I love light, I love to write, I love life – I create my words and images to capture the light in my life.
Category: Life Stories
Memories and stories about Life and Living
telling stories from my childhood
telling stories about my history
lessons I have learned about life
lessons I have yet to learn, or am still learning
lifelong learning opportunities
Parenting and grandparenting
I may even bore you all with learning stories and cute sayings from my gorgeous grandkids
It’s all about perspective when it comes to geometric shapes.
“Geometry – It is concerned with properties of space that are related with distance, shape, size, and relative position of figures.“
It was not my favourite school subject. I couldn’t tell a tetrahedron from a square pyramid, or a hexagonal pyramid from a hexagonal prism – even though I could spell these mysterious words – the usefulness of these shapes made no sense to me.
Then I discovered the angles, shapes and perspectives to be captured through photography. At last the geometric shapes made sense and I could relate.
I went looking for geometry and symmetry wherever I pointed my camera.
From spheres to squares…
From proportions to perspectives in buildings and bridge construction…
In ceilings and walls and up steps or stairs……
I even found a square pyramid or is it tetrahedron?
Geometry in photography has forced me to shape and clarify my own perspectives.
“Trust that little voice in your head that says, ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting if…’; and then do it.” Duane Michals
So with these encouraging quotes in mind, here I go with my favourite ways to relax….
PLAYING WITH ART: “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” – Either John Lennon or Laurence J Peter – the jury is out on who said this first!
My latest foray into creative expression is when I started a 61 day ICAD (index card a day) challenge from 1st June and ending 31st July – and of course I am still playing catchup. I made a bargain with myself – 30 minutes on the exercycle first then I am free to play with index cards, paint, crayons, stencils and gel pens. I even made a home-made gel plate for printing I put on my music and relax into my art. Here is a small selection from June and July. It is working so far.
READING: “You can find magic, wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” – Dr Seuss
This is most certainly one of my ‘go-tos’ for relaxing, pouring myself a cuppa, curling up into a comfy chair and getting lost in a good book – and there I am – relaxed into the magic of words and other worlds. There is a reason I have always loved reading fantasy, science fiction and time travel – it is such an amazing form of escapism. It will be interesting to see how many books I have read by the end of the year – I’m up to Book 54 so far.
I have my favourite genres, and then I have my “impossible to put into any specific genre” genre.
Some books just require you to read, re-read and re-read again. And it is not because you can’t remember the stories, its because they are so good, so full of complexity, twists and turns they need to be read again to catch even more details with each read through.
I’m currently re-reading books 1 – 8 of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon in preparation for the release of book 9 in November. There is an online book group doing a read – along and is great excuse for me to re-read. It is very interesting how much more detail you notice on the next journey through the ‘ stones’.
I enjoyed reading the first book Crosstitch (which has since been renamed as Outlander) when it was published in 1991. I swapped some of the next few books with my sister in law over the years until other work-life priorities intervened. Luckily for me, I not only rediscovered the series a few years ago but also realised I could download the rest of the books onto my kindle. For those that are not yet familiar with this series here is Herself’s description.
Alternatively or as well as – there is the tv series to avidly consume – seasons 1 -5 to date with season 6 scheduled for release early next year. I have to admit to being seriously addicted to Outlander along with several million other readers. I’m not sure if this addictive reading behaviour is actually relaxing or not – hmm?
Whilst waiting for the next book, there is a selection of novellas based on individual characters and a Comprehensive Companion guide (or two ) filling in some background history. It keeps me relaxed.
“Even when reading is impossible, the presence of books acquired produces such an ecstasy that the buying of more books than one can read is nothing less than the soul reaching towards infinity.” – A. Edward Newton, author, publisher, and collector of 10,000 books.
By the look of my piles of books which I can’t seem to fit into my bookshelves, and constantly struggle to let go of, it could be said I might be afflicted with this ecstasy too. It reminded me too of this bit of lighthearted relief found online during last year’s lockdown. Read the titles which have been placed in order by a librarian with a sense of humour. Always look for the bright side of life – and stay relaxed.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Relax and trust, knowing the universe has set a banquet of abundance for you”
I found this quote chalked onto a blackboard outside the Langford store in Golden Bay last year. I’m not sure who authored it. I do like the emphasis on “relax and trust”.
Wandering with my camera is when I am truly in my relaxed and happy place. There is always an abundance of subjects to capture – and it keeps the brain active.
