Weekly Photography Challenge: Reflecting

Time for reflecting this week – and once again the week is running away from me.

Our lounge room is quite small, so a collection of mirrors hangs above the fireplace to make it seem bigger and brighter – lots of reflections there! IMG_1754editcrop

Our local Hall has been upgraded recently – nice new toilets, better kitchen facilities, all-abilities access. The fine old floor in the main Hall had a makeover, too, with a light sand and refinishing that brings up the colour and makes the floor glow. We are looking forward to dancing on it!

All the old photos were taken down and stored during the upgrade – now the Committee is faced with the task of putting them all back up. The collage of photos of local men and women who served in World War 2 is a subject for reflection of another kind. All these people went off into the unknown to defend the freedoms we take for granted. Fortunately most of them survived and made it back home. I had the pleasure of getting to know some of them, including Cpl Chris Wilton, whose brother lived across the road from us when we moved here over 32 years ago.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Security

It often amazes me to see newspaper polls on how safe people think they are (with no regard for how safe they actually are) when their feelings of security are so much affected by what they read in that same newspaper – not to mention TV news coverage that emphasises and reiterates every bad thing that happens anywhere (preferably with pictures).

Feeling secure is as important as how secure you actually are, and not watching the news is a big help with that. Morgen the cat and our grand daughters, Matilda and Juniper, don’t watch “news” and they feel pretty good most of the time. My mum took the photo of Juni, me and Zoe (my daughter, Juni’s mum) sitting on one of my late dad’s English ship’s cannons. He rescued them from scrap metal when I was little, and we used them as a play gym when I was growing up. I feel less secure about my grandkids frolicking on them – they didn’t seem as high (or hard) when I was a kid…

Weekly Photography Challenge: It’s Easy Being Green

verandahIt’s autumn down under, and until we get some rain, there’s not a lot of green in the landscape. But it’s easy to be green environmentally by reusing and upcycling whatever materials come to hand. Recently, we had our rotting old verandah replaced with a lovely new one – but we hung on to the old timber, thinking to have a bonfire with some of it, and reuse the wider boards for garden edges. Then it occurred to me that I might be able to reuse the joists and floor boards to put a dry floor int a dirt floored, spider infested shed. The first job was evicting spiders!

There was enough to do the floor, and line part of the walls, the iron for the roof came off another old shed we don’t need, more lining came from a demolished enormous corner TV unit…

The blind is an old one from the house, saved from landfill, and I’ll use up a few sample pots to give it all a bit of colour and also protect the wood from the elements, although it’s a bit late for that in places – the enormous hole in the roof led to a rotting window frame. I went shopping for putty to fix the loose glass, and discovered that it’s been replaced with a silicon product! Who knew?

The upgraded shed will be home for my son’s cat for a year or so (we have to put up an enclosure for him yet), after that it might be an off grid guest cottage for the brave.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Wish

Share a wish…I could have found more iterations of this wish for peace love and empathy, but three seems like enough for now. The yellow background piece is a page from an artist scrapbook I made some years ago – lots of bits of junk and scraps of paper went into it, and it was great fun to make. You can see it here.

The rocks I collected over a period of time – “freedom” and “rock’n’roll” are in there too, and I wish I had more of both.

The last image was done digitally, using an art programme the kids had. It was fun, but frustrating trying to draw with the mouse. Much more sophisticated versions are available now, and that programme is well and truly out of date now, but I’m glad I thought to print this one off to keep.

I’ve found a rock with “Love” carved into it since taking the first photo, so that’s at least one wish fulfilled. I also wish someone would come and do my dusting…IMG_1227edit

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: 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: New Horizon

This week’s challenge – to show a goal or resolution, a “new horizon” – brought to my mind the Robert W. Service poem with the words

“Have you ever stood where the silences brood,
And vast the horizons begin,
At the dawn of the day to behold far away
The goal you would strive for and win?
Yet ah! in the night when you gain to the height,
The vast pool of heaven star-spawned,
Afar and agleam, like a valley of dream,
still mocks you the Land of Beyond.”

I would have first read it in Douglas Bader’s biography, well over 4o years ago, but I remembered most of it still. Maybe it’s depressing that there is always more to strive for, or perhaps humbling (which might be the same thing for some people..). Service refers to the Land of Beyond as mocking, but I prefer to think it is simply there, calling us on to reach a new goal and not rest on one’s laurels for too long.

I’ve got a few “goals” for 2017, I just have to find images…A mixed media workshop for 4 days in March, with Keith Lo Bue as my teacher, helping out as grandchild 3 makes his or her appearance mid-year, and then, hopefully, a return trip to the Pacific North West in our spring. That seems like enough for now…

Here is a selection of PNW horizons from our last trip, which we hope to see again before the year is out. There are sights we missed that need to be added on my far horizon – sea stacks and beaches of the Olympic Peninsula, more time with Mt St Helens on the horizon, and big old trees in the Hoh Rainforest…

And after we get back home…another horizon to aim for, I’m sure.