WQWWC #51: WHAT’S IN MY TOYBOX?

“It is a happy talent to know how to play”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have a lot of toys surrounding me, and whilst I would like to be able to say I use them every day that that would be a NO. 


Unless of course I count my photography toys/props. These include LEGO, toy soldiers, miniature people, zombie dolls and  baby dolls, and even my little drinking buddies get up to some tricks. 


Here are some of the ways I find to play with my toys.

Play is our brain’s favourite way of learning

– Diane Ackerman

And what do I learn?  Which is the best lighting to use, which lens to attach, how to pose the players, (thank goodness for posable toys) or  how to use stop motion to tell that story. 

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing” 

George Bernard Shaw

We are never too old to play. Get out those toys and play free.

“When you’re free, you can play and when you’re playing, you become free.”

Heidi Kaduson

So what is in your toy box?

WQWWC #50 An almost Forgotten post

I love light, I love to write and I love life – I create my words and images to capture the light in my life.
Capturing the light leads me on many different journeys – wandering with my camera is one of my favourite things to do. 

“If I didn’t have my camera to remind me constantly, I am here to do this, I would eventually have slipped away, I think. I would have forgotten my reason to exist.”

Annie Leibovitz

Once upon a time, my habit was that I always took my camera everywhere I went. Over this winter, I had forgotten that habit.  Part of the problem was that due to being locked in with road closures and locked down through Covid, I wasn’t actually going anywhere. Yes, I could still walk on the beach unless it was raining and blowing a gale – which it did regularly throughout the winter months.


Thankfully, as the weather is warming up- and (even though the roads are only slowly being fixed), I am getting out a bit more – and I am becoming reacquainted with my camera after misplacing my ‘phojo’ for a couple of months. I had forgotten the joy I feel when wandering with my camera.

“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”

Aaron Siskind

I write to capture my thoughts…

“People have forgotten how to tell a story.”

Steven Spielberg

I thought I had forgotten so much of my childhood but then I started to write my story, and those memories came flooding  back. They were much closer to the surface than I had thought. I had not forgotten my life experiences and yet I struggled to write them as interesting stories. So I researched how to write memoir. I used some writing prompts. I revisited Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey (adapted for Covid heroic journeys), and also found an updated version or two of the Heroine’s journey.  My memoir writing journey has just  begun. I hope to record those memories I thought I had forgotten. Watch this space.

“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”

Rudyard Kipling

A little story about coffee. Alarmingly, we run out of coffee so had to do the 120 kilometre round trip to town on a Monday – not our usual habit. Finally, we arrived home after a fraught day of road blocks, delays and overheating in our masks. I unpacked the groceries (yes, we bought so much more than we had planned) and noticed… HE had bought beans not espresso grind! That HERO had to return the very next day as HE was not popular – he will not forget again!

Life is about creating memories – and art!

“So, like a forgotten fire, a childhood can always flare up again within us.”

Gaston Bachelard

I’m playing with art again. Practicing my creativity through daily pencil sketches and creating art journals.  I put on some music, and immerse myself in paints, pastels and crayons.  Out comes the water paint, the felt tips and the stencils. I have rediscovered the pure joy of messy fingers, and scribbling with charcoals and ink. I’m having fun!  I have not forgotten how to do that.

And just like that, all my hobbies are back on my playlist – and are remembered.

Sunday Stills: Cheers for Ruby Wine and a Blood Moon

There is nothing quite as warming as a glass (or two) of a burgundy wine – especially if it is swirled and sipped in front of a blazing fire pit. 

Alternatively, finding a burgundy bar stool on which to perch whilst partaking of a burgundy beverage, is also quite palatable.

Now in case I am giving the impression that I have focussed only on ruby rich red wine, I do occasionally capture burgundy-brown buildings.

And I have even been known to forsake my evening tipple, so  I can drive out to capture the blood red lunar eclipse. Pleasingly, I had more success this month with the partial lunar eclipse that my first attempt in May which was rather too foggy and frosty. Mind you, attempting to composite a time-lapse of the lunar eclipse had me reaching for a red wine to calm my frustrations.

