The Changing Seasons: February 2017

Cows and a bull grazing on a hillside against brilliant blue sky. Seen on the Awhitu Peninsula, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Another roadside attraction … Seen on the Awhitu Peninsula, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

The Big T was overseas for 18 of February’s 28 days, so it was a raggedy month where life’s normal rhythms skipped a bit.

A growing disaffection with Auckland’s rampant urbanisation, overcrowding and endless traffic congestion has driven me (at painfully low speed) from the city as often as I could get away. Trips to Karekare, the Awhitu Peninsula, the Waikato and even the Helensville A&P Show are all part of a quest to reconnect with the parts of Aotearoa New Zealand that the Big T and I love and feel connected to.

This post is my contribution to The Changing Seasons, a monthly challenge hosted by Cardinal Guzman. Please visit to see the Cardinal’s month, and find links to other participants.

There are two versions of the challenge:

Version 1 (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.

Version 2 (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!

The face of disappointment

Competitor in wood-chopping competition, Helensville A&P Show, New Zealaned. Image: Su Leslie, 2017.

Axeman taking part in standing block wood-chopping competition at Helensville A&P Show. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

The Big T and I visited the Helensville A&P (Agricultural & Pastoral) Show at the weekend.

Agriculture is a hugely important part of New Zealand’s history, economy and psyche, and  A&P Shows are a traditional way small towns up and down the country celebrate farming and rural life.

One of my favourite A&P attractions is wood-chopping. And no, I can’t explain why a city girl who has never used an axe to do much more than chop kindling can sit for hours and watch a bunch of men cut through logs of wood as a sport. But I can!

I think part of the attraction is simplicity. While rugby, soccer, etc all seem to have incredibly complex rules, wood-chopping is easy to understand. The first person to cut the block in two wins. Even allowing for the handicap system (a man with a microphone counting off the seconds before each competitor can start), it’s comprehensible even to me. And no offside rule!

The face of disappointment. A young axeman fails to place in a wood-chopping competitition at the Helensville A&P Show. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

The face of disappointment. No placing for this wood-chopping competitor. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Axemen may not be regarded as sports superstars, but they seem equally dedicated to their sport. And the disappointment they feel in failure is no less real or painful to watch.

Contemplating the loss. Pensive and disappointed-looking competitor in wood-chopping at Helensville A&P Show. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Contemplating the loss. Competitor in wood-chopping at Helensville A&P Show. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

“All that is in the heart is written on the face” — Ritu Ghatourey

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

DP Photo Challenge: solitude, final take

Woman dwarfed by Bernar Vernet's sculpture '88.5 degrees ARC x 8. At Gibbs Farm Sculpture Park, Kaipara, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2015

Bernar Venet, ‘88.5 ARC x 8′. Gibbs Farm Sculpture Park, Kaipara Harbour, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Apologies to those who have seen this photo before, but when I think of how joyous solitude can be, it is to be alone with my thoughts before great art.

Daily Post Photo Challenge | solitude