been able to photograph elk here where I live it was a very exciting time.  One never knows what surprises each day may bring.

Anyone who is a student of the Bible knows that God is a God of surprises.  When the prophet declared that God’s thoughts and ways are beyond ours that was an understatement.  In so many ways God is unpredictable.  You never know what He might do.  The Christmas story itself is a classic example.  To begin with, who could have imagined that God would enter the world as a human being?  Likewise, who could have imagined that when He came that His birth would take place in a stable?  When Jesus grew up and started teaching he was constantly surprising people.  Who would have ever thought that “the first will be last and the last will be first”?  Who would have dreamed of ever declaring “Blessed are the poor” or “Blessed or those who mourn”?  Who could have imagined that salvation would be made possible by a person’s death on a cross?  How could anyone have anticipated Jesus emerging from the tomb on that first Easter morning?

elk 3430Yes, God is a God of surprises!  What I experienced this morning with the elk is similar to my experiences with God.  I never know when I wake up in the morning what God might have to say to me or how He might reveal Himself.  I learned a long time ago that I can’t put God in a box.  I learned early on that church sanctuaries are not the only place we might encounter Him.  My study of the Bible and daily experience has taught me that I might just as well encounter Him in the hug of a child, the extended hand of a beggar, or even a field with a small herd of elk.  We must ever be on the lookout for the God who is full of surprises.


Oct 18 2009

Let Heaven and Nature Sing

elk 015As a nature photographer I am obviously visually oriented.  When I am out photographing I enjoy looking at the beautiful scenery around me.  I then try to create compositions with my camera to showcase the beauty before me.  My enjoyment of nature, however, is not limited to the visual realm.  My other senses do not take a vacation when I’m out photographing.  In fact, if they did I would miss out on so much that brings me pleasure in nature. 

 There are many sounds in nature that I absolutely love.  Some of my favorites include elk bugling in the fall, the sound of sandhill cranes migrating, the crack, rumble and roar of glaciers calving, a geyser in Yellowstone erupting, and a canyon wren’s call echoing off canyon walls in the desert southwest.  Other favorite sounds include frogs croaking, owls hooting, eagles screaming, crickets chirping, waves splashing against the shore and waterfalls crashing.  All of these are sounds that make me love and feel close to Creation and God. 

There are Scripture verses which lead me to believe that these sounds may be there more than just for our enjoyment or, in the case of the animals, for communication’s sake.  The sounds of nature may also be understood as Creation offering praise to its Maker.  

Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”  In Psalm 96:11-12 we read “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.  Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy…”  Isaiah 49:13 says, “Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains!”  In Revelation 5:13 John writes, “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!’” 

In some way all of Creation joins in offering praise to the Creator.  That being the case, we should be very careful to do our part as well. 


(I photograhed the elk above at Rocky Mountain National Park.)