“I’m like old wine. They don’t bring me out very often, but I’m well preserved.” — Rose Kennedy

Cheers,

WQWWC #48 – Foggy finds

Don’t be afraid to go into the fog. Be excited because you don’t know where you will end up. Sophie Madden

As the moon sets, and the fog lifts, where will the day take us? Take that road trip and go wherever the road leads.  The day’s adventures are about to begin…

And out of the fog, appears a merino in the mist.

Or a hoar frost with magical icicles sparkling in the trees…

“And when the fog’s over and the stars and the moon come out at night it’ll be a beautiful sight”

– Jack Kerouac

“There it is, fog, atmospheric moisture still uncertain in destination, not quite weather and not altogether mood, yet partaking of both.”

~ Hal Borland

WQWWC #45 Fortitude/Resilience

“Life is a journey that takes us on many paths – and tests us and shapes us in ways that allow us to aspire to even more challenging directions”

This was the message on a farewell card when I was leaving a much loved job to further my career.  The card was decorated with forget-me-nots – I never have forgotten the fortitude I needed to take that leap and change direction. I left the well trod path and ventured onto the rocky track.

I wrote these poems in the aftermath of painful family feuds.

In every given moment we have two options, to step forward into growth, or to step back into safety – Abraham Maslow

Often hidden amidst words of anger or hate
Underlying fear creates a sense of panic. 
Flight not fight becomes the norm. 
Habits thus formed are hard to break 

Stop for a moment and think
How does your anger help you?
Do you just live to hate
Or do you hate to live?

What if you choose to love 
Would that calm your fear?
Replace those feeling of anger
With actions of hope?

You may be surprised at how good you feel 
when the fear recedes. 
And the peace returns. 

My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself an accomplishment.  Steve Goodi

One day I was counting up the surgical scars I had  due to caesarian section, melanoma, knee replacement and rotator cuff repair when I realised just how resilient I had become through these experiences. I wrote these words. 

Some of us carry our scars externally.
These are a physical sign of our survival.

Scars are often hidden within us,
Internal injuries sustained through harmful words.

Scars are gathered over the passage of our lives,
They are both the symbol of - and the price for -  this life.

AND……


When I peeled back the layers, I found a beautiful resilience inside – this is how I know I’ll always thrive – Lori Schaefer

WQWWC #43 – Imaginary imagery

“What we imagine in our minds becomes our world…”  Masaru Emoto

Masaru Emoto and his water crystals:

“Water consciousness first gained international attention with the unconventional but groundbreaking experiments of Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto. While you may not recognise his name, chances are that you have seen or heard of his work – namely, the theory that water can understand and retain the energy of human intention.


“In the 1990s, Emoto performed a series of experiments in which water was kept in a variety of bottles, each carrying a label with a different message. The messages ranged from positive and caring (thank you, love) to negative (I hate you, I want to kill you), and then drops of water from these bottles were placed on slides and deep-frozen to form snowflake-like crystals. 


The crystals that formed on positive messages were found to be ore geometric and aesthetically pleasing, while the crystals fired  by water with negative messages were chaotic  and non-uniform in shape.“ He called his findings ‘hado’ – the life force energy-consciousness of varying frequencies infused in all matter.

The follow-up argument has been this: Given the high water composition of the human brain and body,  if water is in fact conscious and receptive to energy frequencies, how can these positive or negative messages affect our bodies on a molecular level?”

Was this a self-fulfilling prophecy – just imagine it and it becomes real?  Or is it an example of the creative force of the imagination?


What a rabbit hole I dived down into here –  it was almost a wishing well of watery wonderment. My imagination was definitely working overtime.


And it made me wonder….

Is it better to live in an imaginary world or in this harsh real world? I guess that depends on how happy and satisfying your own experience of the ‘real’ world is.  And even if your current reality is not yet the best, escaping into an imaginary world can be both restorative and healing. Or it can be if you just let yourself be free to imagine.


