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: 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: Names

What’s in a name? Well it helps if everyone agrees what it is, and this week it’s the subject for the Weekly Photography Challenge. Today we are on our way to Canberra to pick up our daughter and granddaughter for a little holiday and family time. We’ve had a few stops on the way for cups of tea, coffee and Hibiscus and Lime (it’s hot today). I’ve had my eye out for photogenic names –

We’ve been stopping at the little park in Tarnagulla for years , but it’s the first time I’ve seen a name for it- the sign looks new. The monument there is engraved with the names of the men who went from the area to fight in World Wars I and II – hence the name for the park. Elmore’s miniature train runs alongside our next picnic spot. We’ve taken Juniper there, but it’s hard to get away again! Another stop in Maroopna for a cold drink, and I snapped this picnic table – I’ve no idea what the name means. Another stop (It’s a long drive!) for coffee in Wangaratta, and another sign – not a name, but a fair warning to park visitors to watch their steps! The lady sitting reading didn’t seem very fussed by it.

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.

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!

Weekly photography Challenge: Edge

This week, an image from the edge is the Photography Challenge. Last week I was in Brunswick for a few days (Brunswick is edgy, ask anyone!), where I took this photo of Ironbark trees growing in the middle of the narrow street. Both edges were lined with cars at the time.edge-5

On Monday, we had to make a trip to Ballarat, about one hours drive from home. There’s been plenty of rain this winter, and the countryside is very damp and green. There are plenty of edges in these photos, taken from the passenger seat as we drove. The edge of the road, of the paddocks, of the railway line in the distance and the brimming farm dam…

Since then we’ve had continual rain, a phenomenon we haven’t experienced in this part of the world for many years. Everything is very soggy underfoot, dams that were almost empty are now overflowing. And the bottom edge of our property is under water!img_9800edit