Weekly Photography Challenge: Focus

Getting things in focus is not the challenge it used to be, what with autofocus to save the photographer even thinking about it. Of course, there are times when the photographer and the camera don’t agree about where to focus, and that’s when “manual” comes in handy…No manual focus on the phone camera, but a tap on the screen should convince it of where you want the focus to be – unless you move it a bit…

I love the shadows we get at my daughter’s here in Canberra – the house is surrounded by trees and the sun slants in low. I’m not sure if this is in focus or not, because it’s so fuzzy and blurry anyway.

Weekly Photography Challenge: H2O

The theme for the Photography Challenge this time is H2O, or as it’s friends usually call it, water. Water is vital and pretty much everywhere, taking on various forms from clouds and fog through to snow and ice, so the possibilities are as vast as…well, the ocean (see what I did there?)

I’ve been in Canberra for a couple of weeks (back home now), our national capital, which is like a country town on steroids, but with more politicians. The city is laid our around the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, which was formed by the damming of a small river. The lake provides pleasant walking tracks and views across it’s cool silvery surface. On Sunday we enjoyed a little of it, close to the famous Old Bus Depot Market. Here are three Canberra landmarks, seen across the lake,img_0141s

The Telstra tower on Black Mountain gives the place a futuristic vibe, and can be seen for miles around.img_0142s

I’m not sure of it’s official title, but the bells in the tower were pealing away merrily when I took this photo.img_0140s

Another monument- this one the Australian-American Memorial, built in the 1950’s to acknowledge the suffering and sacrifices of Australian and American servicemen in WWII.img_0139s

There is a lot of new housing – apartment blocks interlaced with cafes – being build around the shores of the lake, complete with canals, bridges and boat parking. Kind of Venetian, kind of not, but very pleasant for a Sunday stroll beside the water. Jerrabomberra Wetlands are nearby, for the delight of anyone who enjoys watching water birds go about their business.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Nostalgia – In The Pines

negs-set-2csAs I was walking my daughter’s dog last week, I wandered over to a stand of pines, picked a sprig and sniffed it _”Ah, Pine tree!”, and, to my surprise, immediately burst into tears. When I was little, my Dad spent his days slicing pine logs into boards, and that smell both brought him to life and reminded me that he died recently. So, the weekly photography challenge theme is “Nostalgia”, and my answer is “In the pines”.

Monterey pines were widely planted (in plantations) in Victoria in the fifties, and there was a plantation near home – The Piney, or “Plan pinetation”, as my little brother called it. The trees were cut down (harvested) by the Forest Commission , and then Dad would go out and collect his logs, using the old Blitz crane.s

I didn’t take this photo – it’s about as old as I am. Mum gave me some old negatives, because I was looking for old photos of Dad’s Commer truck. I didn’t have a proper film scanner, but thought it was worth trying the ordinary flatbed scanner and found it worked fairly well, so long as the images weren’t too light (meaning the negs are dark). I recently did some editing of the image, as I’d decided to have it printed on canvas, as a memento of Dad.

Canberra is blessed with many walking tracks, and the one near my daughter’s home passes through a ‘tunnel’ of pine trees. I took the camera for a walk to them, for these nostalgic pine tree images. They bring back memories of a day when Dad took several kids, including two boys who were vising my aunt, and we all spent the day out in the pines playing while Dad collected his logs. I remember beating out primitive rhythms on a granite tor with thick pine sticks, and flattening one of the visiting boys with a rugby tackle. I guess I was about 11. In retrospect, it wasn’t an ideal childcare arrangement, but we all survived, even that unfortunate boy…

And here’s a little more nostalgia…aka In The Pines.

Friday Poem:Road Song

It’s winter “downunder”, and our capital, Canberra, is a long way from the moderating influence of the sea – which means plenty of frosty mornings, hopefully followed by bright clear sunshine. On such days the afternoons seem quite warm, even though the thermometer says otherwise…sunshine

We are leaving
On a frosty
winter
Canberra morning;
7.30 and minus 2 –
So beautiful
and so cold.

Later
On the homeward bus
Dozing in a sunbeam
Beautifully warm.sun and shadow

These two photos were taken on the day before we left – it was only about 10C, but it seemed much, much warmer in the sun!

When we left, the grass was crisply white, and wisps of fog around the hills were lit up with golden light from the rising sun. We moved twice on the bus, trying to escape the aching brilliance of morning light on our faces, but the warmth was very welcome.frost

The view from my daughter’s dining room window – it’s usually green over beyond the fence…

Weekly Photography Challenge: Face

I somehow missed last weeks challenge – home alone and happily busy catching up on all sorts of things, the week just sped by me…Oh well! This week, the challenge is Face, so I’m sharing two sets of pics of my favourite faces – my grand daughters, Juniper aka Juni and her cousin Matilda aka Tilly.

 

In these first three, Juni was waiting, fairly patiently, for her ‘chino – a tiny cup of warm frothed soy milk. In the other, she is getting to know her fabulously extravagant vegan cupcake – the work of Canberra business Veganarchy. If you are ever in Australia’s capital on a Sunday, make your way (early!) to the Bus Depot Markets, and seek them out. You’ll be glad you did!

Tilly joined us on Christmas Eve, so she’s not up to cupcakes and ‘chinos yet (although Grandpa can hardly wait to buy her her very first ‘chino, he’ll have to wait!). She has, however discovered the use of her thumb, which seems to be very satisfying and tasty, judging by the noises she makes. She sampled baby rice cereal today, but was unimpressed. When she gets big enough for cupcakes, I’m pretty sure she’ll like them more!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Dinnertime

We went for a walk on the weekend, visiting a large pond frequented by a variety of waterbirds, including Coots. They thought we might be offering dinner, so my “dinnertime” challenge was given to me on a plate, as it were…

Canberra is well-endowed with walking tracks (best stay alert for cyclists coming up behind though!), and they lead to things like playgrounds and this pond, which is where storm-water ends up (if it ever rains, that is). A little lock at the other end catches rubbish and keeps it out of the broad expanse of silvery water. We saw a spoon-bill later – too far off to get a photo, unfortunately,  but we could see it gracefully sweeping its bill from side to side as it hunted it’s dinner. It was midday, but when I was growing up, “dinner’ was the noon meal, with “tea” in the evening – even if “dinner” was a Vegemite sandwich and “tea” meat and three veg.

We didn’t have anything for the hopeful Coots, so they had to find their own.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Half-Light

I love the slanting, fading light of winter evenings, so I thought “Half-light” was a straight forward challenge…but then I saw that we are also invited to choose a favourite poem or lyric as inspiration for a photo, not necessarily half-light…How to choose! I thought of “Bird on a Wire”, which I love, and I have taken pictures of birds on wires, but where in my vast archive are they? Not labelled “bird on wire”, that’s for sure. I searched for Emily Dickinson’s poem, “There’s a certain slant of light…”, and then I searched for the photos.

I found these – two taken at home, and playing on colour, light and shadow. The sunset is from the west-facing balcony of my daughter’s previous home in Canberra. The big windows onto the balcony admitted marvelous evening light in winter, allowing for beautiful side-lit images of little Juniper. She was just one year old in those pictures, in one wearing a gorgeous vintage hooded cape – impractical, but so cute. How time flies!IMG_7483 (Large)

Now she’s two and a half, with a head full of curls and a passion for Thomas the Tank Engine, and all his friends. And she doesn’t mind some raspberry sorbet, either! Like the plums that William Carlos Williams purloined from the refrigerator, it was “delicious, so sweet and so cold”.