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Let there be light(s)

House light - New Orleans

House light – New Orleans

It would be an exaggeration to describe lamps and lights along streets, houses and parks as my “muse“, but I do seem to take a lot of photos of them! I’m drawn to their shapes (which can be sinuous or angular), their symmetry in rows or clusters, and of course the way the light plays on them.

(click any image to view full size)

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Flying rainbows

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Rainbow lorrikeet looking for food in a palm tree.

Rainbow lorrikeets can be a real pain when a flock of the screeching, squabbling little guys settle outside your bedroom window at 5am, but there’s no denying they are cheeky, colourful characters.

Rainbow lorrikeet

Rainbow lorrikeet looking for food in a palm tree.

Click here to see another post with rainbow lorrikeeets

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Travel Album: On the Way: Sydney to San Francisco over the Pacific Ocean

The setting sun throws the engine cowling into harsh relief.

The setting sun throws the engine cowling into harsh relief.

On 23 May I flew from Sydney to San Francisco, on the way to Toronto. I didn’t get much sleep over the Pacific, but the stunning sunset and sunrise at 33,000ft made up for it — almost. 😉

As the sky darkens, a single bright star is visible above the band of intense sunset colour.

As the sky darkens, a single bright star is visible above the band of intense sunset colour.

Reflections in the engine cowling:

Sunrise:

Sunrise: the horizon is delicate shades of blue and pink, and the rising sun makes metal points on the wing glow as if they were lights.

The horizon is delicate shades of blue and pink, and the rising sun makes metal points on the wing glow as if they were lights.


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Intricate: Woven

Basket Vanuatu

Baskets woven from dried grass, on sale for tourists.

I’m slowly working through the backlog of photos I took in Vanuatu last November. Processing these images of woven baskets and ropework today, I thought they fit in well with Weekly Photo Challenge theme of intricate.

Basket Vanuatu

These woven baskets are a common sight, used by locals to carry a variety of goods. This photo was taken at the main market in Port Vila.

Rope and timber roof Vanuatu

Looking up at the bedroom ceiling in my resort (Eratap Beach Resort). I love how the craftsmen took the time to weave intricate patterns with the rope.

Lord Nelson, Indian Ocean, sunrise
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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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Descent to the caves of Taittinger

Eighteen metres (59 feet) below the ground in Reims, France, lie the caves of Taittinger, one of the finest producers of champagne. To make the descent to the caves, you must negotiate this spiral staircase.

spiral staircase to the Taittinger caves
The Taittinger caves occupy some of the vaults of the ancient Saint Nicaise Abbey. These stairs are in the old abbey vaults.
stairs from the old Saint Nicaise Abbey
In World War I, the caves were used as places of refuge for civilians and Allied soldiers. If you look closely, you can make out the year 1914 in this graffiti carved into the wall.
World War I graffiti in Taittinger caves
A pupitre with bottles is visible at the foot of these stairs. The bottles of champagne are placed in the pupitre and rotated so that the sediment collects in the necks.
pupitre at the base of the stairs
And this is what it’s all about…
Taittinger champagne
(The first four photos were taken in the caves of Taittinger in May 2005 on a poor quality print camera, and later scanned to digital. The final photo was taken in October 2014: the champagne in the glass is not Taittinger, but the backdrop is a bag from Taittinger; it appeared recently in this post.)

Psycho thriller, qu’est-ce que c’est?

In Your Sights by Elizabeth Krall

In Your Sights is a psychological thriller. A key theme of the novel is photo blogging, and the way we bloggers make friends with people we never actually meet; the way anyone can post anything, for the world to see. How would you feel if you stumbled across a photo of yourself on a stranger’s blog? How would you feel if you found two?

Confession: I wrote In Your Sights. It will be released in December this year. The Daily Post ‘cover art’ challenge was too good a fit to pass up!

The cover is based on a photo I took in August 2013 (unedited original below), at an art exhibition in an old industrial space in Sydney. Those bright pink cones are actually the tops of large pyramids of multi-coloured candies.

art exhibit, Cockatoo Island, Sydney 2013

And if you’re still reading — the title of this post is a take on a line from the classic Talking Heads’ song Psycho Killer.

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An experiment in refraction

Pink flamingo swizzle stick refraction

One well  known effect of the refraction of light as it passes from air to water is that a stick partially submerged in  water will appear to bend where it enters the water. Water is boring, and I don’t have any sticks, but in the interests of science I experimented to discover how much a pink flamingo swizzle stick will appear to bend when partially submerged in sparkling wine compared to in a martini. The results are quite different, which makes me wonder if the shape of the glass has anything to do with the effect?

The stick does appear to bend slightly as it enters the bubbly, but the effect is not dramatic. Interestingly, you can also see how the black line that swirls around the glass appears to 'jump' where it passes behind the wine-air boundary.

The stick does appear to bend slightly as it enters the bubbly, but the effect is not pronounced. Interestingly, you can also see how the black line that swirls around the glass appears to ‘jump’ where it passes behind the wine-air boundary on the right-hand side.

pink flamingo swizzle stick in martini

Now, here we have a dramatic bending effect! Look at that sharp zig zag shape in the stem of the swizzle stick. Also some very cool reflections happening inside the glass.

 

Oh, the things I do in the name of science!