February 2019

February is a hard month. Mum and Dad’s Birthdays and the anniversary of Mum’s death. It’s 36 years ago but it still hurts. I aim to do something positive and personal on 25th February now to remember but not mourn.

It’s also been a busy work month with lots of travel which means some familiar places to visit and some new ones too. And it’s the last few weeks of training for Oxfam which is on 23rd March. A couple of big walks to boost our training included 66km as Tail End Charlie for the Tarawera Ultra Marathon. That was a long, hot day out on my feet but not as long as for these guys. Big ups to them.

2019 – a new challenge

A new year, a new venture. Keeping it simple this year so back to a photo a day but am posting to a Flickr group which has been going for 12 years set up by our friend Alan Levine aka @cogdog

It seems like a more sociable way of sharing photos – I felt a little out of my depth with the Dogwood Photo challenge, though I’m glad that I gave it a go.

Anyway I thought I would try to write a post each month and share the photos I uploaded to the Flickr group. Just not sure what the best way to do that is….

I could just post the link to my own wee album which I have set up so that I keep track of the photos I share into the group. It’s OK, but you’ll see the whole album and not just the photos for one month….

4/365 back to work - summer office

Or I could make a collage – but iPiccy only seems to have set grids – the biggest is 5×5 and the default frame is square…

Alternatively, I can upload all the photos into WordPress and create a gallery – that took an age! And I just get thumbnails and not the whole picture…. Anyway, this was January – in reverse!

…and now I just need to add the alt text!

Week 52: Self Portrait

Ha! You might have noticed the slick transition from Week 36 to Week 52. The year got busy and the weeks got away with me, and to be honest, I didn’t have the creative energy to set up the photos for the topics each week. Some were really hard to get my head around especially the ones that required an understanding of photographic techniques and thus something more than a phone camera. I had good intentions of catching up but it is time consuming going back through my photos to find ones that might retrospectively fit the themes. I could spend the next few days out and about seeing if I can exercise my mind and get those creative juices going – and I may keep some of the themes in my head and if I see something that works, I may well fill some gaps!

But Week 52 then. Isn’t the world today the world of the self-portrait – there are people taking ‘selfies‘ everywhere. There are even blogposts giving us top tips for taking the best selfies. Not to mention the medical journals jumping in to analyse why we take selfies.

Now I know that a selfie isn’t a real self-portrait but they’re fun and it’s the 21st century and that’s what we do!

I do take a fair few selfies although in reality they are nearly always ‘grelfies‘ (group selfies) as we take them when we are out on the trails as a group or out and about with Nigel. And hardly any of them are flattering in the slightest!

Problems with ‘selfie’ taking:

Not being able to get all four team members in. We used to solve this problem by standing in an offset line behind the person at the front taking the photo. But we have recently discovered the ‘wide angle’ selfie setting on our phones which means that we can now easily get all 4 team members in the photo as well as some of the scenery!

Being old and shortsighted so you can’t see the camera settings as you take the photo. Result – a puzzled or face of concentration rather than a beautiful ‘natural’ smile! Or getting your fat finger over the lens!

It’s just not cool Mum! The reluctance of a teenage boy to be in a selfie with his parents. It’s so embarrassing having parents that take selfies! Although, they do grow out of the embarrassment by their mid-twenties.

I do occasionally take ones of me, myself, I with nobody else in the photo if I find myself in a beautiful place and the mood takes me, though mostly I just take the photo of the beautiful place. Why spoil it by putting my mug in it!? Oh and just for proof that I was there for Strava! (Although if I took the photo, I must have been there, mustn’t I?)

Getting parts of the scenery growing out of your head…. sometimes turning the camera around and taking the shot at a jaunty angles helps… maybe?

Or trying to take a photo facing the sun… squinty eyes!

Getting everyone to smile, face the right direction or not pull faces at the same time! Particularly difficult with a teenage boy!

