Posts tagged ‘Film’

September 12, 2011

Roll 30

A few recent pictures.  These are taken with a Nikon F100 and 18-35mm and 50mm lenses using Ilford FP4+ (125 ISO), developed in Agfa Rodinal and scanned using an Epson 4490.  Kinsale harbour

Red Strand

Red Strand

Kinsale harbour

February 27, 2011

Do not worry…

1102portra160vc003

(Photo: Not ‘Lilies of the field’, Snowdrops from Blarney will have to make do…)

Sermon for the Second Sunday Before Lent, Year A, Matthew 6:25:34

How you can tell when it’s going to be a rotten day:
You wake up face down on the pavement.
You call The Samaritans and they put you on hold.
You see loads of reporters and camera crews waiting outside your office.
Your birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candles.
Your twin sister forgot your birthday.
Your car horn goes off accidentally and remains stuck as you follow a Scary biker gang on the motorway.
Your boss tells you not to bother to take off your coat.
The bird singing outside your window is a Vulture.
You wake up and your braces on your teeth are locked together.
Your income tax check bounces.
You put both contact lenses in the same eye.
Your wife says, “Good morning, Bill”, and your name is George.
Source Unknown.

These days are for many a time of great worry and testing; things that we took for granted can no longer be viewed that way.  Many of us never worried about the fact that there would be enough money to pay the bills.  The mortgage was high but then so was the income to pay for it.  Food prices were amongst the highest in the world, but then so was our standard of living.  For so many people in this country the difference today from just a short couple of years ago could not be greater.  Then it seemed that the sky was the limit, now our feet our firmly on the ground, in a queue, outside the social welfare office…

Even if we ourselves are not out of work or in a desperate financial situation, we certainly know people who are; they are among our family members and friends.  We have found ourselves helping people who would be really stuck otherwise.  All of us are in this together, especially so in the family of God.

Speaking of God, where is He in all of this?  Does He just sit up in heaven and shake His head as He watches us make a complete mess of things?  No, His response is very clear, so clear in fact that at least until we grasp its truth it can be infuriating!  He says:

“Do not worry.”

It is not difficult to picture the scene:  You have just opened a ‘final notice’ letter from the bank; you simply do not have the money to meet all those who are demanding it from you.  You feel a deep anger at the former government and at the bank which is demanding your money. You feel the sheer weight and pressure of responsibility upon you to provide for your family, to feed them, to clothe then and to provide a roof over their heads and you would like to find any way possible out of this mess.  Then in the midst of all of this, the Lord Jesus says “Do not worry!”  ‘How could He possibly understand my situation?’ you say.  Actually He understands your situation more than you will ever know, and that is the core of it; He wants you to trust Him.  He wants you to hand over to Him every burden, every weight and the pressure of all your responsibility, the worry, anxiety, guilt, anger and pain.  Hand it over to Him, for He is more than able to take it from you and more than able to deal with it and He is more than able to provide for you and your family for all of your needs.  You may lose your home but you will not be homeless, you may not be tasting Pate Fois Gras anytime soon, but you and your family will have more than enough to eat.  You may not be able to drive your dream car, but you will be able to get to the places you need to.  Your clothes may not be the newest and the best anymore, but you will have all that you need.

God will provide.  Our heavenly Father feeds the birds and He provides the lilies of the field with more beautiful apparel than the finest of Kings.  God knows what we need, in fact our Heavenly Father knows what we need better than we do.

Is there a catch?  Well there is and there isn’t.  (Red Herring alert) God will provide for us, He provides enough for the whole world, the only reason so many are without is because countries like ours hoard so much and it is our greed ultimately that leads to the deaths of so many who do not have enough food in other countries.  Yes there are other factors too, whether it be tyrannical regimes in power in those countries, famines and poor distribution because of bribes and corruption and sheer apathy amongst their leaders to do anything to help.  But when we look at our problems in the context of the world in which we live rather than just on how we used to live then it does help to put some kind of sobering perspective on things.

In this life we cannot have everything that we want, there will be good times but there will be bad times too.

There’s a great magazine called Leadership Journal and this is what the editor Marshall Shelley wrote in November of last year:  My wife’s father is a farmer. He’s spent a lifetime raising wheat, corn, beef, and along the way some sheep and chickens. One morning while I followed him around the farm, we talked about the differences between living in the town and in the country.

“Most people who live in towns that I know expect each year to be better than the last,” he said. “They think it’s normal to get an annual raise and to earn more this year than you did last year. As a farmer, I have good years and bad years. It all depends on rain at the right time, dry days for harvest, and no damaging storms. Some years we have more; some years we have less.”

It was one of those indelible moments of stunning clarity. And that “law of the harvest”—some years being fat and others being lean—applies to much more than agriculture. Growing in spiritual maturity requires gratefully accepting the “seasons of more” and the “seasons of less” that God weaves into specific areas of our lives—our friendships, marriage, career, finances, ministry, and spiritual growth.[1]

So our Lord and Saviour does not want us to worry, He wants us to trust Him, but is there anything else that He wants us to do (now we get back to the ‘is there a catch?’ question.)  It is of course not really a catch, He simply wants us to stop being negative, He wants us to replace the worry, the fear, the anxiety the guilt, anger and pain with something that is good and positive.  He wants to change our outlook on life, He wants to replace the worry with faith and He wants us to not strive after the things of this world but to strive instead after the things of God; His Kingdom and His righteousness and if we do that He will take care of the rest.  We keep our eyes focussed on Jesus throughout the ups and downs of life and all (ultimately) will be well.

