I live in a country that earns quite a sizeable portion of its living out of being breathtakingly beautiful.
It is true that these days human impacts on land and water are beginning to show, and we’re increasingly like a hung-over media celeb, relying on Photoshop to pixel over the cracks. But it’s still relatively easy to turn a corner or crest a hill and find a vista so beautiful you can be forgiven if you forget to breathe.
I wouldn’t say I’ve become inured to such beauty, but if I’m honest, what really takes my breath away these days is the appalling ease with which my fellow New Zealanders (and some of the paid guests we’re taking in to help pay the bills) feel it’s ok to desecrate our environment. Apart from the terrible damage inflicted on landscapes, waterways, eco-systems and wildlife, it’s biting the hand that feeds.
This is death by a thousand cuts; dumping litter, over-fishing, clearing forests to create dairy farms, freedom campers who (literally) leave their shit behind, people who turn every available patch of grass on a beach reserve into a de facto car park because someone else did it first, a national mindset that says dairy farming and tourism are GOOD FOR GROWTH and let’s not look too closely at the negative impacts … the list goes on.
As always, the prescribed treatment for my chronic environmental grump is to get out the door and connect with the little miracles of nature that also take my breath away.
Pohutukawa flowers. Image: Su Leslie 2018
Bee and blossom. Image: Su Leslie 2017
Redwoods Tree Walk, Rotorua. Image; Su Leslie 2019
Exposing the inner workings. Eroded sea-shell. Image: Su Leslie 2018
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.
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
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 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.
Sun setting over the Pukapuka Inlet, seen from Mahurangi East, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017
When I saw Desley’s collection of gorgeous sunset shots (Oooh, Shiiiinyyyy!) I found myself nodding in agreement with her comment about the sky as a source of distraction. I could happily watch the sun rise and set … until the cows come home.