Layers upon layers

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Evening light, Whanganui River estuary. Image; Su Leslie 2019

This week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge asks for interpretations of the word layered.

Do I approach it literally with the layers of a macaron or a cafe breakfast?

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Salted caramel macaron. Not only layering of the biscuits with buttercream, but layers within the baking itself. Image: Su Leslie 2019

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Hash-browns, mushrooms, eggs; layered to look good on the plate and distribute those delicious runny yolks throughout the dish. Image: Su Leslie 2019

Or stacked container layers, gone awry in high winds?

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Containers, Wellington Harbour. High winds have wrecked havoc with the carefully constructed layers. Image: Su Leslie 2017

More broken layers?

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Reflections in the contoured glass exterior of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre, New Plymouth, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2017

Or maybe layers in art?

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Detail, ‘Wave 2’ sculpture by Annette Thas. A tidal wave of discarded Barbie dolls installed at Tamarama Beach as part of Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2015. Image: Su Leslie

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Layer after layer of discarded Barbie dolls form a wave shape. Layers of plastic and layers of meaning. Image: Su Leslie 2015

And then there are layers created by the two-dimensional nature of photography; compressing landscapes into bands of colour and texture.

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Landscape, Canterbury, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2019

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Tutukaka, Northland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2019

Not to mention layered images; double-exposures, super-impositions.

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Double-exposures; a newly discovered camera setting. Su Leslie 2019

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Photo-montage. Su Leslie 2019

Obviously, I couldn’t decide which to focus on.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge | layered

Singing in the kitchen

Close up shot of garlic, ginger, coriander, lime ... some of the ingredients in Sarah Tiong's Asian Vinaigrette. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Garlic, ginger, coriander, lime … some of the ingredients in Sarah Tiong’s Asian Vinaigrette. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

“Cooking is a language that express harmony, creativity, happiness, beauty, poetry, complexity, magic, humor, provocation.” Ferran Adrià  — head chef of the elBulli restaurant

Harmony is all about combination. About striking the right notes to create something pleasing. This is just as true in cooking as music. Flavours, textures, colours, even temperature must be balanced.

As a cook, I definitely fall into the enthusiastic amateur category, but with practice (lots more hours than I ever put into learning guitar), I am beginning to create food that is closer to “well-crafted pop song” than “open-mic night at the local folk club.”

For which my boys are ever so grateful.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge | harmony

 

The Changing Seasons, April 2019

helix ferns Fern leaves in decay. Image: Su Leslie 2019

I guess is says a lot about my April that I’ve got to the 30th and am casting around for images to post for the Changing Seasons.

It’s not that I haven’t taken lots of photos; more that they don’t seem to speak coherently of a month that has breezed over me, leaving little trace of itself.

As I write this, the sky outside is unbroken blue, and apart from a neighbour’s Japanese Maple, the trees I can see are green and still carrying a full complement of leaves. It’s autumn Jim, but not as we know it. (1)

The shot above was taken on the bush trail on Mt Manaia, on the Whangarei Heads. The Big T and I explored some of the track last weekend — stopping before the steep summit climb in deference to my arthritic knee.

It’s a beautiful place (both Mt Manaia and the Heads generally), and was surprisingly quiet for a glorious day at the end of the school holidays.

fern fronds Fern fronds. Image: Su Leslie 2019

It took me a while to realise that the delicate intertwined spirals are fern fronds. As the leaves on each frond die, they curl in upon themselves. Where several leaves are in close proximity, they become entwined. If I were going to try and wrest Deep Meaning from it, I’d suggest it is a metaphor for how, as we age, we seek out and need the support of others — creating strength and beauty through unity.

Feel free just to enjoy how cool it looks.

In the absence of anything much to say about April; here’s a pot pourri of my month:

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.

Please check out the Changing Seasons — April for these awesome bloggers:

Little Pieces of Me

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Ju Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking intelligent life on Earth

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Yvette at priorhouse blog

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Sarah at Art Expedition

Jude at Life at the Edge

New to the Changing Seasons this month A Wonderful Sheep

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Gill at Talking Thailand

Deb at The Widow Badass


  1. The line of course is “it’s life Jim, but not as we know it” from the 1987 song “Star Trekkin” (The Firm). Those who have closely studied the texts say that such a line was never uttered verbatim in Star Trek.

