Posts tagged ‘Ilford’

March 18, 2010

Watching and Waiting

Nikon F100, Nikkor 28-105 f3.5-4.5 D, Ilford FP4 plus (ISO 125), (Click to enlarge)

We were putting out some old dried bread onto the bird table with the unmistakable feeling of being watched. I turned around and there they were, waiting for us to leave so that they could tuck in! Someone commenting on this picture on said it was like something out of a Hitchcock film, maybe the black and white makes it look a bit sinister but in reality it was quite funny – we weren’t attacked by them or anything.

Waiting patiently for things is not a forte of mine so maybe these birds have a lesson to teach me. Also I am reminded of some lovely words from Psalm 130

I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.

I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.

March 10, 2010

Keeping a curse at bay

Nikon F100, Nikkor 28-105 f3.5-4.5 D, Ilford HP5 plus (ISO 400), (Bigger)

There’s a pub nearby with an interesting history. Noel Phair’s was owned by a well-off family in the late 1800’s. They brought the bailiffs in to evict a widow from one of their tenant cottages. Justifiably upset she pronounced a curse on the premises, saying a time would come when grass would be seen growing in the door. To stop the grass, the owners had a metal plate set in the threshold. As you can see from the photo the metal plate is still there. (From Damien Enright’s book “Walks of Clonakilty Town & Country” ISBN 1 902631 021)

“…but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!”
James 3:8-10
February 26, 2010


10 02 HP5010
Nikon F100, Nikkor 28-105 f3.5-4.5 D, Ilford HP5 plus (ISO 400), (click to enlarge)
I came across these words by Max Lucado recently in his book “The Great House of God“:

Some years ago a sociologist accompanied a group of mountain climbers on an expedition. Among other things, he noticed a distinct correlation betwen clound cover and contentment. When there was no cloud cover and the peak was in view, the climbers were energetic and cooperative. When the grey clouds eclipsed the view of the mountaintop, though, the climbers were sullen and selfish.

The same thing happens to us. As long as our eyes are on his [that is God’s] majesty there is a bounce in our step. But let our eyes focus on the dirt beneath us and we will grumble about every rock and crevice we have to cross.
These very helpful words brings to mind one of great verses of encouragement, Hebrews 12:2

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Fixing (or focusing) our eyes on Jesus, that’s what it’s all about – if only I didn’t get in the way so much…

February 21, 2010

Let me see thy footmarks, and in them plant my own.

Nikon F100, Nikkor 28-105 D, Ilford HP5 plus (ISO 400) (click to enlarge)

The title of this post is from the first lines of the last verse of that great hymn of commitment “O Jesus I have promised.” The verse goes:

Oh, let me see Thy footmarks,
And in them plant mine own;
My hope to follow duly
Is in Thy strength alone.
Oh, guide me, call me, draw me,
Uphold me to the end;
And then to rest receive me,
My Saviour and my Friend.

We sung it in church yesterday and it went very well as an accompanyment to the reading (Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness from Luke 4). I love the powerful imagery of looking for the Lord’s footprints and putting my own inside them. I remember as a child trying to put my feet into my father’s footprints in the sand at the seashore. The strides were just too big and so each one was an enourmous leap. Eventually though as one grows up it becomes easier to follow.

Same with following Jesus I suppose, sometimes the strides needed seem impossibly large, but then with time (and of course His help) it becomes less difficult.

February 12, 2010

Staring at the Sun

Nikon F100, Nikkor 28-105 D, Ilford HP5 plus (ISO 400) (click to enlarge)

No I wasn’t really staring at the sun, but this picture reminded me of the U2 song of that name. Apart from having the very interesting line “stuck together with God’s glue”, the chorus is fascinating too:

I’m not the only one starin’ at the sun
afraid of what you’d find if you took a look inside
not just deaf and dumb I’m staring at the sun
not the only one who’s happy to go blind.

Perhaps not one of Bono’s jolliest lyrics! In an attempt to get some insight into these words I found lots of discussion on the internet, specifically here. Some think that it’s a comment on society, how people are happy to be blind to the reality of the mess that this world is in, others think that it’s a reference to a group of hippies who whilst stoned on LSD stared at the sun until they went blind. Another theory relates to Plato’s famous cave, you know how humans are trapped in a cave staring at the light only from a fire which they think is the real light but then one of them (the philosopher) is set free, his enlightenment happens and he turns around and sees the real sun outside. Of course the light is blinding at first but then he realizes that what he is seeing is real and what he saw before were only shadows.

