Monday, 30 April 2012

Playing with fire

1/100 @ f5 39mm ISO 400 tripod and cable release

A while back I went to a photo meetup in Parramatta Park. One of the models from that shoot does fire twirling and asked if we would be interested in photographing him and his mates. Would we?!! A beautiful evening at Shelly Beach across from Manly, 7 boys playing with fire and 20 photographers having a wonderful time.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Friday, 27 April 2012

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Museum of Contemporary Art - looking out

One thing the new gallery does have is a view, or views. Top, from the cafe and sculpture garden on the top level. Middle, looking back down the stairs and through the entrance. Bottom, from the glass fronted lift.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Lest We Forget

Australian Memorial

This week we go back, way, way back. Its ANZAC Day in Australia and, in commemoration, here are some photos from Gallipoli taken on my very first trip overseas in 1979. They were taken on an overland bus trip from Kathmandu to London - 40 youngsters on a bus for three and a half months, half of which was camping. It turned me off group travel but completely hooked me on travelling. (I still do group tours but only small group ones, my preference is definitely for independent travel.)

ANZAC Cove - those are poppies in  the foreground.

It was really interesting to see a group of rowdy, hard drinking, youngsters (myself included) fall silent and wander quietly around the site in groups of two or three. It was an extremely moving and atmospheric place.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

This is an entry in Julie's Taphophile Tragics meme.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Museum of Contemporary Art - inside

Inside there's a lot of polished concrete and glass which is all rather grey but I did like the brightly painted toilets. I didn't have time to look at the gallery proper but, from a quick glance into one of the rooms, it looks worth another visit.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Museum of Contemporary Art - outside

This is the new extension to the Museum of Contemporary Art. I was quite prepared to hate it but found I was quite indifferent to it. I don't particularly like it but its not as obtrusive as I'd expected. From a distance its a nonentity in the cityscape.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Easter Show (8)

This is a bilby, a highly endangered and very cute, species of bandicoot. At Easter, instead of chocolate eggs and bunnies, try a chocolate bilby and help to save the species. This one is a large male.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Taphophile Tragics

The grave of Rev and Mrs MacDonald. Mrs MacDonald is better known as Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of the beloved Anne of Green Gables series of children's books. A visit to Prince Edward Island in Canada is a thoroughly enjoyable pilgrimage for lovers of her books.

For more taphophilia please visit Julie's Taphophile Tragics

Monday, 16 April 2012

Easter Show (6)

Getting ready for competition with a wash, brush, polish and, of course, new shoes.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Monochrome Weekend/Easter Show (5)

They also have domestic animals in competition at the Show. This is the only decent cat picture I managed to get. I wanted to see the Abysinians but they weren't being show that day. Here is a big sook of an Oriental (unfortunately with his eyes closed).

For more monochrome madness, visit Dragonstar's Weekend in Black and White.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Sky Watch Friday/Easter Show (4)

More of what the city kids go to the Show for. Things that go up and down and round and round very fast.

For more Sky Watch from around the world, drop in to the home of Sky Watch Friday.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Easter Show (3)

More of what the Show's really about. The blokes from the bush in the horse pavilion.

The country schools bring their animals down for the competitions.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Easter Show (2)

What the Show is really about is a celebration of the State's agriculture and the people behind it. They exhibit their produce and animals and compete for Best in Show. These are the District Exhibits, a showcase of produce from the different regions. The wonderful mural at the back of the Western Districts exhibit if made from wool.

I was also taken with the Southern Districts exhibit with its likenesses of women agriculturalists made from seeds.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Taphophile Tragics

Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith II (November 2, 1860 – July 8, 1898) was an American con artist and gangster who had a major hand in the organized criminal operations of Denver, Colorado; Creede, Colorado; and Skagway, Alaska, from 1879 to 1898. He was killed in the famed Shootout on Juneau Wharf. He is perhaps the most famous confidence man of the Old West.

On 7 July 1898, John Douglas Stewart, a returning Klondike miner, came to Skagway with a sack of gold valued at $2,700 ($71,093 in 2009 dollars. Three gang members convinced the miner to participate in a game of three-card monte. When Stewart balked at having to pay his losses, the three men grabbed the sack and ran. The "Committee of 101" demanded that Soapy return the gold, but he refused, claiming that Stewart had lost it "fairly".
On the evening of 8 July 1898, the vigilantes organized a meeting on the Juneau Company wharf. With a Winchester rifle draped over his shoulder, Soapy began an argument with Frank Reid, one of four guards blocking his way to the wharf. A gunfight, known as the Shootout on Juneau Wharf began unexpectedly, and both men were fatally wounded.

Soapy's last words were "My God, don't shoot!" Letters from J. M. Tanner, one of the guards with Reid that night, indicate that another guard fired the fatal shot. Soapy died on the spot with a bullet to the heart. He also received a bullet in his left leg and a severe wound on the left arm by the elbow. Reid died 12 days later with a bullet in his leg and groin area. The three gang members who robbed Stewart received jail sentences.

