Weekly Photography Challenge: Faces in a Crowd

Sometimes including faces in the crowd, or the backs of heads, adds an interesting layer to an image, without detracting from whatever they are looking at, or doing.

Our Hall Committee have hosted two High Teas (so far!). They are a lot of work, as well as a lot of fun, and I’ve been trying to remember to document them as much as possible. I pulled the phone out yesterday to catch Peter and Neil hard at work washing up and putting away the many bits and pieces that are essential for a proper High Tea. I had taken several photos of the room set up but empty of people – full, it looks quite different.

Granpa, Tilly and a small horse (and another young lass) needs no explanation.

The other three images are from our Trip of a Lifetime (2011 – time flies).

I took a lot of photos with Bryan in them – some deliberate, some because he was in the way… The little boys were “in my way” when I was taking photos of the rainbow in the International Fountain at the Seattle Center, but the shot with them there is by far the best of the lot. The last one is from the ferry, crossing from Port Angeles to Victoria BC – our three day foray to Canadian soil – looking back across the backs of other passengers at lovely Hurricane Ridge.

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.

Friday Poem:Descent

I’ve gone down into the back-catalogue again this week – almost precisely 17 years in fact. The subject, however, is an evergreen one, and timely, for me at least. Sometimes we have to descend into dark and uninviting places to find what we need…a-descent-1

The way down
Is rough and steep,
Precipitous in places
Where you fall, and
Crawl on, bruised.
It’s a narrow path
Hemmed in with brambles
And thickets of thorn,
That catch your clothes
And tear your skin.
Sharp stones cut your shoes
And cut your feet.
Somewhere else is mud
That clogs your feet
And makes them heavy.
It is gloomy down there;
The sun cannot reach you
Amongst the rocks and thorns.
But when,at last, you reach
The lowest, darkest place,
Torn, bloody, bruised and worn,
You will find there,
Pure and sweet,
A healing spring that rises
From the bitter earth.
This is the goal you struggled
Long and hard to reach;
This is the spring of Life
That rises out of Death.a-descent-3

Part of the fun of these poetry posts is choosing images from my photography that will, I hope, illuminate or otherwise complement the poem. I don’t often clamber down into dark ravines – not sure why not!- so I’ve picked 3 images from The Trip of a Lifetime that I think fit fairly well. The first is in Forest Park, near Portland Oregon, along a walking track to the Japanese Gardens there (below). The middle image is in Olympia Wa, near the old brewery at Tumwater. It seems like the middle of nowhere, yet there is a busy road up behind those trees.a-descent-2

Weekly Photography Challenge: Rare

If something is Rare – it follows that it will be a challenge to get a photo of it…What is not so rare is for me to dither for several days, trying to come up with images for the Weekly Photography Challenge.IMG_9547 (Large)

To capture this particular image, the sun had to be in just the right spot, glowing through my 70’s orange glassware, and I had to notice, and pick up the camera. Quite rare…

I’ve been crocheting Soft Vessels for a while now, choosing interesting thrifted yarns to work together to create unique little bowls or baskets. The one being modeled by Olympia is made from a linen yarn alongside  fine crochet cotton and white baby wool (3 ply, I think). Spotted Owls are rare, their habitat threatened by forest clearing, and I’d really like to see one! Olympia is spotty, and named after the capital of Washington State,but she’s not a Spotted Owl…They are brown and look more like our Boobook Owl.

There was baby wool and crochet cotton left over from the Vessel which the owl is wearing for a hat, so I made a quite tiny one with those two yarns. It is the only one of it’s kind, and will remain so, because I’ve run out of the baby wool. I really like the effect of the two yarns together, though,so I think I’ll be doing some similar pieces in future.

Olympia is also wearing a very old woolen baby singlet/vest, which is seriously out of shape for baby wear, but just right for her.

Creativity: Stamping Around the PNW III

This week, the stamps I made as mementos of our trip around the Pacific North West are those from Olympia. poster painting

We arrived by train, and got off at Lacey, because the train doesn’t go all the way to Olympia. As there was no sign of the promised bus, we took a taxi, and that was an experience in itself, the driver being a …character.

Our highest priority once we’d booked in to our hotel was laundry – we were running out of clean clothes, since we hadn’t had access to a washing machine since Seattle. Our Olympia hotel had one, but it was broken; we thought there was one over the road, but it was only a dry cleaner; we went to the tourist information place (with our bag of washing) and asked the nice lady…she thought there used to be one near Safeway, but she wasn’t sure. Another woman, newly local and checking out things to see and do in her new town, came to our rescue, and drove us some distance to a tiny shopping centre (way past that Safeway, where a nail salon had superseded the coin laundry) and dropped us off at a laundrette, with alarmingly vague assurances that we could get a bus back to our Hotel…And so we negotiated the mysteries of the coin laundry, washed and dried our clothes, and made it safely back to town. I don’t know why I didn’t make a washing machine stamp. But I didn’t.

On day two, we walked from our hotel to Plum street, to another Japanese garden. It was very pretty, with lots of maples, and koi carp in the pond. It would have been a beautiful, quiet oasis, except that someone was whipper-snipping around the boundary! From there, we made our way to Pear St, which seemed to go forever, and Bryan was almost ready to call it quits, when I saw the State Lottery building, and knew the house we were looking for was just across the street.

It’s the house where Kurt Cobain lived, 20 years before, and where much of Nevermind was written. There are two apartments in the house, and one of them was available for rent. From there we went in search of coffee, and found Cafe Vita – so good that we went back again before leaving Olympia. Choc Mint Grahams, and excellent coffee. It is my dream to find a source of those Choc Mint Grahams closer to home!

On another day we visited the Capitol campus, with its cluster of neoclassical buildings and beautiful gardens overlooking the Capitol Lake.

From there we took the (free) bus to the Farmer’s market at the other end of town. The vast array of beautiful fresh fruit and vegetables made me wish we could stay much longer, and with a kitchen to cook and eat as much of it as I could. We made do with a few pieces of fruit.

I only carved two stamps for Olympia, but so many memories are evoked by those two images! Fruit and forest, Tumwater Falls and Australian wine in Safeway, the old movie theatre, fountains, mountains…can’t wait to get back there!

Next week, we visit Aberdeen and carve out a few more memories.

The image at the top is of a tiny watercolour I did during out trip – based on a photo of a torn poster of Kurt.

 

 

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,
pulped
for toilet paper and cereal boxes.
And still it wasn’t
enough.

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: The Rule of Thirds

As a rule, minimalism isn’t my thing…so this weeks Photography Challenge is a real challenge! However, the instructions for this Rule of Thirds post inspired me to investigate the “creative” settings on my camera at last, so that’s a good thing!

Oh! That’s what that does! Expect more bokeh in my work from now on…

I’ve included an image I took in Olympia WA  in 2011 for it’s simplicity. The others are brand new – regrowth from a eucalypt, my pretty bead curtain and one of my ‘found object’ pendants.