Perhaps even Bono doesn’t fully know what he was saying. But it does lead my thoughts further … to the gospel reading for this Sunday:

“…he climbed the mountain to pray, taking Peter, John, and James along. While he was in prayer, the appearance of his face changed and his clothes became blinding white. At once two men were there talking with him. They turned out to be Moses and Elijah—and what a glorious appearance they made!” (from Luke 9 The Message)

And a prayer:

Jesus Christ is the light of the world,
the light no darkness can overcome.
Stay with us, Lord, for it is evening,
and the day is almost over.
Let your light scatter the darkness
and illumine your people.


February 1, 2010

Return to Galley Head

Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 50mm f1.4, Ilford HP5 plus (ISO 400) (click to enlarge)

Ah yes, we’ve been here before. What a beautiful spot it is. When we first visited last April, we had no idea that we would be living nearby less than a year later. God does indeed move in mysterious ways (and even more so if the Church of Ireland has anything to do with it ; – )

I’m constantly amazed by my old Olympus OM-1. For a camera and lens that are nearly 40 years old (and still running on the original mercury battery), it remains working remarkably well. There is something very satisfying in developing the negatives too, seeing them hanging up to dry in the bathroom is much more fun than fiddling with them on the computer.

For more info. on Galley Head here is a Wikipedia article.

January 31, 2010

Waiting for Salvation

High Cross in Castlefreke Woods, Co. Cork
Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 50mm f1.4, Ilford HP5 plus (ISO 400)

Sermon for Today. Luke 2:22-40.

What’s the longest you’ve ever had to wait for something? Maybe we have waited a long time in a queue to buy something we really wanted, maybe we have waited a long time to receive a letter, perhaps with good news in it. Maybe we were sick and we had to wait a long time to get better. Maybe we had to wait a long time for someone to return who had gone away. Life is full of waiting and some of us are better at it than others. In today’s reading from Luke chapter 2 we come across the joy of a man and a woman who had waited their whole lives for something and now finally in their old age it had happened.

Joseph and Mary were bringing the baby Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem. In Jewish life there were three ceremonies that occurred after a child was born. If it was a boy the first of these was circumcision, which happened on the eighth day after birth. This act symbolised the Jews’ separation from Gentiles and their unique relationship with God, it was a time of joy when friends and family members celebrated the baby’s becoming part of God’s covenant nation, (not unlike our baptism of infants in the church today). The second ceremony was the “Redemption of the firstborn”. A firstborn son was presented to God one month after birth. The ceremony included buying back or redeeming the child from God through an offering. The point of this was for the parents to acknowledge that the child belonged to God, who alone has the power to give life. The third ceremony was the “Purification of the mother”. For forty days after the birth of a son and eighty days after the birth of a daughter, the mother was ceremonially unclean and could not enter the temple. At the end of this time, the parents were to bring a lamb for a burnt offering and a dove or a pigeon for a sin offering. The priest would sacrifice these animals and declare the mother to be clean. If a lamb was too expensive, the parents could bring a second dove or pigeon instead. This is what Mary and Joseph did.

So there are Mary and Joseph, with Jesus at the Temple, for Mary’s purification, when they come across an old man called Simeon. Simeon had been waiting for many years for this day. God had made a promise to Simeon that he would not die before he had seen Christ, the Messiah, the Saviour. Simeon was now old, but he had never lost hope. He had nurtured a vision for years, perhaps wondering at times if it was just a dream or wishful thinking. Then one day, he lifts up his eyes in the Temple, he sees a young couple with a baby, and no longer doubts, but knows in his heart that what God said would happen is indeed happening.

Luke tells us that Simeon is both righteous and devout. He is a good man, he lives his life is such a way as would be a good example to all and he is totally committed to God in his heart, mind, soul and strength.

We are told that Simeon was waiting for “the consolation of Israel” (v.25), a strange phrase, what does it mean? In the Message translation, this phrase reads that Simeon was a man who “lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel”. Things were really not that great for the people of Israel at this time. Thanks to the Romans, they had lost their political independence, (though King Herod was still allowed to reign over them in cruelty). Thanks to the scribes and the Pharisees, the Jewish religion had become more about outward show and religious ritual than an internal change of heart. Yet there were godly men and women like Simeon, Anna and many more who were eagerly waiting for God to come and rescue them. Simeon knew that time had come as soon as he saw Jesus.

