Weekly Photography Challenge: Nighttime

This weeks challenge is all about nighttime, which is not generally the best time to take photos – not the conventional happy-snap kind, especially. However, for the moody, mysterious and unpredictable, it’s perfect!nighttime 1

This one I took while waiting for a bus to take my daughter and me home after a movie in Thornbury. It was very quiet and a bit spooky on the side street. I liked the pattern of light and shade, and the sense that something might happen (our bus arriving, preferably!)…a moon with sparks

We’ve had a couple of bonfires this winter. the second one coincided with a bright moon, so we entertained ourselves by trying to get shots with the sparks and the moon in one shot – which involved getting down on the damp grass, since the moon was so high in the sky. Absolutely worth the effort, I think!nighttime 3

A couple of nights later, the moon was shining in my window, and I spent some time trying to get a decent shot while lying in bed…Obviously, I would have had a clearer result if I’d gone and got the tripod, but I wouldn’t have such a mysterious and ambiguous image as this.nighttime 2

On the window sill is a trio of coloured glass vases with knitting needles in them. The moonlight reveals the colour in the glass, while leaving everything else in greys. Again, a tripod shot wouldn’t be so blurred, but that wasn’t the effect I was looking for.fairy lit owl

Photography has been described as “painting with light”, but light is meaningless without darkness and shadow to make it visible. I guess my favourite nighttime photography involves a little light and a lot of dark, and exploring the relationship between the two. And digital photography means that it doesn’t matter how many duds there are before achieving “the one”!

Friday Poem: Burn On

This weekend it will be nineteen years since A Record Changed My Life. Usually I find time to watch Nirvana Unplugged in New York over again, but I’ll be in Melbourne doing other things. Instead I’m sharing a poem…new postcards

I love you for your golden head
Your feet of clay;
For things you did;
For what you might have done;
And even though it all went wrong,
(Clay feet betrayed the golden head),
The spirit encoded in your song
Still breathes its fire, is burning still.tiny sweater

Spot the Nirvana/Kurt references in this photo! If it weren’t for Nirvana Unplugged all those years ago, I would never have gone all the way to Seattle, let alone Aberdeen, and just maybe, I might not have rediscovered my creative self  again, either.  When I wanted to buy the cassette (remember those?!) , Bryan thought it was a waste of money because I’d “get bored of it’.

I still haven’t – and it led on to a lot of other music in my life. Burn on!

Creativity: Escape II

Some more pages from my creativity journal/altered book –Escape 10

I do believe that daydreaming is an important part of the creative process – it might be about how to approach a particular project, or have nothing to do with your art practice at all. It is one of the things that school as we know it discourages, and one of the reasons that children become less creative as they move through the system.

Escape 11


I covered much of this page with yellow stickers, plus a home-printed one of a teapot – cross stitched on handkerchief linen by my daughter, Zoe, and made into a brooch by me. Plus thoughts about my creative process.Escape 12

I spotted the words, “You’re an artist?” amongst the text on the page as I was obliterating it, and of course I preserved it. The answer is YES! Do you feel you need some one else to affirm that for you, or is it for you to decide?

Weekly Photography Challenge: Endurance

Another challenge with vast possibilities! It had been in the back of my mind since reading the email, and all I was thinking was Endurance! so many options!

There’s a tray of buttons on my desk, some of them very old. They have endured for a long time, holding things together for someone, before being cut off and saved. They ended up in the op shop/thrift store where I volunteer, so of course they then ended up in my house… buttons 4 Some of them are tough, hard wearing ordinary plastic, some metal and some pearl shell, and a handful of  really lovely and very old glass ones.


I have a large stash of buttons now, as I use them on things I make – cushion covers, small purses, cuffs – and sometimes it takes a long time to find just the right button. Finding the right button is an act of endurance in itself, entailing a careful search through jars, tubes and trays for the one that is perfect…How wonderful are those deer buttons? They seem to be made from cut glass, and they’ll need a very special project to embellish.

1 Day 1 World:7-8am

This might be a bit late in the week for 1 Day 1 World: 7-8am, but our internet connection was,um…unhelpful…when I tried to post on Thursday.

On Monday, I made the return trip from Canberra, which means I was up just after 6 – most unnatural! As I waited for the bus to the city, just before 7, the hills around Farrer were swathed in mist, the plum trees around the shops were white with bloom, and cockatoos were enjoying some early morning aeronautics and screeching. Having alighted in the city, I had to walk several blocks to Jolimont Centre, where I would be boarding a coach for the four hour trip to Albury.


It was only 7.34, so I had plenty of time. I bought a “Big Issue” to read from a seller outside the Post Office. He told me he likes to arrive around 7.30 to catch all the Public Servants on their way to work. There weren’t many people around yet, so I was his first customer for the day. 7-8am1

I’d only had a cup of tea before leaving Zoe’s, so the first priority at the bus station was a cup of coffee, of course.7-8am2

At 7.45, half an hour before the coach is due to leave, you can just see the queue of passengers lined up to have their tickets checked and their luggage loaded. It’s a long day of travel, with two four hour stints, plus another two and a half hours from Melbourne to Ararat, so plenty of opportunity to catch up on reading…

Friday Poem: Gift

woodpecker feather

I wrote this poem fifteen years ago to the day, and I’m adding photos from our big trip to the Pacific North West three years ago. Maybe I need to spend more time in that place, referred to by Winnie the Pooh, where Hums can find me…That’s really what this poem is about – finding that place.whale

Half a moon in a mackerel sky;
After crowded days
Full of shtik
Full of shtikl
(Can something be full
With such a little thing as shtikl?)
After the crowded days
The lonely half a moon
In the light washed sky
Is a tranquil gift
A lonely tranquil gift.

