July 23, 2015
At the end of June, we took a week off to go camping up at Castle Ward in Co. Down. Actually it was more like ‘Glamping’, as we stayed in a wooden camping pod, which compared to a tent is the height of luxury! Highlights of the week including climbing Slieve Donard, visiting the Giant’s Causeway and the traversing the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Below are some of the many photos we came back with…
Slieve Donard – looking back towards Newcastle, Co. Down.
On the way down…
A beautiful Beach tree avenue, popularly known as “The Dark Hedges”, Stranocum, Co. Antrim.
Ballintoy, Co. Antrim
An Inquisitive local…
Giant’s Causeway panorama, including the “Chimney Stacks”.
Castle Ward, Co. Down.
(All Photos taken using a Nikon D7000 and 18-55mm lens.)
May 23, 2015
Last week I was invited to a retreat day in Coolkelure church, near Dunmanway. Bishop Richard Henderson spoke to us about the prophet Jonah and, as always, what he had to say was inspired and truly excellent. With great skill and infectious enthusiasm, he brought the ancient text to life and it was a joy to be there, to listen and to learn.
One of the things he mentioned in an offhand way was the old Willow tree in the north-west corner of the churchyard. It had sustained quite a lot of damage in a storm, (perhaps during the gale on February 12th last year). In the photo (taken with my phone) above, you can just about see the split in the upper part of the trunk.
Yet since and even because of this catastrophe, recovery and new growth has begun.
We too might suffer something so catastrophic and life changing that we are tempted to lose all hope. Yet as the tree continues to draw water and nutrients from the soil and absorb light from the Sun, so we can continue to receive from the Lord. He will relentlessly work to reshape, rebuild and restore every broken heart and every shattered life of all who will come to Him.
October 24, 2014
The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.
A low, beautiful, sharp and bright autumn light was shining through the leaves of this Japanese Maple. The dark red of the leaves contrasted wonderfully with the clear azure sky. I had a photo in mind of the leaves against the sky, showing lots of detail and texture, enhanced by the light shining through from behind. However it was very windy and even using a fast shutter speed didn’t enable me to get the shot I was looking for, so I tried a different approach. I dropped the shutter speed down to 1/45 sec to show the motion of the wind, as leaves and branches were buffeted to and fro. I was quite happy with the result, a static picture, but showing lots of motion…
It reminded me of the Bible verse above, where the Lord Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit. I like the way that in the original languages of the Bible (Hebrew and Greek) the words for wind and Spirit are the same. The unpredictability of the wind blowing through this tree was a reminder to me that God often works in ways we cannot always predict or understand, but nevertheless we can always trust Him because He loves us beyond all measure…
October 9, 2012
‘Roots and Stream’, Cumbria 2012. (Panasonic LX1, 1/30 sec, f3.2, 8.7mm, ISO 80) Larger version here.
Every Sunday in our Parish notices we have a ‘Memory Verse’, a sentence or two from the Bible to encourage, comfort or challenge the reader. The verse from last Sunday was still wending it’s way through the alcoves of my mind as I was looking through some pictures taken during our summer holiday. As I came across the photo above it was just asking to be paired with that verse:
Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
New Living Translation
April 30, 2012
Often the only camera I have with me is the one on my mobile phone. Here are a few recent ‘phone’ pictures:
Something about the shadow cast by the tree with the yellow and the blue in the warm evening light caught my attention here. Also the shadow on the lower right hand side balances the blue in the top left (or something).
After I had taken the first picture I turned around and noticed the same warm evening light glowing in the stonework of the Church. The blue sky, fluffy clouds and crescent moon all came together and shouted ‘take my picture!’
Rows of plastic with Maize (Corn) growing underneath. The plastic protects the young crop from the frost and then degrades gradually as the crop (which will be harvested probably in October) grows. If you look closely at the picture, you will just see some of the new green shoots poking through the plastic. For more info. see this link.
As a general rule in this part of the world, if it’s not raining, then it’s about to! The view from Duneen strand, near, well not that near anywhere really…
Colourful rocks at Duneen Strand, with tufts of Sea Thrift clinging on here and there.
December 23, 2011
As I was trying to take a photo of some roses that we have in a vase, with the Christmas tree lights in the background, somewhere in the back of my mind I was trying to remember the symbolism of the Rose with Christ at Christmas. Later I did a search online and although not quite what I was looking for it’s close enough (I think) to what I had in mind. It’s a beautiful 16th Century Carol, translated from the German “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen”, which means “A rose has sprung up” and was translated as “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming.”
A very Merry Christmas to you – may it be a time of joy, peace, laughter and happiness. God be with you and all those whom you love.
Lo, how a rose e’er blooming,
From tender stem hath sprung.
Of Jesse’s lineage coming,
As men of old have sung;
It came, a flow’ret bright,
Amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.
Isaiah ’twas foretold it,
The Rose I have in mind,
With Mary we behold it,
The virgin mother kind;
To show God’s love aright,
She bore to men a Saviour,
When halfspent was the night.
O Flower, whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispel with glorious splendour
The darkness everywhere;
True man, yet very God,
From Sin and death now save us,
And share our every load.
September 23, 2009
Nikon D70s, f10, 1/16 sec, ISO 200, 28mm equivalent (click to enlarge)
Our favourite tree is one that we grew from an acorn brought back by my stepfather from Canada. It is a Red Oak or Quercus Rubra (please feel free to correct me on that one). We planted it first of all in a small pot and it has graduated every couple of years to increasingly larger pots as it slowly but surely matured. Now we have it in an old wooden barrel that’s been sawn in two (the kind you find in any garden centre). I doubt we could find a bigger pot so it is going to have to be planted soon.
Here’s the thing. When it’s planted that is it, no more moving. It will literally put down its roots until the day eventually comes (hopefully several generations in the future) when a storm, or disease or a need for it to be chopped down comes. What will the world be like then?! The tree has moved as we have moved house and in the same way that it has only partially put down roots so have we, settling but always in the knowledge that it will not be permanent, that the time will come, don’t know when, but it will come that we shall be on the move again.
One of our dreams is to have our own place, a small cottage somewhere to escape to. I would be happy to plant our tree there…