Week 36: Ordinary

Find beauty in the ordinary.

I’m unsure what ‘ordinary’ means…. is it the things we do everyday that are unremarkable to us simply because we are accustomed to doing them? Or the places we are so familiar with that we don’t ‘see’ them any more?

It is easy, when we are busy, bogged down in the minutiae of everyday life, to forget to look at the beauty of the world around us, every aspect of our world. Sometimes, it is enough to look up, to stop for a moment and smell, breathe, wonder…

I drive past this gate on a winding road in the middle of King Country. On the other side of the road just a bit further on there is a viewpoint that on a good day gives a fantastic view of Tongariro and Ruapehu. On this particular day it was raining, the cloud was low and this ‘ordinary’ view struck me with its atmospheric beauty.

I run through Hamilton Gardens quite a lot and it is not always easy when I am pushing myself to appreciate my surroundings…. I stopped to take this photo when I noticed the shadows I was running through. I’m glad I did!

Kumara field… ordinary but extraordinary. I love the lines, rows, even spaced mounds. Beautiful in their simplicity and practicality.

What could be more ordinary than the sky? But yet every sky is beautiful, different, unique.

Week 35 Creative Loneliness

One is the loneliest number….

On my way to visit a school on a grey morning on a lonely road I came across this wee guy….

I often walk alone when I am out and about with work – it’s always good to get some fresh air after spending the day thinking, talking and teaching. I enjoy that time to myself and don’t feel at all lonely but it’s good to have a shadow at times!

Week 34: Technical – The Wild Side

“Capturing a captivating wildlife photograph requires knowledge of your camera settings and the behaviour of the animal. Capture a compelling wildlife photograph that has proper subject alignment (e.g., no “bird butts”) and exposure. For an easy introduction, urban critters (e.g., squirrels) are easy targets. For an advanced challenge, a bird in flight could be considered.”

Not so many wild animals that aren’t birds around here and they move far too fast to catch them! Insects might work – plenty of bugs around and I have managed to get a few good shots of spiders, butterflies and other critters in the past.  I consider this week’s challenge pretty much a failure but here we go! A spider that we saw at the river in the Kaueranga Valley, a strange insect crawling on our front door, and a Monarch butterfly on flowers in Hamilton Gardens.

large spider on a rock

red insect on a white door

butterfly on yellow flowers

 

 

Week 33 Composition: Figure to Ground

If camouflage is designed to make things disappear, Figure to Ground is designed to make the subject stand out. Light on dark, dark on light.

I only have a couple for this. The opportunities haven’t really resented themselves to me and I have been so busy. This first one is of Tami Nielsen at a recent concert in Hamilton. It is always difficult getting photos with the bright lighting at concerts without completely burning out the subject. Especially if all you have is a phone! I was quite pleased with this though.

a female singer wearing a very pale blue dress at the microphone singing. The background is an inky blue and you can just see one of the band members in the haze of the lights.

The second photo is in Hamilton Gardens in the Concept Garden. This is currently my favourite garden. I tried to get my husband to stand out against the white wall. I fear that the tree to is right might be a distraction but somehow the photo didn’t seem balanced without it.  The whakatauki on the wall says:

He peke tangata, apa he peke titoki’

The human family lives on while the branch of the titoki falls and decays.

man standing against a white wall with the words He peke tangata, apa he peke titoki’ written on it. That means "The human family lives on while the branch of the titoki falls and decays.

Week 32: Alphabet

This was a challenge and required a whole day to pull together some sort of creation. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do a whole alphabet but couldn’t think of a word that didn’t seem twee or trite and that had some meaning to me. In the end, I created a couple of images; one was a whole alphabet, the other was the word ‘hauora’. It had been a busy and stressful week and so having time to spend on a wet Sunday really was a spot of well-being.

a collage of photos all of which mke the shape of a letter of the alphabet

photos that spell the word 'Hauora"