Me and Monet

Monet had his water lilies; I have my yellow Osteospermums. Like Claude Monet, I find myself coming back to the same subject in different lights. But that, I fear, is all I have in common with the great Impressionist painter!

osteopermums at sunrise

The plants are backlit by the rising sun, which gives the whole photo a warm orange-yellow glow.
The extreme zoom has blurred the gum tree in the background, adorned by ‘specular highlights’ that glitter like jewels on the leaves.

Another day, another photo of osteopermums at sunrise.

Another day, another photo of
osteospermums at sunrise.

Slightly later in the morning, and the golden glow is fading.

Slightly later in the morning,
and the golden glow is fading.

The flowers are their natural yellow in the clear sharp light of a winter afternoon.

The flowers are their natural yellow in the clear sharp light of a winter afternoon.

An extreme zoom in the afternoon, with just one or two flowers in focus against a cloudless sky.

An extreme zoom in the afternoon, with just one or two flowers in sharp focus against a cloudless sky.

Claude Monet deserves a look in, too: this is one of the Nymphae (water lily) panels at the Orangerie, Paris.

Claude Monet deserves a look in, too:
this is one of his Nymphaea (water lily) panels
at the Orangerie, Paris.

And just for a laugh, a photograph I took of water lilies in Goa, India -- also hanging in the Orangerie.

And just for a laugh, a photograph I took of water lilies in Goa, India
— also hanging in the Orangerie. 😉

From sunrise in the first photo, to sunset in this one.

From sunrise in the first photo, to sunset in this one.

Breakfast with a Kookaburra

Friday morning at 7am, I put my corn flakes on the table and pulled up the blind on my balcony door
to find a Kookaburra perched on the gum tree in front of my flat. (How Aussie is that?!
All that was missing was a kangaroo hopping past, though we don’t get a lot of them in Sydney.
Mind you, I did spot a possum on the tree late one night! It seemed as surprised as I was.)
The bird took no notice of me moving around, and very obligingly posed for a number of photos
— by which time my corn flakes were a soggy mess.

Kookaburra in a gum tree, Sydney, July 2013.

Kookaburra in a gum tree, shortly after sunrise,
Sydney, 26 July 2013.

The sun poked over the clouds blanketing the horizon, giving a lovely orange tinge to the bird's feathers.

The sun poked over the clouds hugging the horizon,
giving a lovely backlight to the bird’s feathers.

I wonder caught its attention?

I wonder what caught its attention?

I ventured onto the balcony (briefly! it was only 7 deg Celsius at 7am!)  but the best line of sight was from my lounge room window.

I ventured onto the balcony
(briefly! it was only 7 deg Celsius at 7am!)
but the best line of sight was from my lounge room window.

You’ve probably heard the term “Laughing Kookaburra”.
They really do sound like crazy human laughter —
there’s no mistaking when one is in the neighbourhood!
I always wonder what the white people of the First Fleet in 1788 made of
this sound echoing through their rough tent settlement.
Luckily for me, my breakfast companion was silent.  🙂
You can listen to one here.

A Word A Week Challenge – Roof

Do you know the “A Word a Week Challenge”? It’s a great opportunity for photographers to share their shots on a common theme. This week’s word is: Roof. Here are my entries.

The Forbidden City, Beijing, China.

A roofline in the Forbidden City, Beijing, China.

San Francisco roofs at sunrise.

San Francisco roofs at sunrise.

Rooftops in Vejer, Spain.

Rooftops in Vejer, Spain.

Gargoyles on a roof in Toronto.

Gargoyles on a roof in Toronto.

Rooftops in Nice, France.

Rooftops in Nice, France.

Reflections 1

We all have eyes; we all see. Yet what we see is filtered by our minds, our experiences, our expectations. Sometimes, a reflected vision offers a new way of seeing. A world is on offer; go see it.

Venice Italy mask bridge reflection

Venice, Italy: Possibly my favourite ‘Reflections’ photo. I love the arched stairs and balustrade of the bridge behind me reflected in the window, the enigmatic stare of the largest mask, and the way the ones along the bottom seem to be gossiping among themselves.

Zahara de los Atunes Spain sunset reflection

Zahara de los Atunes, Spain: Sunset reflected in a copper urn (me, too, if you look closely!).

San Luis de Potosi Mexico sunrise reflection

San Luis de Potosi, Mexico: Sunrise in the window of my hotel room.

The Entrance Australia reflection

The Entrance, Australia: An infinity of bridge pylons at dusk — and one duck.

Bondi Beach Australia reflection

Bondi Beach, Australia: Winter sunset reflected in the sand at low tide.

Vejer de la Frontera Spain reflection

Vejer de la Frontera, Spain: White stucco walls reflected in the window of a shop selling fans.

Adelaide Botanic Gardens Australia reflection

Adelaide Botanic Gardens, Australia: The gardens reflected in the sculpture, and the sculpture reflected in the pond.

Bolivia rail bridge reflection

An overland journey from Brazil to Equador, somewhere in Bolivia: Our driver and tour guide, reflected in the rear view mirror of the truck (“No es un bus! Es un camion!”) just before she drove across the railway bridge.

Bronte Beach in winter

“Winter in Sydney is like summer in London, but without the rain.” I remember reading that somewhere before I moved from London to Sydney (for the first time) in 1999. Okay, it’s an exaggeration, but on a winter’s day such as this one, with cloudless skies and temps of 20deg Celsius, it’s hard to argue!

One of my favourite things to do on a day like this is walk by the ocean. I live only a 10-minute walk from Bronte Beach, so it’s often where I start off.

empty life guard station

An empty life guard station.

The walk from home to beach takes me along Bronte Gully, a small slice of regenerated wilderness following the path of a stream down the hill to the beach. In summer, it’s a cool, shady respite from the heat.

Bronte Gully

Bronte Gully – the pond above the waterfall.

Bronte Gully - the waterfall.

Bronte Gully – the waterfall.

Surfers and swimmers must share the beach with seagulls.

seagulls

Seagulls on the edge of the shallow pool formed by rocks.

seagulls and surf

The seagulls don’t seem very bothered by the surf breaking behind them.

seagulls and surf

I love the simple contrasts of blue, green and white in this photo.

At the south end of the beach is the swimming pool, washed by the waves. Walking along the shore to the swimming pool, you’ll find rock pools, their trapped waters reflecting everything around them.

rock pool

Trapped water reflects sky and rocks.

rocks

Striated rocks below the edge of the swimming pool.

The swimming pool looks out to the ocean, and on days with less calm waters the waves crash over the sides and onto the swimmers.

swimming pool

An infinity of water, in the pool and in the ocean.

And, of course, Bronte is one of Sydney’s prime surfing spots.

surfers

Surfers in their wet suits look like seals bobbing in the passing swells.