Regular random: five minutes with some lavender, a bee and the hope of new beginnings

Close up shot of bee on lavender stalk. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Lavender lunch. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Signs of spring are everywhere this week; from new growth on the fig tree to plum blossom and a huge increase in the number of bees around. This one was very busy enjoying lavender.

The images for this week’s Five Minutes of Random (the #RegularRandom challenge) were all shot at Savage Memorial Park on Bastion Point in Auckland.

Savage Memorial is the burial place and monument to Michael Joseph Savage, New Zealand’s first Labour Prime Minister — and one of the country’s best loved leaders. He died in office in 1940, having led the government that established our country’s welfare state — now largely dismantled by successive neo-liberal governments.

Tomorrow there will be a general election in New Zealand. Growing inequality, increasing poverty, declining child health and the highest youth suicide rate in the developed world are all issues that have come to the fore in this campaign, and there is real hope that by tomorrow evening we may have a new government. One committed to the values of compassion and justice that informed Savage’s Labour government in the 1930s.

Spring is, after all, the season of hope.

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

If you’d like to join in:

  • choose a subject or a scene
  • spend five minutes photographing it – no more!
  • try to see it from many angles, look through something at it, change the light that’s hitting it
  • tag your post #regularrandom and ping back to Desley’s post
  • have fun!
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The Changing Seasons, October 2016

Perched on a rock above the Tasman Sea, one of the colony of gannets currently nesting at Muriwai, New Zealand. Close up shot of single gannet grooming itself.Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Perched on a rock above the Tasman Sea, one of the colony of gannets currently nesting at Muriwai, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Perhaps it’s the improving weather, but October has definitely been a more active month than I’ve had recently — dodgy knee notwithstanding.

A still morning at Greenhithe Wharf. Looking up Lucas Creek towards Albany.Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Early morning, Greenhithe Wharf. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Although there has been plenty of rain, it has seemed less relentless and the lowering cloud formations have often been photo-worthy.

Still water and lowering clouds at Otarawao Bay (Sullivans Bay), Mahurangi Regional Park, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

A quiet afternoon at Otarawao Bay, Mahurangi Regional Park, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Under the gathering clouds. Mt Ruapehu from the Desert Road, Central North Island, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Under the gathering clouds. Mt Ruapehu from the Desert Road, Central North Island, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

I’ve managed to escape the city a few times this month; for a couple of afternoons exploring local(ish) beaches, and a road-trip to Whanganui to visit my dad and do a glass-art workshop.

Mahuia Rapids, with Mt Ruapehu in the background. Tongariro National Park, North Island, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Mahuia Rapids, with Mt Ruapehu in the background. Tongariro National Park, North Island, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

There are plenty of signs that spring is truly here; baby ducklings seen at Otarawao Bay, and nesting gannets at the Muriwai gannet colony.

Ducklings and adult duck. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Family outing, Otarawao Bay, Mahurangi Regional Park, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Close-up shot of nesting gannets, Muriwai gannet colony, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Nesting gannets, Muriwai gannet colony, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

I love glass as an art-form and have long wanted to try my hand at some sort of creative glass-based activity.

Whanganui-based artist David Traub runs one day workshops in glass slumping and fusing — both techniques within the capabilities of beginners.

Over the course of the day, we made two brooches/pendants, two slumped bowls and a glass tile.

Coloured glass pieces laid into a mould lined with kiln paper. This is the first stage in making a fused glass tile. There is no real way of knowing how it will look when the glass rods and shards melt in the kiln. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Before. Making a fused glass tile was a total pitch in the dark. We laid coloured glass pieces into a mould lined with kiln paper, having no real idea how it would look when the glass rods and shards melted in the kiln. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Fused glass tile. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

After. Quietly pleased with the result. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Decorated glass disk ready for the kiln. This will slump over the mould and become a very handy little bowl. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Decorated glass disk ready for the kiln. This will slump over the mould and become a very handy little bowl. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

The pendants aren’t quite finished — I have to glue on the bails, but the bowls have already been put to use. One of the advantages of the improving weather being that the Big T and I can enjoy a beer outdoors while bemoaning the size of the lawn we have to mow (ok, he generally does it), and planning our escape from wrong-sized living.

Slumped glass bowls holding nuts and olives. Perfect for pre-dinner snacks. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Perfect for holding pre-dinner snacks. Slumped glass bowls, decorated with glass powders. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

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!

Nature’s infinite healing

Boats moored in Lucas Creek, off Greenhithe Wharf, Auckland. NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Spring morning. Lucas Creek at Greenhithe Wharf yesterday. Image: Su Leslie, 2016. Edited with Snapseed.

Greenhithe Wharf is only a few minutes from my house, and sometimes forms part of my morning walk. For the last few months, I’ve been photographing the view up Lucas Creek — although a wet winter has meant that mostly that view has been shrouded in low-lying cloud.

Yesterday the tide was full, the sun was shining and despite the fact that our current 10-day weather forecast is for rain, and more rain, it does finally feel as though spring has arrived.

Misty morning. Boats moored in Lucas Creek at Greenhithe Wharf. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Lucas Creek at Greenhithe Wharf, Auckland, NZ. July 2016. Image: Su Leslie. Edited with Snapseed.

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature— the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
— Rachel Carson

This post was written for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally. This week the theme is nature.