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.

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.

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

Sunday Stills – Summer Bugs in winter?

Bugs are in short supply here in winter but who knows what might lurking in the weeds of my winter garden – or is it back to the archives I go…!


So where do the bugs go in winter. I found this exoskeleton still clinging to the tree trunk long after its inhabitant had moved on.

Cicada shell cast-off

There must be some spiders somewhere.

Spider in the lily

I even looked in the compost bin hoping to find some slaters or at least an earthworm or two. No luck there.


Then I remembered – those archives and those snails. I have never noticed snails on trees  before.  You can just see the damage cause by their chewing, I guess they did it carefully so they didn’t chew off their escape route. 

#Sunday Stills – Geometric shapes – a look at angles and perspectives

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. 

#SundayStills

Sunday Stills – Under the Trees

Having just completed a June trees theme for my 365 project, I already had plenty of choices for this week’s Sunday Stills.  This is my month’s calendar view.

Trees, trees and yet more trees – my 365 project

Under the trees I also found:

I discovered rainbows, reflections and sunsets.

Under the trees throughout the seasons, I find the new growth of spring green and blossoms, the silhouetted sunlight of summer. the dappled shade lighting the fallen autumn leaves and the skeletal winter trees revealing their intricate branching structures. I had a play with making a composite of autumn leaves and a frosty winter. Maybe next time I will do all seasons!

Changing seasons

I love that trees have so many different textures and forms in their branches and trunks. Winter when the trees are leafless is a good time to appreciate the intricate branch patterns normally hidden within the leaves.  Moss and lichen cluster with wood ear fungus to decorate the barren trees.

Wood ear fungus

I love to wander between the trees along hidden forest pathways, and beside the lakes, beaches and rivers. I am in my happy place (as long as I have my camera along for the walk}

#SundayStills

Sunday Stills – Tiki touring in the Great Outdoors

North and South, East and West.  

From the ocean to the mountains, from coast to coast. Just a few photos of the great outdoors of NZ where I love to visit with my camera.

Lets start at the Southern Alps which is in the rugged mountain range that spans from from North to South of the South Island. Although climbing mountains is not my thing I did struggle up to the Tasman Glacier viewpoint – and saw ICEBERGS.

Moving westwards towards  Arthurs Pass is this stunning landscape.

Venturing a little further North on an inland road we stopped over at Iveagh Bay at Lake Brunner

Heading to the top West corner of the South Island is Karamea – which also provides a perfect opportunity for a West Coast sunset.

Further down the coast is  Punakaiki, famous for its blowholes and rugged beaches

Time for an overnight at Fox River to meet friends and eat pancakes (what else) before heading East through the Kaikoura mountains and onto the East coast. 

Finally we headed back up North to the Marlborough Sounds  and over the top to French Pass at the top of the South Island where Pelorus Jack once roamed the sea.

Home again to another silvery moon and to hunker down at home for the winter months. The great outdoors can wait a while until the weather warms up again.

For Sunday Stills June 27

better late than never.

Astrophotography is such a celestial challenge.

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).

Bloody 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!


SundayStills – March 21 Color Challenge: Spring Greens

But we are heading into Autumn!!  

The snow is melting in the northern hemisphere
The spring sap is greening the leaves of the trees
Whilst  here down under deep in the South
The leaves are changing, colouring and falling

Winter is coming, it is time to reset the clock
So these few glimpses of Springtimes long gone
Are all that I will have to keep me cosy and warm.
Oh what am I to do? 
Yes- its back to an archive or two.

I really don’t mind a trip down memory lane 
As I have many unedited  images languishing in vain.
So I try to stay  ’focused’ on the task ahead.
And play with those images to shine their light in this thread.
The changing  seasons of our lives
Are captured through lenses that remain bright
Seasons are just a bringer of a different kinds of light
To illuminate our days or shine moonlight through the night.

And if we are lucky the sun will send 
Lady Aurora to bedazzle our skies.
So even on a cloudless, moonless night, 
there will still be green lights
Skies of green

With this in mind, I remembered this song from 1965.. still relevant in these pandemic times maybe…

TURN, TURN, TURN

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sow
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late.

"The Byrds, 1965"

So until Spring next graces us with her presence 

I’ll set my mind on finding the light wherever it may be

SundayStills – Some of my Best Black & White Photos

I love black and white photography and I try to aim for the moon. I look for compositions and light that works well for the genre. Here are my offerings.


“Aim for the moon and even if you miss you will land amongst the stars”


Lighting in the landscape  sets the scene for stunning scenery be it stormy or calm waters or even over the top geography of rural roads.

Flowers and vegetables have interesting textures that often work well in black and white.


Sculpted statues are some of my favourite subjects to capture in black and white.