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Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

Saffron making herself at home

Saffron making herself at home… on the quilt no less!

When I saw the weekly photo challenge was on the theme of home, I was kicking myself for not owning a pair of red sequined shoes. Even if I did own the right pair of heels I’m not sure where it would take me when I clicked my heels together. Sometimes I feel as if I have 3 homes: Mum’s place, Andrew’s place and here – with cats at every one!

So it seemed fitting when I decided to quilt this evening (yes, I’m still working on it!) that Saffron leapt up onto the table and made herself right at home. I had my weekly photo. Not to be outdone, as I write this, Licorice has curled up next to me encroaching as best she can on the keyboard.

Home is not where the heart is… for me it’s where the cat(s) is!

The Big Wind

The big wind III

The big wind II

The big wind I

The things I do

href=”https://thescroobiouspip.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/img_9538_2_2.jpg”>I’ve said before if you’re going to date someone in a wheelchair then you best like heights, DIY, moving stuff etc. Today I was co-opted into helping complete a TAFE project.

The task: create a photo triptych of an icon. The photographs should portray what the icon means to you. Andrew’s choice? The wheelchair symbol. The first two photographs, he took himself. (One of which is pictured on the right). The third required a little assistance to stage the photograph. Enter flip, stage left.

Today’s task was to move the coffin (a stage prop) from the bedroom into the living room and lay it flat on the floor. The thing is unwieldy and heavy so this was not the easiest task. I finally get it into the living room and with Andrew’s help lay it down on the ground. At this point he decides to assist me in positioning the coffin ready to be photographed.

YIKES!!!

My third and fourth toes are throbbing. They have been run over!

Not content with squishing my toes, Andrew with his camera and tripod at the ready instructs me to climb in the coffin.

What? I thought you were just going to take a photo of it.

‘No’ he replies. A coffin needs a body, so go get a sheet and wrap yourself up and jump in.

Sure. What else does one normally do?

Before I can get in the coffin, Gesso and Pickle decide it’s a great big box worth exploring. Gesso even decides to ‘eat’ one of the coffin keys and escapes with it. Oh well, at least Andrew can’t lock me in if the cat has stolen the key!

Finally I climb in. Now I tell you that trying to wrap yourself in a sheet and climb into a coffin is not the easiest thing to do.

I hear the click of the camera and climb back out.

It’s time to put the coffin back. Thankfully I seem to have improved my technique and it wasn’t so difficult to ‘walk’ it back into the bedroom.

In the meantime Andrew has downloaded the photos. After all that, he has pronounced the coffin shots a dud.

Grrr.

The milestone

April is supposed to be the month of Event and Milestone Photography. When I started the year I had all this enthusiasm to explore a different photographic topic each month. I’m not even half way through the year and my attentiveness of petering out.

It’s not anything to do with lack of enthusiasm for the subject. It’s more to do with lack of time. Available time to be specific. I have quite the same number of hours this month per day as I did the month gone by. I’m just using lots of those hours working.

My neices first birthday would have been a fantastic opportunity for some good Event and Milestone photographs however I missed it as I was preparing to run a workshop the next day.

Indeed the rate i’m going the only milestone this month will be writing more than one blog post! April has arrived. Sneakily. I swear it was still March. At least 6 days ago it was. I didn’t even get around to posting my final landscape photography shots before the end of the month.

So here are the tardy landscape shots. They were actually taken at the very beginning of the month when I was still on holidays. They may seem like unusual choices for landscapes.

Northern NSW sugarcane

Northern NSW sugarcane. Captured from moving car. Approximate speed 110km/hr.

I get it that not many people are probably excited by sugarcane. Mum said to me:

it’s just like big grass.

Indeed mum it is. The reason it makes it to my list of landscape photography shots is because I managed to get this super clear photo from the moving car while Andrew was driving at between 100km/hr and 110. Of course I think I took about 50 shots before I got one that was a) clear, b) without a roadsign pole and c) not at an angle.

So it is that I have some pride about my picture of ‘big grass’ as mum puts it.

The building nature took back

The building nature took back

The second one, is a shot where man came along and made something and then nature took the landscape back. My father mocks Andrew and I for our love of photographing decaying buildings. This one I love particularly because it is not only the building which is weathered, but the trees as well. It seems such a lovely harmony. It’s one of my favourite shots of the trip as it is as I photographed it; no colour adjustments, no sharpening or tweaks. It is just as it was.

Finally my third shot is another ‘moving car feat’. I like this one for the contrast of the white tree trunks against the green of the landscape. I love how nature is so regimented, vertically ordered and rhythmic in this shot. It is also every bit the Australian road trip. When I travelled through parts of England, Wales and Scotland I was struck but the varying countryside. I remember emerging from the magical Snowdonia National Park to find a landscape of slate hills that were strangely beautiful. The other thing about the UK was the different kind of green. It wasn’t until I experienced that green, that I realised our green was different. Ours is limey, earthy, faded and scratchy. Only until I was without it did I realise that this slightly different green was home.

