There was a loaf of bread


Sourdough loaf. Image: Su Leslie 2020

“Photographs are only able to speak in the past tense.”
Ryūji Miyamoto, photographer


Bit less sourdough loaf. Image; Su Leslie 2020

Posted to the weekly quotation challenge hosted by Debbie at Travel with Intent

Shaping the image in my memory

img_6608 Waiting for rain, Highway 22, Waikato, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2020
“Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships!” — Ansel Adams

It’s Sunday evening and we’re driving through drought-struck farmland in the north-west Waikato. Rain clouds have flirted shamelessly with the skyline all day, but the land remains parched and disappointed.

Rounding a corner, we see a distant hill quite dramatically lit by low sunshine breaking through the clouds. It’s beautiful and stark and emphasizes how dry the land has become.

T stops the car. I hop out and wade through long, brittle grass. As I’m fiddling with the camera, a police car stops to check that we’re ok and that the car hasn’t broken down on this very quiet stretch of road. T assures him we’re fine and I wave my camera ineffectually to establish my bona fide. He nods and zooms off — possibly a tad faster than might be strictly legal. But I suppose there have to be some compensations for patrolling country roads on a Sunday night.

When we finally get home (after quite a few more photo stops), I download the images. “Cop-stop hill” is too dark and doesn’t have the contrast I remember, but the bones of the shot are good and all the pixels I need are there, just waiting to be tweaked.

Thank goodness for PhotoShop.

And for Debbie at Travel with Intent, whose weekly quote challenge gave me the perfect excuse to tell you the story of this image.

Time spent pursuing hope

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. — J. R. R. Tolkien

For this guy, who fishes most days off our local wharf, the decision seems to have been made.

I love fish, and quite like the idea of catching it, but I can see that for a lot of people, fishing is so much more than procuring dinner.

The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope. — John Buchan

Shared to Debbie’s weekly quotation-inspired challenge at Travel with Intent

Hope, despair and everything in between

Black and white close up shot of padlocked door bolt. Image: Su Leslie

Locked out? Or in? Image: Su Leslie

“Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.” —Robert Frank

In general, I think life can be better explained in terms of continua than dichotomies. Or to put it simply — it’s not so much black and white as shades of grey.

Even black and white photography is rarely, truly, black and white.

As someone who experiences periods of depression, I know the subtle on-going dance of hope and despair. The trick is learning to recognise and find expression for it.

Making photos helps; turning my focus outward and allowing me to shape new stories to tell — if only to myself.

The difference between hope and despair is a different way of telling stories from the same facts. — Alain de Botton

Weekly quotation-inspired image, hosted by Debbie at Travel with Intent

“dusted with spices from a million flowers”


“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.” ― Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

Words are ingredients that writers can combine in infinite ways. And as good cooks sustain and nourish and delight us with the products of their craft, so too will good writers. Sometimes it is the smallest phrases — the careful choice and arrangement of just a few words — that bursts into our consciousness and remains a delicious memory long after we put down the book.

For this week’s Lens Artists Photo Challenge | delicious

(not exactly) Wordless Wednesday


Image: Su Leslie 2018

Definitely a wordy Wednesday today. But as I was editing the shot, I learned that New Zealand’s Minister for Women and Associate Minister for Transport, Julie Anne Genter, gave birth to a son this morning. She is a Green Party MP and has always advocated strongly for women.

And … she rode to hospital to deliver her child on a bicycle. So the Anthony quote seems particularly apt today.