The Changing Seasons: March 2019

Photo 8-03-19, 6 04 49 PM (1)

Storm clouds on the horizon. Symbolism in retrospect — taken exactly one week before the Christchurch terror attack. Big Omaha Wharf, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie 2019

This is the most difficult Changing Seasons post I’ve ever written.

How do I describe the way a month that could easily have passed without comment suddenly became one that no New Zealander will ever forget?

Because at 1.40pm on Friday 15th, a terrorist murdered fifty Muslim men, women and children practicing their religion in two mosques in the city of Christchurch — and changed this country for ever.

A terrorist left 48 more worshipers with serious physical injuries, and hundreds more to deal with the psychological trauma of having witnessed the carnage or dealt with its aftermath.

A terrorist shattered families, brought fear and anger to the Muslim community, defiled a city trying to rebuild itself after deadly earthquakes, and dragged these little islands out of our illusion of peace and safety.

In the two weeks since, we have seen the best and the worst of humanity. Hundreds of thousands of Kiwis have turned up at mosques and vigils and rallies to offer condolences, flowers, cards, food, music, prayer, haka, hugs, tears and above all — aroha, or love.

Our Prime Minister has behaved with sensitivity and compassion that is being admired beyond our shores.

Our government has tried to put aside politics and act decisively to make legislative changes to gun and other laws.

And the racist underbelly of our society is being exposed and scrutinised like never before. On the plus side, when people are coming forward to talk about the abuse they routinely experience in this country, they are being believed at last. On the minus, the xenophobic violence and hatred continues.

It is too early to know if this act of terrorism will (ironically for the terrorist) bring about positive change in New Zealand, or if, when the next big news story comes along, we’ll go back to “business as usual.” I hope for the best, but truthfully am not that optimistic.

So what do I have to show for March? Certainly not photos of candles and placards and grieving. Others have done that (sometimes beautifully) but for me personally, it has felt intrusive.

So here are a few shots that haven’t made it into other posts this month.

Food features heavily as usual. The Big T and I celebrated his birthday a week before the Christchurch attack with lunch at the Sawmill Brewery in Matakana. A beer tasting tray and some shared plates of delicious food — perfect. And I’m still grappling with sourdough pizza; trying to make a base that is light, crispy and easy to work. I’m not there yet, but my boys aren’t complaining.

 

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.

Please visit these amazing bloggers for their perspective on the month just gone:

Jude at Life at the Edge

Little Pieces of Me

Tracy at Reflections of an Untidy Mind

Tish at Writer on the Edge

Suzanne, at Being in Nature joins us for the first time.

Pauline at Living in Paradise

Yvette at Priorhouse Blog

Sarah at Art Expedition

Lindsay at Squeak of a Nuthatch

Deb at The Widow Badass Blog

Joanne at My Life Lived Full

Ladyleemanila

Marilyn at Serendipity — Seeking Intelligent Life on Earth

Gill at Talking Thailand

Ju-Lyn at All Things Bright and Beautiful

 

The Changing Seasons: November, 2017

Close up colour shot of Christmas-themed bags hanging from numbered pegs, forming part of a home-made Advent Calendar. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Detail: the Boy-Child’s Advent Calendar. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

November has been a month in which the phrase The Changing Seasons was particularly appropriate. The weather gods finally tired of delivering endless soggy grey skies, and the sun burst forth. The beach beckoned and the Big T and I managed to escape the city for a week on the Coromandel Peninsula.

Glass of white wine and glass of beer on table at Stoked cafe, Whitianga, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Time to relax. Pre-dinner drinks in Stoked cafe, Whitianga, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Even at the end of the week, under increasingly lowering skies, the smell of the sea and the feel of sand between our toes felt like blessings.

Clouds gathering over the tip of the Coromandel Peninsula, seen from the beach at Waitete Bay, north of Coromandel town. Image; Su Leslie, 2017

The end of the golden weather, Waitete Bay, Coromandel. NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Sunset. Boats moored at at Jack's Point, Whangarahei Stream, Coromandel town, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Sunset, Whangarahei Stream, from the boardwalk at Jacks Point, Coromandel town, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

November saw the beginning of locally-grown, affordable strawberries. As the month has progressed, plums and cherries have begun to appear too.