Mt Baker

I loved Woody woodpecker as a kid, and I really hoped I’d see one – but this feather is as close as I got (assuming it really is from a woodpecker) We did watch a female Flicker foraging amongst leaves, but she was the wrong kind of woodpecker. We took a whale tour out of Victoria BC, because I also wanted to see Orcas. After along search, a pod was located, finally surfacing right alongside our boat – very satisfying!

Mount Baker hovered in the background, seeming to float, lonely and tranquil, in the sky. No mountain in Australia is that tall (they are all too old) and there is no permanent snow, so the strato volcanoes of the PNW were an unforgettable highlight. I can’t wait to go back where they are…

Creativity: Escape I

Escape 6

An altered book like this is a good place to try new things, use up odds and ends, and bring out your collection of rubber stamps…Years ago, my father-in-law gave the kids a stack of big yellow stickers, which they never found a use for. Now I find them handy for covering a whole page of unwanted text in one go. A white pen didn’t show up on the yellow, so I wrote over it in blue. An inspiring  Kikki-K sticker gets modified by the text in the art work stuck below it.

Escape 7


The name of an art exhibition in Bendigo reminded me of a loved song-lyric of Leonard Cohen’s. It didn’t all fit on the label sticker, so wandered out across the edge of the page, ending on the next one. The text of the stuck-on paper is obscured with the frames of postage stamps, then painted over with water-colour. The key stamp I added in the birdcage is is one carved into a cheap eraser, an excellent way to make custom stamps. You can use a craft-knife, but Japanese wood carving tools are better – and quite cheap and easy to buy in art supply stores.Escape 8

The left-hand page plays with the idea of flying in dreams – something I like to do whenever I realise I’m dreaming. I remember being disappointed as a child that I couldn’t do it when awake! I thought I rememberd how, but it just didn’t work. Sad.

The picture of “Pink Sita” is torn out of an art magazine, and is the work of internationally recognised local artist, Geoff Todd.

Escape 9


I like the colours in the felt vessels on the postcard – advertising for another art exhibition. The other page has been painted and embellished with stamps and a rub-on guitar, and some paint doodles. There’s plenty of room left to write in a quote about creativity when I come across one I want to add. So the book is still an on-going project.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Humanity


The challenge this week is to come up with something about ‘humanity’, which is very broad and open to interpretation. Thirdeyemom, who came up with the challenge, shared a gallery of photos of people from various countries and cultures from her travels. I decided to go with humanity’s  love of music, and stories in the form of songs.

I trawled through all my files to choose these pics – all of occasions where people gathered in the open air to enjoy music together. Except for the busker, who took the music to the people, and hoped that some of them would appreciate his efforts, and drop a contribution into his guitar case. The two shots from Seattle show an elderly and very colourful old man who came supplied with pieces of bright sheer fabrics, and the fellow members of the audience he cajoled to dance and twirl with them. They didn’t last long though – too self-conscious!

Friday Poem: Invocation

This poem, or prayer, is based – very loosely – on a meditation for cultivating compassion, which is in Sogyal Rinpoche’s Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, along with generous dashes of other spiritual ideas. Maybe you’ll recognise a few, depending on your reading habits! Or maybe you’ll recognise existential angst…bush

Oh, Little Master,
as representative of all the Buddhas,
as one facet of the one Mind,
Ground of my Being,
I ask of you,
burn out my obscurations.

Make me pure and free,
cast off the yoke of my stubborn Sense of Duty;
Little Master, let me be one with you,
a gleam in the flame of pure being.

Little Master,
as far as it is possible for me here,
in these circumstances which I suppose I must have chosen for myself,
for the lessons I wanted to learn,
and the course I wanted to complete,
as much as I can,
help me to be true.
True to myself,
my true self,
true to you, Little Master,
who have been with me always and will always be with me,
True to my purpose in being here.

Help me to break free,
to wake up in God’s wide world;
don’t let me sleep in a prison.

This is a lot to ask,
Little Master,
because I seem to love my chains,
because they are so familiar.

But you are familiar too,
and you know the whole story,
whilst I only look through
a crack in the door.

You are always behind me
and beside me.
Make me one with you.
set me free.

bush track

These photos were taken in ‘the bush’ near Chilton in Victoria. I think it’s called the Honey-eater picnic ground. We called in there on our way to Canberra to visit for Juniper’s first birthday, and didn’t have much time to spend there. The only  honey-eaters we saw were wattle birds, which are notoriously territorial and chase most other birds away – if they are present, you can be fairly sure you won’t see much else by way of bird life! We did find three species of orchids, though. Here’s one of them – Pterostylis curta, in a beautiful big colony alongside the track.bush orchids

1 Day 1 World: 6am – 7am

I woke up early enough to rejoin Lisa’s 1 Day 1 World Project, so I took some photos. Not especially interesting ones, as dawn is not really my time of day, but still…



It wasn’t much lighter in my west-facing room at 7 than it was just after 6, but it was daylight. I went to the window hoping to see a bird, or a neighborhood cat, but there was nothing going on out there at all. There are some daffodils in flower in the pots over the way, just to show that it is spring in Canberra. In a few days, I pack up and take the bus/train/train home to western Victoria. Maybe I’ll find something better to photograph on the way…