Weekly Photography Challenge: Danger

This week’s challenge is about danger – I’m finding there’s a danger that the week will slip past on a banana peel of busy-ness, and I won’t have thought of what to post before the next challenge gets to my mailbox. However, Michelle’s story of disappointingly small, not-very-dangerous looking seed pods reminded me of this street tree in Mt Hawthorn, Perth, which I used to walk past every day when my grand daughter Juniper was a new baby. I never saw one of the cones, and wasn’t sorry, since I was aware of their fearsome and deserved reputation. My husband and son once camped where the Bunya Pine is endemic, and got to hear the sickening thud of a cone hitting the ground from a great height.

Last summer, we stopped for a break at a park in Central Victoria – and found a Bunya pine cone on the ground. Green and full of sap, it was heavy enough to do serious damage, and covered in sharp spines, just in case. The “leaves” are also well armoured, but that didn’t stop a cockatoo from chopping it off. It is now dry, much lighter and smaller, but I still wouldn’t like one to hit me…Why municipalities decided to plant them as street trees, or even in public parks, is a mystery to me, although I guess it was back in the days when playground equipment carried the added excitement of real and present danger to life and limb, and litigiousness was unheard of.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Spare

My first thought from the prompt “Spare” was sparseness, but I couldn’t think of any subject that would convey that and be interesting. I don’t have a desert nearby…so I’m going with spare in the sense of extra, additional, excess even. A few years ago, a determined gang of needle-crafters yarn-bombed trees and railings outside the Ararat Regional Art Gallery,in time for the 45th anniversary of the institution.

Anyone who knits and/or crochets (and even people who just think about doing it!) end up with a stash of spare yarn. Some of it is leftover from finished projects and some is odd balls that we buy because…well, there’s bound to be some reason. A yarn-bombing project, fortunately for our cupboards, requires lots of yarn in no particular colour, ply or texture. Nor does it matter if it’s wool, nylon, cotton or whatever else. It just has to be yarn….

Here are six pics of the lead-up and yarnbombing at the Ararat Regional Art Gallery, plus two spare ones of a yarnbombing at King’s park in Perth, September 2013, ( I think.)

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: Change

Change, so physicists and Buddhist tell us, is the only constant in the Universe, and this week it is also the theme for the Weekly Photography Challenge.I’m in Canberra with my daughter’s family for a change of scenery, and by a (fortunate?) coincidence, they are moving house during my stay. That’s a change, right there, but piles of boxes are less photogenic than a two year old. She has, of course, changed a lot in the past two years. She’s always been of an independent and curious nature,but now she can do more about it…


Here is Juniper two years ago in Perth, and one year ago in Canberra. We all know how children grow, but it’s still amazing how quickly they change.

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This morning, on the very same couch as the last two photos, she methodically sucked the juice out of pieces of orange, and lined them all up as she went. This, apparently, is the only way to consume an orange.

She is equally methodical in arranging, changing and rearranging her toys.

For a change, I’ve put some pics in slideshow format, and some in a tiled gallery as usual.

Change can be daunting, and it’s not always an improvement (time for another change, in that case) but it would be a dull old world without it!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Muse


What’s your favourite subject, the one you always go back to, your photography muse? That’s the question put by the Weekly Photography Challenge this time…hmmm. What to choose?!

I could pick Juniper, my grand daughter – lots of pics of her in the past 21 months – or flowers, in and out of my garden – I’ve been taking photos of them since my dad gave me his old Kodak brownie in… well, years ago.

But I’m choosing shadows, because if anything prompts me to fetch a camera right now it’s an intriguing shadow.

I didn’t even look through many folders…

And then I had to include Juniper’s shadow as well. Late in the afternoon, the winter sun pours into their living room (if they’re lucky) and casts beautiful strong shadows. I should add that the soft drink/pop bottle in the first gallery is a detail of a pastel painting I did of a photo that I took because of the fabulous shadows one evening at Scarborough Beach, Perth, WA.

Friday Poem: Back Home

Back home, back at (volunteer) work, back to the back catalogue for a poem this Friday – appropriately titled, but not actually about where I live (The ocean receded from here many thousands of years ago, before the Grampians were pushed up into a mountain range. ..) No, this is the fantasy region I visit whenever I can, located in the State of Poetry.Indian Ocean sunset (Large)

The wind blows cold and clear off the ocean.
Pine needles glitter and dance in golden light.
The branches sough and sigh and sing,
The rival of an angels choir.
The water of the bay
Is azure fretted with gold.
Waves run in at the beach,
Where shells lie reflecting the sky;
Pearly opalescence dancing in the foam.dec2010 156 (Large)

I’ve chosen some photos of the ocean (also from my back catalogue) to illuminate the poem. The first and second are of  the part called “Indian”,  taken at Scarborough Beach in Perth, and the third was taken many years ago on a beach near Rye in Victoria. Those are the younger four of my five kids – all of them are grown-ups now!apic22 (Large)

Friday Poem: Driving Home

Technically, we weren’t driving home, at least, not to our home. We got up early and crammed in the car with Matt, Zoe and Juniper and two weeks of luggage, and drove all the way to Sydney Airport – after which we were to bring their car back to their place in Canberra.

