Some inspiration for the day

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For a class assignment, we had to read an article about pursuing excellence. And I’m gonna go ahead and point out that the “had to” was actually a “got to” by the time I finished reading. Here’s a really inspiring paragraph…
“The achievement of excellence may be compared to climbing a tall mountain of 25,000 feet. Ascent to the “high-base-camp” altitude of 18,000 is fairly easy. The next 6,000 feet of ascent may take as long as it took to gain base camp level. And the final thousand feet may take as long as any other segment of the climb! In a similar fashion, artists operating at high levels of accomplishment have to put in more and more work for less and less gain. Without a clear mandate and drive (an imperative) for the pursuit of excellence, it is easy to “enjoy the view” from relatively high elevations and never push on to achieve the summit experience.” -Peter Slowik

“Nifty Fifty” Canon 50mm Lens Review

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I just finished my third year at university studying photojournalism – I consider myself an amateur. This is only the second lens that I’ve bought (my standard 18-55mm one being the first). I had asked some advice from someone about what lens I could buy that was a good fit for taking photos at an event and for general use. I also wanted something that was on the cheaper side. My friend recommended the nifty fifty for price and usefulness. I had asked him if it would be good to invest in a zoom that went from something like 18-200mm, but he thought the quality would probably not be so great at each interval because it has a wide to telephoto range. So I bought this instead. The lens is amazing in terms of its 1.8 aperture – what a difference that makes in capturing detail and taking photos in the shade or  in dark areas. But it’s obviously limiting in that it can only be at 50mm. So it’s inconvenient when you’re trying to take a group photo in the middle of a crowd because you have to back up quite a bit. Pros include having both autofocus and manual focus… and taking photos of the night sky! Here are some photos of the lens and a picture of the southern cross that I took this summer.

Women’s Epiphanie Camera Bag/Purse Giveaway

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I often struggle with a dilemma: should I take my camera bag and my purse or just my camera bag? If I take both, it  means two cross-body bags. And if I take just my camera bag, I have to pack it full because I have to take my giant wallet – not because it’s full of money, but because it’s actually a large wallet – among other things. It can become difficult to grab my camera out of the bag!

Well, meet the Epiphanie bags. These bags are big enough to handle your purse stuff and your camera gear! Lisa Twain (Photography) is currently doing an Epiphanie bag giveaway from her blog.

Five days to enter the giveaway! Good luck.

Summer’s Highlight

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Last summer, I did an internship in the Philippines with Monsoon, Wycliffe’s Asia Pacific communications department. The majority of my time was spent sifting through 20,000 photos to select which ones to label with metadata and post on the Wycliffe database. The highlight of my internship, however, was spending five days in a city, taking photos of a tribe whose language had been translated into the New Testament. The fifth day was the dedication ceremony – my estimate is that over 1500 people came. These are photos from my days hanging out with the locals and at the dedication ceremony itself.

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Kantou Matsuri

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The Kantou Matsuri is a festival held in Akita, Japan, where people from all over Japan gather to watch a multitude of teams lift up and balance Japanese lanterns on single bamboo poles. Within a team, one member will pass the bamboo pole to the next member, while continuing to balance the pole. Many lower the pole down to their hips or up to their forehead. These lanterns can weigh up to 60kg! Members who do not balance the lanterns take turns beating traditional Japanese drums and playing flutes. A voice on the loud speakers lets everyone know when to stop and move to their next audience standing along the side of the street.

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