Life is full of many journeys - that's what makes it so exciting.
If you had told me a few years ago that I would become a Christian at 39 and give my life to Christ, I would have said you were crazy. For most of my life I wasn't even sure I believed in God, living my life through my head, and not my heart.
That's not to say I lived a debauched life and have a lot to make up for. In fact the opposite is true, and even though I would never have professed to being a 'Christian', I believe I lived most of my life guided by Christian values and principles. I just never took that next step - that leap of faith.
Well, that's finally changed. On Sunday (29th) I am being baptised at my local church and will give my life to God. I'll write more about this after the weekend, and post a few pics, but to get back on track (this is a 'photography' blog after all) I would like to talk about a sense in which I always was close to God - through my landscape photography.
About a year ago, I decided to give up landscape photography. I was trying too hard to get 'the perfect' shot, even though we know there is no such thing. I decided instead, to concentrate on weddings - and this is largely still true.
But I also found that as soon as I stopped trying so hard, I started taking some of the best landscape photos of my life. This has also coincided with my journey to Jesus Christ. As soon as I stopped trying so hard to figure out what it was all about, and just gave myself willingly, God has offered up his wonders to me in a way that I have never experienced before. And no, I don't think this is coincidental.
Now, more often than not, I find myself at the right place at the right time - as God offers me his amazing creations to be photographed. It's times like these, out at Te Kinga last weekend where the above shots were taken, that I truly feel at one with God.
Since becoming a Christian I have often asked God to fill me with his spirit, only to then feel a little let down when I didn't feel anything. But it was out with my family last weekend, while taking these photos (and a whole lot more like them) that I suddenly realised I was being filled with God's spirit - right before my very eyes.
So what am I trying to say? Do you have to be a Christian to take great landscape photos? Of course not. Great photography comes from practice, patience and perseverance - with a strong element of luck thrown in. Being at the right place, with the right light, at the right time. I've got the 3 'P's sorted - have had for a while. It was always the 'luck' I seemed to be lacking. This all changed when I gave my life to God.
When I take photographs now, God's spirit is everywhere. I know it won't be perfect weather every time I go out, but I no longer stress about it. I have put my faith in God, and so far I have been richly rewarded. Try putting that in your camera bag!