Friday, October 26, 2007

Photoblog re-vamped

Last night I completed the painfully slow process of setting up a Picasa web photo account for my city centre redevelopment picture blog. This service has the advantage of easily displaying larger photos than I've been able to show on the Parish web pages over the past nine months. It's far better to view and much easier to manage. In fact, I'd not posted any new pages of pictures taken since July. Time has slipped by pretty quickly with the research project grabbing spare time, and then convalescing.

Creating a Picasa site and managing it is easy. It's uploading that takes time and patience, also finding the original pictures archived, editing them to a decent size so that pages don't render at a snail's pace, and uploading them, five minutes for a batch of five. It's all had to be fitted in around routine tasks, with a bit of burning midnight oil towards the end when the prospect of completion became tempting.

Anyway, now it's done, and pictures from yesterday are up there for the world to see. I still enjoy the buzz of watching the slide-show of demolition and now construction unfolding. It's hugely colourful and visually dramatic, given the great machines used each in its brightly coloured livery, set against the colour of local soil and the sky in all its variations. This is more my kind of urban magic than glitzy street signs. Having said that, we're promised a whole new make-over of the Christmas lights around the St John's and on St Mary Street this year. That may prove worthy of the technical challenge involved in getting good pictures of them.

In my appraisal chat with the Archdeacon I spoke about how I spend a lot more time looking than I do reading books these days, because there is so much to be read in the landscape, in the cityscape, in peoples' behaviour, their faces and appearance. The job of looking. The gratitude for having eyes that still work well and notice things. Whether I'm driving or a passenger, I'm always first to spot the bird of prey on a fence post or hovering. I've always been like that, and it's strange really that music rather than visual art has been my choice channel of creativity. The 'grace of seeing things whole' Pope Gregory talked about in the sixth century - uniting the detail and the big picture. In this age of science and technology we have ways of seeing into the past and into the heart of the cosmos our ancestors couldn't have dreamt of.

But will we let God's creation teach us how to be better people, more reverent, more compassionate? On times, I wonder.

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