Nature's verticals

Nature's verticals

Genre a month photography challenge: Landscape photography

Well, it’s almost halfway through March and I haven’t progressed much on the landscape photography since getting back to Sydney. This a a shot I took while still on the trip headed home.

The morning school run

It’s one of my favourite pictures from the road trip. I think I like it because with the school children, the sign and the early morning fog, it has a story to it.

If you want to participate in the March challenge – exploring landscape photography – then simply check the rules and paste a link to your photographs via a reply on my Monthly Photography Challenge page.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrast

When I saw the weekly photo challenge theme was contrast, I knew immediately which photograph I was going to choose. I took this on my recent trip, somewhere near the town of Rathdowney in Northern New South Wales. It’s the perfect contrast of man meets nature.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present The Datsun Tree.

The Datsun Tree

Genre a Month Photography Challenge: Travel

As February draws to a close, I think it’s about time I post my travel photographs for the month. During the month I’ve read a few articles on travel photography. All recommend trying to capture the essence of a place or a moment in a new way.

I have tried to take photographs during my travels (from Sydney to Brisbane) which sum up that place and that moment in time. Here are five of my favourites.

The Foggy Early Start

Foggy Morning
Andrew and I left Sydney at 4:55am when it was still dark. By the time we got to Newcastle the sun was finally making a decent appearance; hampered all the way by heavy fog.

Refuelling

Refuelling

It’s an obligatory part of every road trip: refuelling. Whether it’s just collecting petrol or stopping for some much needed food, there’s a certain atmosphere which comes with the ‘pit stop.’ It usually goes hand in hand with bad coffee, the smell of bacon and eggs and a feeling that everyone walking through this door is a transient.

Roadworks

Yet another lot of roadworks
Another inescapable experience of the road trip is the lollypop man. In the case of the Pacific Highway from Sydney to Brisbane, make that lollypop men (PLURAL!). Roadworks are more common on this stretch than roadkill. At one stop where we had to wait quite some time, Andrew took the opportunity to post a picture of one of these guys on facebook with the caption: ‘He wasn’t impressed when we offered him $20 to dance around the pole.’

The final two photographs I took at Bombah Point while waiting for the Ferryman. (He was reading the newspaper. You can’t rush a man doing that). I like these two shots as they were not only taken during my travels, but they are a means of travel in themselves.

So here are the last two: the Rusty Truck and the Bombah Point Boat

Bombah Point: Rusty Truck

Bombah Point

Weekly Photo Challenge: Down

Down and staying Down

I have a feeling my take on ‘down’ is going to be fairly unique. There may be others who have, macabrely, followed the burial path. Yet, I’m sure that there won’t be others who have both the coffin and the ‘down and staying down’ sign!

For readers who are not Australian, the big red hand in the photo is part of an advertising campaign for one of Australia’s supermarkets. It is an incredibly irritating add with people singing and using giant red hands as props to emphasis the ‘tagline’ of ‘down and staying down’ (referring to the prices).

One day Andrew came home with a giant red hand. I said to him – what are you going to do with that? He couldn’t answer.

Then, a few months later, I found the ‘down and staying down’ hand had met one of Andrew’s other strange collectibles: his coffin. I laughed and laughed. When I read that the weekly photo theme was down, I knew I had to take a shot of this and post it.

Candy for photographers

Every now and then I see photographs which strike a chord. For me, these are usually portraiture of some kind. When I consider some of my favourite photographs I can narrow that further and say black and white portraits of people, often financially disadvantaged or just very old, photographed within their environment. Why this particular subject matter? I usually feel emotion when I see photographs which contain all of those things. That emotion could be empathy, anger, warmth or comfort.

So you can imagine my delight when I walked into a bookstore last weekend and opened a photography book to find all that and more. Black and White? Check. ‘Everyday’ people? Tick. In the environment? Well and truly.

When I first flicked through the pages of the book, I had moments of just staring. I knew this was a book I had to add to my already rather full shelves. It was only after I fell in love with the pictures that I read anything about the photographer herself.

Vivian Maier. I had never heard of her. Turns out until a few years ago, no one else had either. If being thoroughly captivated by some of her images wasn’t enough, she had an amazing life story to boot. As the quote on the back of the book says:

Vivian Maier represents an extreme instance of posthumous discovery: of someone who exists entirely in terms of what she saw. Not only was she entirely unknown to the photographic world, hardly anyone seemed to know that she even took photographs. – Geoff Dyer

If you want to know more, Powerhouse books has a nice write-up and includes a video giving you an idea of which photographs are in the book. The official website is also great as it includes images not in the book.

Vivian Maier: Street Photographer Book Flip from powerHouse Books on Vimeo.

I can’t wait until next week when I’m off work and can sit and pour over the pictures again before leaving Sydney for a week or so to enjoy Andrew’s 40th birthday, get stuck into some Travel photography for my monthly project and delight in seeing new places.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ready

This evening, I was ready to sew. Saffron had other ideas.

Ready to sew

Saffron's ready to stop me from sewing