ISO 50 | 39mm | f 8.0 | 1/200 sec

In a four-dimensional universe, there are certain constraints that bind all of humanity.  We quickly grow accustomed to three of those dimensions (height, width, and depth) and learn to function within the limitations of physical space.  Because 3-Dimensional space is tangible, it’s easy for us to understand and observe how it works and live our lives based on this knowledge.  However, we don’t often give enough consideration to the fourth dimension that governs the world in which we live – time.

Maybe it’s because time is an intangible concept, something we can’t grab hold of and examine.  In a world that caters to the senses, time has little relevance to people who are driven by what they can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch.  For most of us, time is an unforgiving constant, something to be ignored rather than to be heeded.  After all, the problems we already face in a 3-Dimensional world are enough to worry about without adding the concerns that accompany a fourth dimension.

But whether we like it or not, in the end, time is something that all of us have to deal with.  It’s a property of nature, just like gravity and the laws of thermodynamics.  We can view it as a curse to humanity, or we can consider how blessed we are as people to live within the constraint of the time-frame we’ve been given.  But ultimately how we perceive time will determine how we utilize it, it’s really our perspective that will affect how this fourth dimension governs our lives.

So take a moment with me and step outside your small world of four dimensions.  As we gaze along the closed timelike curve of human existence and stop and examine various event horizons along that curve, what do we encounter?  Peering through the looking glass 47 years from now, what changes do we behold?  How have our lives improved over the course of that time?  How have the lives of others been improved?  What things can we look back upon as accomplishments and jobs well done?  What kind of heritage have we left for those who will follow us along this timeline of life?  Will we stare into the mirror and shake our head at the tired, worn face of a life that was lived only for the tangible and the here-and-now?  Or will we behold the beaming face of a life well lived, a life of purpose, a life that sought to make a difference and improve the lives of others along the way?

Though humanity may never find a way to transcend the constraint of time, we as individuals can still take advantage of what we’ve been given.  Live life to the fullest.  Seek to follow God and search out His will for your life.  Do your best to serve others and make a difference in their lives.  You may not be able to stop the clock, but you can sure give it a run for its money!

Week 50!  Two more images to go!
I was thinking a lot about the precious gift of time this week and was pondering the various ways that we as humans tend to spend it.  I know I’ve wasted a lot of time on fruitless pursuits, but when I look ahead, I have to ask myself, “How will this matter decades from now?”  I want to start pursuing things that will truly matter 50 years from now, and ultimately, for eternity.
This was a tough project.  It took three times longer than I was anticipating (I was actually up until 2:00 this morning putting the finishing touches on it).  I have never done anything like this before, and I think it was an awesome experience.  Here’s a brief breakdown:
Shot this in the cramped, sweltering bathroom.  I had two strobes, stands, and my camera and tripod squished into that tiny room.  I had some major motivation to get the shot done, and quick!  Lit the scene with a strobe and beauty dish just to camera-left, and a secondary fill-light that was firing just behind my right shoulder.  It doesn’t give the scene a very dynamic look, but unfortunately I was restricted by 3-Dimensional space, and wasn’t able to get my lights in more ideal locations.  As it was, I was happy to fill the scene with a soft blanket of light without getting any glares or reflections in the mirror!

The hardest part of this image was the aging process.  I did watch a tutorial on how to do this (I had a few ideas, but I’m glad I watched it, my original methods would have taken way longer).  Basically what I ended up doing was taking several source files (roughly 10-12) of portraits of older individuals, and combining various elements from those portraits (wrinkles, hair, chin stubble, etc.) with my self-portrait.  This was made a ton easier by using the patch tool (which performs automatic color-correction during the patch process), and I also utilized the clone and spot patch tools.

One interesting thing of note is that I was able to create a brush for adding the white hair for my eyebrows/beard.  I found that starting with a darker layer to act as base/shadow, and then adding two additional layers of a medium-gray and then a white tone really enhances the reality of the hair I added to my portrait.  The brush is available for download from the link below:

Download Hair.abr (8 KB)

It would be too difficult to explain the entire process in words, so I’ve included a short animation that breaks down the process visually so you can get a better idea of what this transformation really looked like.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and I hope it gave you reason to pause and consider what you’re doing to make a difference with the time you’ve been allotted in this life.  We’re all here to make an impact, what are you doing to affect the lives of those around you today?

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