“But what about tomorrow – my bills are not going to magically disappear, my debtors are not going to just melt away?”  Well they might, but what is the Lord’s response to our worries about tomorrow?  Simply this:

“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.  Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (v.34)

Tomorrow is the future for us, but for God who exists outside of time and for whom every one of our days is a present reality it is (or should be) of no concern to us.  As the old saying goes “Do not worry about tomorrow because God is already there.”

Of course the Lord Jesus is right; today’s concerns are enough for today.  We take our problems one at a time and present them to Him in the place of prayer.  In each thing, one at a time we place our dependence upon God and as we do so we can literally feel the weight of those things being lifted off from us.

We can all think of times in our lives where we have been in a situation where we could do nothing else than hand everything over to God.  What was it like when you did that?  Did you survive?  I can remember when I was a new and very inexperienced curate (and the rector was away) having to do several funerals in a few days – I don’t know how I did it, but I realised afterwards that God helped me.  I know that many of you have enough worries and concerns and difficulties and problems to last a lifetime (or indeed several lifetimes).  So may you draw enormous comfort from the simple truth that our reading from Matthew’s gospel reminds us of this morning; the Lord Jesus says to you and to me:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry.”

Let us pray:  Heavenly Father, you know each of us so well and you understand every aspect of our lives so completely.  You know about tomorrow and every day after that.  Lord, we choose right now to let go, to release our tight grip upon all those things which cause us to worry; you know what they are.  We let them go and we give each of them to you now.  Lord, come and fill our hearts and lives and our homes with your love, with your peace and with your presence.  Help us to keep our eyes fixed upon you always, in the knowledge that you will never let go of us and no one or nothing can ever snatch us out of your grasp.  We are with you now and we thank you that no matter what we always will be with you and you with us.  With all of our hearts we thank you … Amen.

February 3, 2011

Strange Tree

Strange Tree!

There’s that strange and surreal place between dreaming and waking where the two merge into each other.  The other night (or rather early morning) I awoke with a rather odd poem going around my head, about a tree…

It had all started the previous week when my better half and I were enjoying a pleasant walk along the beach at Long Strand.  We came across the tree in the photo above and well I thought it interesting enough to take a picture of.  Clearly my subconscious thought it interesting too, interesting enough to come up with a strange poem about a strange dream about a strange tree!  How did I remember the words?  Well, I happened to have my mobile phone nearby and just typed it in, all in one go…

Please take this poem about as seriously as you would read My lovely horse ;-)

Strange tree where have you come from,
What story do you have to tell?
Were you borne here on stormy seas, a refugee from fire or spell?
Oh what would you tell me if only you could say,
perhaps the hopes and dreams caught in your branches reflect the light from whence you came?

Strange tree what do you carry
What a load you have to bear?
Bottles, Tin cans, shoes and netting, things now beyond all care.
Oh what would you tell me if only you could say,
the hopes and dreams caught in your branches are so much more than things that were thrown away?

Strange tree where will you go to
When it comes your time again?
Will you roll upon the open seas to distant shores or mountain glen?
Oh the only thing I can tell you, all that I can say,
is that the hopes and dreams caught in your branches will live on in memories beyond this sunlit day.

(Hope I made you laugh!)

May 6, 2010

Garden Colour Part Two

See how the lilies of the field grow.  They do not labour or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these.  
(Matthew 6:28b, 29)

Well Spring has sprung a bit more since last time.  If ever you are thinking about a film for showing off colour (whether it be in your garden, landscapes or even for portraits) may I humbly recommend Fuji’s Reala 100.  Seeing as only strange people like me use film these days I got twenty rolls of this film off eBay for £20!  All these pictures were taken with a Nikon F100 and 28-105 AF-D lens.  
January 20, 2010

Messed Up


The above picture should show some nicely developed negatives of photos taken in the recent snow, unfortunately it looks instead like pictures taken inside a cave at midnight with no flash! It only took a fraction of a second. I lost my concentration and opened up the developing tank to the light. I closed the lid again immediately but I knew it was too late. Film is very very sensitive to light and so all 36 or so exposures were lost.

I’ve just started reading Dallas Willard’s book, “Renovation of the Heart”. Some words on page 2 resonated with me:

But the situations in which we find ourselves are rarely as important as our response to them.

A ruined film is of course nothing in the context of our lives, where we will face good and bad situations, sometimes overwhelmingly so. But my response to this minor mishap gave me an insight into my own mind in dealing with an albeit insignificant mess up of my own making. My first reaction was to consider giving up and not bother with trying to develop my own films any more and of allowing myself the indulgence of a good sulk and perhaps a good moan too while I was at it.

