Category Archives: Photography

the value of tinkering


The nature of the problem: extraneous matter cropped, but otherwise no editing. All the glare is around the subject’s face.

Using the phone app and doing absolutely no tinkering, that was the image I managed to capture. Admittedly, the original wasn’t brilliant, but it was certainly clearer than this phone-app version. Further cropping would have exaggerated the problem.


Cropped a little more, but with no tinkering. Already, it’s a much clearer image.

Using our new scanner, that’s the image I’ve captured. I now have the option of doing some more serious editing in my photo app or even within WordPress.

The similarity in foreground and background colours was more problematic in the top image, because the glare washed out the contrast. Mind you, this photo was taken at Peterborough (South Australia) in the middle of winter. Although the light was very even, it was as cold as the day: definitely warm dress and overcoat weather, not to mention headgear that covered your ears to prevent frostbite!

May all your tinkering add value to your photos, too ūüôā


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flexibility is the name of the game

A small dam along one of the walking paths, just the thing for pausing and catching your breath while you take a couple of photos :)

A small dam along one of the walking paths, just the thing for pausing and catching your breath while you take a couple of photos ūüôā

Today’s planned training for the Bloody Long Walk involved Dr B and YoungB accompanying me to conquer some serious hills and a few steps and stairs. What eventuated was my walking alone for 10 Km on relatively flat ground. No matter. It was a walk and there was some up-and-down involved (where we live, any walking involves a degree of climbing).

Because the Bs weren’t accompanying me, I was disinclined to tackle rough terrain in a park where I¬†couldn’t guarantee there’d be anyone remotely nearby if I¬†fell. The alternative path I chose is well used and backs¬†onto suburban housing. I’m still feeling the tail end of that bug, because the two-hour effort today was about as much as I could cope with.

Dr B has gone into town to listen to a band, YoungB is zizzing on the lounge, and I suppose I should finish folding the last of the laundry before it’s bedtime and Monday morning is once again summoning me.

I hope your weekend plans have gone according to plan. Or, if not, that you were able to be flexible to suit the changing circumstances ūüôā


Posted by on August 16, 2015 in Health, Photography


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jollity all round

Sometimes, if you're lucky, you get to bring the balloons home with you!

Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you get to bring the balloons home with you!

I like this warmer weather we’re having. When I left the house yesterday evening on my way to a party, I merely pulled a light jacket over my dress (coincidentally, a purple dress that almost matched the evening’s balloons). No 57 layers. No extra scarves. No scarves at all, in fact. It might not yet be summer but we’re definitely heading in that direction and I cannot be grateful enough.

“Party?” you ask, refusing to be distracted by flippant references to garb, seasonal or otherwise. Yes, there was a 70th birthday in the family, which seemed like a good excuse to celebrate; so celebrate we did, with loved ones¬†from far and near. I am not the official family photographer but, because I have a habit of taking lots of photos at every family occasion I attend, it often feels that way. I was happy to have my good camera working well last night. We even managed to get a group photo that included¬†most of the attendees (one of our very young guests had gone home with her parents but her even younger cousin was still just about awake).

The party was held in what was at one time¬†the dining room of the Cumberland Arms Hotel. The cousin celebrating her birthday spent some years of her childhood there with an¬†aunt and uncle,¬†who was then the licensee. Its locale has meant it was never one of the city’s more salubrious pubs and nowadays its clientele is often described by our younger fry as “feral”. When YoungB was playing chess for his high school, we sometimes had a meal there prior to the matches, or at least a bowl of wedges; and very nice they were, too. Early in the evening, it’s as unobjectionable as anywhere else and its proximity to my then work and the chess¬†venue¬†made it the obvious choice for us (you know, I could walk there after work, it didn’t have funny opening hours, nor was it likely to shut while we were trying to have a bite to eat like some of the cafes in the area).

So, as you’ll gather, there were¬†several levels of family connection that worked well to make us all have an enjoyable evening, though the Birthday Girl was the one with¬†the most uproarious tales and it’s undoubtedly¬†right that that should have been the case. Middle and Youngest Niece didn’t join us for dinner but came in to say hello later on. Feral or not, they were there with friends and enjoying themselves on a Saturday evening, prior to moving on to another favoured night spot. Makes sense to me. But I got to keep one lot of balloons, so I reckon I had the best time of all. ūüôā


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action photography

Netball action with percentage of rearguard action

Netball action with percentage of rearguard action

I reckon I’ve learnt how to take fairly good rowing photos by now. But netball? That’s a very different proposition. Eldest Niece and Youngest Niece were playing in their local association’s grand finals last weekend, so I made a day trip of it and went to cheer them. Of course I took my camera. I’m not sufficiently good at mathematical calculations to be able to tell you if netballers run faster than rowers row – that would depend on many¬†factors – but I can tell you that their constantly changing direction of activity makes for tricky photographic work. The plane of movement¬†is different. You often don’t see the ball but – again, if you were good with the maths – you could calculate where it is or where it’s been. There’s also the question of where you stand relative to the action.

