August 31, 2009
Panasonic LX1, 1/320 sec, f4, ISO 80, 52mm equivalent (click to enlarge)
A farmer said to me recently that for every day the rain continues to prevent him from harvesting his crops he is losing hundreds of Euro. It must be incredibly frustrating watching your ripened fields get increasingly worse and not being able to do a thing about it.
Let’s spare a thought for farmers at this time and pray that they will get the weather they need very soon. (Of course, now that the children have gone back to school the sun is sure to come out!)
“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”
August 29, 2009
Panasonic FZ50, f4, 1/200 sec, ISO 100, 300mm equivalent
“… but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
I was reminded of this wonderful verse recently when I saw it printed out on the cover of someone’s Bible. I occasionally read it out to people when visiting them and it always brings hope and encouragement. I never cease to be amazed at the power of God’s Word.
The above picture has to be of the ‘luckiest’ I’ve ever taken. I noticed that the sunrise was quite spectacular, so I grabbed my camera and stood out the front of the house hoping to get a shot across towards Fota Island. As this bird flew towards me (not an eagle unfortunately) I just managed to get a picture before the moment was gone. That’s one of the great things about photography, the ability to capture a moment in time and enjoy it afterwards. Of course, if that picture causes the viewer to marvel at God’s creation, then all the better. Soli Deo Gloria – To God alone be glory.
August 26, 2009
Panasonic LX1, f4, 1/500 sec, ISO 80, 28mm equivalent (click to enlarge)
It’s sad to see so many people affected by the mess that is our economy. I know individuals and families in my parish who have lost their jobs, businesses that have closed and people who only a short time ago were comfortably off now struggling to make ends meet.
This reality has hit us all on many different levels. Last week, my favourite place to get films developed put up a ‘closing down’ sign. I’m sad most of all for the kind, knowledgeable and helpful lady there who is losing her job. The service was brilliant – I would drop off a film and within the hour it would be ready – simple and efficient. If I didn’t want prints but just the negatives developed, no problem, she would do it in fifteen minutes and only charge me €2! “Sure I’ll just run it through the machine and it will be ready”, she would say.
The thing is I don’t know of anywhere else that will do this. I reckon I’ll have to wait days in other places and be charged considerably more. Shooting film will now be less of a joy and more of a hassle. Of course it has been on the back of my mind to set up a mini darkroom at home. I did a bit of black and white developing and printing at school and then when I was a student I worked nights in a photo lab (those were loooong nights, in the dark and breathing in the fumes of nasty chemicals).
All I would need would be a small developing tank, developer and fixer etc. and I could use a dark bag rather than take over a whole room. Hmm maybe I’ll give that some further thought, I wonder if Father Christmas is accepting letters yet?
August 24, 2009
Being a supporter of the English Cricket team is always like being on a roller-coaster, (with many more downs than ups). Yesterday provided us with something to celebrate – winning back the Ashes. This is a fantastic achievement and one to savour, not only because of its rarity, but (as England will be going to Australia next year) because of its brevity too.
I’ve had great fun this summer playing cricket in the back garden with our eldest son. It’s only a matter of time though until a window gets broken!
August 15, 2009
Nikon D70s, f9, 1/320 sec, +1.2 EV, ISO 200, 27mm equivalent (click to enlarge)
It’s probably an urban myth, but supposedly in China one of the ways that they keep unemployment levels down is through division of labour. For example, you go into a shop and buy something – one person will put it in a bag for you, another will take your money, a third person will hand you your receipt and a fourth will open the door for you and wish you ‘good day’. Perhaps someone in Cork City council has taken Chinese philosophy to heart…
Of course it’s all very well for me to sit here and have a bit of laugh at these guys’ expense, but I’m sure there are many who would question the value of what I do too. Is there really a place for Christianity or any kind of traditional religion in the 21st century? Is it not all just superstition and a ‘pie-in-the-sky-when-you-die’ mentality?
If there is one thing I’m certain of it is this:
Here’s a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I’m proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy.
(1 Timothy 1:15, The Message)
Every day God is changing people’s lives. From the very second we look over our shoulder and want Him to come into our lives, He is there. Seeking proof, or assessing the relevance of Christianity is found not in scientific, quantifiable study, but in countless hearts, minds and lives that have been transformed among all those individuals who can say:
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me….
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.
August 10, 2009
Looking West from St. Anne’s, Shandon
Nikon D70s, f8, 1/200 sec, ISO 200, 27mm equivalent (click to enlarge)
It seems that when you live somewhere, even for quite a time, you still don’t get to see things that tourists would take in their stride even in a visit of just a couple of days. I grew up near Cambridge and took all the magnificence for granted, of course it wasn’t until I left that I began to appreciate the place in its proper context. So walking around Cork the other day we decided to have a look at things from a tourists point of view. We hopped on the open-top tour bus and took in the sites and learned much that we didn’t know about the history of this fascinating city.
One of the several highlights was a stop at Shandon, where I took our eldest son up to the top of the tower of St. Anne’s church. With the bells ringing you have to wear ear protectors. Wearing these whist negotiating low wooden beams and narrow stairs makes the trek to the top all the more challenging, but well worth it once you are there.
This photo is looking west. Like with the previous post I’ve been messing around with the perspective – hopefully this time giving the picture the slight illusion of being like a model.
Looking down on the city from on high is a strange experience. I could not help but think of so many people living out their lives, many of whom having little or no knowledge of the God who loves them so much that He gave His one and only Son. The church (of all denominations) has in so many ways let the people down. How many will enter eternity not knowing God because they were forever put off trusting in Him by the hypocrisy of so many Christians? Oh dear I’d better stop here …
August 8, 2009
Panasonic LX1, f5.6, 1/400 sec, ISO 80, 28mm equivalent (click to enlarge)
I get to travel around in some very beautiful countryside as I go out visiting people. This field of ripening wheat caught my eye during a trip to the far side of Great Island. The wind was blowing up from the sea, moving the wheat in sea-like waves towards me. A special moment.
For those interested in the technical aspects of the photograph, I used the Gimp (a free photo editor) to mimic the effect of a ’tilt-shift’ lens. If you would like to try it yourself, here’s a helpful ‘how to’ article.
August 3, 2009
Nikon D70s, f8, 1/250 sec, ISO 200, 27mm equivalent
Found this wonderful place today near Kinsale. It was a bit scary walking along the cliff top but we had a lot of fun. There are so many caves and other interesting bits to explore here that we shall have to return soon. By the way, if you look closely just beneath the horizon on the left you can see a sailboat (click the picture to enlarge it if you are interested.)
August 2, 2009
Nikon D70s, f7.1, 1/200 sec, ISO 200, 30mm equivalent
These thoughts and the above picture were on my mind as I awoke this morning. It’s all about the Light! Look at this leaf, now if there were no light shining through it, it would be dull, flat and uninteresting. More to the point, this leaf, like all green plants needs light to produce sugars and other nutrients though photosynthesis. Without light, it is only a matter of time before this leaf withers away to nothing. Not only is the leaf affected, but the rest of the plant to which it is attached is affected too.
O.K., here’s the deal. We need light too, yes sunlight but more than that (I’m not talking about Seasonal Affective Disorder), we need Light. Jesus said:
“I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Without the Light of Christ shining in our lives, we become dull, flat and lifeless – and we produce nothing worthwhile. Imagine how different today would be if Christ was shining in us and through us, in all that we said and all that we did and everywhere we went. Contrast that with how dull and flat and lifeless our day would be without Christ’s Light. Yeah we can get by on our own for a time but just as much as a green leaf (if not more so), we need the Light….