… but on the other hand

I like to think it’s because my star sign is Libra …

Side Note: I *believe* in horoscopes only when they promise the really good stuff

Where was I? Right: I’m a Libra and apparently that makes me indecisive — and diplomatic. Which means the task of choosing favourites, even from my own work, is daunting. But that is Patti’s challenge for this week’s Lens Artists Photo Challenge | favourite photos of 2019, and I like the idea of looking back over a year’s work.

So here goes (with the caveat that today’s hot favourites could be tomorrow’s ‘also-rans’); images from 2019 that still speak to me.


Redwoods Tree Walk, Rotorua. Image; Su Leslie 2019

Taken in early January when the Big T and I visited Rotorua, this shot reminds me of a peaceful afternoon on elevated walkways high in a redwood forest. I could use some of the cool, fragrant air right now.


Summer fun. Road-trip with the Big T. Image: Su Leslie 2019

It’s become a bit of a “thing” to photograph T’s car in scenic locations. Maybe I should ask Audi for a job?


Kereru (native wood pigeon) in Ti Kouka (cabbage tree). Image: Su Leslie 2019

One of the things that has brought me great joy in the past year is seeing native birds feasting on the bounty of our trees. With so much loss of habitat in the neighbourhood, the importance of maintaining a food source for our beautiful wildlife has never been greater.


Portrait of the artist as teacher. Image: Su Leslie 2019

In April, my friend Claire sold her house and moved out of Auckland. We’ve been friends since our kids were at primary school and I miss her company, especially as I’d spent much of the previous year documenting her work as an artist and teacher.


Sunset, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2019

I chose this shot of oil storage tanks at sunset simply because I think it’s beautiful.


Image: Su Leslie 2019

On a winter’s day walk in the Auckland Domain, I found this shot already staged for me, either by nature or another’s hand. Serendipity.


Welcoming party, morning walk in Turangi, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2019

Definitely not the best shot I took in July, but a lovely reminder of a frosty morning in the central North Island town of Turangi.

Impressionistic double-exposure image. Colour close-up shot of pohutukawa leaves. Image has been slightly overexposed to create a soft effect in pale greens and apricot/bronze shades. Su Leslie 2019

Pohutukawa leaves; double exposure. Image: Su Leslie 2019

I finally found the multiple-exposure setting on my camera and had fun with pohutukawa leaves and some other things. I love the colour palette in this shot.


Solace in the Wind, by Max Patte, Wellington waterfront. Image: Su Leslie 2019

One of the most photographed sculptures in New Zealand apparently. Certainly I can never resist trying to capture the changing moods of this powerful and beautiful work.


Wisteria. Image: Su Leslie 2019

October was a month of flowers and new growth. I chose this particular image because I love the colours.


Teahouse, Pukekura Park, New Plymouth. Image: Su Leslie 2019

With all that seems wrong in the world, I need to hold on to what is good, like a week in New Plymouth visiting gardens — beautiful and productive — and meeting people committed to living simpler, better lives. Each evening while I was there, I walked through the city’s stunning Pukekura Park.

December 2019

Image: Su Leslie 2019

A no-brainer really. My funny, kind and darling son.

And now a thank you …

to everyone who visits this blog, and especially those who take the time to share their thoughts and ideas and so often, kindness. I want you to know how much I appreciate your support and the community we have created here.

Wishing you all a happy new year.



The Changing Seasons, December 2019


Mt Ruapehu from the Desert Road. Image: Su Leslie 2019

I’ve struggled to write this post.

As the year has worn on, I — like so many people — have become increasingly angry, sad, frustrated, disillusioned and, frankly, exhausted by the world around me.

Like many, I fluctuate between bouts of active optimism and periods of despair.

Despair’s had the upper hand this month, with the result that I’ve done very little and taken fewer photos than usual. Fewer still I’m happy with.

A pre-Christmas road-trip to see my dad and stepmother produced the best shots, and confirmed that I really like both Whanganui and the surrounding countryside — even (or especially) in stormy weather.

The approach of Christmas meant my son could be persuaded to pose for a photo — Grandma insisted and that’s pretty much the only reason he’ll agree. He’s successfully completed university for another year and is working long hours over the summer — looking forward to finishing his degree next year.

img_6190 The boy-child. Image: Su Leslie 2019

As always, some of my favourite images are of the small things — generally plants. We harvested the first of the plums just after Christmas; the tinsel bird-deterrent having done its job. The second plum tree is more fruit-laden, but they won’t be ripe for another week or two.

My principal gardening success at the moment seems to be with seedlings. The Kakabeak I’ve been nurturing for a few months is thriving, and it looks like almost all of the Kowhai seeds I harvested from our tree have germinated. Even the loquat seedlings are doing well. Gathered from a tree at my son’s flat, they took about three months to germinate but are now growing fast. The travelling hydrangeas are holding their own — but barely — and I may have to look beyond Google for advice.

I’m glad that 2019 is coming to an end.

I don’t normally buy in to the “New Year resolutions” thing, but this year I will be taking this socially-sanctioned opportunity to re-start and move into 2020 with the energy and enthusiasm I know I’m going to need.

img_6189 Image: Su Leslie 2019

Wishing you all good health, good friends, laughter, love, and the energy you will need in your own lives.

Ngā mihi o te tau hou

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the 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.

If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.


Brian at Bushboys World

Sarah at Art Expedition

Marilyn at Serendipity seeking intelligent life on Earth

Little Pieces of Me

Darren at The Arty Plantsman

Jude from Life at the Edge

Lani at Life, the Universe and Lani

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Pauline at Living in Paradise

A wonderful Sheep

Gill at Talking Thailand

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful






Hydrangea Homecoming


Smaller plant potted; larger still looking for suitable home in the garden. Image: Su Leslie 2019

It rained so hard during my over-night stop in Turangi that the hydrangea bucket was in danger of overflowing (never mind the river less than 100 metres from my room).

Despite (or maybe because) of the drenching, the plants looked much healthier in the morning and survived the journey home.

I’ve potted the smaller one. It looks a bit wonky with one large flower-head hanging off the side, but there is another, quite robust-looking stem growing straight.

Hydrangea One — the mother-plant — is still bucketed and seems to be doing fine. Now I just have to find a suitable space in the garden for her.

at home with hydrangea1220_5

Image: Su Leslie 2019

The back-story:

How to travel with a hydrangea

How to travel with a hydrangea: day two

Posted to Friday Flowers