Hi. Hello. How are you?

I sat down next to her in the sand and said “Hi.”

A soft foreign tongue replied “Hello.”

Smiling I said, “How are you?”

She offered a warm smile back and said, “I’m good. . .”

Camera in hand I asked, “May I photograph you?”

“Yes, but I don’t take good photos” was her bashful reply.

“Just keep doing what you are doing, and I’ll take care of the rest. . .”

 

It all started with the intent to rise from bed at the early morning hour of 5:30 AM to catch the sun as it peaked over the horizon. My camera was eager for an adventure and the sun-lit ocean surface would make an attractive background for the photos I was to present to my client. In theory this was going to be an amazing photoshoot. However, at that hour my body had other priorities; like sleep. Needless to say my agenda was altered when I missed my alarm clock’s wakeup call. This now meant that I had to catch the sunset if I was going to capture some stellar photos by the water’s edge for my client.

As I concluded my other duties for the day I watched for the perfect time to venture to the beach. I suppose it was around 6:30 in the evening that this prime time presented itself. With my gear in tow I made my way toward the coast and found an elegant area of sand to support my shoot. The sun was peaking in and out from behind the dark blue clouds in the sky. The wind was maturing to a point of being noticed. The ocean was having its typical conversation with the shoreline but today their connection was especially soothing and smooth. It was my camera’s favorite weather conditions and the products I was shooting looked great against this backdrop. Naturally as I concluded the product pictures my lens got curious about its surroundings. As I glanced up from where I was stationed my eyes were met with a delicate view. At some point while I was preoccupied with my original shoot the section of beach directly in front of me had been cleared of its inhabitants. In the void sat a lone soul. My lens was quick to act as I arose to my feet. I gently stepped forward as if approaching a rare bird in its natural habitat, but not wanting to spook it. In view, all alone with only her thoughts, a peaceful young woman sat in the sand penning her mind to paper.

The wind was ever so gently brushing her hair from her neck and face. Her sun-kissed skin made an attractive contrast against the bleached sand. She sat with her toes eagerly reaching toward the water’s edge. Disappointed in the water’s distance she let her toes play freely in the sand. Piled on her righthand side was a small collection of belongings. The only thing she seemed concerned with in the moment was embracing the free feeling provided by her surroundings and capturing her thoughts with pen and paper.

Approaching from behind I took a knee in the sand. Like a sniper preparing for his shot I made my camera adjustments and composed my photo. My index finger found home. Snap! What a beautiful picture. I smiled to myself and thought “This is my favorite type of photography. The world rushes to the beat of time and often misses the little details of life. However, for me, getting lost in time with my camera. . . seeing beyond the surface of life. . . and exposing a story with a photograph is true bliss. This is the future of Fourth Dimension Photography.”

 

On Being Artsy

My job has taken me around the globe and allowed me to see many corners of our vast world. I’ve always wanted to hang photographic snippets of my adventures on the living room wall. The only thing stopping me was time and not having a clear idea of how I wanted to display the photos. I did not want ordinary. This I knew for certain. I wanted a gallery of sorts to be a chronicle of my world-traveling career that would look fabulous in my house and yet not be ordinary.

I googled around the web every so often, gathering ideas that collected in my brain like cobwebs…..there but barely noticed. I Pinterested a bit too. More ideas piled upon ideas. But none of them were exactly what I had in mind. And then one day it all gelled in my head, leading me downstairs to my bright and cheery craft room to pick up paints and brushes, sandpaper, and scraps of board.

I am pleased to say that my gallery now hangs on the living room wall. Little did I know that future clients of Fourth Dimension Photography might request similar displays for photographs that Joel and I had taken of them. And so begins a fun and artsy chapter for Fourth Dimension Photography.

I love being behind the camera. And I love making beautiful displays from the images captured during the shoots. I look forward to providing more of this for our clients so they can make their most memorable images a work of art proudly hung on the wall for all to enjoy!

 

We Live What We Believe

I met the Beaty family some 18 years ago, just after we received a 5 lb, brown-skinned bundle of cuteness that we chose to name Halla. The name means “unexpected gift” in Africa. She was indeed that! With all of 4 hours notice, my husband and I dropped off our three oldest children at the house of some friends, borrowed the friends’ infant car seat, and drove excitedly to the local hospital where we were gifted a new baby daughter. She was so tiny then. And she had a head full of black hair, hair I didn’t quite know what to do with once it started to curl up tighter and thicken a great deal.

That’s why, when the Beatys first showed up as visitors at our church in Simpsonville and sat directly in front of us, I paid special attention to the adorable little twists Nechelle Beaty had constructed in her toddler’s hair. Kiarah, the eldest Beaty child, was maybe two years old at the time. Nechelle was pregnant with their second child, Karington.

Our friendship with the Beaty family was instantaneous. Over the nearly two decades we have known each other, we have been away on mountain retreats together, vacationed at the beach together, spent time with each other’s extended families at holiday events and family reunions, and spent many a late night playing games or just being silly together. We were there at the hospital when Kendall, Boo and Nechelle’s third child, was born. We were there at the courthouse for the adoption finalization when Kaitlyn and McKayla were officially made members of the family. We have shared many great times together with Boo and Nechelle and their children and created wonderful memories along the way.

Several years ago Mike and I hosted an adoption group through our church. Boo and Nechelle attended, expressing an interest in adopting a child. They believe, as we do, that the Christian community should be stepping up to the plate to live what we say we believe. If we value life we should do what we can to protect it. If we believe the Bible, we can’t ignore Jesus’s words about the true measure of one’s worship being so connected to caring for widows and orphans. Why, I wonder, do we not do this? What is it that stops those who say they believe these words from actually living them out? I think it comes down to fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being uncomfortable. Fear of the messy.

Truly we live what we believe. It is one thing to say we believe something. But always – always our actions will express what it is we truly believe. I suppose this is where the old adage “actions speak louder than words” comes from. Talk is cheap. You live what you believe. I live what I believe. Our actions demonstrate this. Too bad the Christian community, as a whole, doesn’t seem to get that. Complacency is the norm. Comfort is #1. Fear is rooted in a lack of faith in a Sovereign God who holds all things in His hands. Whom shall I fear? Can you honestly say that…..whom shall I fear???

I can clearly see what the Beaty family believes. They are living it out. Not only through the fostering and adoption of two precious girls that come with the messiness all too common in the foster world, but in so many other ways where they give of themselves to meet the needs of others. Fear has no place in the midst of true faith. Their family is a living, moving, breathing portrayal of exactly that. What a beautiful family! What if the rest of the world lived like this? What if, instead of dwelling on the inane arguments our society bombards us with – arguments that are merely symptoms of much deeper issues – what if we chose instead to set our fear aside and live what we say we believe? What if we saved a child or two in the process and showed the world the gospel in doing so?

The world would be a much better place for sure! And it would be much more colorful!

Boldness is a great thing when it’s founded on truth!

Thank you to Boo and Nechelle and their sweet children for allowing Fourth Dimension Photography the privilege of capturing your beautiful family in photos! Thank you for living out loud what you believe. We love you guys!

 

To see more photos from the Beaty’s photoshoot, click here.

 

About Danelle

Danelle German is a long-time homeschool mom of 5 and owner of multiple businesses. Danelle is the inventor of Chubbs Bars pet shampoo as well as co-inventor of the The Catty Shack Vac drying system. She is a published author and travels internationally as a speaker in the pet industry. Photography has been her passion and hobby for many decades. In 2015, Danelle and her oldest son, Joel, made photography more than a passion by taking their work professional with the launch of Fourth Dimension Photography.

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