by Brad Herndon
Don Pacey lived in northern Ohio during the 1980s. He was a construction manager and on the side he loved to grow apples and sell them at his roadside stand in the fall. He built his own apple crates from basswood and this is where an amazing story begins.
Don’s son worked at a local factory and a fellow worker there did wood carving. Don’s son became interested in carving and his wood carving friend told him he would give him some lessons if he supplied the wood. Well, basswood is a good carving wood so Don’s son asked if he could have some of his dad’s basswood to use. Don agreed with one stipulation: he would supply all the basswood his son needed if his friend would also give him a lesson or two.
So Don supplied the basswood for some time, but no lessons were ever given. Still, Don became interested in wood carving and one day he sat down, took his pocket knife and a piece of basswood and carved out a mallard duck. The result of his efforts were, in Don’s words, “Not bad.” Actually, the work was so good Don realized he had discovered a hidden gift—at the age of 59!
Don quickly researched all available materials about wood carving, purchased the proper carving tools, and was soon winning wood carving contests. In a competition where wood carving is sometimes passed down for generations, from one family member to another, this self-taught carver went on to finish as high as ninth in the world in wood carving! His work became much in demand and was sold all over the world. Don also gave lessons to people in all walks of life, from the very rich to the not-so-rich, for he wanted to pass on the wonderful gift that he possessed.
I had the privilege of becoming Don Pacey’s friend when he moved to the rolling hills of southern Indiana and I dubbed him The Master Carver. When I would call him The Master Carver, this sweet Christian man would simply point his hand upward and say, “I know who The Master Carver is.”
Everyone has gifts, all given to them by God. Don was a master carver, some people are incredible cooks, others may have the gift of speaking, and still others have the gifts of giving, patience or teaching. But we all have gifts, and as Don Pacey’s life points out, we may have some gifts yet undiscovered. Perhaps, for some of you, it may be photography. The only way to see if you possess this gift is to try photography and see how it turns out.
Keep in mind, though, that you must apply yourself. In the beginning, Don said his work was, “Not bad.” To become world-class, however, he had to apply himself, studying and working for several years to become one of the best wood carvers ever. And so it is with photography. At first, your work may be, “Not bad.” With effort and direction, perhaps your work may become outstanding. That is our hope, for good teachers always want their students to become better than they themselves are. There is, we want to note, one other very important aspect of becoming an outstanding photographer that you must have.......
Like exercising, sometimes the hardest part of photography is getting out the door. In this first discussion of Creative Photography Carol and I want to inspire you, to encourage you to give photography an honest effort, and to realize that stunning subjects are as close as your own home, and your own back yard.
During this series, we will share with you eye catching shots taken within our own simple back yard, and this is the place to hone your skills before venturing off to faraway places.
And in closing, while trying to discover your own special gifts that have been given to you, always remember the most important gift you can ever receive—the gift of salvation.
Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Copyright 2010 Brad Herndon