It may not have the grandness of the Chateau Du Villandry but my mini potager has had a makeover and starting to house the first salad crops. After all the measuring and mathematics I’m just relieved to have got it to this state. Give it a few more weeks and it will take on a more colourful face. I’m propagating more herb plants in the barn so those beds which look so forlorn right now will be bursting with smells and flavours that are only a few short steps from the kitchen.
Archives for October 2010
Despite it being t-shirt weather in Sydney it was a miserable cloudy day when I struck out on my own for a couple of hours with my camera. Intent on taking some pictures of the Opera House it turned out to be a real disappointment with a cloudy dull sky making the curves of the building flat white instead of curvaceous and glistening. As I sat on the harbourside and soaked up the view without my camera to my face I started to think about how I’ve viewed this trip from a photography perspective.
There is no doubt travelling with someone who is not a photographer adds a level of personal pressure. For all his patience MT is after all on holiday but I still feel the pressure to take a snap and move on when actually I’d rather take a bit longer and explore those allies more to see how the light changes and what might be the best angles to take a groovy photograph. Everywhere you looked in Sydney there were people out with their camera’s taking pictures of the key sights. They snapped it and then moved on to tick the next thing on their list.
You’d think it would be a simple thing to strike a balance between the full on take your time photography experience and taking the holiday snap. If it is I haven’t found it yet. Perhaps it’s just that I’m still learning and like most things when in that state of conscious incompetence having an audience whilst you practice is not the best thing. Equally it’s probably best to accept that whilst you’re on holiday which is in itself a full time occupation it isn’t the best time to start to add in another activity that requires equal amounts of concentration and effort and heaps more time. Interestingly even professional photographers struggle with this dilemma if this article by Jeffrey Chapman is anything to go by.
MT judges the level of civility in a city by it’s capability to rustle up a grand afternoon tea in such a way that an Englishman abroad can feel right at home. We may have just missed Sydney’s latest foodie festival but it didn’t stop us partaking of the special Afternoon Tea served at the Tea Room in the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney. It was delicious and served laid back Aussie style but with the tradition befitting of a true Afternoon Tea. The sugar rush was quite something and has inspired me for some more home entertaining when we get back to NZ.
If I ignored the people crawling like ants up the Sydney Harbour bridge I could imagine that I am back in Newcastle Upon Tyne where I spent many happy years living soon after I left University and got my first job. I couldn’t help but think wistfully of those nights I’d staggered around bars and clubs along the Tyne Quayside area and how like Sydney Newcastle turned desperate, neglected industrial zones into swanky apartments and hotels. I’m all for urban regeneration preferably in keeping with the history and culture of the place.
Foot slogging around the area in Sydney I was reminded again how much I miss stone buildings and heritage architecture. I know that it’s not a practical nor safe proposition to build such architecture in the earthquake threatened zone of Wellington but it doesn’t stop me hoping for the Wellington harbour area to be developed in a way that befits it’s natural beauty and creates an environment that Wellingtonians can be truly proud of. It seems such a shame Wellington l has to rely on special events and Tolkien to define our cultural heritage. But on a good day, you can’t beat it!
We’ve jumped the ditch and taken up camp in Sydney for a few days. It’s about 7 years since I was last here. That time on business from the UK and playing hooky with my friend who flew up from Wellington. This time this is all pleasure. Time to explore, to experience and take in of some of the world’s most iconic views.
My knees creaked and my muscles ached as I bent down for the hundreth time to dig up a stray weed from the garden. But I comforted myself that it was only a matter of hours before I could leave it all behind for a few days. The menagerie, house and garden would be comforted in our absence by kindly house sitters whilst we find a park bench and watch the world go by.
You’d almost think someone had installed a gallery outside my kitchen window tonight. Something special for me to look at whilst I did the washing up. A true student of photography would have anticipated such a view after a bright sunny day but I’ve been too busy digging weeds out of the lawn and making roasted beetroot relish to be thinking about photographing sunsets. Instead when I looked up and saw the glorious colours, I threw down my rubber gloves and grabbed the camera instead. No tripod. No pre-visualisation. Just stood, pointed and clicked. A twilight painting in a split second. And then I was relegated to drying up and taking out the rubbish.
There is something hypnotic about the unfurling fern frond. The way it springs into life and creates something larger and more complex than you’d think possible. This time of year is perfect for fueling one of my photographic addictions. To me it is one of the most beautiful manifestations of creation. Art in nature.
With over 5,000 pictures of Fortnum and Mason on the stocks you’d think I’d have enough to be going on with. I think you are probably right but that won’t stop them being my primary models and partners in photography experimentation. When the sun finally came out today I grabbed my camera and bundled the bassets into the car for a waddle around the Regional Park.
In my day dreaming I saw bassets moving at lightening speed. Running along with their tails in the air. Their eyes bouncing as they bound along. A girl can dream. Or she can practice her shutter speed technique. Instead of freeze framing the bassets I thought I’d try and capture them moving at speed without them having to pick up their pace at all.
Fortnum was happy with that arrangement. Mason just chose to hide amongst the undergrowth the moment the camera was in his sights. So if you want to imagine what a basset moving at speed might look like, here it is.
After all Big Basset’s exertions he just wanted a peaceful snooze. Mason was more intent on some canine loving. Can’t say Fortnum is that keen although his little brother doesn’t give up on his canine loving.