WRITING: “It is how you see life that matters, rather than what you have done.” – Patti Miller, “Writing true stories.”
Writing for me is a way to record my inner thoughts and to make sense of the feelings and thoughts that wander through my mind. Playing with words is a form of relaxation for me. It can also be a trip down memory lane.
Elizabeth Gilbert writes that: “The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The hunt to discover those jewels – that’s creative living… I’m talking about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.”
So now I have written about creative pursuits I enjoy, I’m feeling rather chilled out and RELAXED
Over the last two days
We have had weather in all ways
Horizontally and vertically the wind did blow
so too the rain did fall.
Slips and slumps
Then came the high tide
The creek overflowed
The lawns became a lake
It was more than we could take
Rivers were in flood
Trees ripped out
Bridges were gone
Everywhere was sodden mud
Damaged houses subsided in landslips galore
Driveways slipped down the hills
Ditches and drains could hold no more
Householders now face huge clean up bills
A 100 year event was in store
350 mm rainfall in only two days
I cannot remember such a deluge before
Climate change is definitely underway.
And yet, just a month or two ago
Another weather event had also been described just so.
Someone can’t count the days or the years
This weather event will surely all end in tears.
The power went out… and then it came back
BUT THEN… Shock and horror
The internet went down.
Our digital connection was gone.
I was in disconnect despair
Rain fade stopped the tv feed
We had no news updates
or weather warnings to heed.
Looking out the window was all we could do
Yes - it was still raining and blowing too
Thank goodness for notebooks and pens
so I could write this plea to the weather gods,
"Please stop the rain, I promise to be good
Its just too wet in this neighbourhood"
Suddenly I caught a brief glimpse of moonlight
peeping out from the clouds of the night
Perhaps the wind is blowing the clouds away.
Is the rain going to stop at last?
The third morning dawned bright with light
Of the wind and rain there was no sound nor sight
It was over but it had left behind
A devastating plight
We walked to see what damage had been done
although we could have just swum
The ground was awash with muddy water
amidst slippery piles of clay and stone
At last there were helicopters up in the air
Assessing the damage to the isolated grounds
Diggers were ferried by barge to the Sounds
No traffic getting through by road.
Maybe they will soon fix the power and phones
To make sure people are safe in their homes
By 5pm that day the phone started pinging
"Are you alright” the messages were asking
"Yes", we replied thankfully though many are not
At least we still have homes safe from the flood
Our thoughts are with those much less fortunate than us
As evacuations end and the big clean up begins.
So until the next time Mother Nature intervenes
to send us another reminder of climate change
Lets hope we all listen and do our bit
to keep this planet healthy and fit.
If the beautiful were not in us, how would we ever recognize it?”
The expression of an impression
Is an obsession
I bring to each photo session
where I can take possession
of my lifelong passion.
The expression of an impression
Is a compulsion
not a delusion.
It is where I learnt composition
Through the excitement of exploration
and a touch of preoccupation.
The expression of an impression
Take a bowl full of enthusiasm
Flash in a sprinkle of infatuation
Focus with a whole lot of dedication
Layer in an image of endless fascination
Blend all together in a bucket of creation
Until it exposes more than my dreams
And becomes a beautiful expression of my own impressions
Every photo I take is a piece of my life that I will never get back,
Before the winter sets in, we have been enjoying the last days of Autumn in some of our favourite places in the South Island, NZ.
St Annes Lagoon wildlife reserve was today’s road trip from our Parnassus stop over.. Autumn foliage colours still linger as did the birdlife flying overhead. So many trees were half submerged in the lake.
Whilst I was wandering with my camera, Leicester found someone to chat to, discovering they had a mutual friend from 50 years ago- such is the nature of this small country, it would appear. He was happy and so was I in my happy place wandering with my camera.
Back at camp, we were amused by Seymour the tame magpie who crows like a rooster and barks like a dog. I tried to mimic the rooster sounds so she would too but I only embarrassed myself. I have the video clip to prove it – but nope – not going to share that.
Next stop was Kaiapoi which is handily located not far from family and friends on the outskirts of Christchurch. We attended our granddaughter’s birthday party.
We love visiting Christchurch as many of our cousins and extended family live here so there are often several visits and coffee catchups with family each time we visit.
