Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #165: Going Wide expands my appreciation

 A wide angle lens was the choice I made to capture the magnificent views of New Zealand’s mountains, lakes and valleys.


Man-made structures also look spectacular when viewed with a wide angle.

Leaving the mountains, it was time to appreciate the wide views that form the coastline and islands at the top of the South Island where the river meets the sea.

Wide angle lens truly expands my appreciation.

Lhttps://lagottocattleya.wordpress.com/2021ake/09/14/lens-artists-photo-challenge-165-going-wide/

Sunday Stills – Colourful murals tell stories

Murals tell stories all around the world – these are two of the stories I found in my travels.  It is hard to believe that so many life-changing events have happened within my lifetime. 


I was inspired by the murals that appeared following the Christchurch earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. Amidst the devastation and destruction of so many buildings there were some walls still standing. These became locations for sharing messages of hope, and a bit of humour too.  

Other murals remind us of world changing events.  

The Berlin Wall was built in 1961, creating such division across families, across countries and across the political divide. Throughout the world the ramifications were felt, and then it was brought down.

The stories painted on the walls during and post the Berlin wall tell stories of despair but then hope.

 

Living in a world of colourful murals gives me hope for the future.

The Changing Seasons – August (and a bit of July thrown in)

It started in mid-July with an extreme weather storm event on the West Coast and Marlborough regions. Roads were so badly damaged with many slips, slumps, under and onto the two main roads into the Marlborough Sounds, they were impassable for most of the residents and those of us that could drive out had to negotiate muddy unstable roads.

August arrived and whilst the roads were still closed, some of our quiz team could make it to our local tavern. We were very organised for the 70s dress up theme – and the questions. We won by a big majority – probably something to do with the average age of our team. We had lots of general and specific knowledge of the 1970s. After all, it was a great decade dedicated to music, movies and fashion, and we had all lived through it. One of us had even been to the ABBA museum and sung Dancing Queen as the 5th member of the group.

We socialised at dinner parties and popped into the tavern again to watch the rugby.  I prepared and printed our community newsletter at the local school. Chopping up several fallen trees and mulching the smaller branches occupied my significant other for most of the month – when it wasn’t raining and blowing some more. 


Due to the road closures, I had already been having a couple of SeniorNet committee meetings via Zoom so when I got the invite to join a zoom workshop on how to make stop motion animations, I thought – why not?  That was fun. 

After an eye check in Blenheim on Tuesday, we stocked up on groceries, had a meal in Picton then carefully negotiated the wrecked roads towards home, and settled in to watch the tv news……. And then came the Delta variant of Covid-19. 


Suddenly, overnight New Zealand went into Level 4 lockdown. Not only were we locked in by closed roads, we were now locked down as well. We had to cancel dental and car service appointments as we hunkered down to stop the spread. At least we had sufficient food, beer and wine for a couple of weeks – oh – and toilet paper! 


Whenever was I going to be able to get my new spectacle lens fitted? Last year’s lockdown resulted in the dental appointment being cancelled too. Bad timing I guess.

Still, we are luckier that most. We still have the beach to walk on, and that dreaded exercycle was put back into regular use. After half an hour panting and pushing those pedals, I reward myself with a dabble in my art journal, and listen to some of that 1970s music.

Painting, sketching, writing and photography are back on my lockdown project list. And reading – lots and lots of reading – and maybe some more writing.  

I am grateful for not being too affected by the current lockdown but I certainly feel for all the essential workers, the home-schooling parents and those who are being impacted financially and emotionally. 


As September arrives, our road is still closed to the public and residents drive in and out at their own risk. Another zoom meeting, this time with the road recovery team, informed us that the road repairs are likely to be ongoing for several months. We have had to make a decision about cancelling this season’s homestay bookings. Our guests cannot use the road whilst it is closed to the public. I guess this means we may have time to enjoy summer ourselves this season. There is always a silver lining.

And the silver lining is – that 70s music!  – I am so very excited this week to hear the best news – ABBA are back and the words of their new song ‘Don’t shut me down’ speak to me ….

"I'm like a dream, within a dream, that's been decoded, 
I'm fired up, I'm hot, don't shut me down”

Needless to say, this song is on repeat on my playlist.  If you haven’t heard or seen it yet check it out but be warned – its already addictive for me. Enjoy!

So despite all the doom and gloom of July and August, September is springtime in the southern hemisphere – a time of renewal -and there is always HOPE and ABBA to look forward to.

https://bushboy.blog/2021/09/01/this-is-august-2021/

WQWWC -38, Education, Schools or Learning for life

Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself”  – John Dewey

So where do schools fit in with this concept? Do we need schools so we can be educated?

 
During last year’s lockdown, learning was delivered online, and parents became their teachers. Our most recent and very sudden lockdown happened so fast, that schools have not yet had the time to deliver the laptops to the students. Overnight  the population were in Level 4 – locked down with no access to schools – but there is still education and learning.


Looking at my grandchildren’s experiences last year, it appeared that the learning was vastly different yet somehow more holistic. They learned science through numerous baking experiments, social skills through having to share the dining table to do their schoolwork, and they learnt to work together peacefully ( well most of the time).

