For the past couple of months, I’ve been looking forward to going out to St. Louis for the wedding of a good friend of mine.

St. Louis Arch St. Louis Missouri USA    Canon EOS 5D Mark II 17 mm 1-200 sec at f - 5.6 ISO 50    042814-JAS_0291

The wedding is next week. So I decided I had better figure out my travel schedule and decide whether or not I’d make some time for photography along the way.

My initial thought was to head out Friday, attend the wedding Saturday, and come back Sunday, camping in National Forests as needed. This would allow plenty of time for stopping along the way for anything landscape-photography-related that I wanted to do. Yeah, December isn’t exactly the best time of year for camping, but hey, it’s been months since I’ve had a good excuse to go camping.

But there were two things that didn’t seem right about this plan.

First, it meant kinda doing my own thing on Sunday. And I just felt unsettled about that. So I figured I’d scrap the landscape stuff on Sunday and just see how I might be able to spend the entire day with God instead, finding a church to go to somewhere or spending time in fellowship with other believers.

I felt better about that.

St. Johns in the Wilderness Episcopel Church Harriman State Park New York USA    Canon EOS 5D Mark II 45 mm 0.3 sec at f - 16 ISO 50    121914-JAS_3426

Secondly, sometimes I have this annoying reservation about doing landscape photography because I feel like it’s selfish. To spend time just doing nothing really, I have a hard time justifying it. I already have a million pictures of sunrises. Why spend time shooting another one when there are so many other important things that could be done? And so, when this reservation is in the back of my head, it often dampens my enthusiasm for doing what it takes to get great landscape photos. Taking pictures kinda turns into this “only if it works out” mush that makes me feel lethargic and I end up not actually going out and doing anything even when deep down I still have this longing to go out and take “yet another picture of a sunrise!” It’s kinda crazy. And confusing. And I think it can be a good thing when I need to be brought into proper balance.

But this time, as I was in the middle of trying to figure out what God wanted me to do on this trip, He brought to mind this verse, Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…”

Are you going to take pictures, James, or are you not? Whatever you decide to do, do it with all your might! Is there something better to do than landscape photography? Do that instead. Are your motivations selfish? If so don’t do it. But if not, do what is right, and do it wholeheartedly!

And this was really freeing! I don’t know what will happen this trip. God might bring something along that is much better to do than landscape photography. But at this point, I don’t know more than what I currently know. God has given me a special gift: a desire to take pictures of beautiful things. I can’t explain it. And I think God receives pleasure in watching me enjoy that gift. So, I’ve have done my scouting. I know when sunrise and sunset will be, I know where I want to be for those times, I’ve put the schedule on the calendar, and we’ll just see what God does with it!

190102_James Staddon_1167 Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 70 mm, 1-15 sec at f - 8.0, ISO 200

The question isn’t “should I be taking pictures of yet another sunrise?,” but, “what does God want me to do right now?” whether it’s photography-related or not!

What gift has God given to you? What does He want you to do right now?

Do it with all thy might!

I’m not sure what will happen next week. Maybe it will include some landscape photography. Maybe not. But whatever it is, it will be spent in fellowship with Him. And in this light, the time will be well spent, whether it’s shooting yet another sunrise or not.

191027_James Staddon_2631 Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 50 mm, 1-125 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 400

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