Fishing in the Mckenzie canals
The silence is broken only by the gentle plop of the lines being cast into the flowing canal. Everywhere I look I see hopeful anglers casting and reeling their lines. Waiting for the elusive rainbow trout or perhaps salmon escapees from the salmon farms that stretch throughout the man made canals.
Hydro electric power schemes on a grand scale have turned this region into a fisherman’s dreamland. 56 kilometers of canals teaming with big rainbow trout.
Adjacent to the salmon farms are the ever present fishers. Parking up in an assortment of vehicles from utes to motor homes, cars or cyclists, everyone has to stop and try their luck at catching the trophy fish, or at least stopand ask that question – “Any luck Today?” The answers vary as you would expect.
Even if the fish are not rising to the bait it is so peaceful here. Amazing reflections. Interesting bird life. And even some water rats co-existing with the wildlife and humans. There are as many theories as there are fishers or so it seems. So many theories of what to use to attract the fishy interest. Egg rolling or glow bugs? Live bait or lures? What time of the day? Is the flow fast enough? Is the current too strong? So many questions. The only important question is – where are the fish?
It’s so quiet then suddenly there is an almighty splash and telltale ripples expanding across the canal. Which way did that fish go?
There is quite a little community of like-minded people here, quietly conversing as they stroll along with their egg rolling tactics. ( the egg rolling technique is a common method for attracting trout. Little egg-like bits of fluff with a hidden hook inside.) Apparently the trout feed on fish eggs so the trick is to get the right colour egg and cast out the line, allowing it to float/ roll along with the current. If the fish fancy the egg then it’s all on as they gulp the hook.
Nets at the ready, the fish is played until it comes into the waters edge. A quick scoop of the net and it is caught. Everyone else on the canal looks across to check the size and the type of fish. Is it a brown trout, a rainbow trout or the prized salmon?
The success of the hunt is short lived as the fisher gets straight back into the action. There is a sense of real camaraderie here. Whilst there are those that go to great lengths to protect their secretl tips and techniques, there are others who generously share their experience and knowledge with the newbies.
It’s an addiction of the healthiest kind. Fresh air and exercise, solitude and amazing scenery. What’s not to love? Walking thousands of steps each day, it sure beats hitting the gym. There is something special about stepping out alongside the canals whether you have cast a line or not. Aoraki (Mt Cook) dominates the landscape even if it is sometimes hiding amongst the clouds, it’s majestic presence is felt and enjoyed by all who venture here.
The air is pure and crisp. The views are truly spectacular and the changing light patterns reflecting across the waters are fascinating. There are swirls and ripples in the current (or is that a big fish passing by). Shags, terns, swallows, ducks, seagulls and herons glide up and down the canals searching for food.
I was captivated by this heron standing ever so obligingly still on the bank until I realised it had old fishing line entangled on its legs and feet. It was so sad to see and I felt quite helpless to assist. It could fly well but when landing it took ages to settle and untangle its feet, having to stand on one leg most of the time. Almost impossible for it to position itself to catch fish in the shallows.
The very next day, one of the salmon farm workers noticed its predicament and called the DOC rangers. They arrived a short time later and tried to capture it in a net. Unfortunately that didn’t work either as it kept flying away. The rangers decided to try another approach later. I was left pondering on the impact on the local wildlife from the trout fishers. Days later, I’m still wondering about the fate of this beautiful bird.
We spent several more days relaxing and enjoying the magic of the canals. I even managed to do some night photography under the dark sky until the fog and clouds rolled in. The lunar eclipse hid behind those clouds.
And the very next day, along came the hoar frost. Spectacular icicles covered the trees and tussocks. It was very pretty and also very cold. It was time to move on.
Snow and heavy rain were forecast for the next few days so it was time to start heading homeward bound. We drove North to Christchurch and hunkered down for the next few days. Fortunately for us, we made the right decision as within two days major flooding closed all the roads and bridges to the South and low-lying areas of Mid and North Canterbury. Had we remained any longer we would have been cut off too. Even though we were parked up alongside the Waimakariri River, the stopbanks held back the waters flooding in our little Kaiapoi campground.
Further along the coast others were not so lucky. Communities evacuated as rivers broke their banks. Helicopter rescues as farmers tried to save their stock and got trapped in rapidly rising floodwaters. Several days later, the sun came out from the clouds and so did we – back home to the Marlborough Sounds to find Autumn leaves still clinging to the trees. Yet the changing seasons are now upon us here too.
