2015 in Favorite Photos

This blog contains some of my photos which I took in 2015 and which are favorites of mine.

One wedding reminded me of a life time – of memories and maturation.   Of what is no more and of what will be.  Members who I baptized as babies are now coming to be married in the church.

A Japanese Koto

Photography can give you a new perspective on life – both seeing things in a new way as well as seeing new things.   Beauty is real, inspiring, true.

Photography sometimes opens doors to things I would never have seen – even if I was looking at them.  Photography focuses our eyesight.

For health reasons, I was far less ambulatory in 2015 than in past years, and so did a lot less photography.

The above photo resulted from being confined to home following a lung resection and chemotherapy.  I was staying at home and took up coloring to pass the time.

Flowers remain a favorite subject for my photography.  I’ve come to appreciate the delicate and complex intricacies of their shapes, colors, sizes and textures.  They also tell a truth about life – natural beauty is fleeting.  So imbibe deeply when you encounter it, for it reveals change at the speed of light.

And bees continue to fascinate me, as photography has made me see them as I never did before.   I realize how important the tiniest of things are to a good life.  We live doing a balancing act with the rest of the environment – competing and being compatible.

Favorites are personal and not an objective category.  Reasons for a photo being a favorite may have nothing to do with being a “best” photo.  The image may conjure up memories or emotions which others won’t see.  Photographs, like Scripture, like the quantum universe, require an observer to interpret them and to interact with them for full effect.

I thought my parishioner Daryl’s icon of St. Ephraim was one of the best he’s ever done.  There is a dynamic quality to it that brings to life this saint whose writings inspire me so much.

A street scene in Washington, DC – neighbors and neighborhoods mean different things depending where you live.

You can view all of the photos I picked as my favorites for the year at Fr. Ted’s Favorite Photos 2015.

“He who stands in awe of God searches for the divine principles that God has implanted in creation; the lover of truth finds them.”  (Thalassios the Libyan, THE PHILOKALIA, Kindle Location 21415-17)

You can find links to all other photoblogs I’ve created at Fr. Ted’s Photoblogs.

A Perception of the Creator

For from the greatness and beauty of created things
comes a corresponding perception of their Creator. 

(Wisdom of Solomon 13:5)

Some prognosticators have been predicting a beautiful autumn in our area.  Weather conditions were apparently just right this past spring and summer for an awesome display of autumn colors.

I took my camera out for a couple of walks in my neck of the woods and indeed the autumn display was an amazing array of colors.  Didn’t need to go very far at all to witness the beauty in creation.

I like to imagine God as artist enjoying adding all the color to the landscape.

In 1 Chronicles 16:33-36 we read these words:

Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth.
O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever.

Say also:
“Save us, O God of our salvation,
and gather and rescue us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name,
and glory in your praise.
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.”

Isaiah the Prophet writes in 55:11-12:

So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

For you shall go out in joy,
and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 

The only sad part is that the peak color lasts such a very short time.  The winds and rains soon wash out and wash away the colors leaving us with a winter landscape.

You can find all my photos of this year’s  awesome autumn at Fr. Ted’s Photo Albums.

You can find links to other photoblogs I’ve posted at Fr. Ted’s Photoblogs.

Cancerous Concerns

Ever since receiving the diagnosis that I have lung cancer, many things in my life have seemed out of focus.  Some of it results from not being able to comprehend what it means.  But the endless tests and needle pokes do sometimes bring me into  full focus and being alert.  At times, I feel myself going to appointments and listening to what is being said, but I’m detached from it all.  There’s a sense of urgency in those talking, not panic – they’ve traversed this route countless times and so can remain very professional about it.  I’m the one walking on water and like Peter I at times come to the full realization of what a perilous position I’m in.  Like the Rock, I begin sinking too.  One does not sink slowly no matter what that Gospel story may suggest.  One is quickly in over one’s head.  I am a day or two behind myself, but need that buffer zone so panic doesn’t set in.  I really do not like thinking about medical things.  The needle stick reminds me this is about me, today.  I have that place in my mind where I can go to escape what is happening – I’ve done that before.  Today I’m having a hard time finding my way there.  It is a quiet place into which I withdraw.  The introvert’s haven.  Not a place of denial, but somewhere between this world and nowhere.  It is internal, or maybe it is outside the self.

I still see the world of beauty.  I stopped the other day to walk through the Beaver Marsh at Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  I was between times of thinking about the cancer and the impending surgery.   It was also a place between what I have been thinking about and nowhere, though this one has a GPS location.  It is outside the self.  It is calming.  I see the inherent beauty of the natural world.   On the car radio, I just heard the excitement about stem cells – cells unlike normal cells which can divide forever.  They hold so much potential for dealing with disease that brings about the death of cells.  The announcer points out that oddly enough there is another cell which also undergoes cell division endlessly – cancer cells.   And endless division of cells doesn’t of necessity mean immortality.  Some Church Fathers thought death was a merciful way to terminate the path to endless evil.   Cancer can be stopped.

