In the groove

Tom Ward, Vivid, Sydney, 2014-05-28

Tom Ward, Vivid, Sydney
Split Second: 28/05/2014 – 7:20:24 PM

This photograph captures a split second in a performance by Tom Ward. His hands are usually a blur and his head is usually bowed over his guitar, but in this one moment one he seems lost in contemplation: in the groove.

Tom Ward is a musician I have often seen playing on the streets of Sydney. I was lucky enough to come across him on Wednesday evening in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, playing for the crowds who had come out in the unusually warm evening weather to watch this year’s Vivid light festival.

To see this very talented guitarist in action, check out this YouTube video of him playing at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh.


A twist on lunch

I have become addicted to the vegemite cheese twists sold in the supermarket across the road from my office. I am not the only one, judging from the empty basket in the ‘serve yourself’ bakery section that dashes my hopes at least half of the time I want to buy one.

Look at this lovely, crispy, flaky golden pastry, its two strands lovingly entwined; admire those bubbles of melted cheese, the darkened scrapes of baked vegemite.

Who could resist? Not me.

Vegemite cheese twist

But I really do have to stop eating my photo props!

Gold anklets and ornaments, burial, Tillye Tepe ('Hill of Gold’).

Hidden treasures

(click any image to expand the gallery)

The objects in this gallery span 2,000 years of history in what is present-day Afghanistan. Until the middle of the 20th century, they were among the most prized pieces on display at the National Museum, Kabul.

In the mid-1970s, the museum’s collection numbered 100,000; by the mid-1990s, after years of war and violence, only 4,000 remained. Another 2,500 were destroyed following the Taliban’s edict against idolatrous objects. The museum building itself was bombed and over-run.

However, at high personal risk, a handful of museum staff spirited away some of the most precious objects. Until 2003, they lay undisturbed in vaults below the presidential palace. Following verification of their authenticity, and restoration in France, the artefacts have been touring the world as an exhibition since 2008.

How are we to regard these objects? Archaeological artefacts, cultural history, museum displays, precious jewellery, works of art? If you get the chance, see the exhibition and decide for yourself.

The exhibition contains objects from the late Bronze Age settlement of Tepe Fullol; a city founded by Alexander the Great, Ai Khanum; a merchant’s storeroom from the Silk Road depot of Begram; and a burial ground called Tillye Tepe, which means ‘Hill of Gold’, so named for the astonishing volume and array of gold objects.


Messing about in a boat

On the move - Lord Nelson in the Indian Ocean.

On the move – Lord Nelson in the Indian Ocean.

This morning, I made a provisional booking for another long voyage on this tall ship. This time, the Jubilee Sailing Trust‘s Lord Nelson (‘Nellie’) will be on the move from the Pacific coast of Panama, through the Panama Canal, coast-hopping along Costa Rica then over to Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, before finishing in Cuba.

My booking is ‘provisional’ due to two factors: a watchleader spot still available (half price!), and my employer agreeing to five weeks off work next January/February. I figure they survived me being away for nine weeks to do the Indian Ocean in 2012, so five should be a mere formality. 😉

(Update: although I was indeed granted 5 weeks off work, the JST cancelled this voyage due to insufficient bookings. Not impressed.)


A Celebration of Chocolate by Elizabeth Krall

Sometimes, you need chocolate.

A Celebration of Chocolate by Elizabeth Krall You know how it is. You’re writing something – a thesis, an article, an essay, a short story, a novel – and you need a little pick-me-up, a little burst of inspiration.
Sometimes, you need chocolate.
My third novel is proving to be much more of a challenge to write than the first two. So, from time to time, for light relief, I turn to my other work-in-progress. “A Celebration of Chocolate” will be a light mix of fun, facts and photos (fotos?).
All of the photographs will be my own, which means setting up the light, arranging the props, charging the camera. And then there is the thorny question of what to do with the props when the shoot is done.
In a post called So I ate it, on my writing blog, I described what I did with the props from the shoot for the cover of ‘Toast to Go’. Yeah, you know what I’m doing with the props!

There’s no doubt that chocolate is more palatable to dispose of than cold toast. 😉


Get the shot

blue pens on a blue carpet in front of a blue door

At work yesterday, we needed a quirky photo to illustrate a financial adviser dealergroup called Affinia (don’t ask why). This photo is one of the ideas we had. Check out the carpet texture — blurred in the foreground, crisp by the in-focus pen. Yes, you know how I got that shot: lying on the carpet.

The strange thing is that I work for a life insurance company with 1,000+ people in the building. We weren’t on our own floor (different carpet, no blue doors) so the people nearby didn’t know us — yet no one batted an eyelid at the sight of a middle-aged woman in office clothes lying on the floor to take photos of pens piled against a door! There were no curious glances, no questions, and people walking past detoured around me on the flooor.

Who ever said insurance was boring?