Sunday, February 28, 2010


Nikon D70s, 1/250 sec, f8, ISO 200, 105mm equivalent (Bigger)
"Hope is anticipation of good not yet here, or as yet unseen."

(Dallas Willard, Renovation of the Heart)

Friday, 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...

Sunday, 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.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Around Clonakilty Bay

We've been here nearly four months now and today was the first time we got to take a drive around Clonakilty Bay! Where has the time gone? These photos were all quick snapshots taken on a iphone - I look forward to coming back with an SLR and some film...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

You can lead a horse to water...

New Forest Resident, Lyndhurst, Hampshire, England, 1987.
Pentax P50, Kodak Gold GB 200 ASA, Vivitar 28-70mm, (Click to enlarge)

Martin Luther once proclaimed:
"We are all mere beggars telling other beggars where to find bread."
That's certainly the way I feel, like a beggar - who am I to tell people about Jesus?! Looking at the readings for Ash Wednesday (especially the one from 2 Corinthians 5), I am staggered anew at why God uses us as "ambassadors" for Christ. I think we'd probably agree that most of the time we do not represent our country very well and the mantle of a beggar seems more appropriate.

And yet, we have found the bread, and somewhere at some time someone directed us to the place where we could find it, another beggar. And so now we are beggars trying to tell and convince other beggards where they may find this Bread.

All too often though, they are not interested. You can lead a horse to water... and just pray that he or she takes a drink. (Sorry to be mixing up the bread/water metaphor, but perhaps I'm in good company ;-)
Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)

Friday, 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.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Out of Season

Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 50mm f1.4, Fujifilm Sensia 100

The postman delivered some slides yesterday of pictures that I took last October (I only got round to posting them a couple of weeks ago). Included were a few autumnal shots and one that mad me sad, a picture of our cat 'Sticky' (along with 'Charlie' the kitten) taken just a couple of days before he died.

Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 50mm f1.4, Fujifilm Sensia 100

It's funny how pictures bring back to life old memories. The moment you press the shutter release a moment in time is forever captured - for better or worse. I was speaking with someone who lost their elderly mother recently and of the emotions that looking at old pictures brought. There is something uniquely special at looking at pictures of old family members, your parents or grandparents when they were children. Moments in time captured on a thin square of film.

Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 50mm f1.4, Fujifilm Sensia 100

What photos that we have taken will be looked at by our decedents in a hundred years from now...?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Some thoughts on HP5 plus

(Waffle warning: Only read if you have a nerdy interest in photography :-)

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

One of the joys of using film cameras is that you get to experiment with lots of different films. I think it takes at least a few rolls of a film to get a feel for it and see what its strengths and weaknesses are. For my first foray into developing black and white film at home I bought a packet of ten x 36 exposures of Ilford's HP5 plus. Rated at ISO 400, it's quite a 'fast' film, which means that it is quite grainy and not as smooth as others. The advantage of the high ISO does enable faster shutter speeds and/or smaller apertures. This makes it great for taking pictures of fast moving children, indoor shots, or where you need maximum depth of field at hand-held shutter speeds.

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

The Big But though is that it does tend to result in pictures that lack the detail of something a bit slower, such as Ilford's FP4 plus, (or of course a picture from a digital SLR).

View towards Long Strand, Co. Cork
Olympus OM-1, G.Zuiko 50mm f1.4, Ilford HP5 plus (ISO 400) (click to enlarge)

So while I have been very pleased with portrait pictures using this film, the landscapes have been lacking in detail. So although I have four rolls left (which I will use at some point), I have ordered something a bit different to experiment with. Unfortunately they were sold out of FP4 plus so I found a compromise, Delta 400. I'm sure it is not going to be perfect but it is supposed to have much finer grain than HP5 (though it will almost certainly be harder to expose and develop). We'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, I am really enjoying photography with film at the moment - I am not turning my back on digital it's just nice to have a bit more of a challenge...

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

Monday, 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.