Simeon takes the child Jesus in his arms and utters his timeless words, inspired by the Holy Spirit and known to many as the Nunc Dimittis (the first words of the Latin translation):

‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.’

Simeon’s heart is flooded with thanksgiving and praise. He thanks God for what this child means to him personally and for what it means for all people, both Jew and for Gentile. As far as Simeon is concerned, he is ready to die because that which he has longed for for many years has come to pass. The saviour is here and he has seen and held Salvation in his arms!

Simeon declares that Jesus is a “Light for revelation to the Gentiles”. Now to those who had no knowledge of God, who were living in darkness, the Light of Salvation has come. Jesus also brings “glory” to Israel because they above all nations were the ones chosen by God for the purpose of spreading the true religion among the nations of the world and selected to be the people among whom the Christ would be born.

What Simeon said about Jesus amazed Joseph and Mary. Of course the angel Gabriel and the Shepherds had previously said wonderful things about this child, but these earlier messages did not include anything so specific about the significance of this child for both Gentiles and Israel.

Simeon then prays a prayer of blessing over Mary and Joseph and says something to Mary that must not have been too easy for them to hear:

‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’

When people encountered Jesus, there would be no sitting on the fence. He would be the great divider, as William Hendriksen puts it, “a person’s relation or attitude towards Jesus would be absolutely decisive of his eternal destiny.”(William Hendriksen, The Gospel of Luke, Banner of Truth Trust, 1978, p.170)

Where we will exist in eternity is 100% determined by our attitude towards Jesus, he is after all the way, the truth and the life, and no one can come to the Father except by Him (John 14).

I’m sure that Mary in particular would have come back to Simeon’s words many times over the course of her life. In the moment of her deepest agony, when Jesus hung on the cross these words would have provided a measure of comfort that in fact God was in control and it was indeed part of His great plan for the Salvation of all who would come to Him in repentance and faith. Of course, upon Jesus’ resurrection these words would have led to an even greater strengthening of Mary’s faith as her heart was filled with joy and worship.

Our reading concludes with a short piece about Anna, an elderly widow and prophet. She had practically lived at the temple for many years, fasting and praying night and day. Like Simeon she had waited and waited and waited for God to do something. She had not given up hope, she had prayed and fasted and then one day she saw the answer to her prayer and suddenly her heart was filled with praise. Imagine her joy as she watches the scene with Simeon holding Jesus aloft and uttering those famous words. Anna is filled with gratitude to God and she cannot help talking about it.

Simeon and Anna and many others had to wait a long time for Jesus to come. When He did come they recognised Him immediately and their lives were never the same again. The good news is that we don’t have to wait, Jesus is alive and through the presence of the Holy Spirit He is here with us now. Like Anna, like Simeon it is important that we recognise Him, that we worship Him and that we acknowledge Him as our Lord and our Saviour, our master and our God. One of the names by which Jesus is known in the Bible is Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us’. We do not have a far away remote god, we have a God who is intimately present at every moment, who understands and knows us, who ‘perceives our thoughts from afar’ and who ‘knit us together in our mothers womb’ (Psalm 139).

Do you know Jesus? Is He the most important Person in your life? Do you acknowledge Him as your Lord and your Saviour? Now is not the time for waiting, now is the time for receiving Him. Amen.

January 28, 2010

Through a glass darkly…

Nikon F100, Nikkor 18-35 D, Ilford HP5 plus (ISO 400)

I was reminded of these words (in the ‘old’ King James Version of the Bible) when looking at this photo I took last Saturday in MacCarthy’s Bar, Glengarriff. We were waiting for our meal to arrive when I noticed the shadows of two people talking the other side of the partition. Like the children I was getting fidgety and I had a couple of pictures left on the film…

The words are of course from 1 Corinthians chapter 13, which coincidentally is the Epistle for this Sunday (Epiphany 4).

12For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Generally I prefer the modern versions of the Bible, but there are times when the old text has a power and resonance that (in English at least) imho cannot be surpassed.

January 14, 2010


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.