Thursday, April 29, 2010

04.29.10 - unwillingness to receive

an accident I came upon in Maryland in 2008.

So Thursdays has become our day to
hit the streets and pray for people. It's honestly really such a refreshing time for me, because by Thursday I'm fried from meetings and it's a nice change of atmosphere.

I was AMAZED last week when I went out with James Dickey into downtown Jamestown how
RECEPTIVE people were to receiving prayer. In about an hour we must have prayed for about 20-25 people with only 4 people saying no.

Today we went out again and got turned down a lot more but we did get to pray for about 10-15 people. It's amazing the responses we get when people say yes, people are blown away and
honest with you about what they're going through. We had one guy come right out and tell us about his drug addiction and how he wanted to quit, we had another guy just tell us that he was trying to hold a job down because he had 5 kids at home.

The interesting thing though is
the excuses that we get when people say they don't want prayer. Things like... "nah, I'm alright my mom's Catholic." Or when you walk up to someone with an obvious infirmity and they say they are fine.

Last week we walked up to a guy sitting in a
motorized wheel chair and an oxygen tank. When we asked if we could pray for his healing he told us that he didn't need prayer and was okay.

So do we walk around with less than God desires for us simply because we believe thats what we deserve?

Last time I checked John 10:10 says that Jesus came to give us life to the fullest and it was the devil that kills, steals and destroys.

Let's stop living in LESS than what God has for us. Fullness of life. Jesus came with GRACE to FREE us from the power of sin and death. That means that sickness isn't part of what God desires for your life. It's NOT HIS WILL!!

God thinks we are so valuable that He sent His one and only son to come and die for us so that we could be in relationship with Him.

I don't see many people wasting the lives of their sons on something they think is worthless.

If God thinks we're that valuable... then maybe our view of ourselves should change.

John 15:9 - "
As the Father has loved me, so I love you..."

JIM baker

Sunday, April 25, 2010

04.25.10 - Okinda kids portraits and stories

This is Brighton Majwango. He's 7 and in the 1st grade. He likes singing and skipping and he dreams to be a pilot someday. It was probably Brighton's first time ever seeing a plane when we flew in.

This is Sharon Awuor. She is 11 and in the 7th grade. She likes to travel and play with friends. She wants to be an attorney when she grows up.

This is Wilfrida Moraa. She's 8 and in the second grade. She likes watching and wants to be a doctor.

This is Arnold Onyango. He's 8 years old and is in the first grade. He likes matching items and also wants to be a pilot.

Do me a favor. Take a minute to pray for these kids as you look at these pictures. Pray for them by name. Pray and ask God if you are suppose to help them in any way.

I struggled putting these pictures up here for everyone to see. I don't want it just to be some "nice picture" that we look at for 5 seconds and then disregard. These are real lives, with real dreams.

+ + + + +

From a photography standpoint... I saw this wall and wanted it as the background for the portraits. I went there early afternoon and the sun light was diffused shining in from a window to my right. I had the students step out about a foot or so from the wall.

There wasn't a TON of light, so I cranked my ISO up to 1600 to get a decent shutter speed hand held. I zoomed my 24-105 lens in around about 100mm and fired off 3 horizontal and 3 vertical pics. I focused in on their eyes. I choose f/4 to keep my shutter speed up and a shallow DOF to blur the background. Still a lot of these were pretty low for hand holding... 1/80th of a second or so. Relying pretty heavily on my IS.

The students were brought down in their classes by grade. Jess was handed a stack of sheets by the teachers with the students information on it. Name, age, grade, hobbies and dreams.

Jess called the students names and they came over to me to have their picture taken. After I took the pictures I told Jess what number the pictures were on the cf card and she wrote it down next to the students name. Jess was such a huge help, organizing the kids, letting the kids know who was on deck so the whole process went quickly.

Most of the students were very shy. When I asked them to smile they got embarrassed, sometimes their fellow classmates would playfully harass them which allowed me to get some pretty authentic expressions.

I had to continually ask the group of students to back up away from me. They were trying to see the display on the back of my camera and they would push in and start pushing me.

No fancy lighting set up... just good soft natural light. I tried to be fast, spending less than 30 seconds with each kid. Not my usual portrait technique but its a whole different ball game when you know you have to do 300 of these.

I wanted to shoot well enough and get good enough exposures that I didn't have to come back and edit all of these pictures. Sorting through and picking the best picture out of 6 (x 300) was enough for me. If any post production was done I might have bumped the exposures up just a tad in Lightroom in the quick develop module.