But then I thought that well I will just learn from this mistake and there’s no way I’ll ruin my film in the same way again, (though probably I will find many other ways to ruin future films too).

I seem to be the sort of person who can only learn by failing first. I thank God for His overwhelming grace. Time and time again He picks me up and dusts me off and sets me on my feet again. I love Him for that…

January 14, 2010

Developing

Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 50mm f1.4, Ilford HP5 Plus ISO 400, Ilfotec DD-X: 9 minutes @ 20°C

Yesterday I finally managed to develop my first black and white film. This has been an ambition of mine ever since I was given an SLR for Christmas in 1985! It wasn’t that difficult really, just a few instructions to follow, mixing the various chemicals correctly and at the right temperature and making sure that the development time was exactly 9 minutes and that was that. The one big mistake I made was in trying to dry the negatives I scratched them quite badly with what I thought was a very soft cloth. I’m looking forward to doing the next roll of film which hopefully will have some nice pictures of the recent snow on it.

December 16, 2009

Nikon F100 Reflection

Nikon F100, Nikkor 28-105 D, Kodak Ultramax 400

One of the great things about being among the few strange people who still like to take pictures using 35mm film is that film cameras are now worth a fraction of what they once were. Ten years ago there is no way I could have afforded a Nikon F100, a camera used by many professionals as a back up to their F5’s. What cost around £1200 in 1999 can now be bought in mint condition for under £200! Yes, I could buy a plastic pocket-sized digital camera for that money today – but I chose instead to buy perhaps one of the very best 35mm SLR’s ever made. There’s no pocket large enough for this beast! It’s big, it’s metal, it’s heavy, it’s a serious piece of kit. The autofocus and film advance are scarily quick (it focuses and meters much more quickly and accurately than my D70s) and did I say it is a lot of fun to use?

So I took it with us when we went on a family trip to Cork last weekend. For part of the day we went to Fota wildlife park, which was very quiet on such a cold and overcast day. The above picture I took while we were waiting to get the train back into the city.

Because I have only a flatbed scanner I cannot get the best quality from film negatives. A close inspection will show that the picture is quite grainy and lacking in detail. In other words the reflection is an imperfect one. This reminded me of how each of us are made in God’s image and yet oh how so very imperfect we are. We’ve all met people who seem to radiate God’s love … I think of a Pentecostal Pastor I once knew who seemed to glow with God’s love, an incredible man, I think of a Franciscan brother who came to my school and got us cynical teenagers interested in contemplative prayer and I can think of many people, often the quiet ones who inhabit pews Sunday by Sunday who in public are shy but behind closed doors are the real ‘prayer warriors’ of God’s Kingdom.

All of us to a greater or lesser extent reflect God’s glory. Every day my prayer is “More of You, less of me.” Though I’d be the first to admit that God has His work cut out when it comes to me :-)

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor.3:18)

August 26, 2009

Closing Down :-(

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?

July 24, 2009

Kodachrome

Nikon D70s, f4.5, 1/60 sec, ISO 200, 82mm equivalent

Nikon D70s, f4.2 1/40 sec, ISO 200, 57mm equivalent

Nikon D70s, f4.5, 1/30 sec, ISO 200, 60mm equivalent

Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 50mm

Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 50mm
Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 50mm


June 22 was a sad day for many photographers, for it was the day that Kodak announced the “Discontinuation” of Kodachrome – perhaps the most famous slide film of all and which had been in production since 1935!

Fortuitously , just a couple of weeks earlier I had bought a roll of it to try. The results came back in the post today from Dwayne’s Photo lab in Kansas, U.S.A., via Switzerland – the only lab left in the world that does the tricky job of processing the stuff.

I have to say that from an amateur photographer’s viewpoint it’s hard to work with. You have to get the exposure spot on, there’s not the tolerance that you’d get in a normal print film. But when you do get it right the colour, sharpness, detail and dynamic range are far greater than my digital camera can come up with.

So long Kodachrome, I’m sure that many of your slides will last a lot longer than the hard drives, C.D.’s and flash drives that most of our photos are stored on these days…

July 24, 2009

Kodachrome

Nikon D70s, f4.5, 1/60 sec, ISO 200, 82mm equivalent

Nikon D70s, f4.2 1/40 sec, ISO 200, 57mm equivalent

Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 50mm

Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 50mm
Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 50mm


June 22 was a sad day for many photographers, for it was the day that Kodak announced the “Discontinuation” of Kodachrome – perhaps the most famous slide film of all and which had been in production since 1935!

Fortuitously , just a couple of weeks earlier I had bought a roll of it to try. The results came back in the post today from Dwayne’s Photo lab in Kansas, U.S.A., via Switzerland – the only lab left in the world that does the tricky job of processing the stuff.

I have to say that from an amateur photographer’s viewpoint it’s hard to work with. You have to get the exposure spot on, there’s not the tolerance that you’d get in a normal print film. But when you do get it right the colour, sharpness, detail and dynamic range are far greater than my digital camera can come up with.

So long Kodachrome, I’m sure that many of your slides will last a lot longer than the hard drives, C.D.’s and flash drives that most of our photos are stored on these days…