Throughout my life, retreating from time to time into the imaginary world of books has been a constant relief from the trials and tribulations of daily life. Immersing oneself into another world creates imaginary images within our minds, and sets the mind free to dream; and it encourages creative thinking.  

You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus”  Mark Twain

As a photographer, I use my imagination to first visualise my story then try to recreate my vision into the image. Finding the best point of focus is part of the storytelling but sometimes  I purposefully throw the focus out to create my vision. And yes that might make it hard to focus my eyes but I can depend on my imagination instead. It is such a delight when I create an intriguing image using Intentional Camera Movement (ICM), or compositing several images to create a new story. 

So many things to ponder in my imagination and yet….   in the words of the imaginary Dr Who

I’ll just be a story in your head. But that’s alright. We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one.” – Doctor Who

#SundayStills – Spring has sprung

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.


https://secondwindleisure.com/photography/sunday-stills-photo-challenge/

WQWWC #42: Communication and Connection

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood” – Steven Covey

I am a huge fan of Steven Covey’s 7 habits. Habit 5 encourages us to “use empathetic listening to genuinely understand a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to be influenced. This creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem-solving.”


To clarify my own understanding I wrote this slightly random A-Z poem on communication.

Again I start writing 
Because I can better
Communicate my 
Desires by using words that 
Energise me to 
Feel differently about these
Grand ideas although
How they find form
Inside my mind by
Jumbling around
Kinetically seems
Like
Mindful 
Nonsense that 
Originates without
Purpose yet  
Quickly
Random thoughts
Scramble
To be heard and
Understood and at least the 
Veracity of my
Xenial
Writing is
Zealous.

It reminds me of these words too:

"Write to be understood,
Speak to be heard,
Read to grow"

I definitely needed to read to grow my understanding of the meaning and usability of several of the words that tumbled out of my subconscious thought. Stream of consciousness is certainly one of the ways I communicate my random thoughts. All I need is an empathetic listener or reader. I hope you can understand it. When I read back what I had written, it made me smile anyway. 

“Great communication begins with connection” – Oprah Winfrey

Thank goodness for the internet, FaceTime, Whats App, and Zoom. If you can’t meet face-to-face, then an internet connection is the next best thing. I heard a radio talkback session considering the benefits of using video or not when zooming. How can not being visible assist effective communication? 


I attended a community zoom meeting recently with 160 participants, many of whom had turned their video off so there was a better internet connection for all. Unfortunately not everyone had muted their microphones so we could hear all their groans, snuffles and coughs. It was a good reminder about the need for social distancing, and yet… also about the value of face-to-face communications.   Eventually, the facilitator managed the mute buttons and the presentation continued. 


The meeting was to share and hear about the progress (or lack thereof) of the road repairs.  Our road has been closed since an extreme weather event  in mid-July which resulted in massive road slumps, slips and property damage. We heard the road closure will be in place for at least the next few months, if not a year for some residents, and that to use the road, residents have to apply for a pass to be used before 9am or after 3pm only. However this is only available for those of us within the first 10 kilometres of the 72 kilometre road. The others have to rely on boat access through barges and water taxis to get their groceries, fuel and mail. This highlighted again the importance of finding other ways of staying connected.

The chat message window was instantly filled with questions – some of which were answered during the presentation or in the Q&A session at the end. People had an overwhelming need to communicate their questions and anxiety. Needless to say there were lots of questions, although not many answers – yet!  I guess we will just have to keep talking or communicating in any way we can.

“lt’s not distance that keeps people apart, but lack of communication”

In these times of social distancing, it is even more important that we communicate well.  Yet talking and hearing messages through masks brings its own challenges. And just how can we read non-verbal communication?  Are our eyes able to convey our emotions?  How else can we communicate?

Communication is not a one way street– Jim George

Except, just for now, for us it is – and that one-way street is closed.

All that glitters is gold (to me)

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.

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/