Caprock Canyon State Park

Some of my favorite shots from the canyon are obviously of the free-roaming bison! If you follow the progression of photographs, you will notice this one was enjoying a roll in the dirt. It looks playful, but I know they do this for a number of reasons. Yet when he rises… How majestic! How powerful! And when they got too close to our car for comfort, I no longer thought they looked playful! I have massive respect for these amazing creatures.

Mike & Diana & Benny

This smart and handsome couple (from Chicago! Yay for Illinois!) snatched my holiday sale as well as some really cute shots!

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It was such a pleasure to meet you two! And of course Benny 🙂
Many blessings and congratulations on your upcoming marriage!

October Print Sale!

Thank you for looking! Click on the pictures for pricing and sizing information.

And I apologize to my John Deere lovers! I haven’t had the opportunity to get out into the fields with the green tractors! I’m always looking for the chance, though.

 

* The sale is for 2 weeks only!  It is easiest for me to print in bulk, therefore I will be taking your orders only through October 11, 2017, and shipping no later than October 16, 2017 to ensure you receive your print in a timely manner.

* Please email me aceortiz17@gmail.com with the picture(s) name, size, and quantity of each.

*Paypal, Venmo, or check

 

Guatemala

I have done nothing to deserve these opportunities in which God shows me what He’s doing in His people around the world, nor do I deserve the very eyes in which I behold it all; but I am ever grateful.

On September 15, 2014 I embarked on a ten day trip to Tactic, Guatemala with a team of 18 people from my church, Harvest Bible Chapel. Every year Harvest sends a team to serve alongside and experience one of the ministries we partner with. This one is called Impact Ministries. I have never admired a ministry so much! To find out what they’re all about, visit http://www.impactministries.ca

It’s utterly useless to try to convey in words all that is in my heart… Maybe because a considerable portion of my heart is still in the mountains of Alta Verapaz. In a short amount of time, this place and the people have secured an indelible place within me, and I have loved them.

 

 

 

 

Special thanks to: Doug and Kristin Rowland, for being our leaders. Tim and Candy, for putting up with us and leading us well! Hugo and Claudia (and Julie), for keeping us safe, for being so loving, and for the verse. To Les and Rita Peters, who RADIATE Jesus.. so much so that I just wanted to be around you as much as I could! Every time you spoke it was like a motivational speech! Thank you for being so inspiring.. so much like our Lord and Savior. And to the kids, teachers and Church in the Tactic area, I love you and I’m praying for you!

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link to see more pictures of our team while in Guatemala- Harvest team

link to read from our blog while there- daily blog

 

“Depositen en el Señor toda ansiedad, porque Ă©l cuida de ustedes.” 1era. Pedro 5:7

 

 

latest commission: Davenport, IA

Recently I received a commission to make a collection of photos to commemorate someone’s time in the city of Davenport, Iowa. Pictures of downtown Davenport have been done.. a lot. However, I’ve never actually photographed the area myself, so I was eager to find a way to take an extensively photographed area and make the pictures my own. For my first efforts and a short window of time to come up with a finished project, I am pleased with how they turned out.

 

The requirement was black and white images.

 

 

 

 

“To love beauty is to see light.”  -Victor Hugo

 

 

 

 

Spring is Here!

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 It’s the first day of Spring! The wind still blows from winter’s storehouse, but the sunshine and blue sky say the chill won’t stay for much longer! In celebration of warm weather on the horizon, I wanted to share a $10 of coupon for my book at blurb.com.

It’s a good little book to keep on your coffee table, as you wait out this lion of a Spring! Or if you know anyone who has a birthday or special day coming up (who likes country photography of course), it makes for a unique gift.

Follow the link and enter SHARE10 to receive the discount!

http://www.blurb.com/b/2220264-the-farm

I truly hope you enjoy.

A Sunset Heart

Sunset light…

It bathes in beauty all it touches.

Everything just looks better… More golden.

Yet what qualities revealed by this golden light don’t just spontaneously appear the moment the sun alights from its zenith. The beauty is always there. We just need to see it differently.

What if we looked at one another as if we were each standing in the sunset light?

What if we chose to see the best in others, like a sunset filter were placed over our hearts?

I’m not suggesting we overlook things that are unjust or wrong, or disregard truth. Nor am I suggesting we paint everything this golden hue simply because it’s easier than dealing with our own integrity of character. However, sometimes people achieve great things simply because there was someone who believed they could.

I want to see the best in others. After all, where would I be if I hadn’t been seen through the eyes of grace and mercy? Oh let grace and mercy be my sunset filter.