I feel related to the Yellow Water Lily.   Life is a swamp at times.  Yet life thrives here and at times and places exquisite eloquence stands out.  Death is here too.  The natural world is full of predators, hunters, and fishers.   Though humans are part of this world, certainly related to it and sharing some of its characteristics, we have an ability through consciousness and conscience to rise above a purely material existence.   Consequently, we can transfigure and transform ourselves and nature too – for good or for ill.

Above is my enigmatic self portrait.  “But you’re not in it,”  you might object.  That is why I call it enigmatic.   Wondrously, it’s an ascetical understanding of a no carbon footprint existence.  It’s the beginning of kenosis.   Eventually if I did it right, you would see Christ.  You either have to think about it or not overthink it.  It’s meant to be a paradox.

There is a pull to stay in this place.  Perhaps an ancestral yearning for paradise.   As I stand and look around, the word splendiferous comes to mind.  In the midst of the resplendent glory which God bestowed upon His creation, I cannot escape the Fall, ancestral sin, mortality.  Nor do I feel compelled to.  We are still joyfully singing, “Christ is risen from the dead trampling down death by death and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.”  There is no where I go where He is not.  He is present in a national park, in the car between destinations, in the hospital, and in that place between here and nowhere.   I’m headed back to the hospital, another test, another stick with the needle.   I’m told I’ll be thankful when it is all over, but at the moment I’m still not ready to go there.

You can see all my photos at Cuyahoga National Park.

Visiting DC

Your tax dollars at work!

Visiting Washington, DC, for me is mostly about spending time with my son who has lived there for many years.   He is a pretty good tour guide through the city.  Through the years I’ve seen a great portion of DC, certainly the main visitor attractions, such as the giant pandas at the National Zoo.

I’ve also visited a number of lesser known places, and occasionally have seen something that is only rarely open to the public (like the main reading room of the Library of Congress).   For visitors DC offers many attractions.  For the locals, DC is really about neighborhoods.  And at least from where I have been DC has some wonderful neighborhoods.    Cosmopolitanism is one element of city living I love – the diversity of people.  Every storefront virtually represents another country/culture.

There really are many national treasures in DC, all of which are worth seeing.  Visiting DC in different seasons is also worthwhile as  you see the changing beauty of nature in its parks and green areas.  The National Arboretum is an amazing park in the midst of a metropolitan area.   For me the national park system is federal money well spent.

Narcissus at the National Arboretum

New to me on this trip were visits to President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldier’s Home the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial, and the Congressional Cemetery.   The view of Georgetown from the bridge to Roosevelt Island (to me at least) has a European city feel to it.

DC is a marvelous city for museum lovers.  The Smithsonian Institutes museums are first rate.  Special for me this visit was a rare chance to peek inside the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building.

The Arts and Industries building was “mothballed” in 2006. It remains closed but is now undergoing renovations.

I had opportunity to join some Smithsonian volunteers on a tour of the rather amazing building.

There are thousands of people who have volunteered through time to help make the museum visitor friendly.  In the photo is one of the knowledgeable and hardworking volunteers who made it possible for me to see this building being renovated.

Here is looking into the East Hall of the Arts and Industries building (the people give you the sense of the size of the building):

Looking up at the central rotunda ceiling:

A now rare view of The Castle (The Smithsonian Institution Building) from within the Arts and Sciences building:

DC is also full of American symbols – natural ones as well as man made, animate and inanimate.

An American Bald Eagle at the National Zoo is one living reminder of our country.

You can find all my photos from this month’s trip to DC at Washington, DC April 2015 Photos.  Saw lots of things I don’t have time to mention in this blog.  Also visited several great restaurants.

You can find links to other photoblogs I’ve posted at Fr. Ted’s Photoblogs.

George & Martha Washington’s homestead at Mt. Vernon


What I Saw of 2014 in Photos

Twelve of my favorite photos from this past year.













You can find all of my favorite photos from this past year at 2014 Favorites Photo Album.   You can find links to all of my photos at Fr. Ted’s Photo Albums where in the past seven years 1.5 million times people have viewed the photos.   You can find links to other photoblogs I’ve posted at Fr. Ted’s Photoblogs.

Costa Rica Cuatro

This is the 4th and final photo blog I’ll post about my trip to Costa Rica.  The other blogs are  Costa Rica,  Another Look at Costa Rica, and Costa Rican Animal Moms.

Above is a look at Tamarindo Beach from the beach at low tide.

The Macaw is a fairly common sight in certain parts of the country.  There are numerous colorful birds.

An Anhinga, also known for what might be  an obvious reason as “the piano bird”.  This was one of the birds I saw the most.

One of many of the species of Kingfishers.

One of the Trogon species.

A Fiery-billed Toucan.

A Bare-throated Tiger Heron.

One of the many hummingbird species found throughout the country.

The cloud forests, rain forests and tropical rain forests are also home to many monkeys.

A Spider Monkey above.

White-faced monkeys above – I was told they will “steal” anything they can from places humans inhabit, though they often simply discard the items.