Questions? Comments?

I hope this blog post blessed you and brought a smile to your face. I can't help but look through these portraits and smile. :)

JIM baker

Saturday, April 24, 2010

04.24.10 - Narnia!

Dave (Aslan) and Arielle (Susan) both went to Africa with us.

The costumes and the make up were awesome!

KT, Katy and Jess. (Jess made a few signs for some of the students that we knew!)

Thursday night Jess and I went and saw the Warren County Christian School's production of Narnia. They did such an awesome job!

JIM baker

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

04.21.10 - youngsville track meet

Nathan - triple jump

Hannah just passed off the baton to Lexi in the 4x400

Heather doing the high jump.

This was both Jess and my first time to a track event. We learned a lot and got to watch some of our students compete. They all did a really good job!

Back to left align, last post was center (out of habit)

JIM baker

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

04.20.10 - the main reason I went to Africa...

This is Larisa Adoyo Ongeri. She is 14 and in the 8th grade. Larisa likes playing football, signing and reading storybooks One day she hopes to be a lawyer.

Larisa was the first of almost
300 portraits that I took while I was in Kenya.

If you're interested in sponsoring a student for $35 a month please contact Anne VanHouten.

Taken with the Canon 5d Mark II
24-105 f4 L IS USM
ISO 1600 - 67mm - f/4.0 - 1/60sec

I saw this wall near the entrance of one of the buildings when we went on our tour of the grounds. I took this picture of Arielle and
knew that this would be the background for the portraits. Window light is coming in from the right.

I'll write more soon showing more portraits and talking about what was going on as I shot the portraits.

JIM baker

Saturday, April 10, 2010

04.10.10 - Africa (peanut butter time)

Remember when we went to the Nakumatt and bought all of that food? We picked up enough peanut butter and bread for each kid to have a peanut butter sandwich. Many of them had never tasted peanut butter before so we decided to treat them. They really seemed to enjoy it!

This was the only thing that I got out of bed to do on this day, otherwise I was trying to sleep off the sickness.

The next Africa post will be about the main reason I went there.

In the mean time, I got bored of the blog and changed the layout again.

Leave some comments.

JIM baker

p.s New header pic from the engagement shoot by Pranee Loffer.

Friday, April 9, 2010

04.09.10 - i love days off.

Caribbean Cole Slaw
Fresh cabbage tossed in a light vinaigrette, garnished with craisins and toasted walnuts.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Grilled boneless chicken breast marinated in caribbean jerk rub, served with red beans and rice and sauteed vegetables

Rock Cake
Cake with almond glaze and toasted coconut

Jess, Andrea and Nicole.

So I'm using left align text just for Johnny Koster who said my center text really bothered him. What do you guys think?

Anyway, I LOVE Fridays. We finally found a day off that works. We tried to make Tuesday our day off and for some reason we ALWAYS had something to do on Tuesdays. So we moved it to Friday and for two weeks in a row now we've actually had a DAY OFF.

We went to Mercyhurst today for our friend Andrea's meal. She is in the culinary and wine school there and this was the meal that she prepared. We met Andrea and Nicole working at Camp Mission Meadows. Andrea and Nicole actually made us our wedding cake, here's a pic.

photo by Sheena Stropas

I hope you guys are taking days off and enjoying time with good friends and good food :)


Thursday, April 8, 2010

04.08.10 - photos from this evening

Didn't touch the white balance on this pic, I've never seen the sky so purple.

Just going for minimal and soft.

It's been so long since I shot last that when I went to look for my camera tonight I totally couldn't find it at first. Nate Blick has some new work up on flickr and I told him on sunday that I haven't been out to shoot forever. He said he just read that if you haven't taken your camera out in two weeks you've got a problem.

So I went out tonite with Sam a student from the youth group that I've been teaching photography to, and solved my problem.

Now that its getting nicer I've got some photography gigs coming up that I'm looking forward to!

Leave me some comments of what you think of the photos.

JIM baker

Sunday, April 4, 2010

03.04.10 - HE IS RISEN!

(not a tomb at all, actually lava tubes... closest picture I could find taken 02.27.08)

He is risen indeed!


2 services today at Praise Fellowship you can watch online. Then we're headed to Ohio to spend some time with Jess' family. I'll get back to blogging this week... hopefully.