Seven Day Black & White Challenge, day 7

Close up black & white shot of cat sitting. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Both Elsie at Ramblings of a Writer, and Lucile at Sights and Insights invited me to join this challenge. The rules are simple:

“Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation. Challenge someone new each day.”

I’ve enjoyed doing this, and invite anyone who would like to take part to post your own seven days of black and white.

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On birthdays, bugs and being grateful

Close-up shot of orange lily stamen coated in pollen. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Lily stamen. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Shot with Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 IS USM macro lens

Well the election gods haven’t (so far — hung parliament) come through with the new government I wanted for my birthday, AND I’ve managed to spend the last 36 hours feeling utterly miserable from a gastro-bug-thingy , BUT …

… the Big T floored me with a particularly thoughtful and wonderful birthday gift.

I’ve been dithering for ages about buying a macro lens, and now I am the ecstatic owner of a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 IS USM macro lens. I’m a bit hopeless with technical terminology, but even from my first experiments, I can tell this lens is seriously cool.

Unknown micro-plant with slender stem and large overhanging oval seed heads or flowers. Seen growing in ponga logs, Waitakere Ranges, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

I have no idea what these are, but I found them growing out of punga (silver tree fern) logs in the Waitakere Ranges. The tallest stem was about 5cm. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Unknown micro-plant with slender stem and large overhanging oval seed heads or flowers. Seen growing in punga logs, Waitakere Ranges, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Otherworldly. Unknown micro-plant found growing in punga logs, Waitakere Ranges, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

As my interest in photography has grown, I’m turning my lens more and more on nature, and particularly on the tiny details. In a world that I find increasingly — well, scary — I am comforted and sustained by the beauty and resilience of the smallest life forms.

And by the love of the good people like the Big T. And not just for the awesome gift — I’m even more grateful for his thoughtful compassion and nursing skills — especially at 3am when I’m sick and grumpy and, frankly, stink.

The most beautiful moment

"The flower is the moment we live. The perfect moment." Close-up image of white apple blossom against blurred background. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

“The flower is the moment that we live … The most beautiful moment.” Image: Su Leslie, 2017

A plant has a circle. The seed becomes a plant which has a flower … it transforms into a fruit and the fruit drops. There’s another seed and the seed grows again. This is a circle. The flower is the moment that we live. The most beautiful moment of the circle. The most beautiful moment.Alex Atala, chef.

The road-bumps my family’s been experiencing lately show no signs of disappearing, and it looks as though travelling a new, more difficult road might be the new normal — at least for a while.

If I sound cryptic, then my apologies. Some stories are not really mine to share, even though I’m a character in them.

It is amazing though, how having to raise my head to new horizons also allows me to appreciate much more the simple beauty around me.

I heard the quote above on Chef’s Table last night and was moved almost to tears.

Here it is in context:

 

 

The Changing Seasons: March 2017

First light on Mt Ruapehu, Central Plateau, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

First light on Mt Ruapehu, Central Plateau, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

I’m being a bit metaphorical with this Changing Seasons post, focusing on my road-trip with the boy-child last weekend.

Since he left home last June, I’ve only seen my child for more than a few hours at a time when he has been ill; in need of that special “mummy” care.

Last weekend we visited his grandfather in Whanganui; a road-trip of around 700km together. While it’s far from the first time we’ve traveled together, it was the first time we could share the driving and the costs. More importantly, as I quickly realised, we also had to share the decision-making.

My son is an adult now and the seasons of our respective lives have changed.

His road-trip ended at New Plymouth airport; with a flight back to Auckland and work. Mine involved a few more hours in the car (about half of them in Auckland traffic) — and a chance to get all nostalgic about New Zealand’s beautiful rural hinterland.

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge hosted by Cardinal Guzman. Please visit to see the Cardinal’s month, and find links to other participants.

There are two versions of the challenge:

Version 1 (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.

Version 2 (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!

Normal service has resumed

Back to reality. Coffee, lists and bill-paying. Close-up shot of morning activity. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Back to reality. Coffee, lists and bill-paying. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

The boy-child and I have been on a little road trip to visit my father.

I had intended to keep up with the blogging world while away. But truly, we were having too much fun exploring.

The boy and the mountain. Mist-shrouded Mt Ruapehu from the Desert Road, with boy-child taking photograph. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

The boy and the mountain. Mt Ruapehu from the Desert Road. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

So apologies for my slowness in engaging with your posts and responding to comments. It’s gone on my “to-do” list.