Play of sepia light

Shadows cast on wooden floor. Image: Su Leslie 2019

Posted to the Ragtag Daily Prompt | Shadows

Debbie’s One Word Sunday | Sepia



Image: Su Leslie 2018

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” — Anne Lamott

Ragtag Daily Prompt | Dawn


Tui feeding in kowhai tree. Image: Su Leslie 2019

Maybe I’m stretching the definition of elusive a bit here. Tui are abundant in our garden at the moment, with record numbers feeding on the kowhai, flax and fuchsia in the neighbourhood.

Photographing them is a different matter. Today is the first time I’ve managed to get close enough to focus my lens on the birds and not just the foliage.

Images: Su Leslie 2019

Ragtag Daily Prompt | elusive

The past and the future

Little Free Library, Rose Gardens, Palmerston North, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2019

Libraries raised me. — Ray Bradbury

And me.

And I’d be prepared to bet that many of the people reading this post would probably say the same.

Every town I visit, I want to see the library. And while I’ve loved experiencing the grandeur of great institutions like the British Library, and the State Libraries of Victoria and New South Wales, I also adore the tiny community libraries at Puhoi, north of Auckland and Herald Island, a few minutes drive from home.

Best of all, I love the Little Free Library movement which has sprung up all around the world. What better expression of all that libraries stand for than open access, unregulated book boxes sited where anyone can find them; borrow from them and donate books back.

What is more important in a library than anything else – than everything else – is the fact that it exists. -– Archibald MacLeish

Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest. — Lady Bird Johnson

Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future. — Ray Bradbury


Mitchell Library Reading Room, State Library New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Image; Su Leslie 2018

Ragtag Daily Prompt | library

Memories preserved in stone

Savage Memorial, Bastion Point, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2017

The human need to create monuments to remember our dead is a powerful one — from huge, world-renowned structures like the Taj Mahal, to row after row of identical crosses in war cemeteries across the world.

One of my favourite monuments is to Michael Joseph Savage, New Zealand’s first Labour prime minister (1935-1940). The understated simplicity of both the obelisk and surrounding gardens are a fitting tribute to the man who was the architect of New Zealand’s once-great welfare state.

The headstone of John Chaafe may lack the scale of Michael Savage’s memorial, but is no less poignant. The 15 year old jockey was killed when his horse Gold Lac fell at the start of a race. In the midst of WWI, when young Kiwis were dying in their thousands in Europe, the loss of a boy too young to fight and engaged in a sport that brought pleasure to war-weary Kiwis, seems especially sad.

Ragtag Daily Prompt | monument

Psychedelic memories

Bush walk trippy. Image: Su Leslie 2019

I was probably about eight or nine the first time I heard the word ‘psychedelic’. My dad brought home a poster that he thought I might like for my room. I don’t remember what it was a poster of — just that it was wildly colourful and my mother vehemently disapproved of it.

Her disapproval was certainly due to the fact that it was wildly colourful, and therefore didn’t fit with the cream, beige and tan aesthetic she imposed on our decor.

She must have been losing the “discussion” with Dad about the suitability or otherwise of my poster, because I clearly remember her saying — in the sort of tone you’d use to if the neighbour was dealing drugs from his kids’ Wendy house — “it’s psychedelic.”

Image: Su Leslie 2019

Ragtag Daily Prompt | psychedelic

When you see a chance


Kereru (native NZ pigeon) in a cabbage tree (tī kōuka, Cordyline australis). Image: Su Leslie 2019

Photography often relies on chance — being in the right place at the right time (with the right lens).

I’ve been trying unsuccessfully for years to capture a good shot of the tui and kereru that inhabit our manuka (tea tree), kowhai and tī kōuka trees. I only captured this shot because the tī kōuka berries offer such a feast that the kereru was in no hurry to fly away.

Ragtag Daily Prompt | fortuitous