Weekly Photography Challenge: Twisted

“Not straight, not so straight” – twisted, in fact. Sticks, and the flames that consume them, cannot keep a straight line.

Bonfires are a regular event here, signalling the end of summer and fire restrictions. It’s also the end of Alex’s tired old thrifted chair – and a sobering reminder of the flammability of foam upholstery!

I made some candle lanterns using glass jars and twisted wire, to add atmosphere and light up the path to the paddock. This one has a hanger made with a found, twisted piece of heavy wire. The marbles around the tea light candle keep it centred and avoid overheating the glass. The jar lid can be popped on when the lantern isn’t in use, to keep the rain out.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Out of this World

So, share an other-worldly image, although literally Out-of-this-World is difficult to manage (moon or stars would work, but decent images of celestial bodies require gear and, I suspect, patience, that I don’t have).

The horrid face is a paper mache creation that was consigned to the flames at bottom left. I sifted through the ashes afterwards and only managed to find one of the glass marble eyeballs. I gave up on trying to identify the teeth, since they were small quartz stones that are all over the ground here.

The bottom right image is a detail of naturally dyed fabric. I used metal paper clips as resist – the metal makes the black mark – they look like alien butterflies.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Ascend

Our grand daughter Tilly will be two on Christmas Eve – she loves to ascend anything climbable at every opportunity whether it’s meant to be climbed or not. Two Christmas’s ago she was a serene little sleep champion who didn’t even wake up for a hearing test, let alone her heel prick. How things change!img_6845-large

So sweet! Now look at her – still sweet, but with more than a touch of spice (chili, not nutmeg). In the first three she was prancing around on a stone table top, feeling triumphant, while the adults sitting around it were on high alert in case she fell…

In the second pair of photos, she is watching the flames and ash ascending from uncle Alex’s latest bonfire. Thankfully she is more wary of fire than she is of climbing !

Matilda has yet to meet her new(ish) cousin Banjo. I’m looking forward to “Family Christmas” in about six months, when our kids and their kids will all get together for a few days. It’s a fairly rare event, thanks to the long distances between us, but social media keeps everyone in touch in a way that would astonish my grandparents.Juni and Banjocrop

Here are the other two grand kids, Juniper and Banjo, photo by their mum, via social media.  They were wearing their Christmas outfits from me – I made the shorts and bought matching t-shirts, which delighted Juni, fortunately.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Elemental


Nature photographers will be in their element this week, with the Elemental theme inviting images of Earth, Air, Fire and Water – maybe all at once!

Mine are mainly fire – my youngest son’s birthday is in late April, when fire restrictions are generally lifted. By then, we have a pile of fallen branches and other flammable rubbish piled up ready. No bonfire is complete without an effigy of some sort, and making a ghastly guy is now part of the ritual. There always seems to be an old, unwanted item of furniture for the pile, too – one less thing in landfill, and a sobering illustration of how quickly synthetic materials burn.

It’s also an incredible photo opportunity, yielding a series of dramatic images.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Ooops

Oops is right – somehow it got to be Friday without me making any post! This week’s (almost last week’s) photography challenge is to share photos of something that went horribly wrong. That’s not really something you can set up, because that would be cheating, and not Ooops at all…so I’ve been trying to think of some disaster that I actually took photos of. Not many…there’s the aftermath of the possum in the pantry…but I couldn’t find the photo. Here’s what happened when a curious bird wandered into the house. We keep the cat in, but don’t always succeed in keeping the birds out.


Less of a disaster (nothing died…), my one attempt to date at choux pastry forgot to “puff” when I baked it. Oh well, icing and lollies fixed it!

Not really a disaster, some of the photos I took of my son’s burning Guy earlier this year turned out to be inadvertently disturbing.

The full figure is obviously not human, with it’s tiny dragon head – however the close-up of Alex’s old shoe being licked by flames doesn’t include any clue to what is actually happening…ooops.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Yellow

Maybe because it’s wintry and dull in the Northern hemisphere, this weeks photography challenge theme is “Yellow”.  For us in the Southern part of the world, summer is well under way (it seemed to get started about October this year), and we are not deprived of sunshine. The paddocks are yellow, with the barest trace of green left from the last shower of rain. I’ve still got some yellow flowers, some because they are tough (Escholtzia and Fennel) and some because I nurture them (Pansy).

We had a couple of bonfires mid-year – no more until April at least. The yellow flames are an example of the warmth of the colour, toasty as sunshine on a hot summer’s day. The saffron crocus isn’t yellow, but it’s stamens produce a wonderful yellow dye, as well as being a fantastically expensive spice. That’s my whole crop you see there… Paper starts out white, but yellows with age. Yellowed paper shows a lack of archival value, but also a warmth and history which makes it compelling for many of us!

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”!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Texture

The challenge this week is to find texture in unexpected places, and take photos of it. The possibilities are almost endless, and rather fun – the only problems, where to start, and where to stop!


flame texture

We had a bonfire one night last week, and I was surprised by the texture of the flames.

Then I looked around the room, and found two birds nests, with completely different textures, a piece of shed skin from a Shingle-back lizard, and a doiley embellished with tatting (not done by me). I could have gone on, gone outside, found lots more textures, but I decided that these will suffice.

Friday Poem: Poem

That’s not much of a poem title, I’m afraid, but that’s what I called it, and it will have to do…a moon with sparks

For you I have no indifference
For you I would tear out the stars
And cast down the sea.
For you I would know everything
And then forget it
Because there is nothing
more than you.

You are burning in the stars
And awash in the sea
No mere torches will find you
But I have found you
Hidden in the stillness
Of my heart.

a moon with sparks 2

We had a bonfire last night, hence the photos of sparks rising to the moon. I took a lot of pictures (one of the great advantages of digital!) because flames are just as compelling for us as any cave-person ancestor. This one of my son feeding the fire and seemingly becoming part of it may well be my favourite – and not something I could have predicted or planned…alex on fire