Weekly Photography Challenge: The Road Taken

Every day, we take one road or another, and where we end up depends on the road taken. Most days it’s the same old road, and sometimes it’s an adventure. This adventure began last September, when I booked tickets to see Pixies play in Melbourne. The concert was the day before my birthday, which made it “meant to be”!

We live in country Victoria, so it was a longish trip by coach and train to the city, before a leisurely stroll along Southbank (via the food court for a burrito), then along the banks of the Yarra, and across a bridge to find the Margaret Court Arena among all the other sports venues. We sat outside for a while, watching other patrons arriving, because people-watching is half the fun.

Once inside, local band the Merlocs got things started, and I couldn’t resist the image of red light and moving shadows. If the floor had been full, as it was an hour later, it wouldn’t have looked like that! The Pixies were, of course, awesome, and ended the night with Into the White in a cloud of white smoke. After that, it was a brisk walk back to the city alongside dozens of other people, under the light of the moon.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Quest

Every week, the Photography Challenge sends me on a quest to find images that fit in with the week’s challenge – this week, that challenge is – Quest!. I’m staying at my daughter’s place in Canberra, cat and dog minding while they visit family back in Perth. If grand daughter Juniper was here, I’m sure I’d get some brand new pics of a quest to a playground, (with which Canberra is well supplied) but instead I’m sharing these from a few weeks ago. Juniper adores trains, she has a growing collection of engines from the Thomas stories, and she’s had rides on several miniature railways.

But this was her first real V-Line train ride, and it was exciting! I took this set of photos before we’d even left Ararat station on out quest to Melbourne. We had a ride on a suburban train later, but by then, the novelty had worn off, and she was much less impressed…img_8263edit

This photo is from April – she has even more trains now, and she knows and loves every one of them, but she’s always happy to go on an engine quest to a toy shop for more!

Friday Poem: Tristan On A Frosty Morning

It’s my middle son’s 35th birthday today, so it’s about 33 years since I wrote this – we were living in a suburb of Melbourne, next to a road reserve where wattle trees, dog roses and fennel grew wild. We walked along there twice a day in all weathers, escorting his big brother to his primary school. baby Tris

Tristan trots along in the sunlit frosty morning,
All grey and brown like a small bird,
Clothing with fennel feathers the naked rose bushes,
His nose all rosy, oblivious of the cold.dill1

He’s a bit younger in that pic than when I wrote the poem – all my photos from back then were slides, which are wonderful, but not easy to share when I only have a few minutes to spare, sadly. Now he’s a grown up with a child of his own, and a in a year or two, they’ll be able to go for glacially slow walks, studying nature and having fun.TRIS AND ME

This pic is from his 21st party – I converted that Something For Kate t-shirt into a cushion cover some time in those 14 years.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Alphabet

One of the first things we all learnt as toddlers was the alphabet, and this week’s photography challenge is to share images that include a string of letters.

The sign is beside a big Bunyah pine tree in North Perth, where my daughter Zoe used to live. I experienced a little frisson of dread every time I walked past it! The cones of this species are roughly the size of a football (pick your favourite code).

The rest of my choices are of graffiti – three under a famous bridge in Aberdeen, Washington state, where Nirvana fans have written their (mostly) loving tributes to Kurt Cobain. This was more than four years ago, so it will be different now.

The brick wall and many-layered old posters were in Perth, and the large piece in a lane off Sydney Road, Brunswick (Melbourne).It really is only paint on a wall…Although often very stylised and haed to read, there is a strong tradition of letters and words in street art. Click on any image for a better view.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Ornate

A challenge indeed for this week, since ornamented things are not my favourite to photograph. But the Weekly Photography challenge is to show something Ornate, so I have been thinking and thinking, and finally remembered the photos I took at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne when my daughter Lucie took part in an ornate graduation ceremony there.


The building is huge, completed in 1880, when minimalism was a concept no one had thought of yet, and too much decoration was never enough…The paintings of nearly -naked angels(?) gods(?) are a sight to behold! On the day I took the photos, hundreds of Melbourne Uni Grads and their families were seated downstairs for the ceremony, after which we all retired upstairs, where a feast of finger food had been laid on, and Lucie caught up with a young friend for a chat, and to admire the vast space below.

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The words “Carpe Diem”painted high on the wall seemed particularly appropriate for the occasion!


Friday Poem: All Black

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On the evening before working (as a volunteer) at the Ararat Regional Art Gallery, I realised rather sadly that everything in that pile of clothes was black…I sometimes have trouble finding a particular garment, because everything in the drawer is black…I think I need to do something about this!DSCF4321 (Large)

Me all in black.
Strange, when I love
so much colour
That I wear so much

I don’t live in Melbourne.
I’m not a beat poet.
It’s not a uniform,
but it becomes uniform,
And I end up
all in black
on some of my days.

“Black clothing indicates a superior degree
of fashionable taste”,
So someone* said, a long time ago.
I think it might be lazy,
a short cut to get dressed.
This goes with that
as long as it’s black…

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My favourite black t-shirt. I don’t wear it any more, but I want to “do something” with it.

After writing about my terrible predilection for wearing lots of black, I went and bought a top in my favourite pink’n’orange – now I just need for the weather to warm up enough to wear it!

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I wish I could have this cladding on my house – it’s one side of the Experience Music Project building in Seattle. I bought the pink’n’orange button in the first pic on Bainbridge Island on the same trip. I also packed a lot of black clothes, because they all go….tsk.