You might think I have¬†a pornographic penchant for photographing backsides, because¬†that’s something you do quite a lot when you’re photographing rowers (if one crew is facing the right way, another is not, whether they’re actually rowing or merely carrying boats). Netballers are no different, because that’s the sort of game it is. Like hockey or soccer, half of one team is literally positioned in opposition to half of the other team at any one time.You know, I took hundreds of photos and I’m not really happy with any of them but I managed to capture some good action shots of the Nieces. That made it a worthwhile¬†exercise. And the Niece who requested photos with no bums? Not likely! I did, however, try to make most of those belong to opposition players. ūüôā

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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Photography, Rowing


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nah, I can’t knit in the dark

Colour at the regatta course even when the days were grey (and they frequently were)

Colour at the regatta course even when the days were grey (and they frequently were)

You know how I had knitting lined up for two days of travel? Great plan! Dr B decided we’d drive all night to meet a timetable deadline. Turned out he’d got it wrong but that didn’t matter. We’d driven all night and I can’t knit in the dark. Plan scuppered.

You know how I was going to deliver the beanie (produced during the two days of travel) directly to its recipient? Great plan! Sydney’s a big place and getting from one end of it to the other requires more than a little persistence. Turned out that even with the best will in the world, we couldn’t work out a suitable time and place to meet. And there was a singer with a sore throat in the mix. Plan scuppered.

Rowing? Yeah, that was great. We spent a lot of time travelling but we spent a lot of time watching some really exciting competition. To our considerable distress, there were no concession prices for parking or entry. No matter what time of day you turned up, you paid full price (which seemed to vary from day to day, depending on the nature of competition on offer; that is, you paid an arm and a leg on ordinary days but they threw in a couple of bits of your torso on the day of the Interstate Regatta and I dread to imagine what the World Cup finals would have required. We didn’t hang around to find out). That was a nasty surprise and, had we not travelled halfway across the country simply for the purpose of being there, would have been a considerable disincentive. We’d originally thought we’d park somewhere relatively nearby and walk, thus managing a good bit of daily exercise. Another great plan, don’t you think? I don’t want to sound like a wimp, but there was a lot of heavy rain. And sometimes YoungB needed a lift to and from his accommodation when there was nobody else around to provide it. We shut up and paid up, but that was another plan scuppered.

And did we win? No. South Australian rowers had some wins and YoungB’s club won a few medals during the National Championships. South Australia rowed to¬†silver for both the King’s and Queen’s Cup competitions (the men’s and women’s eights) during the Interstate Regatta, much to the delight of the crews and their vociferous, if not numerous, supporters.¬†Realistically, in YoungB’s case, his crew was up against it: considerably the youngest, certainly the least experienced and with not one national rep, former or present, in its ranks. The other crews, without exception, had at least one – if not two or three – rowers of that calibre in their boats. Our crew was outmatched. Nonetheless, they started well and held third for a little while but couldn’t maintain that rate. They picked up their pace toward the finish line and rowed the final 500 metres faster than they’d done the previous 500 metres. They weren’t so far behind as to be completely out of the race. We thought that was a commendable effort.¬†YoungB reflected, quite rightly, that there’s no shame in coming last at that level of competition, though it’s a painful experience for all that. More¬†plans scuppered? In that case, no.

And photos? Yeah, there were lots of those taken. And none of them yet edited.

I came home with two-thirds of a beanie – oh, yes, there were hours of daily travel during which I did knit! – and a completed Noro Silk Garden scarf and there’ll be photos of those when I get around to it. In the meantime, there are mitts to be completed and we’ve had funeral of an elderly family member and Nonna’s health is failing noticeably faster and YoungB is rushing towards the end of his first term and we have all sorts of things to sort out for his year in Italy. And, you know what? Plans for dealing with any of those are still haphazard. But we’ll get there, no matter which bits are scuppered along the way. Though it’s definitely a pity that I can’t knit in the dark because I could maybe bowl over a couple of birthday presents while everyone else is sleeping, instead of lying awake tossing and turning and worrying. Knitting¬†would be much more productive.

Whatever your plans, I hope you manage to realise a few. I’m counting the scarf as a success, even if it wasn’t truly my intention to make it my travel knitting. As a very wise fellow rowing parent once remarked to me, you take your wins where you find them. Therefore, I’m calling that a win, whether or not it was my plan.


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not Jungle January but possibly Feral February

Jungle butterfly or social butterfly!

Jungle butterfly or social butterfly! (This is an old photo that I was somewhat afraid to tinker with too much, so excuse the poor quality.)

We have an important family celebration coming up next month and the dress theme is “Jungle”. Sad face. We struggled enough a few years ago when the theme was “Hollywood Glamour” but that was relatively achievable without TOO much effort. Why is it such a problem? First, I’m hopeless at fancy dress (unlike my Mum who was a whizz at such things). Second, in the case of jungle clobber, I’m definitely past the age of dressing in the style of Jane and Tarzan! Third, Dr B and YoungB will be interstate (rowing championships again) and this means I’m on my own: no nearest and dearest for moral support (and I can tell you now that they won’t be at all interested in or supportive of my having to make an effort to tissy myself up if they’re not doing the same thing).

