Regular Random: five minutes of caterpillar feeding frenzy

Thanks entirely to the Big T’s efforts at butterfly husbandry (more on that to come), our swan plants are positively heaving with Monarch caterpillars.

Most of them are huge and are rapidly chrysalising (if that’s a word) — which is fortunate because at the rate they eat, they are in danger of running out of food.

So this week’s five minutes of random was spent watching swan plant foliage disappear before my eyes.

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

All photos ©Su Leslie, 2017

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.

DP Photo Challenge: atop

View of Kaipara Harbour, from Atiu Creek Regional Park, Tapora, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

View of the Oruawharo River and Kaipara Harbour from Atiu Creek Regional Park, Tapora, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

There is a hint of autumn in the air. Auckland’s oppressive humidity has disappeared and I feel invigorated enough for long walks.

View of the Kaipara Harbour from Atiu Creek Regional Park, Tapora, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

The Tauhoa River, Kaipara. Seen from Atiu Creek Regional Park, Tapora, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

The Atiu Creek Regional Park covers over 800 hectares of bush, farm and wetlands north of Auckland with walking, cycling and horse-trekking trails criss crossing the landscape.

The park was gifted to Auckland in 2006 by owners Pierre and Jackie Chatelanat, who wanted to protect it from development and allow people to enjoy its beauty.

Views from atop the parks many hills are panoramic and stunning.

Daily Post Photo Challenge | atop

Connected at the heart

Close up of blue thistle head, filling frame. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed and Stackables.

Blue thistle. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed and Stackables.

It’s odd how the brain makes leaps when you need it to.

Fellow blogger Gallivanta at Silkannthreades, sent me this link (Community Spirit, at The Mundanity of it All)  about a community rallying around to help an elderly woman, recently widowed, prepare her house for sale. It’s a story about people engaged in everyday goodness, and I’m sure many (hopefully most) of us could tell a similar story.

Because despite the very real, very scary things that are happening in our world, everyday life for many of us is at least sprinkled with kindness. With a desire for positive, even if fleeting, connections with others.

And oddly, that’s where the blue thistle comes in. All those individual flowers separated from the others on the surface, are of course joined at the centre, and wouldn’t survive without that connection. Nor would the plant as a whole survive without the individual flowers reaching outwards.

Maybe that is something we need to remember. That no matter how much we grow out and in our own direction, we all spring from the same heart. It’s both what feeds us, and makes us meaningful.

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

Regular Random: five minutes with some yellow flowers

I’ve almost got the remains of the Big T’s bouquet out of my photographic system, deriving nearly as much pleasure from close examination of the blooms’ decay as from their beautiful heyday.

In this shoot and my earlier posts of images of a solitary gerbera, I was really conscious of how powerful blackness is. In this, I am unashamedly inspired by the work of NZ photographer Fiona Pardingdon, and in particular her exhibition A Beautiful Hesitation, which I visited multiple times and have never ceased to be enthralled by.

Thanks to Desley Jane at Musings of a Frequently Flying Scientist for Five Minutes of Random (the RegularRandom challenge) which gave me the perfect excuse to spend some quality time with a bunch of dying flowers and a lot of black space.

All photos ©Su Leslie, 2017

Sea, sky and serenity

Two girls silhouetted against darkening sky. Sunset, Muriwai Beach, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Watching the sun setting, Muriwai Beach, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

The long-predicted rain has arrived and is expected to remain across the country for a few days, so I’m glad the Big T and I spent last evening at Muriwai Beach.

It wasn’t the most spectacular sunset we’ve ever seen, but we both felt refreshed by the combination of sea air and nature’s light show (and the gannet colony — but that’s another post).

Posted to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally.

Regular Random: five minutes with the office bookshelves

The shelves in my office have become a repository for all sorts of bits and pieces as well as the books; plastic toys, the boy-child’s pentominoes, my Peter Viesnik glass perfume bottle, my first attempt at doll-making (uncharitably dubbed Lorde after a hard night) and even a lei from the wedding we attended on New Year’s Eve.

No staging with this shoot; just a quick (five minutes in fact) snapshot of personal treasures I’m sharing as part of  Desley Jane‘s RegularRandom challenge.

If you’d like to know more about  Five Minutes of Random #regularrandom (or just want to see some great photography), check out Musings of a Frequently Flying Scientist.

All photos ©Su Leslie, 2017