Early morning light, Collins Park, Greenhithe, NZ. Image: Su Leslie

Landscape is my mistress– ’tis to her I look for fame. — John Constable


Each week Debbie at Travel with Intent offers a quotation to inspire image-sharing. This week’s quote comes from the English landscape painter, John Constable.

The past and the future

Little Free Library, Rose Gardens, Palmerston North, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2019

Libraries raised me. — Ray Bradbury

And me.

And I’d be prepared to bet that many of the people reading this post would probably say the same.

Every town I visit, I want to see the library. And while I’ve loved experiencing the grandeur of great institutions like the British Library, and the State Libraries of Victoria and New South Wales, I also adore the tiny community libraries at Puhoi, north of Auckland and Herald Island, a few minutes drive from home.

Best of all, I love the Little Free Library movement which has sprung up all around the world. What better expression of all that libraries stand for than open access, unregulated book boxes sited where anyone can find them; borrow from them and donate books back.

What is more important in a library than anything else – than everything else – is the fact that it exists. -– Archibald MacLeish

Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest. — Lady Bird Johnson

Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future. — Ray Bradbury


Mitchell Library Reading Room, State Library New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Image; Su Leslie 2018

Ragtag Daily Prompt | library

Macro Monday


Kakabeak; Clianthus maximus, or kōwhai ngutukākā in Māori. Image: Su Leslie 2019

I was given several seeds of this native plant, and this one is the first to germinate.

Although kakabeak is popular with gardeners in New Zealand, most plants are grown from a just few cultivars. In the wild, both Clianthus maximus and Clianthus puniceus are critically endangered.

Although it’s likely my seeds are from one of the common cultivars, it is still a wonderful plant to grow for its beauty and as a food source for native birds. Eventually.

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”  

― Chinese proverb


Enjoying the late afternoon sunshine with a cup of tea and a good book.

Perhaps I’m just looking for an excuse, but when I hear the word “volume” I think first of books.

It’s a shame the phrase “a slim volume” so often has negative connotations of insubstantial work by little-known authors, because it’s really perfect for Alan Bennett’s wonderful, short but very substantial, novel in praise of libraries and reading.

Volume is Debbie’s choice for this week’s One Word Sunday. So tear yourself away from whatever you’re reading and visit her post.

Hope, despair and everything in between

Black and white close up shot of padlocked door bolt. Image: Su Leslie

Locked out? Or in? Image: Su Leslie

“Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.” —Robert Frank

In general, I think life can be better explained in terms of continua than dichotomies. Or to put it simply — it’s not so much black and white as shades of grey.

Even black and white photography is rarely, truly, black and white.

As someone who experiences periods of depression, I know the subtle on-going dance of hope and despair. The trick is learning to recognise and find expression for it.

Making photos helps; turning my focus outward and allowing me to shape new stories to tell — if only to myself.

The difference between hope and despair is a different way of telling stories from the same facts. — Alain de Botton

Weekly quotation-inspired image, hosted by Debbie at Travel with Intent



Sunset, Christmas Beach, Herald Island, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie

We all know what a silhouette is — but do you also know the origin of the word?

Silhouette originally referred to a style of  portraiture popular in the mid 18th century, that depicted a person — usually in profile — as a solid shape. When done well, the subjects of these simple representations were clearly recognizable.

So you might think that the word silhouette means something in relation to this art form. But you’d be wrong.

Étienne de Silhouette (1709 – 1767) was a French nobleman who briefly served as Controller-General of Finances under Louis XV. It is commonly believed that his attempts to bring the nation’s finances under control earned him a reputation for penny-pinching.

The term à la Silhouette came to mean things that were seen as cheap — like the shadow profiles which were much less expensive to produce than traditional painted or drawn portraits.

Over time, the word has taken on a much wider meaning and now refers to pretty much anything that is backlit and appears as a dark undifferentiated shape on a lighter background.

Lens-Artists’ Weekly Challenge | silhouettes