So. Jungles. After getting over the immediate shock, I put my thinking cap on and came up with the idea of Mary Leakey! But maybe an archaeologist isn’t really suitably jungley? Then I thought a better choice might be¬†Osa Johnson¬†(long ago I read I Married Adventure)¬†or Michaela Denis¬†(I’ve read one of Armand Denis’ books and remember occasionally watching their TV program when I was a kid) or Joy Adamson¬†(doesn’t everyone know Born Free?), perhaps even Karen Blixen¬†(whether for real or in the Meryl Streep¬†version) or maybe I could reference Elspeth Huxley¬†(gleaning info from her book about Thika or the TV series with Hayley Mills‘ performance as Tilly), since they’d all be recognisable as a type; and, with the first few, that would provide an excuse to hang a camera around my neck and, for once, not have to apologise for its being there.

The pedantic among you might argue that they’re really more African-savannah types, more safari than jungle, and I wouldn’t disagree (though there’d be areas of crossover, I think; after all, Osa Johnson travelled in North Borneo and that’s decidedly jungle territory). There’d also be the option of dressing like Dian Fossey¬†(or Sigourney Weaver, I guess)! In any case, there’d be a certain sameness about what I might choose if I were to dress as any of those women.

Luckily for me, there’s lots of inspiration around the place and, even more luckily for me, presently there’s Jungle January 2014. I’m not participating but I’ve been stalking the blogs to get ideas, of which there’s an abundance. If I decide on that sort of jungle, It’s going to come down to a jungley or jungle-animal-print fabric, I think, plus a hat that I can “safari up” (thanks to¬†Sew Busy Lizzy¬†for that suggestion). Or I could wear some clearly marked Puma¬†clobber and pretend to be one (offhand, and without more thinking, that’s a bad idea because I don’t know anyone who buys Puma clobber that I could borrow, which is what I’d have to do because I certainly don’t have any myself).

Of course, if I decided my jungle was Amazonian, I could dress as a butterfly or in fabric covered by butterflies or in butterfly colours (and, oooh, I could make some butterfly wings, an adult version of those that YoungB was wearing in that photo; I’m really quite good at those).

Thinking more laterally, Australia’s¬†Kakadu¬†and¬†Daintree¬†are sometimes considered¬†jungles¬†and if I took that view, then I could just go in shorts (or perhaps camo trousers), a T-shirt, khaki-coloured¬†Explorer¬†socks, Rossi¬†boots and a broad-brimmed hat with a mozzie cover. Absolutely my kind of outfit, although I might just end up looking a female version of the¬†Bush Tucker Man; there are probably worse fates.¬†On the other hand – how many hands are we up to now? – I could decide that my jungle is an urban, concrete one and go in a snappy business outfit with killer stiletto heels! (That would, however, make difficulties with the camera-round-the-neck idea; and I’d be crippled for weeks.)

So, although at first I seemed to have absolutely no idea what to do, I think it’s possible that I will be able to come up with a fairly simple, fairly fast plan and probably one that’s not hideously expensive. All of those considerations are important because in the run-up to that date, I’ll be having to do a certain amount of ensuring that the Bs have everything organised for their Sydney trip. I mean, a national rowing regatta takes clear precedence over a costume party. Or even if it doesn’t, maintaining domestic harmony would probably tip the scales, don’t you reckon?

PS: Apologies if I seem lazy citing so many Wikipedia references, but I find it a good starting point for further research or reading if you’re at all interested (in my case, I already knew about most of those women from having read some of their work, or about it, then seen films and/or documentaries etc).


Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Musing, Photography, Rowing, Sewing


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working up a sweat shivering

Today has been like the past few days in terms of weather: cold enough that my fingers nearly froze, then sunny enough that I almost started to sweat, then back to freezing cold. Luckily, when you’re down by the water photographing rowers, as I was for much of the day, there’s plenty to keep you occupied so that you don’t particularly notice either end of the temperature scale. And judging by the number of photos I have now to edit, I can’t have had time to feel the cold.

YoungB competed in four races today, starting with the second race of the day and finishing in one that was close to the end of a fairly long regatta. We were all worn out. Dr B viewed much of the racing from the warmth and comfort of the car but I wrapped up in my old raincoat and latticework scarf – the one I finished to wear at Ballarat – and didn’t fare too badly by the lakeside, though the strong wind provided some challenges with regard to holding the camera steady.

As usual, I took my knitting with me. It languished in the car for most of the day but I managed to add a couple of inches to the purple Tarrantino scarf while we were waiting for YoungB to pack up after his last race. That probably helped my fingers to warm up again (something that seems like a silly comment when we’re staring down the last week of November, a time of year that’s usually hot). Irrespective of the climatic considerations, that steady bit of knitting made me feel remarkably productive, I can tell you.

I hope your day has been pleasant and that you’ve managed to make progress on your Christmas crafting, whatever form it might take. Productivity is the name of the game at this time of year, and we all feel virtuous when we have something to show for our efforts. Or is that just me?


Posted by on November 23, 2013 in Knitting, Photography, Rowing


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