Ravenous is a great word, don’t you think? There is something quite primal, urgent and debased about it. Or at least, that was its historical context but, at least outside of the bedroom, it is a word that has now attained some respectability and simply means very hungry. According to Mirriam-Webster, the noun “raven” (black bird) and the verb “raven” (from which the adjective “ravenous” is derived) are unrelated. They are homographs, which is a shame because I have a ravenous raven story. This is your chance, squeamish readers, to skip this story.Read more
Canberra (Australia) – Autumn delivers and April visitors.
I haven’t contributed to The Changing Seasons since December 2021. A lot has happened over the past four months, including health issues, poetry, completion of a major mosaic project and the start of a new front garden. Apart from the health matters, the garden has taken priority because we have to get it in now ahead of the next, inevitable, drought. In the regular garden, we had to abandon the tomatoes and beans to the rodents this year. They have been very hungry (we caught three and Makea, our dog, caught one). Nevertheless, we still managed to harvest three pumpkins from vines we did not plant. The fig tree went bonkers and produced two huge bumper crops. The rodents got stuck into the first crop but we managed to score some figs from the second batch by securing Elizabethan collars around the trunk of the tree to prevent the rats from climbing up the tree. I also collected a small tub of feijoa today, our first ever crop in more than two decades that we have lived at our house in Canberra.Read more
Long slender legs to her armpits;
beautiful eyes flashed her carnal intent.
He had been looking for her his whole life.
Their eyes locked,
bodies swaying together in lovers’ embrace.
A question hung between them.
He: “What do you want?”
She: “To devour you.”
And then he lost his head.
This poem was inspired by two mating praying mantises I photographed last week. Sometimes the female mantis, the smaller of the two, eats the head of the male mantis during copulation. The male is able to continue the deed without his head for a short time as apparently he has a separate mini-brain in his abdomen. Talk about being ruled by the little head! I confess that I had to look away.
Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge was to write a poem that anthropomorphises a kind of food, and ask yourself how the food feels about it.
Bon Appétit, everyone.
For information on the copulating appetites of praying mantises, here is an article from The Guardian.
Some thoughts on bokeh for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. This is not a tutorial on bokeh.
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.Read more
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?Read more
My True Love and my eldest son recently went on a spotlighting expedition. I stayed home because my night vision is poor and the terrain they were covering is very steep. They went into Greater Glider territory. Greater Gliders are nocturnal. They live in the trees, nesting in tree hollows, and can glide up to 100 metres at a time. I expect the Greater Glider will soon be listed as endangered given the impact of the deadly 2019/2020 Australian bushfires and ongoing land clearing across their range. It was a successful night. The lads came home with a photo of eye shine.
I’ve been learning some nifty PS edits. I added the arrow to the photo! Night photography is not our forté. But hey, this is not a David Attenborough documentary, so we make do. Next, I lightened the image. Ta da!
Let’s get closer.
Here’s what they really look like.
I hope you enjoyed this night out.
Canberra (Australia) – A veil of green pools on valley floor. Grey-filled sky billows adding to uncertainty. Will I or won’t I go for a walk? We put on our gardening gear and gumboots to dig in the loam once labelled the garden bed of death. Intermittent sunlight sounds of engines thrumming, dogs barking, bees humming and tiles cracking. Beyond Canberra, on the vast flood plains of eastern Australia, rivers rise, fall and rise again.Read more
Each month, Jude hosts a colour challenge, Life in Colour. The colour for November is black and/or grey.
This may be my last contribution to this month’s colour challenge. Or possibly not if the sky keeps crying. Today, I have four photos to share. Three were taken by my True Love. I managed only one which is a damn sight more than was achieved at Cop26.Read more
Canberra (Australia) – Mid spring and all systems go.
We had the luck of the Ken Behrens this month. Canberra avoided the damaging storms and tornadoes that have hit other parts of eastern Australia. Daily infections of Covid in the city dropped to single digits on the back of the highest vaccination rate in Australia. Non-essential retail businesses have begun to open for in-store shopping bringing joy to Canberra shopaholics. Students began returning to schools and next month, more people will be back in the office. Excitedly, Canberra is ready to welcome back travellers from other parts of Australia and from overseas. It was a good month for plants and animals too, and, of course, I was delighted about the return of daylight savings and warmer temperatures (albeit some days have been freezing). It was all systems go on my mosaic project too.Read more