What is Jack preaching in the pulpit?

Mr. Jack-in-the-pulpit (Macro setting)

Prepare yourself.  You are about to see Nature’s most famous preacher at least seven times.  You may blink and scratch your head and say, “Why is she showing us the same picture so many times?  Couldn’t we just look once and nod our heads and move on to another blog?  Why do we have to see this preacher seven times?”

Mr. Pulpit with fuzzy soft background

OK, now comes the sermon.  This is where you’ll get your answer.

Remember our photography buddy, Scott Thomas?  He makes assignments for us over at Views Infinitum.  His most recent assignment goes thus:

One of the first decisions a photographer makes before he takes a photograph is what exposure to use.  There is no wrong answer as long as the photo is not over or underexposed.  You can select a small aperture to keep everything in focus in the frame from front to back or shoot wide open with the large aperture for a selective focus photograph.  Maybe you want to show movement by using a slow shutter speed or freeze the action with a fast one. It is all up to how you want to create the photo.

For Assignment 7, I am looking for photographs where you use a creative exposure and explain why you decided on the exposure settings used. Here’s an article I highly recommend you read: Finding the Right Creative Exposure  (if you click on the link you’ll see why I do. ).  It will give you some more ideas about what a creative exposure is.

Those of you with Point & Shoot type of cameras, this would be a good time to review the different Scene selections which give creative exposures like Landscape, Sports, Night, Fireworks and others.

Automatic setting. For when you don't want to think or mess around with settings.

As most of you know, I have a Point and Shoot camera.  It’s a little tiny silver sweetheart called a Sony Cybershot.  It has 12.1 megapixels.  And it’s proven during the past 1 1/2 years that even a Point and Shoot camera can sometimes get darn interesting photos! 

You don’t play around with manually moving the lens or anything that complicated.  Instead, once you’ve graduated from Pointing & Shooting without paying attention (which was me until about two months ago) you click on the menu before you aim your camera.

Here are some of your options:

Auto adjustment

Program auto (with adjustable settings.  Still not 100% clear about the difference between these first two options.)

ISO – High Sensitivity (Shoot without flash in low light reducing blur)

Soft snap – Fuzzy background (one of my personal faves this week–shoots subject with soft background.)

Landscape – distant focus

Twilight portrait

Twilight (low light scene using tripod.  Gonna use a tripod one of these days.  Honest.)

Beach – Waterside scene with rich blue color.  Been using this a lot lately.  Look at the previous post with swamp photos.  Rich blue color, eh?

Snow – Whitish scene with high brightness.  OK, been using this one all winter.  It really lightens up our blue snow shadows.

Three preachers talking together about the glories of nature (soft fuzzy backround)

Now, in some of these preaching pulpits, you might not be able to tell too much difference.  That’s OK.  Neither can I.  You have to develop a subtle eye.  Sometimes you take a photo and there is a Huge Difference.  Other times it’s miniscule.  Sometimes you get home at the computer and think, “What setting was this?” 

Perhaps in the non-Point & Shoot cameras it’s easier to tell huge differences when Jack preaches.

What the pulpit conceals (automatic setting)

The automatic setting is still my favorite.  Because you never know when an eagle will fly up in the heavens or when you’re running through the woods and chasing a bear to get his photograph.  You don’t want to stop and do all the manual adjustments, do you?  (Ha ha, are you wondering if I’ve chased a bear through the woods to get his photo?  NOT YET.  But it might happen some day.  Although, in truth, I’ll probably be running like crazy in the opposite direction.  Or at least walking rapidly.)

No hiding allowed. (Soft background)

Isn’t a Jack-in-the-Pulpit a fascinating plant?  I love them.  They look mysterious, hooded, interesting.  They hide their light under a lamp, so to speak.  Which reminds me of the childhood Sunday School song we used to sing:

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,

let it shine, let it shine…

One more view. Macro lens. Nothing escapes our curiosity.

Did we all enjoy our time in church today?  Did we learn something from the sermon?  Are we going to go over to Scott’s blog and do a photography assignment?  It’s due May 26th before midnight. Are we going to get stunning spectacular amazing shots utilizing the different techniques (unlike mine, I am sorry to say.  I did not aim for stunning spectacular photos.  I aimed for a sermon.)  Hope you enjoyed!  Come again Sunday! 

Except today isn’t Sunday, is it?

How about come any day.  Nature keeps every day as the sabbath, you know.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to What is Jack preaching in the pulpit?

  1. fountainpen says:

    Well, Kathy, Emily Dickinson had it right for sure! No? I think she knew
    about Jack and the pulpits sprouting here and there and everywhere….

    Thanks for the lovely lovely photos……I am ALMOST ready, ALMOST ready
    to invest in a camera…..but why?! You provide SUCH lovely lovely pictures for all of us…..