All eyes were raised to the dark skies when the lunar eclipse was imminent. There was to be a super blood moon.
“A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon moves into the Earth’s shadow.This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are exactly or very closely aligned with Earth between the other two, which can only happen at a full moon. The eclipsed moon appeared as a faint red disk in the sky due to a small amount of light being refracted through the earth’s atmosphere; this appearance gives a lunar eclipse its nickname of a Blood Moon.”
Weather forecasts scrutinised. ✅
Potential locations scoped.✅
Astrophotography techniques researched.✅
SD cards cleared and ready ✅
Camera batteries charged…… ✅
It was nearly time for the big event – the night of the lunar eclipse had arrived.
BUT THEN…. in swirled the fog and cloud cover. Down plummeted the temperature. Desperation set in and I was so frustrated – why did I choose to stay at Twizel instead of Tekapo?
Deciding that if I didn’t at least try, I wouldn’t see anything at all, so no matter the gloomy forecast, out I went under the foggy and cloudy skies.
I wore many layers of merino jumpers and scarves, thermal tights, a good wind jacket and fingerless gloves. I even had my hot water bottle wrapped in lambswool at the ready in the car. And my thermal mug filled with turmeric latte.
Arriving at my location, I was not surprised at all to find that no-one else was there – apparently they were all at Lake Tekapo instead. Sigh!
Undaunted, I set up the tripod and took a few trial pictures. Hmmm that cloud cover was a bit tricky but at least I could see the beautiful moon intermittently ithrough the clouds. It was still early as yet so there was still a chance it would clear so crossing my cold fingers, I set up the intervalometer and waited. This was to be my first attempt at capturing a lunar eclipse. As per normal, I had decided on a capturing multiple exposures of each stage of the eclipse – a tad ambitious in hindsight.
So here are my embarassingly pathetic images. But at least I tried….!
I did manage a few photos of the penumbral and the umbral shadows stage but very foggy so focusing through the clouds was a major issue. Then the first camera battery died (of the cold). Changing the battery meant taking the camera off the tripod first so that ruined the continuity of focus and composition. I waited a while and tried again.
Several images later, the moon had almost reached totality – and you guessed it – the second camera battery also died (of the cold). Me too, I grumbled to myself. By this time the clouds had almost covered the skies and the temperature had dropped to Minus 4 degrees. I drove back to camp through the ever-increasing fog and drank a comforting glass of red wine (which looked redder thats the Blood Moon).
And the very next day: Social media were filled with images of the penumbral shadows, umbral shadows, partial and totality eclipse. I was very envious.
But wait – there is another almost total lunar eclipse coming up 19 November 2021…. watch this celestial space!
Wind and waves have worked their magic and stacked layers of limestone pancakes upon which to feast our eyes.
One of my favourite geological formations to visit is the Pancake rocks and blowholes at Punakaiki, West Coast NZ. I never get tired of viewing the impressive results of wind, wave and seaspray on the limestone formations of Dolomite Point.
The Pancake Rocks and blowholes
“Each ‘pancake’ consists of a layer of limestone layer made up of tiny shell fragments, separated from the next pancake by a thin layer of siltstone. Thousands of years of rain, wind and sea spray have etched the softer siltstone into nearly-horizontal grooves, and rounded the edges of the limestone layers, which together look like giant layers of pancakes.
Dolomite Point has a maze of underground passages and large open caverns which face the sea. When there’s a big swell, and the ocean surges into these caverns, water is forced into the passages. Looking for an escape route it follows the passages to the surface. As high tide approaches huge geysers of spray burst skywards. When there’s a big sea running the blowholes are spectacular.“
On this day the tide was high and huge waves were rolling in. Luck was on my side.
I made many images to try to capture that big geyser of spray. Many moments were spent patiently watching and waiting with my camera at the ready in hopeful expectation that the next surge will bring forth that loud whoosh as the waves rise up through the underground passages and burst high above the pancake rock formations.
Delighting in seeing the power of both the wind and the salt spray trickling back down through the pancake layers. It is fascinating indeed to see the weathering of the rocks still in action as it has been for thousands of years, creating the astounding formations we see today.
I first saw these spectacular limestone pancakes more than fifty years ago. Then we revisited them with our young children many times and yes, this was way before the area was upgraded with safety fences and sealed pathways. We allowed our kids to explore those tracks between the layered rocks. Whatever was I thinking?
