Hello Everyone, I am not quite in the pink of health but I am improving. I was feeling not too bad about my current circumstances after seeing the doctor for a pre-arranged check-up (not related to my illness) today. That was, until I got home ….
My True Love asked whether the doctor had looked in my ears? But no, he hadn’t. I told the doctor that I couldn’t hear well (ie. very limited), but he didn’t check my ears. There were other things to discuss that I could barely hear. My TL suggested that the doctor may have interpreted that to mean that I was just getting old and suffering from age-related hearing loss! Nothing to worry about that my hearing aids (left at home) couldn’t fix. My son suggested that the sloshing in my ear might be because I had puss on the eardrum. So I panicked and resorted to Dr Google. The prognosis is not good. I could have permanent hearing loss or cancer of the nose, or another two week wait to see the doctor for an ear infection that requires antibiotics now. I could have a prophylactic antihistamine and I did.
Needless to say, readers, it has been a shitty few weeks of flu-like symptoms. Since I was the only one in the family that was too busy to get a flu shot and the only one who succumbed to this horrible lurgy, then one and one is … I dunno. Anyway, I had my flu shot today.
Anyway, anyway, let’s have a flower photo to pink things up here.
Hope you are all in the pink. Take care, everyone.
Is a nondescript plant unworthy of the lingering gaze? Must the ugly duckling metamorphise into that beautiful swan? Does a light shine with none to see it, invisible when eyes are closed?
The winter woodland keeps its secrets. Echo chambers climb from forest floor until – tendril – summer’s fertile heat provides the desiccant, the bluffer and ephemera of nature’s final call.
I read a recent disparaging comment about the lovely Australian native climber, Clematis microphylla. Perhaps you are yet to discover it or if you have, perhaps you have been underwhelmed? Be patient, dear Readers, and look again.
After a busy break doing the usual stuff, my True Love and I headed off to the Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG) for a relaxing New Year’s Eve stroll. To be frank, I find NYE rather a trial due to the inevitable illegal fireworks and a small dog who is terrified of them. I imagine it is not only small dogs that are terrified. The birds and animals at the ANBG get to hear and see the official fireworks show. At least that show is time-limited, unlike the unofficial ones which seem to go off all night.
This year I expected the firework shenanigans to be worse than usual because earlier pandemic restrictions seem to have caused more than the usual number of idiots to have slithered out of their holes. I asked my TL whether I should speak to those who had gone crackers but my TL suggested that would not be a good idea if I wanted to live til morning. So I didn’t. One friend in another city did tell her neighbours to fornicate with their illegal fireworks and lived to tell the tale. She may regret this next year when they let off even more.
As I keep saying over and over again, there are worse things than snakes, ladies and gentlemen.
By the way, after a two year break due to the pandemic, the ACT Herpetological Association in partnership with the ANBG, is again hosting Snakes Alive! from 9-15 January 2023. It is great fun for kids and adults alike. See here for details.
Anyway, happy 2023, everyone. I hope it is a bloody good one.
Kind Regards. Tracy.
About the Photos The photos of the red-browed finch and the bearded dragon were taken by my True Love. All the other ones were snapped by me.
I once thought “bokeh” referred to the circles, sometimes sparkly, that you often see in the background of a photo taken with a macro or telephoto lens. I’ve moved on from that and I now like to think of bokeh as the aura surrounding the subject of the photo, the bokeh being that little bit of voodoo magic performed by the camera to blur out the background so that the subject has centre stage. That is purely my artistic view and not a technical definition. I prefer my bokeh soft and calm and not swishy/choppy, but this is easier said than done. The exception to that is when the bokeh is being used for creative effect. If for any reason it is not possible to achieve the effect desired, I would rather take the photo “as is”, and enjoy what I’ve seen. Hence, you will see less than perfect bokeh on my site. Hopefully, the photos will still be interesting.
A messy background, my position and camera shake affected the quality of the bokeh/aura in my photo of this kookaburra below. The bokeh is not to my taste but how could you not love a face like that?
Now for my photography partner’s photo. He was further up the hill than I was and his extra height meant that he was able to access a much nicer background, and hence, lovely bokeh.
Look! Even with my little camera, I can still achieve a lovely blurred background if I am lucky to find myself close to my subject and there is a reasonable amount of separation between it and the background.
