Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Looking Up by Deborah Dee Harper

I love the sky. Day, night, clear, cloudy, stormy, sunny, filled with raindrops or snowflakes, falling leaves, butterflies, or birds. Doesn’t matter. To me, the sky is God’s canvas and He repaints it daily for our pleasure.

For some time now, I’ve loved photography. I started out as a child with a Brownie camera (didn’t everyone of my era?) and eagerly and unknowingly took atrocious photos. They were grainy where they weren’t blurry, always black and white, and as you can imagine, not well proportioned. Forget the rule of thirds, what did it matter if that tree grew out of my brother’s head, or if I cut his head off altogether? What mattered the most to me was that I had a camera. Waiting for my appalling pictures to be developed was half the fun. When they finally arrived, I took each one out and tried to figure out what that grainy blob was supposed to be or where each shot was taken. Usually I wrote what I’d figured out about each one on the back, along with the date, and then carefully pasted them on the black pages of my photo album with the help of those little corner pockets that I licked to make them stick to the page. I can still remember that awful taste. There they languished unseen for years. Just as well.

Thankfully, cameras and I have both improved. Today I use a gorgeous Canon that my generous brother gave to me and I utilize most of the rules of photography. I have thousands (yes, thousands) of pictures of my grandchildren (but then doesn’t every grandparent?), followed by roughly the same number of photos depicting God’s provision for His children in the natural world. Clouds are some of my favorite subjects, and I’m often in the yard or stopped along the highway to capture an unusual cloud formation or spectacular stream of sunshine flowing to the earth—seemingly from Heaven— in glowing, diaphanous rays. Some of my favorite shots are of threatening clouds that roll and tumble and growl their way toward us like arrogant soldiers who know we can do nothing but defend ourselves against their onslaught.

Whether puffy, feathery, or menacing, clouds speak to me of God’s unchanging character. From the
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sunny days of happiness and blessings through the overcast days of illness and misfortune, to the downright scary days of death, God is with us. He sends His love in many ways, but painting a picture in the skies is one of my very favorites.

Discovering new ways to blend my writing with my photography brings me great pleasure. It would take a miracle to find the time in my life to take my photography to a higher level, but at the moment that’s fine by me. Finding God by merely glancing upward is a miracle in itself, and capturing those ever-changing paintings, those delightful angel wings in cirrus clouds, capricious animals in the marshmallow-like cumulus clouds, or growling predators in storm clouds can be the most rewarding thing you’ll do all day.

Kind of like taking it to a higher level, wouldn’t you say?

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