    Here is Emily Dickinson for those of you who might want this poem:

    SOME keep the Sabbath going to church;
    I keep it staying at home,
    With a bobolink for a chorister,
    And an orchard for a dome.

    Some keep the Sabbath in surplice;
    I just wear my wings,
    And instead of tolling the bell for church,
    Our little sexton sings.

    God preaches,—a noted clergyman,—
    And the sermon is never long;
    So instead of getting to heaven at last,
    I ’m going all along!
    e. dickinson


    • Kathy says:

      Emily Dickinson expresses these things so beautifully, fountainpen. Thank you for sharing that! And how exciting that you will be–almost!–investing in a camera. Can’t wait to see your photos. (And then the beautiful notecards you will make from them…)

  2. jeffstroud says:


    What a fun sermon from Jack in the pulpit. We don’t usually have these wondrous plants here. In up state NY we had them all over the place! Different shapes and sizes.
    Thank you for the Photography lesson. Yes the differences are subtle…
    I usually shoot at 200 ISO, in Manual, than I have to adjust the Soft a fuzzy, the FStop, Depth of Field, as well at the shutter speed, to accommodate the light and shadows. I even have to adjust the focus because I dropped my lens sometime back, but that has allowed me to pay more attention to what I am taking a photograph of. If its flying away, I better be quick, If I am chasing it, it usually isn’t work the work?
    I am glad that you have begun to do the lesson with Scott Thomas, you will now see and feel more creative with new knowledge of your camera and what it can do, and what you can do with it.

    I am Love, Jeff

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Jeff! Ha, ha–me giving a photography lesson! Er, I mean–sermon. Glad you enjoyed it. I liked to hear how you shoot your wonderful photos. See, that’s one of the reasons I think of folks like you and Scott as “real” photographers. You know what to do to get the optimal shot. You think about light and shadows. It is taking me a long time to think consciously about these things… Maybe one day I’ll get a camera like yours. But there are still things to learn from the Sony Cybershot for now.

  3. Kathy – Nature’s Cathedral is by far the best kind of church. Her attendees don’t have “labels” that bicker amongst themselves. You don’t hear, “I’m an Oak, I’m better than you.” Or, “I’m a Maple, get outta my way.” No sir. Nature’s Cathedral is non-denomenational — everyone is welcome. Seven days a week. The photographs were fantastic!

    And I loved the sermon. Thank you!

    • Kathy says:

      Laurie! You mean you don’t think those Jack in the Pulpits are arguing with the daisies? C’mon daisies, shine your light a little more brightly! And didn’t you hear the violets bickering with the poplar trees because they were shading them too much? Can you imagine what it would be if we humans were more like nature? It would be a more peaceful world, for sure!

  4. Snoopykg2 says:

    It was a heavenly description, and trying to capture it on camera is even more of a mystery. Great comparison to hiding a lamp under as bush, and this little light of mine.

    Each items in nature, no mater what it is shines in its own light. To bad we humans, more often than not try to snuff those lights out or make our light shine better than others for some kind of gratification.


    NOTE: new e-mail- Snoopykg2@aol.com

    • Kathy says:

      Kim, I think every one of us is a beautiful shining light. When we don’t hide our light under a barrell or snuff out others…just as you said. Sometimes it seems to take a lifetime for us to fully appreciate the light of ourselves and everyone else. I know I’m working on it!

  5. I am with you and the beloved Miss Dickinson.
    Holy Holy Holy.
    Love, S

  6. Colleen Lloyd says:

    Hi Kathy, I’ve had a lovely excuse to read this twice, once for the words and then back again to look more closely at the beautiful photos! Now you have me pulling out my camera and looking closely at all of the settings. And thinking that maybe it’s time to take the plunge and venture off automatic…after five years and many travels, all on automatic!!
    My favorite photo is on the macro setting, the intensity of light and detail, and then the two on automatic setting. The soft/fuzzy background settings have me peering around the flowers and wondering what might be in the background, wanting to see more than is shown. Ah, well…..
    They’re all very beautiful! And thank you for the introduction to Scott Thomas and his site and to fountainpen for sharing Emily Dickinson 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Colleen, I am glad you will be looking more closely at the settings of your camera. Isn’t it fun? When it’s time, that is. We slowly begin the journey of venturing off “automatic” in so many areas of our lives… Now you have me thinking of other areas where I am still plugged into the automatic setting. Thank you!

  7. Cindy Lou says:

    Amen! I do experiment with my settings but can never remember which was which when I get home and look at them…kind of like my cooking, no recipe turns out the exactly the same way twice!