At the beginning of the month, I cooked my second meal to be delivered to the City Mission as a contribution to the daily opening of its doors to Auckland’s hungry. I’m doing this through an initiative called Mum’s Mince — started by two local woman and named after the first dish they cooked (based on a mother’s recipe for minced beef). Each month they post an empty calendar page on FaceBook and invite people to sign up to offer a contribution of food — however large or small — on a particular day. They can usually fill the calendar with at least one person’s name each day.

The Mission feeds an evening meal every day to as many as 120 people; not only the homeless, but increasingly those who simply cannot make ends meet. The demand only increases at this time of year, so all contributions are welcome. It’s such a small thing for us — and both the Big T and the boy-child have embraced the project with great enthusiasm too.

The month ended, as it always does, with me making the Boy-Child’s Advent Calendar. Now that he’s outgrown the Winnie the Pooh version my cousin made him (about, um, 15 years ago), I’m trying to re-invent the format to work in his flat. Hopefully 24 little envelopes pegged to a line and hung from a couple of removable hooks will do the trick.

Close up shot of white, red and green bags, decorated for Christmas and hung from numbered pegs. Part of an Advent Calendar. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Detail: the Boy-Child’s Advent Calendar. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

The Changing Seasons  is a blogging challenge hosted by Cardinal Guzman with two versions: the original (V1) which is purely photographic and the new version (V2) where you can allow yourself to be more artistic and post a painting, a recipe, a digital manipulation, or simply just one photo that you think represents the month.

These are the rules, but they’re not written in stone – you can always improvise, mix & match to suit your own liking:

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.

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!

Regular Random: five minutes with the first figs of the harvest

I got back from my road-trip to find some our figs had ripened.

Lucky for me this was only a five-minute shoot — figs for breakfast.

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

Will it be as good as it looks in the book?

Recipe books, garlic, tomatoes and basil. Preparing to make Spanish Braised Chickpeas. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Recipe, tick; ingredients, tick. Looking forward to dinner. Image: Su Leslie, 2016.

With the Big T working in Melbourne pretty much every week, and the boy-child electing to spend his evenings with friends, I’m doing a lot of “meals for one” at the moment. The bonus is that I get to cook stuff that doesn’t have to please anyone else’s palate. The downside is that I’m running out of ideas.

But an afternoon spent poring over some recipe books has provided plenty of inspiration.

Now I just have to remember to scale the recipes down, so I don’t drown in leftovers.

This post is written for the Daily Post Photo Challenge, which has as its theme dinnertime — and for Ailsa’s Travel Theme at Where’s My Backpack. The theme there this week, is books.

 

Six Word Saturday: summertime, and sweet peppers in season

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What is says on the jar. Easy to make, and totally delicious.Recipe by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, from The Guardian, 20 Sept. 2013. Image: Su Leslie, 2015.

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Particularly yummy on homemade sourdough toast, with slices of Brie. Image: Su Leslie, 2015

And since the title of this post was inspired by Summertime from George Gershwin’s  Porgy and Bess, here’s a performance of the song by the wonderful Ella Fitzgerald and Louise Armstrong.

Daily Post Photo Challenge: “… a good day ain’t got no rain”

I have probably said it before, but I am a “glass half empty” person. In truth I usually feel that my glass is three-quarters empty — but that doesn’t make much sense as a pithy observation.

I have a profound capacity to see and dwell upon anything negative in a situation, even whilst those around me experience great joy. The best I can say about this is that I’ve gradually learned to keep my mouth shut (usually), so I don’t spoil others’ pleasure.

The American musician and comic Oscar Levant said that happiness isn’t something you experience, but something you remember. While I subscribe wholeheartedly to that view, I often struggle to even remember happiness, such is my Eeyore-like nature.

So my personal challenge for this week’s Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge has been to bring together the things that make for a good day; those things that get me out of bed and willing to try on a happy face.

In choosing these images I am paying tribute to the scenes, moments, rituals, and above all people, whose presence contribute to a good day — if only I let myself see it.

The title for the post comes from Paul Simon’s Slip Slidin’ Away. I could be the woman, but am trying to choose not to be.

I know a woman
Became a wife
These are the very words she uses
To describe her life
She said a good day
Ain’t got no rain
She said a bad day’s when I lie in bed
And think of things that might have been
Slip slidin’ away
Slip slidin’ away
You know the nearer your destination
The more you’re slip slidin’ away

Paul Simon, Slip Slidin’ Away