striped rug black and white

Geometric shapes in black and white

Shadows on a landing, Goa.

Shadows on a landing, Goa.

“Geometric: using straight lines and simple shapes, for example circles or squares.” Cee’s Black and White Challenge this week is all about geometric shapes.

Sydney Opera House during the Vivid festival 2014.

Sydney Opera House during the Vivid festival 2014.

Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (detail).

Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (detail).

Woven hut (and mangoes!), Vanuatu.

Woven hut (and mangoes!), Vanuatu.

hail Sydney April 2015

Is it hail or is it graupel?

St Peters station hail April 2015

St Peters station blanketed in hail.

I heard of graupel only a few days ago, when my mother told me that what she had assumed was hail pounding them in Stratford (the one in Canada, not England) was revealed to be graupel. (Read about it here.) Sydney was blasted with a massive fall of white frozen water today. I’m pretty sure it was standard hail, but the exotic graupel would be much more interesting. I was on a train when the storm hit and managed to snatch a few quick photos when the doors opened at a station.

hail St Peters stn 2015-04 closeup 2

Close up. Looks like hail to me.

St Peters station hail April 2015

St Peters station blanketed in hail.

St Peters station hail April 2015

Unfortunately it’s the water drops on the window that are in focus, but you can still make out the heaps of white stuff!

vanuatu feature palms

Wishing I was back in Vanuatu

Eratap Beach Resort, Etafe,cabana

Eratap Beach Resort, on the island of Etafe. Each villa has its own thatched beach cabana.

After three days of torrential rain and gale force winds, of broken umbrellas and wet feet, of disrupted transport, fallen trees and floods, of a storm billed variously as “Sydney’s storm of the decade” or even (eek!) “Sydney’s storm of the century”, my thoughts turn longingly to the sunny tropical paradise of Vanuatu. Memories of my holiday there led, of course, to recollections of the devastation wrought on that island nation by the recent tropical storm, which put Sydney’s storm into perspective. But my mind turns to pleasanter times.

Outrigger canoe, Lelepa Island.

Outrigger canoe, Lelepa Island. The snorkelling here was astounding: calm clear water, healthy and vibrant coral, a myriad of colourful fish, all accessible from the beach.

Sunset, Eratap, Vanuatu

Sunset from my own stretch of beach.

Lord Nelson, Indian Ocean, sunrise

Early mornings around the world

Mist in the hills around Cairns.

Mist in the hills around Cairns.

For someone who insists she is not an early bird, I have a remarkable number of photographs taken very early in the morning! I haven’t inflicted them all on you, but there are quite a few, from various travels. They are in no particular order other than alphabetical by place name.

A man on the beach, Durban.

A man on the beach, Durban.

The pier, Eastbourne.

The pier, Eastbourne.

Boats in Galle harbour, Sri Lanka.

Boats in Galle harbour, Sri Lanka.

The grounds of the Park Hyatt, Goa.

The grounds of the Park Hyatt, Goa.

Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef.

On lookout during the 4am-8am watch, 'Lord Nelson', Indian Ocean.

On lookout during the 4am-8am watch, ‘Lord Nelson’, Indian Ocean.

'Sudarshini' and 'Tarangini' of the Indian Navy, off Kochi.

‘Sudarshini’ and ‘Tarangini’ of the Indian Navy, off Kochi.

Fishing boats near Mauritius.

Fishing boats near Mauritius.

Sailboats at Opua, New Zealand.

Sailboats at Opua, New Zealand.

Mt Fishtail seen from Pokhara, Nepal.

Mt Fishtail seen from Pokhara, Nepal.

San Luis de Potosi, Mexico.

San Luis de Potosi, Mexico.

Sunrise over Sydney harbour (from my bed at the Shangri La hotel).

Sunrise over Sydney harbour (from my bed at the Shangri La hotel).

Rising sun captured in a gum tree, Sydney.

Rising sun captured in a gum tree, Sydney.

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Bench with a view: Coogee and Clovelly

Late afternoon, Coogee Beach.

Late afternoon, Coogee Beach.

You know the saying: every dark cloud has a silver lining. My particular dark cloud for the past two days has been having to endure a “corporate team-building event”, a peculiar mix of stultifying boredom and the stress brought on by the need to hide such boredom. My silver lining was that the event was held at a hotel in Coogee, which is a beach suburb just a few kilometres south of where I live. Free (at last!!) at 4:45pm today, I headed home along the coast path, savouring the treat of a weekday walk as the sun set.

I knew there were a number of benches en route, but not until I started to photograph them did I notice that they were not all the same. Wooden benches, metal benches, art benches — all with a view. Just the thing for another post for HeyJude’s Benches with a View!

A bench with very long legs! Late afternoon, Coogee Beach.

A bench with very long legs! Late afternoon, Coogee Beach.

This couple was more interested in each other than the view from their bench.

This couple was more interested in each other than in the view from their bench.

This bench looks down on Gordons Bay, a popular swimming, snorkelling and diving spot.

This bench looks down on Gordons Bay, a popular swimming, snorkelling and diving spot.

A row of sinuous metal benches at Clovelly.

A row of sinuous metal benches at Clovelly.

Near the lifeguard station, Clovelly.

Near the lifeguard station, Clovelly.

I had hoped for a more dramatic sunset, but the peacefulness of my last shot almost makes up for the lack of drama.

Watching the sun set, Clovelly.

Watching the sun set, Clovelly.

Image

Bench with a view: Ettalong Beach

Along the Esplanade, Ettalong Beach.

Along the Esplanade, Ettalong Beach.

Ettalong Beach is north of Sydney (see map at end of post). The entrance to Broken Bay is bracketed by Box Head on the north and Barrenjoey Head on the south (Barrenjoey  is visible on the right, above). The ocean spreads its fingers into Pittwater and Brisbane Water, and into the Hawkesbury River, creating a watery wonderland ideal for weekend escapes full of boating and sailing, fishing and swimming — or for just sitting on a bench to admire the view. For April, Jude’s Bench Series looks at benches with a view.

This woman has found a bench with a view.

This woman has found a bench with a view.

Another bench with a view.

Another bench with a view. If boats and water and trees aren’t your thing, you can always admire the swirling patterns of the sandstone.

Same bench as in the previous photo, but with a view of rain!

Same bench as in the previous photo, but with a view of rain!

ettalong-map

Blur: the train now leaving

Martin Place Station, Sydney, 9:14pm

Martin Place Station, Sydney, 9:14pm

After my evening at Opera on the Harbour last Tuesday, I found myself with 10 minutes to kill before my train arrived. What to do, what to do? I had my camera because I had taken photos at the opera, so I pulled it out and looked around. Hmm, limited possibilities: water fountain, ads, walls, fire extinguisher, benches … benches! Lovely metal benches, perfect for HeyJude’s bench challenge. I could hear a train coming, and thought it would make an interesting backdrop to a shot focused on the bench. But that photo was no good (too cluttered and too many people), and the train was slowing down so it dominated the shot.

Ah, but when the train left, it was perfect. You can make out the station name of Martin Place reflected in the blur of the train at high speed. The woman appeared just as I pressed the shutter button and my first thought was that she had ruined the shot, but she actually added a wonderful human element and a splash of colour. So I ended up with two examples of blur, one intentional and one not. (If you can’t make out the train, have a look at this photo (not mine) which shows one at rest, and you’ll understand the dark shiny look, faint stripes along the top and the pronounced horizontal line.)

I was saving this photo to use in September, when HeyJude’s theme will be metal benches, but it fit this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge too well not to use.