‘Knowledge is a process, not a product”  – Ruth Nanda Anshen

Its all about the process – As an early childhood educator, I adhered to this notion of the importance of the process (free unstructured play) over the product. As educational institutions became more prioritised on standardized tests to assess educational outcomes at the expense of dispositional learning, it sucked the joy out of teaching for the love of learning. 


Leaving the pressures of formalised education behind on retirement, it still took me several years to regain my love of lifelong learning based on my passions, interests and strengths. 


So one day I started playing again. Exploring my repressed energies and setting free my creativity through art. I began putting my fingers into the paint as it were… Am I in my second childhood already?  Yes and No. Whatever it may be, I am enjoying my creative processes again. 

“ To be able to be caught up into the world of thought- that is to be educated”  Edith Hamilton

To think or not to think –  therein lies the learning…  I’m still thinking, and I’m still learning. And it is still fun. The best part is that I am sharing this sense of fun. achievement and the learning of new skills with my granddaughter via FaceTime or text messages now we are in lockdown again.

“That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you’ve understood all your life, but in a new way” – Doris Lessing

https://alwayswrite.blog/2021/08/11/wqwwc-38

Life in Colour – RED as a messenger

“This month’s colour is red. One of the primary colours, red often indicates danger. It is pure energy, loud, demanding to be seen. Think of a red ladybird, a red rose, autumn leaves and a sunset. Passion. A heart.”

This made me think about how often red is used for sending important messages.


Red messages:

Red taillights warn that the car ahead is braking for some random reason.

Messages written in red remind us of the shameful past, but also offer some hope.

“The Heart has Eyes which the Brain knows nothing of” – Charles H Peckhurst

Reds in nature:

Fruity reds tempt the tastebuds – be warned though regular consumption can be addictive. 

Berry Red

Red in the landscape –  old red barns are a classic  but it doesn’t get old.

Rosebuds may open as pink, mature into a bright rich red, and yet then fade – a message of the cycle of life maybe?

Gardens both large and small grow vivid reds to brighten our days. We need to guard these precious displays.

"Red sky at night, sailors delight. 
Red sky in morning, sailors warning”

Sunlight rays passing through the atmosphere gift us amazing sunsets and weather warnings.

Red skies

But the question still remains – why are toolboxes predominantly red? 

Are tools that dangerous?

https://traveltalk.me.uk/2021/08/25/life-in-colour-25/

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #162 It’s all about the light

Remember: Always walk in the light.

And if you feel like you’re not walking in it, go find it.

Love the light.

Roberta Flack

From the glow of a misty morning moonset to the last rays of the setting sun, everywhere I wander I seek the light….

And I find light in the skies amidst the storms. 

I find the light hiding in the clouds…

Surprising me with its rainbow hues …

Lightly kissing the rolling hills …….

Silhouettes shining through the trees whilst reflections glimmer on the lakes….

I create my words and images to capture the light in my life.

https://travelsandtrifles.wordpress.com/2021/08/21/lens-artists-challenge-162-its-all-about-the-light/

Len

WQWWC #37 – The therapy of Lakes/ Oceans/Water

“To some, it's just water,

To me, it's where I regain my sanity” 
 - Author Unknown

I took a look through my photographs of lakes, oceans and water. I have many examples of water in all its various states.

Water falls down then it blows up….

Water is tranquil then it is turbulent…….

Water is still and then it is stormy……..

Water is white and then it is wavy………..

Water is murky and then it is a reflective mirror………..

How water is reflected back depends on what lens you are looking through.  

Talking to my optometrist today at my very overdue eye check, I mentioned the impact I thought my ‘cataracts’  may be having on my photo editing.  I thought I was over saturating the colours in compensation. He fortunately doesn’t think my cataracts are that bad yet.  He also said that the older Claude Monet got,  the ‘browner’ his paintings had become. Intrigued as I was, what could I do but google……

These landscapes of water and reflection have become an obsession. 
 
- Author: Claude Monet

Monet’s Art Changed Because of His Eyes

“In 1905, Monet was sixty-five and began to notice changes to his vision. The colors he saw were no longer as bright, and his paintings began to feature more yellow and purple tones. In 1912, when he was seventy-two, Monet was diagnosed with nuclear cataracts in both eyes. Because Monet so often repainted the same subjects over the years, viewers can trace the way cataracts affected his vision over time.”

“Scientists have even studied changes in the color and style of Monet’s paintings over time—along with the works of his fellow Impressionist, Degas who also had eye disease. By using computers to simulate the blurriness one would see with eye disease, scientists have been able to find out how the artists likely saw their own paintings, which has given new insights into the artists’ works.”

Monet Might Have Seen Ultraviolet Light

“Initially, Monet did not want to have surgery to correct his cataracts, because he had seen other artists’ careers ended by failed surgery. Monet finally agreed to have cataract surgery on his right eye in 1923, but he did not have the surgery on his left eye, which still had cataracts and could not see violets or blues.”

