DP Photo Challenge: surprise, take 3


Praying mantis devouring Monarch caterpillar. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Now this was a surprise! I’ve always thought of praying mantises (manti?) as kind of cute. Until I saw this one enjoying lunch.

Daily Post Photo Challenge | Surprise

Focus in on taking control


Thinking I'd quite like to hit "pause" on my life at the moment. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

Thinking I’d quite like to hit “pause” on my life at the moment. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014. Shot with iPhone4, edited with Pixlr Express.

Of all the Photo Challenge themes set by Sally at Lens and Pens by Sally, the one I sometimes struggle with is Macro. My phone just doesn’t take great close-up shots, or – more likely – I don’t take great close-up shots with my phone.

I love macro photography, especially since I gifted myself a DSLR for Christmas. But it’s too big to always have by my side, so my phone camera tends to be used to capture spontaneous moments with friends, cool things I see on the run, and most of all, it has become an aide-mémoire; a replacement for my notebook, shopping and to-do lists. Text has become image as I snap the “we’ve run out of …” list on the fridge, the sign with a shop’s opening hours, a cool quote in a book. My life has become more organised, but my hand-writing – without practice – has become even more illegible.

Actually none of this has much to do with a photo of my TV remote. It just happened to be sitting there, minding its own business when I was dispiritedly trying to capture a macro shot worth sharing. The basic image is ok; I could have posted it but I like this edit. I like the fact that it looks a bit less real; a bit more like a painting. I like the slightly dystopian colour-scheme and the scratched, mottled finish. It fits my mood right now. If I could hit pause on my life right now; if I could step outside of the everyday and figure out why it’s not quite working, this is the remote I’d do it with.

Now check out how some other bloggers have risen to the Macro challenge:















Travel theme: close-up

Lichen found on rocks, Whakapapa Village, North Island, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

Lichen, Whakapapa Village, North Island, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

It’s only been two weeks since my little road trip to see my dad, but already memories are fading.

One of the highlights of the trip was the drive up to Chateau Tongariro and then up the Bruce Road to the chairlifts at the Whakapapa Ski area.

Living further north – and on the coast – I am always exhilarated by the mountains, especially the spare and rugged plant life. I loved the gorgeous lichens and heathers I found.

Heather, Mt Ruapehu, North Island, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie 2014

Heather? Or some other tough high altitude  plant. Mt Ruapehu, North Island, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie 2014

But perhaps the best “close-up” was the Chateau itself. Built in 1929, this hotel is a New Zealand landmark (I hate using the word “icon” – but it is). It was designed by New Zealand architect Herbert Hall, but modeled on the resort hotel at Lake Louise in Canada. From the 1930s until 1990, the Chateau was owned by the New Zealand government through the Tourist Hotel Corporation, which ran a number of hotels around the country. Since privatization, a new wing of 40 rooms has been added.

I’ve only stayed at the Chateau once; several months into my first job out of university I was sent to a conference there. Young, gauche and slightly out of my depth, I nevertheless had a wonderful time – feeling very grown up and sophisticated.

First glimpse: approaching the Chateau Tongariro. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014

First glimpse: approaching the Chateau Tongariro. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014


Up close. Definitely one of my “happy places.” The Chateau Tongariro, North Island, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014.

This post was written for Ailsa’s Travel Theme at Where’s my Backpack. Here are few other close-ups I’ve enjoyed:

















Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern

This week the Daily Post photo challenge word is Pattern. Since it’s co-incided with Sally at Lens and Pens theme of Macro, I’ve focused on the patterns in minutiae and taken all the photos on my iPhone. They’re edited with Ultimate Photo Editor Lite – just for fun.

Box grater: largest grating surface

“For a time I believed that mankind had been swept out of existence, and that I stood there alone, the last man left alive.”
― H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds

Box grater: parmesan?

“Believe, and what was impossible becomes possible what at first was hidden becomes visible.”
― Tahir Shah, In Arabian Nights

Box grater: playing with Ultimate Photo Editor Lite

“To Succeed, you must reach for the stars, and let your imagination find its own path”
― Tahir Shah, In Arabian Nights

Box grater: still playing with photo editor

“If you kept the small rules, you could break the big ones.”
― George Orwell, 1984

Garden hose reel

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four

Garden hose reel: maybe this is what it really looks like?

Those who shun the whimsy of things will experience rigor mortis before death.” — Tom Robbins