Field of Focus:

The last few mornings, Sue and I have been able to linger over our coffee longer than usual. Being forced to be home is not all bad.

We pulled out our SLR to photograph of some of the birds that join us every morning. Especially difficult to capture are the hummingbirds. Their rapid darting motions make focusing a challenge. Their high-speed wings require a high-speed shutter. The picture in this post was captured at 1000th of a second at f-6.3. Most birds would look like a statue at those speeds, but this guy’s little wings still show plenty of movement.

In my quest for a crystal clear, stop-action shot, I pushed my ISO from 200 to 400 and achieved well-lit test shots of the feeder at 2000th of second. Then I waited … lens supported, focused on the feeder, eye to the viewfinder. I waited until my arm started shaking. I propped my arm up on the chair and waited some more.

At one point I sat back to relax my tired shoulder and there was the hummingbird hovering just outside the camera’s field of view. Sue pointed out later that for much of the time the little guy was perched on a branch ten feet from my head.

Field of view is vital in photography. A good picture has a clear subject, captured in crisp detail. But I had forgotten something about good nature photographers … they shoot with both eyes open. They know where their camera is pointed and then watch the world outside that narrow field of view. It allows them to see what’s coming … it allows them enough time to react when the subject enters the plane.

I have had several long conversations with Sue that were wholly about Covid-19. Sometimes in life we do that. We focus in, we crop other things out, we go in for the details. But don’t keep your eye glued to that viewfinder too long. You might be missing other things God wants you to see. People who need you … you might even miss Him if your field of view stays too tight for too long. Live with both eyes open.

One way you can do this is in your speech. Be sure that your friends and loved ones aren’t only hearing from you about Covid-19. Now’s a good time to dig up some good memories, reach out and say, “l love you.” As a Christian be certain people in your circle of influence are hearing hope. If you are a disseminator of fear … it will keep you in fear. Widen your field of view. What do the people around you need? You may be the only person to point them toward hope in Christ.

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:5–6 (See also 1 Peter 3:15-17)