Not by Chance, but by Choice

My recent trip to the Oregon coast was planned around the moon. I knew that it would probably be the last time this year that I would have the opportunity to capture the Milky Way and I wanted the darkest skies possible. I noted when the new moon would be and gave myself a few days on either end since October nights by the ocean tend to be foggy. I wanted to give myself the most chances, just in case. Yet even with a clear night, I only had a few hours between sunset and moon rise to capture all its glory.

We planned and scouted and looked for a location that I hadn’t been to before and then my sister’s friend told her about Otter Point. We went there during the day to walk the trail and map out any possible hazards since we would be high up on a cliff. I used an app on my phone to make sure the Milky Way would be in the place where I thought it would be and noted the best time within my designated window.

With tripod in hand and the camera ready with all the right settings for long nighttime exposure, we drove back on the one clear night we had. There are many who do a superb job capturing the night sky and I’ve tried to follow in their footsteps. I’m still learning and perfecting my skill but I was happy with the pictures we made.

One of the things I love about night shots are the conversations I have with whoever is accompanying me while we are waiting for dark or in-between shots. It’s easy to be contemplative and reflective when one is gazing at the stars.

On this particular night, my sister was with me and she was talking about how far I have come since my beginning days in photography. I still have a long long way to go, but I have learned a few things, and not just about photography.

Right now, there are some stunning photographs going around of waves on Lake Erie. The photographer who took them didn’t just decide to go to the lake and snap a few pictures. He went 2-3 times a week for 4 weeks staying as long as 6 hours a day. Those magnificent photographs were created because he chose to spend the time and expend the effort. They didn’t just happen.

Photography has solidified within me the knowledge that we must work and plan and prepare in order for some of the best things to come about. I cannot just want to be a good photographer and expect it to come to fruition. I have to choose to put in the work.

Faith is the same way. The Lord spoke a lot about faith and often called on those around him to have more of it. But we need to be willing to put forth the effort and be faithful, especially in times of stress. We need to choose to believe, to trust that faith is a principle of power and have courage to move forward in the path.

Neil L. Andersen has stated: “Faith does not fall upon us by chance or stay with us by birthright.”

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