Looking down into the Devils cauldron ( as it was known then) it is quite mesmerizing watching the force of the waves. Not the place to fall into. Those crumbling cliffs are quite slippery with the constant sea spray. And yet, it is indeed captivating to watch the swirling wave action. I was too preoccupied watching where my feet were stepping to take a photo of the devils cauldron this day.
Back home I finally got time to do some editing, here are the results of my weathering topic for the Sunday Stills ‘weather’ week. – It could also be for last week’s ‘water’ theme I guess for which I missed the deadline.
We finished off these few days by parking over at Fox River freedom parking site where the local “Rusty Cup’ coffee cart served us real pancakes with layers of bacon and banana with lashings of maple syrup for breakfast. Almost breakfast in bed – lol. On a side note, I caught up with my work colleague from a few years back – together we had ‘weathered’ many rough and tough work days so it was lovely to catch up and share memories as we ate the pancakes and drank the strong coffee.
All that was left to say is “Pass the maple syrup please!”
No more excuses. No more procrastination. It is Monday after all – and I always start a diet or exercise plan on a Monday. Heehee. No matter that I usually give up on Tuesday- but this time ( at least for a week or two) I will persevere.
I have just returned home after three weeks jaunting around the South Island NZ in our caravan. We did some pleasant and easy walks. We ate several dinners out and drank copious wine too. Unsurprisingly I realized that I wasn’t as fit as I thought I was.
My excuse; Having spent the last 9 -10 weeks with my arm in a sling following rotator cuff tendon repair surgery, my fitness level and balance has declined somewhat. Sooooo – here I go again.
I looked tentatively at that Exercycle covered in dust and cobwebs. It made me feel guilty as it sat neglected in the corner.
No excuses left. I pulled it out to the centre of the room and plugged it in. Then I actually climbed aboard and switched it on. ‘I’ll just do 5 km,’ I thought to myself. Well, 10km and 30 minutes later, I switched it off and just like that my first small step was done.
Maybe I’ll even dust it tomorrow before I have another go. I think the spiders vacated their cobwebs when I started pedalling.
This week’s topic for Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays is fairness, equal, eqitable, just or the counter point “Unfair!” Merriam Webster defines fairness three ways: impartial and just treatment or behavior without favoritism or discrimination, having light-colored hair or a pale complexion, and beauty. This is my response.
“It’s not fair. It’s so not fair! Sooooo not fair! Not fair! Totally not fair!” “I don’t have any – where’s mine?”
I don’t even have to say which grandchild this was. Except she is super cute, gorgeous and very dramatic. But it did make me wonder what was so ‘not fair’? ls it life or just our reaction to it? Is it just one of life’s little disappointments? Or is it much much more?
What is fair? What does it feel like? How do we teach fairness?
What if we said – “Life is not fair nor equitable so what can or should we do about it?
I remember the “equity vs equality”workshops I attended in my educator days. Examples of historical injustices were difficult topics to explore let alone acknowledge. There were such interesting yet challenging debates across the room. “We are not responsible for the bad decisions and atrocious actions of our ancestors” was regularly heard as attendees grappled with the harsh truths they were hearing.
And yet, aren’t we all both beneficiaries and victims of those past societal wrongs? We live in societies formed for mutual support and protection. Whatever happened to that?? Whatever happened to taking individual responsibility for the benefit of community?
Should we still be enjoying the privileges that came to us because of the colour of our skin or the geographical location of our birthplace? Shouldn’t we have evolved to be better than those that went before? We have better education and more knowledge these days.
History could teach us lessons if only we are prepared to suspend judgement and learn from the lessons of the past.If individuals would take some self responsibility. Would that help?
Social justice should mean that some need, and get, more equitable opportunities than others. Yet still, all peoples are not equal.
What can be done to acknowledge and rectify the wrongs of social injustice and unfairness?
Do we start by teaching the children – or do we need to unlearn our own prejudices first?
Children learn what they live.
If a child lives with criticism... they learn to condemn.
If they live with hostility…they learn to fight.
If they live with ridicule… they learn to be shy.
If they live with shame...they learn to be guilty.
If they live with tolerance... they learn confidence.
If they live with praise... they learn to appreciate.
If they live with fairness... they learn about justice