Weekly Photography Challenge: Atop

I’m in Halls Gap this week, doing a workshop with Keith Lo Bue as part of Grampians Texture 2017. 9 – 4 Monday to Thursday is spent in the classroom learning what to make of Precious Little, the rest I aim to spend enjoying some solitude and the beauty of the place.

The Gap is, unsurprisingly, in a valley. The challenge this week is Atop, so I am showing you what is “atop” the surrounding hills (mountains, officially…) – rocks, trees, and this afternoon, a few wisps of cloud to remind us that autumn really is coming, even though the daytime temperatures are still reaching 30C.

The last thing I made today is a neckpiece with lichen atop an empty (and now artfully mangled) mints tin. The assignment was to use only three things (one from a nature walk, one from an exchange of “stuff” and one we’d brought along). No glue, no extra elements…but whatever techniques we liked. We had no idea we’d be trying to wear the stuff we picked up, from the walk or the exchange table, so there were some extraordinary and quite lovely creations by the end of the class today. Tomorrow…something completely different!flirty

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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.