I love light, I love to write, I love life – I create my words and images to capture the light in my life.
Photography lightens my life
Capturing the light leads me on many different journeys…..
Wandering with my camera is one of my favourite things to do.
From the time I bought my first camera, a Brownie Starlet, at 9 years old, until now 60 years later, I have been fascinated with photography. I will be revisiting my lifelong photographic journey using my old photos from the film days, sharing how I used photography throughout my working life, and how I got excited all over again when I discovered the digital camera and editing software.
Lifelong learning through an abiding passionate interest is the best way to learn.
Looking back, it has been amazing learning journey so far. Long may it continue……
Nothing says Spring to me as much as the daffodils and blossoms bursting forth and shining bright all around me.
Except maybe the territorial Tui who tumble and savour their way through the kowhai trees, sipping nectar from the yellow flowers.
Territorial Tui tumbling through the trees,
One flies in and the other flees,
Sipping on the nectar,
Flying near and far.
It is such a delight
To see them take flight
Soon they will build a nest
To prove which bird is the best.
Gold must be the flavour or favour of the month. The topic for both this week’s Sunday Stills and for Life in Colour – September is gold. I thought I would combine the two to see where it goes.
Gold in the sky,
Gold in the sand,
Gold in the architecture
Gold in the sea!
All that glitters is gold to me!
Way back in the days when we could -and did – travel internationally, I visited historic buildings and saw golden statues glittering within the cloisters and altars of churches, and the museums displaying the gilded treasures of history.
It starts with golden entrances, and continues through churches and museums that glitter with gold.
Windows and water features reflecting the precious glitter of gold.
Whilst I enjoy the glittering history, my favourite golden hues are still found in nature.
Going back in time, I found this intriguing photo amongst my travel memories, It was an interesting way to tell the time, at least in the afternoon.
“In the centre of the Old Town Square in Prague, there is a line on the cobblestones. At the start of the line, which is called Prague Meridian until 1918 stood a huge Marian Column. The shadow from the column fell on the meridian and locals could check the time. The Latin inscription on the Prague meridian says: «Meridianus quo olim tempus pragense dirigebatur», which means “In the afternoon you can see the exact time in Prague.”
Going back into family history brings memories alive again. Delving through the old photos and memorabilia of earlier times reminds us of how life must have been then back then. Learning about our history also teaches us how to look forward. The baby in the middle photo is the great grandfather of my granddaughter is holding a photo of the grand uncle who is also pictured in the photo on the wall.
This week Aotearoa/New Zealand has been celebrating Te Wiki o Te Red Maori/Maori Language Week. I thought it timely to share this whakatauki/proverb which is also about going back so you can move forward in strength.
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.
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.
“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
“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 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.
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.
But the question still remains – why are toolboxes predominantly red?
“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.
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