It is difficult to capture that lovely blurred background effect with fast moving little birds. A really fancy camera or lots of patience is required. I therefore like to see what my little camera can make of plants. Trees in sheltered spots are great for this. The filtered light provides a beautiful tonal calm backdrop to the bark of this Pinus canarienis at Canberra’s Lyndsay Pryor Arboretum. The dark colour of the bark is a result of being burnt in the 2003 bushfires.
And below, I couldn’t resist the combination of the young eucalyptus leaves against the muted yellow plants in the background (probably paper daisies like those in the foreground), which were themselves set against the darker green of the heavily shaded area in the far back. I wouldn’t classify this as bokeh or an aura, but without my camera to see this stunning plant against the blurred background, it might not have caught my eye so. My botanist son’s best guess is that the tree is a native of Western Australia, Eucalyptus macrocarpa. WA plants are always show stoppers. What do you think, WA readers? Did my son guess right?
And, finally, this creamy milk chocolate background is a perfect complement to the fungi growing in fallen timber. Photography can be such a time waster but there are worse things we could be doing.
Thanks for reading this far, everyone. I have a couple more photos of the kookaburra that I will share soon. In the meantime, take care and take photos.
I have been rather quiet over the last few months living my ordinary life in extraordinary times. Ordinary does not mean dull or insignificant. Such is life in these days of extremes. I have spent an inordinate amount of time at my special place, ie. home. It might not be perfect, posh or pristine, but it has everything we need. Every window has a view of the garden and its inhabitants.
Canberra (Australia) – If I poke December, it dissolves like it never was. If I poke December, it stammers and clamours. It beckons and repels. It comes and it goes. Certain and uncertain. Before reaching, a resolution?
I felt anxious and grey during June, perhaps mirroring the inclement winter weather and the times, but here I am, on the eve of July. Soon the wattle will be blooming gold and the landscape will extrude from its current camo coat of green and brown.
I barely managed to pick up the camera but spurred on by my supporters, the crested pigeons, I began. Fluffed up, a crested pigeon warms up in a pocket of sun.
Canberra (Australia) – September keeps us guessing. We smell the spring flowers while we are still Covid-free. This requires a visit or two to the Australian National Botanic Gardens. It has been 80 days since Canberra (the national capital of Australia) has recorded a case of Covid-19. My month is filled with medical appointments, getting in while the going is good. Survivor-guilt sets in. The threat of magpies swooping hangs over our heads.
There is sufficient material for a blog post on each of those topics, so I won’t bore you with the nitty gritty details of my September shenanigans here. I might have to say something in future though about the Prime Minister, who after consulting with the Property Council, has issued an edict that public servants should return to the office (where safe to do so, consistent with Covidsafe plans, blahdeblah) so they can spend their hard-earned dollars on coffee and lunch at CBD cafes. I don’t know how in heck, the PM expects the workforce will transport themselves safely to the office.
Now where was I? That’s right .. the Botanic Gardens. My friend convinced me that we should go out for coffee. So I went out. We went to the gardens. It was lovely but I couldn’t be so rude as to take copious photos, so I went back another day. And then another. We’ve had many grey rainy days, some sunny days too, so many of the photos from the gardens are dark and moody. All the photos in this post come from those visits, so I hope you like flowers and birds, and bearded dragons.
Some Enchanted Garden
Spring in the gardens. Cacophony of sound. Air vibrates and rumbles, zips and whirs. Colours flash and tantalise, the smell divine. Senses say stay a while. My mind wanders. A world away.
How green, or black and white, is your garden?
Purple invites a closer look and calms the senses.
Red is generous and racy.
This September, the world lost some incredible women, champions of gender equality and inclusiveness – Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Australian singer-songwriter, Helen Reddy; and former Australian senator and minister, the Honourable Susan Ryan. Ms Ryan is Australia’s equivalent to America’s RBG. Susan Ryan fought for and secured the passage of the Sex Discrimination Act in 1984. She also had significant public roles advocating against age and disability discrimination.
About The Photos I dragged my True Love to the Botanic Gardens one weekend. He is still recovering from his Achilles heel tendon tear, so he shuffled along with his camera. He took the photos of the bearded dragon with the purple flowers in the background, the bright yellow “Twistie” like flowers (Twisties are a type of cheese curl, corn-based snack food product), and in fading light, the shenanigans of a pair of gang-gang cockatoos. I took all the other photos.