Regular Random: five minutes in the flower beds at Albert Park

Close up shot of fly sitting on white daisy-like flower. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Right; this is a bit roundabout, so pay attention.

The other day I read Anabel’s (The Glasgow Gallivanter) post Hidden Histories (1) — about the ways in which women and our achievements are publicly commemorated — and it occurred to me that I could only think of a couple of public monuments to women in my city — Auckland.

One of them — the Practically-Compulsory-in-Former-British-Colonies statue of Queen Victoria — is in Albert Park, in the CBD. (Fun fact: we also have a Victoria Park, but it doesn’t contain a statue of Prince Albert.)

It’s Auckland’s Anniversary Weekend right now, and the city is busier than usual. That’s why I found myself in Albert Park yesterday morning at 8am. I duly photographed Queen Vic (post about monuments to women to follow). But since I’d paid for parking, I decided to hang around and take photos of the flower beds, which were bursting with these lovelies.

I think they are Cosmos, but I totally defer to all the gardeners who’ll probably tell me otherwise.

It would be a nice neat narrative if, at this point, I unveiled a connection between the flowers and Queen Victoria.

But I don’t have one. So here’s a monument to a powerful woman; the only one I’ve found who never set foot in New Zealand and who got her job by outliving her relatives.

Bronze statue of Queen Victoria. Made in 1899 by Francis John Williamson, and sited in Albert Park, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Bronze statue of Queen Victoria. Made in 1899 by Francis John Williamson, and sited in Albert Park, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

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

If you’d like to join in:

  • choose a subject or a scene
  • spend five minutes photographing it – no more!
  • try to see it from many angles, look through something at it, change the light that’s hitting it
  • tag your post #regularrandom and ping back to Desley’s post
  • have fun!

(1) Actually a guest post for Donna at Retirement Reflections — but the sentence was already getting waaaay too long and complicated.

Variations on a theme

Lone man at tide line, Muriwai Beach, New Zealand. Shot at sunset, with gold/ping reflections of the sky in the sand. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Sunset, Muriwai Beach, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Muriwai Beach is a place to which I return again and again. It is the closest west coast (and therefore surf) beach to home, but the attraction lies more in its illusion of endlessness, and the spectacular sunsets so often seen there.

Last night was no exception.

Editing the shot, I accidentally found a new feature in Snapseed which re-lit it as a scene more closely resembling early morning.

Lone man standing at tide line, Muriwai Beach. Golden tones to shot. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

A trick of the light? Muriwai Beach, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Other variations on the edit suggest (to me) not only different times of day, but perhaps different seasons. What do you think?

The task for this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is to find variations on a theme.

As an aside, I found this quote by the great American photographer Dorothea Lange. I’m not sure I agree, but it is certainly food for thought.

“Pick a theme and work it to exhaustion… the subject must be something you truly love or truly hate.”  — Dorothea Lange

The Changing Seasons, January 2018

Kia ora koutou


I don’t do resolutions— new year or otherwise. But in the opening days and weeks of 2018, a bunch of factors have combined to make me feel that if I were to have a resolution — or a word for the year — it would be creativity.

Or at least productivity.

This month, Auckland has languished dishcloth-like in intense humidity; broken only by storms and heavy rain. Others have fled to the beach for escape, while the Big T and I have been machines.

Grainy textured shot of girl standing by children's playground at the beach, photographing higg waves on her phone. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Our visits to the beach have coincided with storms and big tides. We weren’t the only ones! Image: Su Leslie, 2018

The house has been sprung-clean (yes, I know that’s not the actual term), the garage tidied, lawns mowed, repairs made and roof lichen attacked. Rooms have been emptied and refilled to accommodate the temporary return of the boy-child (or at least, his stuff).

Bread has been baked, jams made, recipes invented and taste-tested, and the $5 chair is undergoing an extreme makeover.

1960s style wooden frame armchair, with upholstery removed, and sanded back to bare wood. So far, so good. Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Old upholstery and chipped yellow varnish removed. So far, so good (that was then). Image: Su Leslie, 2018

Best of all, I’ve been commissioned to take photos for an artist friend’s project; a project that will mean spending time in an art studio, hanging out with creative people, making art myself. Damn!


Like any machine, eventually the wheels fall off. The last few days have been filled with setbacks and annoyances; not least that humidity has caused the painstakingly applied varnish on the $5 chair to crack and look— frankly — shit.

I cried.

It was so close to finished and looking beautiful. I’d psyched myself up cut out all the upholstery materials — and had actually upholstered the seat.

Luckily, T’s emotional attachment to the project is less than mine (or he’s just better at being an adult). Even as I write, I can hear the electric sander as he undoes the damage and works his magic.

So the $5 chair won’t be the star of the first Su-hosted Changing Seasons post. Instead I’ve offered you a pot pourri of projects from the opening days of my self-proclaimed “Year of Living Creatively” (and learning Te Reo Maori — the Maori language).

I’m really grateful to Max, at Cardinal Guzman for birthing The Changing Seasons, and nurturing the project to the point where it could be handed on.

I’m looking forward to seeing January 2018 through the eyes and lenses of everyone else who takes part in the project. If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.

Ka kite anō | see you soon



Here are other bloggers’ Changing Seasons’ posts for January. Please visit and enjoy the month though their eyes. I’ll keep updating this as I see them:

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

The Widow Badass Blog — this is Deb’s first Changing Seasons post, so please pop over to visit.

Tish Farrell at Writer on the Edge

Lee at Ladyleemanila

Marilyn and Garry Armstrong at Serendipity

Mick, at Mick’s Cogs

Ju-Lyn at Sunrise,Sunset — Matters of Perspective. This is Ju-Lyn’s first Changing Seasons post, so please take a look at her photos from Singapore and Bangkok.

Sarah at Art Expedition. Sarah has also just joined the challenge and has shared some beautiful images. Please pop over and take a look.

Pauline at Living in Paradise has also joined this month. Please visit to see images of her wonderful garden on Australia’s Gold Coast.

Ruth at RuthsArc. Another new member of the project; this time from Tasmania. You’ll love the photos of her January.

Max at Cardinal Guzman. The Changing Seasons owes its existence to Max and it’s great to see his snowy January.

Jude at Under a Cornish Sky. Jude is planning to create a photographic journal of the natural world in her very beautiful corner of the globe. Please pop for a look.

Yvette at Priorhouse. This is Yvette’s first Changing Seasons, and it’s such a fun post. Please visit and take a look.

And in case you’re unsure of the challenge guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.


DP Photo Challenge: silence

Sunset, Christmas Beach, Auckland, NZ. Clouds and sunlight reflected in calm water.Image; Su Leslie, 2017

Sunset, Christmas Beach, Auckland, NZ. Image; Su Leslie, 2017


You tell me that silence
is nearer to peace than poems
but if for my gift
I brought you silence
(for I know silence)
you would say
This is not silence
this is another poem
and you would hand it back to me”

― Leonard Cohen, The Spice-Box of Earth (1961)

Daily Post Photo Challenge | silence