Friday, June 26, 2009

Thematic Photographic: Cloudy

There are plenty of photos that fit the "cloudy" theme in my travel files. Even at the end of summer, there is no shortage of clouds in Scotland. (And of course we had more time to take photos when we were on holiday).

Before I drag out the travel photos though, I thought I would post a couple taken closer to home. I believe good photography is mostly about having a good eye, and lots of time and patience. Since I lack the last two, I have to hope I have at least some of the first, and rely mostly on luck, and on taking a lot of photos so I can choose the best.

The first two photos are taken in places I'd love to have time to go back to, and sit and wait for those perfect light conditions.

The first is at Godley Head near Christchurch, looking out over the Pacific Ocean, early to mid morning.

The second is taken outside the Christchurch Art Gallery. The kinetic sculpture is called "Reasons for Voyaging". I have other shots of it taken against a brilliant blue sky. About once a week, when the phase of the moon changes, the rotation of the crescent shapes is also changed.

This last shot is taken near my work, late afternoon, near Christchurch Airport.

For more cloudy photographs visit Carmi here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Readwritepoem #80


My belief has worn thin. All those years
I sat in church, watched you in your Sunday hat
sitting at the old harmonium, your feet pumping life
into the hymns. Some days now the existence of God
seems ridiculous. Almost as impossible as the idea
that there is nothing pumping the machinery
of this beautiful marvellous world. Do you know
that I am telling you this? It is hard to imagine you
somewhere above, ominiscient.
Or is this one of time's many rooms
that you cannot enter?

After you were gone, I wore your nightgown
until it was so thin it was almost transparent.
I didn't want to let it go.
How long until belief tears apart?


The prompt at Readwritepoem this week was "What I could never tell my mother".
I could always tell my mother pretty much anything, and the things I wouldn't tell her mostly fall into the category of "too much information" and are certainly not material for poems, especially not poems posted in a public forum. I realised though that I could read the prompt differently. My mother died when I was quite young, expecting my first child. There have been many things I would have liked to tell her, or ask her, and she wasn't there. I started brainstorming a list of ordinary everyday things, intending to use them in a list poem, but somewhere along the line it took a slightly different turn.

As always it is a very rough draft.

For more poems about mothers, secrets, or other things, visit readwritepoem here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thematic Photographic: Green

Plenty of green photos in my files, so it was hard to know what to choose for this prompt (perhaps I will post some more over the coming week). However for me, this photo from the Singapore Botanic Gardens is the essence of greenness:

For more green photos, visit Carmi here

Readwritepoem #79

Winter Landscape

Farmer in a field digging onions,
their skins the colour of old vellum.
dried stalks in convoluted curlicues
like capitals on an illuminated manuscript.
He stamps his feet on the frosty ground,
blows on his hands to warm them.
Pan the scene outwards, the plains
stretch and stretch, the last tendrils
of morning mist lifting, the row of distant poplars
which his grandfather planted
to tether the sky lest he go mad
from so much blue.


I had hoped to use all the words from the readwriteword prompt in one poem, but they were so disparate that the goal eluded me. I managed to use six of them: onions, vellum, convoluted,hand, mist, tether.

For more readwriteword poems, go here

For more of my poetry on line (see my previous post), go to Blackmail Press here

Saturday, June 13, 2009

My Poems on the Internet

Just up today, the latest edition of New Zealand Poets Online at Blackmail Press.

It is a themed edition - the theme is "secrets"

And for those of you who don't know my last name, here is the direct link to my page of three poems.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thematic Photographic: Road

I tend not to take photographs of roads - I don't find them very interesting. When we were in the UK, however, we spent a fair bit of time driving around, and found that often we couldn't stop to take photos. In New Zealand there is usually room to pull over by the side of the road for a scenic shot, but the English roads are narrow, with hedges or stone walls at the roadside, and there just isn't anywhere. Then, if you come to a parking area, there might be a charge of several pounds to park there, which is fine for day walkers, but not if you want to explore an area for ten minutes or so and then move on half a dozen times or more in the day.

Consequently we got quite practised at taking photos from the moving car. And I thought I would find quite a few "road" photos among the seven thousand or so I took over the month, but in fact there are far more photos of what we could see from the road than of the road itself.

I did find a couple of interesting ones, and another from a road trip in New Zealand. Incidentally, I tend to distinguish between roads and streets - the essential difference being that roads are in the countryside, and streets are urban. Where there are streets named something or other road in a city, you will usually find that they started off in the countryside, and the city expanded around them.

This view was taken on Otago Peninsula near Dunedin in the south of New Zealand

This one is at the top of a pass in Scotland aptly named "Rest and be Thankful", at the top of Glen Croe on the route between Loch Lomond and the West Coast.

And this one is in the Lake District, next to a historic slate mine, the Honister slate mine. As New Zealanders, we weren't very impressed with the "mountains" in Britain. We would be driving along and find a sign that warned of a steep descent. After a while we would find the road levelling out and say "oh, was that it?" But the Lake District was one area where we felt the hills made up in steepness for what they lacked in height (Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, is about a third the height of New Zealand's highest mountain, and we have plenty more).

For more road imagery, visit Thematic Photographic here

Monday, June 08, 2009

A Weekend Walk

A few years back I saw an item in our local newspaper about a retired man who decided to walk every street in the city. As I recall, it took him about three years of daily walks. Lately I've been thinking it would be an interesting photographic project to not only walk along all the streets but also document them - however since I have not retired, it would probably take me about twenty years. And there must be some areas where there are streets full of houses with little variety.

Still, at the weekend I needed to visit a certain greengrocery shop, and decided since I haven't been exercising much lately, I would walk instead of driving, and take my camera along. We live in a moderately well off area, but it is only about a block or two, after crossing the river, a busy dual carriageway road, and a railway line in quick succession, before the character of the neighbourhood changes.

First comes the polytechnic which sports this mural on the wall.

Further up the road, this joyful sculpture by Llew Summers was shining in the late afternoon sun.

For as long as we have lived here (about twentyfive years) this boat has been sitting on this corner section. I can't help wondering what the story is behind it.

This is actually a bare brick wall. Again, I wonder what actually goes on in this building.

On the way back I noted the graphic quality of the red and blue building and circles of barbed wire. This is by the railway yards

where someone has abandoned a shopping trolley - quite a distance from any supermarket.

Up the railway line you can just see the centre of the city.