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Daily Post Photo Challenge: Close Up

31 Jul
Tiny beads of water cling to flowers and foliage. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Tiny beads of water cling to flowers and foliage. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

I love macro photography, so choosing images for this challenge really was challenging.  In the end I decided to go with a few shots I took while out walking in the last couple of days.

It is winter here, and we seem to be in a pattern of dull wet days interspersed with cold, clear ones. I definitely prefer walking in the latter, and have captured a few shots of morning dew clinging to flowers, leaves and lichens.

Morning dew on lichen. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Morning dew on lichen. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

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I really should learn the names of the plants I photograph. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Tiny worlds; moisture on Jade Tree flowers. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Tiny worlds reflected in the dew drops on Jade Tree flowers. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

This post was written for the Daily Post Photo Challenge. This week’s theme is close up.

 

 

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Travel Theme: grasses

30 Jul
Bamboo; the world's largest species of grass. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Bamboo hedge. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

A few years ago, our neighbours chopped down the trees that screened their house from ours. While we get on reasonably well with these people, we suddenly found ourselves staring into each other’s living rooms.

In an effort to achieve some quick-growing privacy screening, we planted bamboo along the boundary.

Bamboo. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Grass with foliage? Ornamental bamboo. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Bamboos are the world’s largest grasses. In ideal growing conditions, some varieties can grow up to 3 cm per hour. Our bamboo’s growth is rather more modest, but has still manage to create a pleasant screen for both us, and our neighbours.

Young bamboo shoots. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Young bamboo shoots. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Bamboo shoots, stems and leaves form the principal diet of giant and red pandas, and I have sometimes imagined waking up one morning to find a panda resident in our garden. I wonder what the neighbours would think of that?

This post was written for Ailsa’s Travel Theme at Where’s My Backpack.

 

 

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Wordless Wednesday: there’s nothing quite like homemade

29 Jul
Homemade marmalade. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Worth the effort; homemade marmalade. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

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Pretty labour–intensive, but very tasty. Homebaked bread rolls. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

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Photo Rehab Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Makeover #4

27 Jul
I loved this shot of my son anyway. While his dad and I were enjoying the sunset, he was happily engrossed in the music coming from his iPod. It's certainly the most cheerful of my interpretations of the challenge. Image: Su Leslie, 2012.

I love this shot of my son. While his dad and I were enjoying the sunset, he was happily engrossed in the music coming from his iPod. It’s certainly the most cheerful of my interpretations of the challenge. Image: Su Leslie, 2012.

I’ve been enjoying Lucile (bridging lacunas) and Desley’s (Musings of a Frequent Flying Scientist) weekly Cover Makeover challenge, but hadn’t really thought about joining until last week.

I had a long (and quite frustrating) conversation with a colleague who wanted me to do quite a bit of (pro bono) work on a brochure re-design — on the basis that it was “only changing the cover shot and updating the text a bit.” In trying to explain that design is a lot more than slapping a photo on the page and adding a few words (assuming we could even source an image of the subject she was suggesting), I realised I needed to adopt the writer’s maxim;  “show, don’t tell”.

So I created a few alternative cover designs for The Invention of Solitude and talked through “my working out” with my colleague. I’m not going to bore you with all the iterations, but will share my “final” designs.

The least successful cover -- but the most successful teaching moment with my colleague. Image: Tom Gray, 2011.

The least successful cover — but the most successful teaching moment with my colleague. Image: Tom Gray, 2011.

The above is, I think, the least successful cover (and so the most useful for my teaching purpose). I like the image, which my son took of me a few years ago, but struggled to make the required text fit the space — while being visible on a background of both dark and light.

... and at the last minute! I shot this image at the weekend. It captured a different interpretation, and I couldn't resist using it. Image: Su Leslie, 2015.

Boats moored off Birkenhead, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2015.

This was my “late entry”– the image shot at the weekend. It is the closest to the mental image that the book’s title conjured for me.

What do you think?

This post was written for the Photo Rehab Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Makeover #4.

 

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Six Word Saturday: feeling the cool before the warm

25 Jul

Morning fog; Waitemata Harbour from Birkenhead Wharf. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Morning fog; Waitemata Harbour from Birkenhead Wharf, Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015


The right day for the magnolia tree. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Only a few hours later,  magnolia blossoms against the emerging colours of spring. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

 Daylight turns to moonlight and I’m at my best
Praising the way it all works, and gazing upon the rest, yeah
The cool before the warm, the calm after the storm
The cool before the warm, the calm after the storm

The Style Council – My Ever Changing Moods

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Travel Theme: Toys — they don’t make ’em like that anymore

23 Jul
Looking a bit the worse for wear. Much loved FunHo bulldozer from the Big T's childhood. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Looking a bit the worse for wear. Much loved Fun Ho! front end loader from the Big T’s childhood. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

In these days of global brands and game-slash-movie-tie-ins, kids toys have a sort of universality.

From Taipei to Taihape, Moscow to Motueka, you’ll find shops full of the same kid-magnet merchandise: Minions, Frozen, Transformers, Jurassic Park — everything from figurines to lunch boxes. Even established toy companies like Lego seem to be creating more and more themed ranges — including Minecraft, Disney Princess, Star Wars and even Scooby Doo.

Toys that are locally-themed, let along locally-made, seem increasingly rare.

Fun Ho! a company in Taranaki, New Zealand, started making sand-cast aluminium toys in 1942. According to the company’s website:

During the 1970s, over a million Fun Ho! toys were sold annually each year, but in the late 1970’s, import restrictions were lifted and people started buying the cheaper imported toys which flooded the local market, instead of buying the Fun Ho! aluminium or diecast toys.

By 1982, toy production ceased and in 1987 the factory finally closed after over 50 years of manufacturing.

Since then only small quantities have been made as reproductions for the collector market. (Fun Ho! History)

There can’t be many Kiwi-raised adults who have never owned (or at least seen) one of the cars, tractors, fire engines or other vehicles made by Fun Ho! — even if they don’t recognise them as such.

Model 105 Large Fire Engine by Fun Ho! , Taranaki, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Model 105 Large Fire Engine by Fun Ho! , Taranaki, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Today, Fun Ho! toys are very collectable, and those aren’t too well-loved can fetch high prices in antique shops. The Big T obviously enjoyed his Fun Ho! toys quite a lot — they are all much too well-loved for resale.

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Tip truck; although I can’t find this one on the Fun Ho! website. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

This post was written as part of Ailsa’s Travel Theme at Where’s my Backpack. The theme this week is toys.

 

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Wordless Wednesday: let the sunshine in

21 Jul
Morning walk in Wainoni Park, Greenhithe, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Morning walk in Wainoni Park, Greenhithe, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

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Morning walk in Wainoni Park, Greenhithe, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Let the Sunshine In is a song from the brilliant 1967 anti-war musical Hair. Protest from a more innocent age?

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