    I’d love to see Mr. Jack up close and personal – I peer around on my walks, but haven’t had the pleasure yet. Some day…

    • Kathy says:

      Yep, Cindy, same with me and recipes. Never can remember what went in each new recipe. Kind of makes it exciting, yes? You mean you have NEVER had the pleasure of meeting Jack? NO! That must be remedied. Come on over. We’ll go meet our favorite preacher.

  8. slamdunk says:

    I enjoyed your approach in displaying these wonderful photos. Nature does keep the Sabbath.

  9. When photographing something with a very busy background, like your Jack in the Pulpits here, the more you can get the background blurry (referred to as bokeh…a cool word you can drop into your vocabulary and impress your friends and fellow photographers), the better. That way you focus (pun intended) attention on the subject. In this case the colors, lines and curves of this very interesting plant.

    Nice sermon. 🙂 Where do I send the donation to?

    • Kathy says:

      Scott, Barry suggested I should put a line in about passing the collection plate. Ha ha! And then I suppose the money in the collection plate should go to YOU since this was all your idea. Thank you again for the inspiration! I love what you teach about photography. And will try to remember the word bokeh. Bokeh. Bokeh. Please feel free to quiz me.

  10. Kathy these photos are amazing and such a fun story… I have never seen these little guys and if you hadn’t of tipped his hat I would not have known they were so tiny.

    • Kathy says:

      Terrill…tipped his hat! Good way of looking at that. They are magnificent plants. And it was sooooo fun to write the story. Gosh, I like writing stories. And I know you do, too!

  11. Amy says:

    When I was very little, 4 or 5, the neighborhood children got together and formed a club…not any club mind you, a plant club! (-: The rules were, to join, you had to bring a plant, preferably wild. I was so excited (I should’ve paid more attention to this in my adult-hood) to join. I don’t remember what I brought, but I remember our ‘club’ going and looking at ‘Jack in the Pulpit’ in the woods. I had never heard of him before, but will always remember him this way. Thanks for the memories Kathy. Nice pics. -Amy

    • Kathy says:

      I am truly amazed that neighborhood children of 4 or 5 would form a PLANT club. What enlightened children you were! How wonderful that you have childhood memories of our Jack. Glad this post spurred the old-time sermons…

  12. Amy says:

    PS: I vote for the macro lens setting.

  13. Karma says:

    Hi Kathy! This is my first visit to your blog, I think? I get confused with all the fun folks I find through Scott’s place! Anyway, just wanted to tell you how much I loved the humor with which you presented this assignment! The three preachers talking about the glories of nature especially tickled my funny bone.

    • Kathy says:

      Karma, so happy you stopped by to visit. Scott’s blog is a great meeting place, isn’t it? Glad you enjoyed this. I had such fun writing this! And your blog is great, too…

  14. flandrumhill says:

    I’ve never seen a Jack-in-the-pulpit in person. What an intriguing plant it is. Very helpful post. I have got to get past that automatic setting. Time to visit Scott.

    • Kathy says:

      Amy, what I’ve discovered is that you simply have to remind yourself when you take the shots–what is the optimal setting? The brain gets in the groove of asking that question quite quickly. At least it did for me in the past two months! I hope you see a Jack in the pulpit some day…

  15. Nye says:

    Kathy, I need to carry my point and shoot around also, I find myself saying “I wish I had my camera” many times in the last couple of weeks.

    I like the last photo, nicely done. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Nye, do you have a point and shoot as well as a more complicated camera? Or are you only pointing & shooting like me? Thank you for stopping by and visiting. And we’ll just have to keep inspiring each other to remember our cameras!

      • Nye says:

        Kathy, I have both, the more complicated one is too hard for me so I point and shoot with it many times, but had to manually focus it sometimes for a sharper image, made me feel like I’m in control. 😉

  16. kanniduba says:

    Loved this post Kathy! The two shots of the “three preachers talking together” were my favorites. What an interesting little piece of nature these are, eh?!

    • Kathy says:

      Kanniduba, I am glad you enjoyed the post. Are you wondering, like I am, what the three preachers are talking about? Perhaps the Garden of Eden?? LOL! They are wonderful indeed.

  17. truels says:

    I enjoyed your story – and pictures – of the preaching pulpits. I think it’s a very good way make creative experiments by taking different shots with different settings of the same subject ( I tried the same! ). And that plant is very nice and special!

  18. JenniferA says:

    Hi Kathy – I loved the narrative of this post and the photos as well! I have a point-and-shoot also, and this assignment also got me to try out some of the settings I don’t normally use. Next time I go out chasing bears, I’ll be ready! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Jennifer, have you been chasing bears? LOL! I want to find a bear to chase… except I’ll probably be running like crazy in the opposite direction! Loved your blog and your experimentation with your camera. Isn’t it fun??

  19. Pingback: Assignment 7: Recap « Views Infinitum

  20. Deanna says:

    Nice! Very creative post as well as exposures.

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s