  • *Castiglione, “The Book of the Courtier” 1528

Weekly Photography Challenge: Half and Half

Doing anything by halves is generally discouraged, but this week’s photography challenge is asking for Half and Half images, whether explicitly divided in two, or depicting opposites. I went to Melbourne for the day on Sunday and took my camera along with the expectation that I would see something that would fit the brief. And I did.

It was ‘good’ frost on Sunday morning, with views from the train window of glittering white paddocks all the way to Ballarat and beyond. The camera stayed in my bag while I met up with my daughter at the White Rabbit Collective in Brunswick, had a burrito for lunch and enjoyed the John Wolsley exhibition at the Ian Potter Centre (Gallery of Australian Art). On my way back to Southern Cross Station, I took it out to photograph the sky and tall buildings – some reflecting the sky in their many windows. On Monday morning, back home, there was another ‘good’ frost, and although I’ve taken dozens of photos of frost over the years, I took some more, including the two ‘half and half’ here.

I love frosty mornings, but only if the sun is shining all day afterwards!

Friday Poem: Ubiquitous

I wrote this late at night in a hotel room in Melbourne, after seeing P.J. Harvey perform at Hamer Hall.  I don’t remember the year, but I do know it was February 20, Kurt Cobain’s birthday. I couldn’t get to sleep, and lay awake in the small hours, composing in my head. I guess I must have slept eventually, but I was awake early, and went into the other room to record the words in a notebook.DSCF8009

They said he was ubiquitous –
but I knew he was just everywhere.
His face
on a million magazine covers,
five million bedroom walls.
His face,
his smile,
his fingers,
bulldozed into landfill everyday,
for toilet paper and cereal boxes.
And still it wasn’t

Never has one person
been wanted by so many.

Never has one person
felt so utterly alone.sept 2011 180 (Large)

In 2011, I traveled to Seattle, Portland, Olympia, Aberdeen,  Port Angeles, Victoria BC and back to Seattle. Before we left, I printed copies of “Ubiquitous”, in simple sentence form, on business cards which I tucked inside small seed envelopes. I added no ID, or clue to where they came from, since I thought it would be more interesting to just release them and not know what happened next…I left one in every hotel room we stayed in, plus other places we visited, such as the Nirvana exhibition at EMP in Seattle, and under the Young St bridge in Aberdeeen (sadly, next to syringes left by someone else). sept 2011 1054 (Large)

Sometimes I wonder what became of them all – did hotel cleaners find them, and toss them in the bin unopened, or did they stir someone’s curiosity – and if they did, who did they think I was writing about? At EMP or Aberdeen, it would be fairly obvious, I guess, but otherwise…?

If I was doing it again, I think I’d make feedback possible, like with a message in a bottle.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Ephemeral

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So many wonderful things just come and go, and we must enjoy them while we can. Less enjoyable things also come and go, so that we can comfort ourselves wit the thought that “this too shall pass”.

The Photography Challenge theme for this week is Ephemeral – capturing fleeting moments in a photo. I had a market stall at the Anstey Village Block Party yesterday, arriving at the corner of Florence and Breese Streets at around 11am on a gloriously sunny autumn morning. My daughter and I unpacked all the goodies I’d brought, and set them out on our borrowed table.IMG_4044 (Medium)

Crowds of locals came and went as the afternoon went by, live music, free food and customers making it an enjoyable experience. I enjoyed a cool cup of iced lemon and ginger tea from a local cafe, which had set up a pop up version of the business in the market.

Late in the afternoon, my eldest son arrived to help me pack up what was left before we drove off into the sunset…As we headed west, the sun appeared as a huge, blazing golden disc, and spectacular as it was, we were very glad when it disappeared below the horizon at last. All things shall pass….

Creativity: Designer Date

On Monday, I went to NGV in Melbourne, and queued up with lots of other people (mainly female) to see the big exhibition of the work of French fashion designer, Jean Paul Gaultier. Visitors are not just allowed to take photos – they are encouraged to do so, and to share them on social media. It’s a little challenging, because of mainly low light, and crowds of other people milling about, but an eye-popping show, both for the clothes and the way they are exhibited! The quote featured on a wall is “To conform is to give in”, which certainly illuminates the designers approach to his creative life.IMG_3216 (Large)



Some of the garments, whilst creative, are eminently wearable and elegant. Others were only ever meant for the catwalk – no mere mortal would leave the house in them. I did overhear some conversation that was all about garment construction and embellishments. The beading on some pieces was incredible and beautiful. IMG_3274 (Large) (2)


This knitted and crochet jacket was very impressive – but not beyond the skills of many craftswomen…it would certainly help to have a team on the job, though…

I loved this tartan punk-inspired outfit – even thought about the mohair travel rug I have at home, but I suspect it would be much too warm, not to mention itchy!IMG_3240 (Medium)

I tried to get a closer shot of the jeweled neck piece, but without a tripod, it was not to be. The various rooms of the exhibition had themes based on M. Gaultier’s enormous and varied output – mermaids, sorceresses, sci-fi, punk, the famous pointy bras and more. It’s worth seeing if you are in or near Melbourne, but be quick, because it ends on the 8th of February. I’d suggest booking on-line to save queuing, also.

Unless you enjoy shuffling along in a winding line…

The surprise highlight for me was this Anton Corbjin portrait of Kurt Cobain. I was familiar with that photo, but had no idea he was wearing a garment from a Jean Paul Gaultier pret-a-porter collection…I would not have been surprised if it was from a thrift store, but there you go!IMG_3277 (Large)