Weekly Photography Challenge: Shadow

Without shadows, what would we know about light? This thought occurred to me when learning tonal drawing, in which the shadows give shape to everything. A Japanese paper lantern casts just enough light to bring form into the darkness. Morning and evening are the best time for shadows, I think. The sunlight comes at a slant, casting interesting patterns on the curtains at my windows.I chose to layer a black gridded fabric behind a white curtain, just for the way it would look with the sun behind it, along with a dream catcher and other beaded pieces. Late in the day, a peach tree embellishes the striped shadow of a Venetian blind.

Cats are notorious for their love of sunbeams, but in this case, Morgen sat beside it, in the shadows, so that she stands out against a blaze of light. You’d almost think she did it on purpose !

Weekly Photography Challenge: Solitude

Oh, if only…the photography challenge is to portray solitude, but my biggest challenge is finding some…A wander with the camera in hand is a small refreshing taste of solitude for me, and I found these solitary ladies hanging about in my veggie patch. Apologies to any arachnophobes…

We have a number of agave plants ( my eldest planted a cacti garden before leaving home…). They have flowered a number of times, although not every year. There is just one this time, and it’s a giant. The flowers are just beginning to open, and the local Wattlebird Gang is moving in to lay claim to all of its bounty. They probably use at least half the calories they consume from the nectar on chasing away other birds…img_1119-large

Weekly Photography Challenge:Repurpose

One month already gone- it whizzed by, probably because we’ve had various family members staying, and/or been travelling for most of the time since Christmas day, and time flies when you’re having fun…

So, to this weeks photography challenge – Repurpose. As an artist and as a “greenie”, I’m often looking for ways to reuse old stuff, and that’s how I have made an old vernacular building (or bush shed) into a semi-outdoor living space. We call it the Seahorse Saloon.The walls are lined with pieces of old cupboards, the shelves were drawers. Parts of walls were doors or windows. A bedhead is the back of a settee made from a broken pallet, amongst other things. A coat of paint (a hand-me-down tin from a friend) ties everything together, and sets the watery theme. Most of the furniture was sourced in thrift store/op shops.

The miniature bar used to be part of a kitchen cupboard, the end was a door on a different cupboard, the lining boards are so old, no one knows…etc. You get the picture! I’ve had a lot of fun with it, and plan to have a lot more.img_1004-large

Unfortunately, spiders of many species also find the saloon congenial – here one has repurposed the ears of an old hobby horse into a spider house….Eeek!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Ambience

This week has whizzed past so fast, it’s already Friday, and almost time for the next photography challenge. But for now, the challenge is still to portray Ambience, an environment that encourages a particular mood or feeling – almost invariably it means a good feeling.

Ararat’s Alexandra Gardens have a long history in the town. The green lawns, European shade trees and small lake have made it a popular spot for picnics for generations, and the public pool at the Western end was a magnet in summer. In recent years the community fought to keep and upgrade the aging pool. As part of the renewal, there is now a cafe attached to the pool complex, with tables and chairs spilling out across the grass in the shade of the big old oak trees. The ambience is perfect for a leisurely cup of coffee on a sunny afternoon. Or morning. Or evening –  it’s open early until late!

For some extra ambience…I love this song – enjoy.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Names

What’s in a name? Well it helps if everyone agrees what it is, and this week it’s the subject for the Weekly Photography Challenge. Today we are on our way to Canberra to pick up our daughter and granddaughter for a little holiday and family time. We’ve had a few stops on the way for cups of tea, coffee and Hibiscus and Lime (it’s hot today). I’ve had my eye out for photogenic names –

We’ve been stopping at the little park in Tarnagulla for years , but it’s the first time I’ve seen a name for it- the sign looks new. The monument there is engraved with the names of the men who went from the area to fight in World Wars I and II – hence the name for the park. Elmore’s miniature train runs alongside our next picnic spot. We’ve taken Juniper there, but it’s hard to get away again! Another stop in Maroopna for a cold drink, and I snapped this picnic table – I’ve no idea what the name means. Another stop (It’s a long drive!) for coffee in Wangaratta, and another sign – not a name, but a fair warning to park visitors to watch their steps! The lady sitting reading didn’t seem very fussed by it.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Resilient

The first weekly photography challenge for the new year is “Resilient”. Anything in my garden would fit the description, since whatever is still thriving after many dry years is clearly tough, but these onion orchids are special.

The flowers are tiny – only 2 or 3 mm – and the seeds are like dust. They are an endemic plant that “just grow’d”, originally in a hanging basket, appearing one year in amongst exotic Sempervivums. I presume that they blew in on the wind. I now have them in several pots, and they have flowered discretely for months now. They evidently enjoy regular watering, and in their native habitat there will be hundreds growing together in damp places like streamsides, reappearing in winter so long as the autumn rains arrive.

I have seen them growing in roadside gardens, their slender green stems popping up among the official planting, thriving on neglect, resilient and adaptable.May we humans be as resilient and adaptable in the face of the challenges and adventures of the new year!

Weekly Photography Challenge:Path +Poem

The week between Christmas and New Year is always rather strange – days seem to stretch and contract in the wake of the rush leading up to the holiday for some reason. We’ve also had some days of tropical heat and humidity, which are difficult to deal with in a normally Mediterranean climate…So it’s Friday already, and my path has at last reached WordPress for the Weekly Photography Challenge.july-aug-2011-584-large

This path is in the Japanese Garden in Portland Oregon, which we visited in 2011, and hope to see again some day. That’s a physical path. This poem travels a path too, and I took another path through my photos, looking for some to illuminate the poem.

I walked out the gate
And saw a rainbow
(Symbol of peace and hope)
My heart
(Symbol of love and passion)
Leapt up
sending the blood
(Symbol of empathy and life)
Coursing through my veins.

I couldn’t find an image of an actual rainbow, but I love prisms in the windows and the rainbows they cast around the room on sunny days. Tran(s)cendence (oops) is an image taken when I had a film camera and had to wait to have my pictures developed to find out how they turned out. It became part of a series of “Sukie’s Original Covers” – handmade CD covers using my work that I thought looked like “Cover Art”, inspired in no small way by Pixies “Dolittle”with Simon Larbalestier’s amazing photography in the inlay booklet.

Sukie’s Original became the name I use for all my artwork, and the Trancendence image is now printed on beautiful scarves by Vida. That’s a path I never expected to travel, but I’m happy that I did.scarf