With no map, and a vague notion of where to go…it was a longer trip back than it might have been.adventure (Large)

A long road
Too long
The scenic route

Late sun
Interminable rain
A mighty rainbow
Tracks us across
The hills

An hour and more later
In the limpid twilight
We are
Driving home.IMG_4738 (Large)

We made a few stops along the way, for coffee and to stretch our legs, and it didn’t rain all of the way.IMG_4748 (Large)

We got back after dark, to three hungry cats – my charges and companions for the time the family is visiting Perth. No more long drives until I go home to Victoria!

Friday Poem: Discourse

I had a bit of fun with this poem (a lot of fun, actually). I once heard someone on the radio say that “Just because it didn’t happen, doesn’t mean it isn’t true”, which I found quite profound. I’m fairly sure it was on The Coodabeen Champions, a lighthearted and lightweight show about AFL “footy”, not known for being deep and meaningful.IMG_2066 (Small) However, that jokey insight helped form this poem.

Are symbols real?
Although a symbol
Is not really
What it symbolises
It may be
A real symbol-
A symbol of a real thing
Or real concept-
So although the symbol
Is not really what is symbolised
By the symbol
It is in fact real
Insofar as that
It really symbolises
The idea, concept or thing
Which is real.
In this way
A myth is a true story
Because although the story
May not be literally true
In the sense of historical events,
What is symbolised in the story
Is true and real and actual
In another sense.
Anything at all can function
As a symbol,
And stand for something else
Which is true;
And that’s a fact!laneway 5 (Small)

I’ve picked out some recent photos that include symbols, or objects that are symbolic representations of something real…IMG_2181 (Small)I bought this symbolic snowflake last year at the Bodhi Tree Bookstore Cafe in North Perth, during my three month stay there after my grand daughter was born. I enjoyed a lot of coffee, and chai, and the occasional Portuguese custard tart. And some books. So all of that is symbolised for me by this pretty white tissue paper frippery!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Summer Lovin’

It’s been cold and wet, as winter should be, and ideas of summer seem far, far away. Yet every day is a little longer, sometimes the air is almost warm, and any day now, Christmas…paraphernalia will be appearing in stores. And what do I love about summer? There’s a lot to dislike…days over 40C, bushfires, mosquitoes, Christmas…paraphenalia that comes out earlier every year and seemingly more of it, and most of it destined for landfill, sport…

At the beginning of summer, those first real t-shirt days are a pleasure, and there are the summer blooms and fruits to look forward to.SummerChristmas (apart from a surge of junk in shops) brings a quiet day spent with family. For the past couple of years, those of us available have taken a picnic to the botanical gardens in Melbourne, a perfect way to spend a summer’s day.picnicReflected in Tristan’s shades, you can see  the picnic rug, me standing, Lucie and Alex on the seat on my left, and Bryan nearest the front.tableau

Christmas decorations at our house have become more individual and arguably more interesting as the years go by. I find it bizarre to decorate with European snow images as we march into blazing hot summer. But I do like fairy lights!

summer paintingI searched through my files, trying to find the photo this (unfinished) painting is based on, with no luck. Maybe it’s in a box, not a digital file. Anyway, it was a glorious evening in Perth, and we drove to the beach to picnic and watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean. The family we were visiting are in Canberra now, so we may never do it again, which adds a piquancy to this scene. I have no idea who these people were, only that they had the same idea as we did, and that they gave me an immensely satisfying summer lovin’ composition that I could hardly wait to make into a painting. My favourite part was the way the sunlight caught in the soft-drink bottle between them – also the comfortable sharing of their evening and the view.


Weekly Photography Challenge: Perspective

This weeks photography challenge is ‘Perspective’, exploring different ways of seeing, or framing, the one thing. My first pair of pictures is of the “My, how she’s grown” variety – my daughter,  and her daughter at a few days and at six whole months.

The second pair also show Juniper, at two weeks and six months, but with her grandad. The changed perspective is mostly his – completely out of his depth with the tiny and seemingly fragile newby, he is much more comfortable with her now that she is more ‘human’ and relateable.

A yarnbombed rock in Perth’s King’s Park last September – from afar, and up close. From up close, it could be a rather wild knee rug – the added bugs and flowers were appropriate embellishments in the famous garden and park. The yarnbomb was organised by a friend and former colleague of my daughter, and was done as part of the Park’s September celebrations.

Last but not least – food! Playing around with food photography, I tried using different angles for different effects. I also ate half a strawberry before I was done…