Image

The Changing Seasons – Sydney: January

"Voyager of the Seas" moored alongside the Overseas Passenger Terminal.

In Sydney, summer means cruise ships! This is “Voyager of the Seas” moored alongside the Overseas Passenger Terminal.

I wasn’t sure how to approach Cardinal Guzman’s “The Changing Seasons” monthly photo challenge. Two problems arose. One was that by the time I learned about the challenge on 27 January, all the things that characterise Sydney in January (the festival, the outdoor concerts, Australia Day) had passed. Second, and perhaps bigger, is that the seasons don’t really change in Sydney! Oh yes, in winter the non-native trees lose their leaves, but we have green grass, flowering shrubs and palm trees year-round; there are no dramatic snowfalls or ice storms or frosts to contrast with gentler weather. As for the first problem, the cardinal reminded me that there’s more to life than just highlights; as for the second, well, maybe Sydney will have a freak snowstorm this winter!

Yesterday I had a couple of hours to kill between social engagements, so I decided to see if I could capture some January photos. I was in the Opera House-Circular Quay-Rocks areas.

Australia Day may have come and gone, but some banners remain.

Australia Day banner near the Museum of Contemporary Art

Australia Day banner near the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Now here is something you don’t see every day: a pop-up gin bar. It’s associated with an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art and runs all summer.

If gin’s not your thing, you could just chill on a deck chair and watch the world go by.

Or perhaps you prefer a blue-striped deck chair?

Or perhaps you prefer a blue-striped deck chair?

One thing has characterised our season this January: violent thunderstorms. The hot, humid days mean torrential rain and driving winds hit the city almost every day, usually around the early evening rush hour. They cause power outages, wind damage and traffic chaos. 30 January was no different: by 5pm, it was a case of when, not if!

Very ominous sky over the harbour bridge.

Very ominous sky over the harbour bridge.

Umbrellas up! These are security guards by the cruise ship.

Tourists and Sydneysiders alike headed for home — but at a leisurely stroll. No need to panic.

Wet paving stones gleaming in the first fall of rain.

Wet paving stones gleaming in the first fall of rain.

The heavens opened and it was no time for waving a camera around. I took shelter at the Overseas Passenger Terminal along with a few dozen others. Now was the time to panic.

Do you really get less wet if you run?

Do you really get less wet if you run?

Those deck chairs don’t look so inviting any more, do they?

Blown-out deck chairs in the storm.

Blown-out deck chairs in the storm.

I had never noticed this statue on the roof of the art museum before. I like how it’s pointing up at the storm!

Hey look, it's raining! Again!

Hey look, it’s raining! Again!

Perhaps the only good thing about these violent January storms is that they don’t last long. The sky soon brightened.

A patch of blue sky!

A patch of blue sky!

“Voyager of the Seas” was down to only a few mooring lines, about to head off to sea. And I had to head off to meet my friends.

Ready to go.

Ready to go.

That’s it for January in Sydney. I just squeaked in under the deadline!


monthly-challenge

A vibrant rainbow of red, orange, yellow, green peppers
Ducklings and fountain
Image

S for Spider

long legged spider in web

Creepy but compelling!

This is a St Andrew’s Cross spider, so-named because of the bright zig-zag ‘decorations’ that can form a full or partial cross on the web. (This spider has so far managed only one arm of the cross.) I came across it while walking along Cremorne Point on Sydney’s north shore. The colours and patterns of the markings are beautiful, even in black and white. The feature photo at top is the same spider but seen from below, and looking very monster-ish with this treatment — but don’t worry, the bite of a St Andrew’s Cross spider is not toxic to humans, and they are not aggressive.

Cee’s black and white photo challenge this week is anything that begins with an S.

bw-badge

Image

Random Fridays: Venetian mask

There's something eerie about those empty eyes ...

There’s something eerie about those empty eyes …

Masks such as this are common souvenirs from Venice. I bought this one in 1991 and it has travelled with me on my various moves between hemispheres ever since. I wish I could read music, because I’d like to know if the notations along the top are real music or just decoration.


random-fridays-logo-2

Image

Random Fridays: Ultraviolet leaves

purple-leaves

Ultraviolet salad, anyone?

There’s a salad store in a food court near my office that has a display of leaves growing in boxes all along one wall. During the day the plants are the usual plant-like green, but at night, when most of the lights are turned off, they glow a peculiar violet colour in what I assume is special nocturnal lighting just for them.


random-fridays-logo-2