Soapy Smith was buried several yards outside the city cemetery. Every year on 8 July, wakes are held around the United States in Soapy's honor. His grave and saloon are on most tour itineraries of Skagway.

“He gave his life for the honour of Skagway”

For more taphophilia please visit Julie's Taphophile Tragics.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Easter Show

These two images are, to me, quintessential Easter Show. The Dagwood Dog (aka Pluto Pup), a hotdog dipped in batter, deep fried and covered in tomato sauce. I chanced upon a family indulging in this festive treat. Here's dad and the boys, mum had better taste than to partake. I've never tried one and doubt that I ever will. I'm sure they taste every bit as disgusting as they look.

The Showbag. A parent's nightmare and a child's delight. Horribly expensive bags filled with sugar in all its incarnations and colourful bits of plastic junk.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Sky Watch Friday

Friday afternoon.

What a difference a day makes.

Saturday morning.

For more Sky Watch from around the world, drop in to the home of Sky Watch Friday.

Thursday, 5 April 2012


I met Adelaide at the Blue Mountains Music Festival a couple of weekends ago. She told me she has been colouring her hair for ages and sometimes the pink bits are black.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Festival goers in the mist

Blue Mountains Music Festival, Katoomba

The Friday afternoon was hot and sunny, Friday night beautiful. Then came Saturday, in rolled the mist, down came the rain but we stayed and the music was good.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Taphophile Tragics

St Clement's Church (Tur Chliamainn), or the Church of Rodel as it is also known, was built from about 1520 by Alexander MacLeod of Dunvegan and Harris. It is generally thought to be the grandest medieval building anywhere in the Western Isles.

St Clement's Church is believed to have been built on the site of an older church of unknown origin and date. It fell into disuse after the Reformation in 1560, though the churchyard remained the preferred site for MacLeod burials. The church was extensively repaired and given a new roof by Captain Alexander MacLeod of Berneray in 1784, but it burned down almost immediately, leading to further rebuilding and restoration in 1787. By 1840 St Clement's had again fallen into disrepair, and the Countess of Dunmore arranged for it to be repaired in 1873: this is commemorated in a stone plaque over the door in the nave. In 1913 the harling was removed from the outside of the walls, and the tower, which had been struck by lightning in 1907, was partly rebuilt. Today the church is in the care of Historic Scotland.

Entry is via a door in the north side of the nave. The interior of the church is a plain cruciform in shape, with north and south transepts not quite mirroring one another on either side of the nave. The nave and the choir would originally have been separated by a wooden screen. Almost opposite the door, in a window opening on the south side of the nave, is the head of a late medieval disc-headed cross, showing the crucifixion on the front.

Leaning against the wall of the north transept are five grave slabs. Four are medieval in origin, while the fifth is dated 1725. The south transept is home to a tomb of a knight in armour, believed to be John MacLeod of Minigish, clan leader of the MacLeods until his death in 1557.

Much better know is the tomb of the church's founder, Alexander MacLeod, also known as Alexander Crotach, or humpback as a result of a sword wound he had received while fighting the MacDonalds on Skye. Alexander's tomb is built into the south wall of the nave. It carries the best collection of medieval sculpture in the Western Isles. The arch surmounting the tomb is surrounded by biblical designs while within it are some truly spectacular carvings. These include a hunting scene in which a knight pursues two stags, and a rare depiction of sailing galley of the 1500s. Also shown is a castle, presumed to be Dunvegan.  At the bottom is the stone figure of a reclining knight in armour, on top of the chest in which Alexander was laid to rest. The work is signed off with this inscription in Latin: "This tomb was prepared by Lord Alexander, son of William MacLeod, Lord of Dunvegan, in the year of our lord 1528". The tomb was probably designed to be painted in bright colours.

The photo of the tomb on the website from whence this information came shows the tomb in much better condition than in my photo, taken in the early 1990s, so some restoration may have been done.

In some ways the most striking aspect of St Clement's Church is the tower. This is built on a rocky outcrop at the west end of the church to emphasise its height. It is accessed via a door at the west end of the nave which leads via a dark stone staircase built into the thick walls of the tower to the lowest of the tower's floors. This is built on top of the rocky outcrop and at a much higher level than the ground floor of the nave itself. Access to the upper floors in the tower is via a series of wooden ladders, as it would have been when the church was built.

The exterior of the tower carries an interesting collection of motifs. These include bulls' heads on two corners at three-quarters height, and carved panels on each face set into the string course. The panel on the south side of the tower, and aspects of the carving above the door on its west side, look more pagan than religious in origin: and should probably not be viewed too closely by anyone of a sensitive disposition.

The graveyard surrounding the church on its steeply sloping site contains a number of burial enclosures commemorating MacLeods buried here. For a coastal site it is a surprise to find that the graveyard offers no sea view. Instead the slope ensures it looks north towards the mountains of South Harris.

For more taphophilia please visit Julie's Taphophile Tragics.