Posts tagged ‘Cork’

December 28, 2009

Ownahincha


From a distance, it looked promising. Nestled on a rocky and weathered outcrop, buttressed against the Atlantic waves by craggy cliffs it warranted further investigation. However there was disappointment ahead. Some property ‘developer’ had constructed perhaps some of the most ugly and out-of-character-with-the-landscape block of flats that I had ever seen. I had to check the map to make sure we were not in Soviet era Stalingrad. I wanted to be sick.

Perhaps one of the blessings of post Celtic-Tiger Ireland is that these brown paper envelope developments will at least temporarily come to a halt.

What is it about us humans that we have to ruin God’s beautiful Creation? Of course there are many examples of buildings that fit the character of the landscape in which they exist. Natural and local materials (rather than reinforced concrete) put together in a way that is sensitive to the surroundings can actually enhance a landscape. God made us to be co-creators, to make things that reflect the great skill and talent He has given to so many builders and architects. But how many of us do things for God’s pleasure and glory above the desire for short-term satisfaction and profit?

Before I get too carried away I’ll stop right there!

Happy New Year to everyone (hopefully more than one) reading this and may you know the fullness of God’s love, life and blessing in 2010…

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September 22, 2009

Harmony of Black and White at Harvest

Panasonic LX1, f4.9, 1/500 sec, ISO 80, 14.4mm (click to enlarge)

I had the great pleasure last Sunday of being invited to the Harvest Thanksgiving service in Mallow, north Co. Cork. Now you would be forgiven for thinking that this might be a very rural and very traditional parish and of course, in some ways, it is. What they have managed to do though is something quite special. In the past few years, a number of Nigerian families have moved to the town and have got involved in the church. The Rector made the very canny move of appointing one of them as church warden and has expertly involved them in all sorts of ways in the life of the parish. The singing is phenomenal. With colourful clothes and infectious smiles our African brothers and sisters have brought a level of joy and celebration that is seldom seen in most parts of the Church of Ireland. My favourite part was the presentation of gifts, where several families danced up the aisle bringing baskets of fruit and other produce to the front of the church to thank God for all His blessing and provision. What is wonderful too is how this has all been warmly welcomed by those who have attended this church all their lives. I was happy to join in too – my clapping maybe not quite in time and my voice not quite in tune and my body not quite in rhythm but the whole experience made me more grateful for the harvest (and all God’s blessings) than I had been for quite some time.

August 31, 2009

Waiting

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.”

(Genesis 8:22)

August 17, 2009

Looking Up

Panasonic LX1, 1/400 sec, f5.6, ISO 80, 28mm equivalent (click to enlarge)

August 15, 2009

Men at work – God at work

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 down

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 …

May 20, 2009

Not bad for a mobile phone

Sony Ericsson K800i (Mobile phone), 5 pictures @ f2.8, 1/1250 sec, ISO 80

St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork, taken two days ago using five pictures from a Sony Ericsson K800i mobile phone, stitched together on the computer using Photoshop Elements 6.

One of the great myths about digital photography, particularly with small pocket cameras and especially with mobile phones is the idea that the more megapixels the better. The problem is that the sensor is tiny (smaller than a fingernail) so the more photosites you cram on to it the harder each one has to work to get an image. In good light this is fine but in dimmer light when the ISO has to increase to over, say 200 this leads to excessive “noise”, i.e. coloured blotches and loss of detail in the picture. That’s why you can look at a low-light photo taken with a five or six megapixel camera bought a few years ago and it will look a lot better than today’s latest twelve megapixel monster – the sensor is the same size – but having to work twice as hard!

Anyway, I got a new mobile phone recently (well actually second-hand off eBay for £60). It has a camera on it that’s not bad, though not as good as the pictures from a ‘proper’ camera, such as a digtal SLR or a film camera, like my Olympus OM-1 from 1973 (I’ll put up some pictures from the latter in due course).

May 18, 2009

Blowin’ in the wind

Panasonic LX1, f5.6, 1/500 sec, ISO 80, 18mm

Taken near Roberts Cove, Co. Cork. This windswept tree reminded me of the famous song:

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, ‘n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

(Bob Dylan)

April 17, 2009

Meditation

Sony Ericsson K800i mobile phone, f2.8, 1/50 sec, ISO 80

Came across this chap whilst walking down Grand Parade in Cork. At first I thought he was doing some incredible double-jointed thing with his feet, but then realised that he had in fact taken his boots off! Even though I don’t know what’s going on inside his head, I admire his courage and commitment…

(The photo is pretty poor quality because I only had my the camera on my mobile phone to hand).

April 7, 2009

The food of love …

The Chocolate Shop, English Market, Cork
Panasonic LX1, f2.8, 1/30 sec, ISO 80, 28mm equivalent

Shakespeare said that “If music be the food of love …”. Of course, I’m sure he’s right, but I would like to also put forward the case for something else … chocolate!

Eat … delicacies that melt in your mouth. Likewise knowledge, and wisdom for your soul— Get that and your future’s secured, your hope is on solid rock.

Proverbs 26:13,14 (Abbreviated from The Message)