“During the surgery on his right eye, however, the lens of his eye was removed, which let more light into the eye. Because the lens is the part of the eye that filters out ultraviolet light, it is believed that Monet might have begun seeing ultraviolet wavelengths, which humans typically cannot see. After the surgery, he used more blues in his water lily paintings, which could indicate he was seeing ultraviolet light.”

“After his cataract surgery, he destroyed many of the paintings he created when he suffered the worst of his vision problems. Altogether, he is thought to have destroyed up to 500 of his own paintings.” 

I am not about to destroy my photographs, but I might re-edit some of the saturation – or then again I may not. I do love  bright colours and gazing into water keeps me calm.

Your mind is like water. When it is agitated it becomes difficult to see.

 But if you allow it to settle, the answer becomes clear.”

– Bill Keane

After all is said and done, water is essential to life. And we never know how far the ripples we make when we drop  a stone into the water will spread. 

"THE DROP

Be the drop that falls freely and becomes one with water…..
You might not be able to perceive the ripples you have created right away
But water will allow you to feel how their love
Comes back to you again and again.”

  - Author unknown

https://alwayswrite.blog/2021/08/11/wqwwc-37-lakes-oceans-water/

Sunday stills – my favourite song lyrics

Too many songs to choose from really but choose I must and chose I did.


Last week our pub quiz theme was the 1970s and so I researched the music although as I really I did live through the 70s, it didn’t take much research. There were quite a few trips down memory lane. My other team members each took a subject to study too. Everything from 1970s movie lines, to NZ history, sports and worldwide events.  I listened and watched lots and lots of ’70s music videos.


And I rediscovered “Stairway to Heaven”. Although originally recorded by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield in 1960, I decided that Led Zeppelin’s famous rendition was my absolute favourite version.  Recorded in 1971 and described as “progressive rock folk rock hard rock“, it is over 8 minutes long. To me, it epitomised the 1970s music. I listened to this so many times. I read the lyrics and and sang along to the youtube video.

“Why is the song ‘Stairway to Heaven’ so popular? Instrumentally it is a real gem. Obviously great guitar solo but also intricate layers of gradual build up. Kind of hypnotic in the beginning and middle then progresses to an intensely hard rock.  The song is basically just about shallow materialism and greed.”

I also rediscovered Pink Floyd -Dark Side of the Moon – especially the  “Eclipse ‘ track- and I’m not going to lie – the choice was difficult. However as my middle son had ‘acquired’ my Pink Floyd CDs when he went off to study, I didn’t get to listen to them very often. 


Then came time to select some images that illustrated the sentiments. I took inspiration from my own Lady Aurora images  as well as some old travel images of the glittering gold images in the altars of centuries-old churches. 

"There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven
When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for
Ooh, ooh, and she's buying a stairway to heaven.

There's a sign on the wall, but she wants to be sure
'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings
In a tree by the brook, there's a songbird who sings.

Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven
It makes me wonder...
There's a feeling I get when I look to the west
And my spirit is crying for leaving
In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees
And the voices of those who stand looking.

And it makes me wonder...
And it's whispered that soon, if we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long
And the forests will echo with laughter.

Donegal tree glow
If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now
It's just a spring clean for the May queen
Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on...
And it makes me wonder...
Your head is humming and it won't go, in case you don't know
The piper's calling you to join him
Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind?

And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our soul
There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold
And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last
When all is one and one is all, that's what it is
To be a rock and not to roll, oh yeah......

Jimmy Page-  By Jim Summaria, http://www.jimsummariaphoto.com/ ]  Jimmy Page used a double-necked guitar to perform “Stairway to Heaven” live.

"And she's buying a stairway to heaven...."

And that pub quiz?  Our team rocked the answers and won by a huge margin!

If you want to check out the music video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbhCPt6PZIU

WQWWC # 36: Lofty Mountain

Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei

Seek the treasure you value most dearly: if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain


This whakatauki (Maori proverb) is about aiming high or for what is truly valuable, but it’s real message is to be persistent and don’t let obstacles stop you from reaching your goal.


Each time I venture near to the highest mountain of the Southern Alps of New Zealand, I look to photograph another perspective of this magnificent mountain.,  This proverb goes some way to describing how I feel when this mountain is in front of my camera.

On clear days, Aoraki / Mount Cook is visible from the West Coast as far north as Greymouth, some 150 kilometres away, and from most of State Highway 80 along Lake Pukaki and State Highway 6 south of Lake Pukaki. The near horizontal ridge connecting the mountain’s three summits forms a distinctive blocky shape when viewed from an eastern or western direction.

Aoraki / Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Its height, as of 2014, is listed as 3,724 metres (12,218 feet).

https://alwayswrite.blog/2021/08/04/wqwwc-36-writers-choice-or-mountains/

Willy Winky – and his night light

It’s all very well to tell me to light my candle but my firelighter is wet. 
How can I be a Wee Willie Winkie when I can’t shed any light in the night?

I ran through the night calling out my plight.
The children peeped out from their  bedrooms
"Its ok, Willy Winky, don’t take fright"

Don't let it mess with your head
We are already abed.
It's warm and snuggly inside

Please don’t turn on that light 
It will keep us all  awake


https://puttingmyfeetinthedirt.com/2021/08/01/august-2021-writing-prompts/