Oops, so I missed writing my blog 2 weekends in a row – my bad. But seriously sometimes life just gets in the way of writing and sometimes I just haven’t got anything to say.
Had a lovely weekend horse riding in the magnificent hills east of Gympie – the views were just incredible and the riding varied and sometimes challenging. We camped in the sports fields in Kinkin, a beautiful spot with good amenities, the pub right next door (had a scrumptious roast dinner there) and a lovely coffee shop across the road; so we were not exactly roughing it.
About 30km climbing up the hills and scrambling down again giving the horses a good workout. What amazed me were the mountain bike riders we met on the way. If I was fit I might have considered walking these tracks, but cycling? You got to be dedicated! Definitely prefer my horses legs to do the work.
A weekend like this seems to reset life and allows me to get back to business on Monday with renewed serenity and vigour. We all should have a hobby, whether horses or other things that allows us to gain distance from the daily grind and makes us appreciate the simpler pleasures.
We have the usual assortment of wildlife at our new place: all sorts of birds like magpies, peewees, kites, wagtails and more and of course various lizards and geckos and their prey, innumerable insects; but the first ones to greet us in the yard after we picked up the keys were kangaroos. Since then we have realized that our place has a whole family of sub tennants. Almost every morning and afternoon a mob of kangaroos wanders around the yard and paddocks and seems to look at us as the intruders. They are not shy and let me approach quite close, more curious than afraid. There is one very large one, presumably the male, a number of smaller females(?) and a few teenagers. All of them eating, playing and resting with apparently not a care in the world.
This morning I was pulling down the weed vines from the last few mandarine trees when I noticed 2 of the youngsters watching me with mum lying in the grass nearby totally unconcerned. It was not until I walked to the next tree about 3 or 4 metres away from the little ones and started working on that that mum raised her head and eventually said to her kids: that’s enough now, lets go. And they slowly made their way to the next paddock.
My yard, I hesitate to call it a garden, is an expanse of grass, sprinkled with a multitude of weeds that give colour and texture to the otherwise brown-green background, accentuated by some mainly native trees and shrubs, desperately clinging to life. I doubt I would even be allowed to enter the local garden competition. A gardener I aint.
But, if you look around you there are so many beautiful flowers hidden away in the foliage, birds of all sizes, some of them in fancy colours apparently enjoying my little paradise. What appeared at first glance not very appealling at all, suddenly opens up to all kinds of beautiful gems.
So this morning I grabbed the camera and started snapping away and was really surprised what came out of this exercise. I’m afraid I only photographed the things that stood still for me, so the birdlife is missing from the collection, as neither me nor my camera are up to producing something useful in that department.
Start to look deeper than the first glance, and you might be surprised what you can find.
There are photographs everywhere – we are being swamped by them; but are they good?
I grew up in a photographer’s family; my grandfather built a business from it and was recently featured in a BBC Documentary for his WW1 photographs he took as a teenager. The business is still going strong, now in the third generation – but what have I made of photography?
As a teenager, I managed to buy my dream camera, a Pentax SLR and I took photos wherever I went. I took my time working out the best angle, the best frame and generally did not take more than one or two photos per subject – film and developing was expensive, I tried to get it right first time. It was a relaxing pastime and preserved not just memories but also taught me to really ‘look’ at things, and to consider what makes them special.
Then the ‘little people’ came along and the SLR was too slow and cumbersome for snapshots, so I bought a ‘point and shoot’ camera. And my photography was just a quick click in between cleaning up spills and preventing disasters. Definitely not relaxing anymore! And the number and quality of my photos lessened considerably.
And then the digital cameras arrived! What a blast! You could click away and take 100s of shots without it costing you anything, you could check straight away how the picture turned out and reshoot if it was no good. You could do your own ‘developing’ and enlarging, printing, editing (it was called retouching in the good ole days) – it was heaven! But was it? The easier it became to take and fix photographs, the worse they got. There was no incentive to get it right, they can always be fixed up later on the computer (but they never were). And so we end up with hard drives full of very mediocre images, all waiting for that day when we sort through them all, discard the failures, and fix up the better ones. And photography becomes a thing you do at home at the computer desk.
STOP! Let’s get back to the ART of photography! Yes, there is a place for the quick snapshot to create a memento of that special moment (but not necessarily the food you ate) but, there is so much more to photography. You can express feelings, thoughts and things that are hard to put into words, you can create an atmosphere with your pictures, and it can be a very relaxing hobby. There are plenty of so-called challenges out there and they are a start. Or have a look at the ‘a photo a week’ or similar lists, that give you a subject for every week or day and get you back to thinking about the images you take. I’m not advocating to become a professional or prize winning photographer, but start looking at the world again through that little rectangle and just see what you can find. Take your camera, go out and really have a look at the world and try and see the things that make up the whole. Instead of taking a picture of the city skyline that can be found in hundreds of variations on the ‘net, have a look at the items that make up that skyline, concentrate on a small part and see what you can make of it.
And remember, it is not the camera that makes the photographer, there have been fantastic photographs that were taken with a Box Brownie.