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The view from the window: The Grand Canyon Railway

Looking forward from the dome car.

Looking forward from the dome car.

Not the usual view of a train! How often does one get to see the top of the carriages? The feature photo is looking up through a ceiling window in the dome car.


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Random Fridays: Rainy afternoon in The Rocks

Paving stones and leaves glisten in the rain.

Paving stones and leaves glisten in the rain.

It’s remarkable how colours and textures come alive when they’re wet. I doubt I would have noticed this passageway in The Rocks otherwise. This photo was taken on the same afternoon as those in my Changing Seasons: January post. (BTW, for readers who haven’t heard of “The Rocks”, it’s the part of Sydney that was first settled by Europeans and is so-called due to the, um, rocky nature of the area. It has an interesting history, which you can read about here.)


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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!


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Monochrome: fog and raindrops

Grand Canyon in the rain.

Grand Canyon in the rain.

This was my first view of Grand Canyon: a monochrome world of washed-out blue-greys. To say I was disappointed would be gross understatment! I did not even leave the bus. Click here to see another monochrome photo taken a few minutes after this one, but of vibrant greens and reflections caught in a raindrop hanging suspended from the tip of a branch.


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Rainy days and Mondays

Do you know that song with the line “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down“? Well, today’s a Monday, and it’s raining, which means a double dose of the blues. 😦 So I thought I’d share some rainy photos with you.

Even drenched in rain, nothing smells as heavenly as a frangipani (plumeria) flower.

Even drenched in rain, nothing smells as heavenly as a frangipani (plumeria) flower.

Raindrops on my window.

Raindrops on my window.

Sunrise caught in raindrops on the rail, 'Lord Nelson' in the Indian Ocean.

Sunrise caught in raindrops on the rail, ‘Lord Nelson’ in the Indian Ocean.

Sunny Bali.

Sunny Bali.

No one sitting on these park benches in Monterrey, Mexico.

No one sitting on these park benches in Monterrey, Mexico.

Behind the scenes: unknown to me, my mother snapped a photo of me shooting the raindrops on the park bench. That's my father with the umbrella!

Behind the scenes: unknown to me, my mother snapped a photo of me shooting the raindrops on the park bench. That’s my father with the umbrella!