Friday flowers

Close-up shot of rosebuds, used to make rose tea. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Rose flower tea. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

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DP Photo Challenge: the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning

The beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning. Close-up shot of Monarch butterfly chrysalis hanging from cable tie against black background. The wings are already visible as the chrysalis shell becomes translucent, indicating that emergence is imminent. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Monarch butterfly almost ready to emerge from chrysalis. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

It is a special privilege to observe nature at work. Over this past summer, the milkweed that the Big T and I planted attracted record numbers of monarch butterflies. When it became clear that most of the caterpillars were falling prey to wasps and praying manti, the Big T built a butterfly sanctuary. This meant that not only did dozens of caterpillars survive to emerge as viable butterflies, but that we had ring-side seats to one of nature’s most beautiful shows.

We watched and documented the transition from egg to caterpillar, to chrysalis, to butterfly — right up to the moment our “babies” flew away for their winter hibernation.

The Daily Post Photo Challenge | Delta

The old and the new … and the not quite what it seems

Bois & Charbons; run down out-building at Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne, Australia. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Out-building at Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne, Australia. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

The Bois & Charbons (wood & coal) sign-writing on this Melbourne building suggests advertising from another age.

The building is part of the Abbotsford Convent Arts Centre, though it is neglected and apparently unused. When I took the photo, I did wonder how a French coal merchant came to have premises within an Australian convent, but stranger things have undoubtedly happened.

Although I took the shot over a year ago, I’ve largely ignored it. The presence of air-conditioning units, steel barrels, and other signs of modernity detract from the assumed authenticity of a piece of Melbourne’s past. They interrupt a nostalgic, romanticized reading of the scene.

What changed my mind is knowing that the Bois & Charbons signage is fake. It was painted in 1987 when the building was used in as a location in the filming of a TV series  about Nancy Wake, a WWII heroine of the French Resistance.

Over-laying the fantasy with another layer of imagining. Aged black & white treatment, shot of Bois and Charbons; film location and out-building at Abbotsford Convent Arts Centre, Melbourne. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed and Stackables.

Over-laying the fantasy with another layer of imagining. Bois and Charbons; film location and out-building at Abbotsford Convent Arts Centre, Melbourne. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed and Stackables.

As a medium, photography allows and encourages us to play with notions of reality and authenticity.

Something we all need to remember when we consider the old idiom “a picture paints a thousand words.”

Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge is hosted at Lens and Pens by Sally.

The Changing Seasons: June 2017

Close up shot of fallen Liquidamber (?) leaf against black background. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

The last leaf. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

It’s mid-winter here; although some days you would be totally forgiven for believing it’s still summer.

Days that began in heavy mist have ended with us barefoot and t-shirt clad on a beach.

If there is a theme (or perhaps an obsession) in this month’s photos, it is light. Harsh light, filtered light, reflected light — or just the focus on a single object in the dark.

Close-up shot of arum lily, against black background. Image; Su Leslie, 2017

Arum lily. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

The Changing Seasons  is a blogging challenge hosted by Cardinal Guzman with two versions: the original (V1) which is purely photographic and the new version (V2) where you can allow yourself to be more artistic and post a painting, a recipe, a digital manipulation, or simply just one photo that you think represents the month.

These are the rules, but they’re not written in stone – you can always improvise, mix & match to suit your own liking:

The Changing Seasons V1:

Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery.
Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.

The Changing Seasons V2:

Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
Each month, post one photo (recipe, painting, drawing, whatever) that represents your interpretation of the month.
Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!

 

Regular random: five minutes with the makings of a great dressing

Close up shot of garlic, ginger, coriander, lime ... some of the ingredients in Sarah Tiong's Asian Vinaigrette. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Garlic, ginger, coriander, lime … some of the ingredients in Sarah Tiong’s Asian Vinaigrette. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with food programmes on television. I liked quite a few of the old-school “celebrity-chef-cooks-for-the-cameras” shows — especially those involving Rick Stein and the late Keith Floyd. I also loved Two Fat Ladies, with Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright, and anything with Anthony Bourdain — but that was never about the cooking.

I don’t like talent-quest TV and programmes that require a commitment to regular viewing, so shows like MasterChef pose a dilemma. Will my love of food overcome my reluctance to a) watch competitive cooking and b) buy-in for the duration?

Close-up shot of fresh coriander. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

I spy … fresh coriander all ready to use. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

With the current series of MasterChef Australia at episode 24 in NZ — and not even half way through — I’m at the stage of dipping in on the nights when the contestants are making original dishes as individuals, rather than team challenges and replications of guest chefs’ creations. These are the episodes that offer the most interesting food ideas.

Which is a very roundabout way of saying that my Five Minutes of Random this week were spent with the ingredients for a fantastic Asian Vinaigrette that I saw Sarah Tiong make a couple of weeks ago on MasterChef. She served it with Pan-fried Barramundi and Bok Choy. (recipe here). It looked so yummy!

… And tasted fantastic, though I replaced the barramundi with tofu because it was raining so hard I really didn’t feel like going shopping.

And though this is not strictly a #RegularRandom shot — here’s my completed dish.

Pan-fried tofu with braised bok-choy and Asian Vinaigrette. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Pan-fried tofu with braised bok-choy and Asian Vinaigrette. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Five Minutes of Random (the RegularRandom challenge), is hosted by Desley Jane at Musings of a Frequently Flying Scientist.