The Howler Monkeys are appropriately named, as they wake you up way before the sun rises with their very loud howls.

Above is a tree full, not of monkeys, but of iguanas!

The Emerald Basilisk is also called the Jesus Christ Lizard, since it too can walk on water.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a great photo of this event, but the locals claim it is the only creature besides Jesus to be able to walk on water.

One of the rivers we traveled on in the Tortuguero Rain Forest was completely black and reflected perfectly like a mirror.  It made for some interesting images as the thick rain forest growth reflected on the water.  I am always intrigued by images of reflection.  Below two photos of mostly submerged caimans with one eye visible and reflecting in the river.


Next, more of the caiman is visible and reflected in the river.

Below, a Green Iguana reflects on the water.

By far the largest predator we saw was the crocodile.  He seems to be smiling as he awaits his next meal.

And of course some insects grow to great sizes as well.  A Hercules Beetle below, not quite to life size.

There are of course larger threats than animals in Costa Rica – volcanoes for example.  Below, son Seth, rests peaceably beneath the currently quiet Arenal volcano.

Here’s the link to My Favorite Photos of Costa Rica and you can find links to all the photos I took at   Costa Rican Collection.

You can find links to all my photo-blogs at My PhotoBlogs.

Another Look at Costa Rica

I already posted in a previous blog some photos I took while in Costa Rica.  Just want to share a few others – I treat all of my journeys at photo safaris.

The sun setting over the Pacific Ocean gave the optical illusion of almost melting into the ocean.

People do assemble each evening when the weather conditions are right to watch the sunset.  One never  tires of such beauty in God’s creation.  Fewer take advantage to see the beach at dawn.

The Pacific was peaceful that morning, the wet sand perfectly reflecting the sky.

We also viewed some of the country’s agriculture.  Our bus got stopped at a banana crossing – banana bunches are placed on a zip line kind of device and moved through the plantation to the waiting trucks.  The bus had to wait while the banana bunches crossed the road.  The “caboose” of the banana train was a worker also being carried along.

Fruit and vegetables were plentiful from what I saw, and part of the beauty of the country.

And there were many flowers to enjoy even though the rainy season had not yet begun.

Costa Rica is home to many sloths – both three and two toed – at least for North Americans it is a thrill to see what to us is an exotic animal.

Monkeys are as common as squirrels at times.

Here’s the link to My Favorite Photos of Costa Rica.

See also my blogs Costa Rican Animal Moms and Costa Rica Cuatro.

You can find links to all my photo-blogs at My PhotoBlogs.

Ides of March: From Moonset to Sunrise

I was up early this morning and decided to try to photograph the moonset and sunrise.


The moon was quite orange as it began to set.


Shortly after the moonset, dawn arrived.


I was atop the Miamisburg Mound to watch the moonset and sunrise.

The mighty one, God the LORD,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth.

(Psalm 50:1-2)

You can find links to all my photo-blogs at My PhotoBlogs.

Favorite Views of 2013

We have arrived at the last day of 2013 having completed one more orbit of the sun.   It is looking more familiar each time I come back to this place in the solar system.  This is a good thing since as you get older, you tend to forget some things and it is harder to remember new things.

The sun looks pretty much the same at sunrise and at sunset – it’s pretty had to tell the time by looking at a photo of the sun on the horizon.  That’s probably because we are the ones spinning around it.  The sun isn’t rising or setting at all.  It just moves through infinite space as our planet spins on its axis while orbiting the sun.  Time and space are related – a year is the distance it takes for earth to make one orbit of the sun: to travel about 585 million miles.   That’s a long way to go to get back to where you started.

It is amazing what one thinks about when it gets so late in the year.

Looking back at 2013, there are many things for which I am thankful to God and which brought joy to my heart.  Among them are Dan and Ilona’s wedding:

Both Seth and Julie graduated from Sinclair College.

We said good-bye to my faithful walking companion, Esko who died in the fall.  We welcomed Sox into the family.


I traveled down the California coast in June…

San Francisco at sunrise (above) and the Golden Gate Bridge (below).

Venice Beach in the LA area (below).

I saw with my own eyes where Angels walk on earth.

And I made it to the East coast as well.

Boston (above) and New York City (below).

A view of Manhattan (below) from the Rockefeller Center.

I was able to see the natural beauty with which God has blessed both America and the entire world.  I was able to be on both the West and East coasts with son, John.

Yosemite (above) to Caesar Creek Lake (below).

The George Washington Bridge in NY (below).

Caesar Creek wetlands (below).

Sometimes, we just have to enjoy the beauty, grace and peace which we encounter in this world.

You can find a set of my favorite 2013 photos at 2013 Favorites.  We bid farewell to the old year and look forward to what might gladden our hearts in the New.

See also my photoblog Natural Beauty 2013.  You can see a list of all of my photoblogs with links to them at  My PhotoBlogs.

Have a blessed 2014.  May the next 585 million miles be blessed by God as well.