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”         Romans 5:6-8

the field

After the harvest is complete and the land has given of all it bore, the fields are left. Stripped, empty, shaven and shorn down to the scalp. What good things there were have been given freely and lovingly. Now what remains is a barren space, exposed in the raw to the brutality of the winter wind.

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Maybe you’ve felt this way before? It would be a falsity to deny ever having found myself in such a condition. I have been those fields. Stripped of all I had to give. Cut and torn down to the bone. What I once gave so freely was now exhausted and unreplenished. What now did I have to offer? I am a desolate wasteland.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. With empty hands I lifted them to the only One who can make something out of nothing. I have nothing, Lord. But I believe my emptiness is another way for you to show me your power, glory, and beauty. What I cannot, you can.

Then the snow falls on the face of the field. When I had my eyes lifted in hopeful expectation, the cold came in a different form. Instead of the wind lashing across its face, the field is now under the full weight of winter. There is nowhere for this field to go. It must sit under cover and wait. Yet in that close space the quiet steals in, almost shocking in contrast to the howling of the winds. It is here, in the close and the quiet, where the Lord is found…Where my ears can hear his gentle voice.

“Forget the former things. Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”          Isaiah 43:18,19

In this heavy space I struggled and pleaded. Please lift this from me. But the more I struggled, the less I could see what was really happening, there in that close and quiet place called waiting.

You see, under the snow, the tired field is insulated from the task of the cold wind. Under the snow, the field that was plucked over is now at rest. Without this rest, there would be no replenishment of what it needs to once again spring up.

I wanted to be healed. I wanted to be fruitful and pleasing to my God. For his kingdom and for his glory. Try as I might. Out of desperation I asked what more needed to be done? What do I have to do to be healed and to have a pure heart? Jesus, I said. You did the work on the cross. You said, “It is finished.” So what now?

Then His words broke through my desperation.

“Wait, my child. You are worried and upset about many things, but only One thing is needed.”

Ah. Indeed it was pointed out to me that I was more akin to Martha than Mary in that moment. I had been distracted trying to prepare my own heart and grow my own fruit. It was as useless as the field trying to grow its own crop without the attention and the work of the hand who very first plants the seeds.

So as I waited there, like the fields closed in beneath the snow, I found I was in the best place I could be- stayed in the healing presence of Jesus Christ. He covered me and hid me beneath the shadow of his wing, drawing me close. It is here in His presence, focusing all my heart and mind’s attention on who He is, where true rest and healing is.

In time, as I’m learning to continually dwell in his presence, I’ve been more and more amazed at just how beautiful my God is, and how loving all His ways. My delight is in Him… And what’s this? In our quiet space when I close my eyes, what do I now see? This field, while still cut close to the ground, is NOT dormant. Watch the small green things and little dark berries pop up. Where it was once empty, new life is beginning to emerge. It may not be in full bloom yet, but knowing this field is capable of growing again brings such relief and hope for what is to come. Where there was always joy found in the Lord, now happiness flows once more. My God is growing fruit. He is making streams in the wasteland.

For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.     Philippians 2:13

Johnston- Long Grove, IA

During the last week of August I had the privilege of photographing a farm in Long Grove, Iowa that is over a hundred years old. It is a place filled with wonderful things to look at every where I turned! I really enjoyed being on this farm, even while an intimidating horse kept nudging the back of my head while I was trying to compose a shot and a crazy cat kept climbing me like a tree!

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Johnston gallery

Orion Fall Festival

It’s the time of year when you can smell Autumn in the air just waiting for Summer to loosen the reigns. That means it’s time for the Orion Fall Festival, one of my favorite times of the year!

I will have an art booth displaying paintings, drawings, and photographs. Plus, I will be promoting “The Farm” by giving away one free lab fee for a farm book and half off a photo shoot! Come by my booth to enter, or email me if you want a chance to win photographs of your farm.

Orion, IL is a pretty drive just outside the Quad Cities. If you’re looking for something fun to do this Labor Day weekend, I hope you’ll join me! Click HERE to see the schedule of events. There is a lot going on, and so much for kids to do, too!

Hope to see you there!

when all is quiet

Early this morning, while it was still and quiet, my sleepy lids lifted just enough to notice the thick white fog outside my window. *I sleep with my blinds partially open for occasions such as this!   I considered going back to sleep, but I couldn’t let the opportunity pass. I hopped out of bed, grabbed my camera, and this is what I found:

I had a moment with what I think was a horned owl, too.* I’m no owl expert, so naturally I googled it. I came upon it suddenly. Our eyes locked..I’ve never been that close to an owl before. Its eyes looked like it had lived centuries longer than I have. Unfortunately, as I lifted my camera it flew away. Maybe the moment is more special that way? It was wondrous.

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