Regular random: five minutes with some cool fluffy stuff

Close up shot of burst milkweed seed pod on black background. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Burst swan plant (milkweed) seed pod. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Photographically, the swan plants in our garden have proved to be the gift that keeps on giving: caterpillars, chrysalis, butterflies and now the plant’s decaying seed pods.

I’ve become quite a fan of photographing objects on a black felt background, and I think it works especially well with the slightly other-worldly fluff balls that emerge from the pods.

This week, as well as posting these images for Five Minutes of Random (the RegularRandom challenge), I’m adding a YouTube clip. I’ve had this song — Mud and Stardust — looping in my head ever since I took these photos.

Regular Random is a weekly photo challenge hosted by Desley Jane at Musings of a Frequently Flying Scientist.

Both sides, now

Storm clouds over a field of grazing cows. Seen from the roadside, State Highway 16 Kaipara, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Storm clouds gathering. Seen from the roadside, State Highway 16 Kaipara, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

You know that thing, where you’re traveling along and in one direction the weather is all clear blue skies, but on the other it looks like a storm coming?

The Big T and I found that driving back from Atiu Creek at the weekend. Off to the west, the Kairpara Harbour was fair glistening in the sun. At the same time, huge dark clouds were lowering over the east.

Storm clouds approaching over hillside and mangroves. State Highway 16, Kaipara, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Storm clouds approaching. State Highway 16, Kaipara, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

The contrast in light was breathtaking. Grass in the slightly parched fields seemed to glow golden, and foliage shimmer, against the matte chalkboard sky.

Just a few miles further south, and the clouds were behind us.

Since I’ve pinched a Joni Mitchell song title for this post, here is the song to enjoy.

Written for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally. This week the theme is black and white.

“The heart asks pleasure first” … when music shows us nature’s beauty

Karekare Beach, NZ. Clouds and cliffs reflected in wet sand. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Evening; Karakare Beach, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

With about 15,000 km of coastline (for a landmass of 268,021 km²), New Zealand does beaches pretty well. But even by our standards, Karakare Beach on Auckland’s west coast is quite spectacular.

North end, Karekare Beach, NZ. Sky, clouds and cliffs reflected in wet sand. Image, Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

North end, Karekare Beach, NZ. Image, Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Enjoying the last of the light, Karekare Beach, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Enjoying the last of the light, Karekare Beach, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Sun seting on shoreline, Karekare Beach, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Sunset, Karekare Beach, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

For those of you who have seen Jane Campion‘s 1993 film, The Piano, Karekare is the beach where Ada and her daughter are abandoned with the piano. That scene is often remembered because of the music from Michael Nyman‘s beautiful soundtrack — ‘The Heart Asks Pleasure First.’

Close your eyes and listen. In your mind, you will be transported to Karekare.

Written for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally.


NB: The title of Michael Nyman’s piece comes from Emily Dickinson’s poem of the same name.

Friday flip through the archives

"... and the road seems so much longer when you're alone." Dirty Lucy, 'Ride'  Evening sky in car side mirror. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

  Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Found this image and a line from the Dirty Lucy song Ride popped into my head:

… and the road seems so much longer when you’re alone.

The world is feeling particularly fractured right now — physically, socially and politically — and it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Now more than ever it is important to find others who feel as we do, and join together to work for the future we believe in.

 

“… how do you find where you belong?”

Black and white shot of trees reflected in lake at Tokaanu Boat Ramp, Turangi. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Lake Taupo, at Tokaanu boat ramp. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed.

Home from a visit to my dad (and do to a glass-making workshop), I’m working through my photos. I shot these images while walking by Lake Taupo at Tokaanu. The weather was overcast; the threat of rain always present.

Black and white image of rushes reflected in Lake Taupo at Tokaanu. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Lake Taupo at Tokaanu. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

But what I remember best is not the lowering clouds, but the sense of absolute stillness. With no-one else around, the only sounds I heard were bird-calls and the lap of water.

It’s rare that I find myself in a place of such quiet and calm, and I’ve edited the shots to help me remember and hold on to the feeling of absolute belonging in that space and time.

Black and white shot. Piers from old jetty, Lake Taupo at Tokaanu boat ramp. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed.

Piers from old jetty, Lake Taupo at Tokaanu boat ramp. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed.

The title of this post comes from the wonderful Eva Prowse song ‘Lie in the Land’.  On the road I listened again and again to a recording of her performing this with the band Fly My Pretties.

Written for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge, at Lens and Pens by Sally.

 

Institute for the study of sea and sky

Trees silhouetted against golden sky at sunset. Hobsonville Point, Auckland.Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Sunset, Hobsonville Point, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Not totally sure why, but music and image just seem to go together tonight.

The title comes from a line in the 1983 film Local Hero, written and directed by Bill Forsyth. Mark Knopfler wrote and performed the soundtrack music.