Monday, 29 September 2014

Day 272: Architectural magnificence...

Day 272: ...overnight

Woke this morning remembering I had to do the washing which somehow passed me by yesterday. I've no excuses really except that I thought it might have rained, perhaps... briefly. 

But from the very early part of the day, my eye was drawn to the magnificent web on the clothesline. Seriously, when you see architecture such as this in nature, what else matters? 

The only way it might have been improved would to have had rain drops or dew settled upon it. Even without that though, it just shone through. I couldn't bring myself to brush it away. It was still there in the evening. 

The first view, from afar...'tai chi interrupted'
A little closer

As the sun hit the heights (no editing, no filters)

In other news, after a few hours more that expected, my technological life is now updated, you might see some minor changes here and at the behest encouragement of some of my photography tweepsters, you'll find me playing in the Instagram corner from time to time too...

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 75-300mm, 6.54am, 6.59am; iPhone 4S, 9.04am]

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Day 271: These nails...

Day 271: ...are made for, well, nailing it I suppose

I've been doing some writing today. That was after I'd spent some time this morning catching up on yesterday's newspapers. Yes, it is a silly, old-fashioned habit I continue to have. 

I did have plans for getting out and about but I didn't. I managed to get as far as the backyard. Again. But still, there is so much going on within and without the boundary fence. At one stage I could hear and or see rainbow and green scaly-chested lorikeets, kookaburras, cockatoos (yes, they're near but not near enough to photograph, yet), butcher birds, magpies, noisy miners and crows...and that was just skyward.

Mama possum made her presence felt too and it wasn't until I trained the zoom and crop on her paw that I realised...that one heck of a set of nails there. I may have heard the skirmish last night too that resulted in that ear injury, and a little while later bub possum became a bit restless too. 

Perhaps a little weary and battle-worn

Serious (almost 9-inch) nails

Later the birds showed their claws too as they took flight on sunset...

(TV) Aerial dance

Take off (coming at you)
And remember that nest from a couple of days ago...well guess whose that is: 

Nest complete (yes, with some post-production...)
Something else to keep my eye on when I'm out the back seeking solace from my work. But back to it for now. 

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 75-300mm, 12.59pm, 1.01pm, 1.02pm, 5.11pm, 5.18pm]

Day 270: Canopy...

Day 270: ...end of a festival

Saturday, last official day of the Brisbane Festival (although I'm still to see Black Diggers, the QTC production which is part of the Festival).  I've been fortunate to be able to attend a number of events, many more than I would normally. Highlight?, you ask...I enjoyed and in some cases was challenged (in that fine arty way) by all that I saw. Nothing disappointed. 

So, back to the 'last day'. The focus was South Bank. I was there to see the sublime Piers Lane play a rarely played piano concerto by Busoni. Others were at QPAC for the Lion King, or Black Diggers, the lingering Festival mood but mostly for Riverfire...the newly-traditional fireworks and airforce spectacular (if you like that sort of thing). 

The idea of hundreds of thousands of people converging on South Bank meant an earlier than usual trip into the city for the concert. Road closures, heightened security, strictly-fenced access points...anyone would think we were practicing for the G20...oh, wait...

With a little bit of time on our hands, my friend and I wondered back though the Gallery (before eating at the new James Squires pub, goat dishes: highly recommended for tweepsters...).

View through the Gallery, one of my favourite buildings
As we came out, the helicopters were doing their stuff. Something I would normally note in passing but when I captured some shots within the field of my favourite sculpture, Dawson's Canopy (1993), well, I couldn't help myself. 

As I've noted previously dear reader, the thing I really appreciate about this particular sculpture is its changeability within its environment; rather than just seeing the sculpture, I like to look around it and through is it changing according to what is around it? Cloudy days vs blue skies, for example. (Sounds like I've spent too much time around festivals of arts...)

Canopy and the chopper 1

Canopy and the chopper 2

Those who enjoy Riverfire seemed to enjoy it. On the other hand, I found it something of a contradiction that in a heightened period of security, with troops about to be sent overseas again to strike just as these helicopters and SuperHornet jets tonight portended to do, it just didn't seem like quite the right thing to be 'celebrating'...but that would be my day job encroaching on my leisuretime...a.g.a.i.n. I'll get over it, one day...yeah/nah, not likely.

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 4.41, 4.51]

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Day 269: Some days are barking...

Day 269: ...just not quite mad

The days have moved along much more quickly than I expected. In the next month or so I have a sudden rush of activity and it seemed emails today just added complexity to that which should have remained quite simple...

My workplace, which previously has had no interest in supporting my research trips to Japan now suddenly wants me to represent it here there and everywhere, 'since I'll be there', taking up time in an already finely-tuned research itinerary. This is long service leave...but not as I expected it. 

The emails continued when I returned from a medical appointment. What else was I to do but to go and look at the loris out the back who are also clearly barking mad with things at the moment. Either that or their rather ostentatious displays of eating the tree bark are signals to me that they've tired of the gum blossoms and when will the easy-to-retrieve bird seed delivery resume? Thank you very much.

Looking for the seeds

Nested...sort of...

Barking 1

Barking 2

Couldn't be barked 1

Sunlit barking

Ah, the life of a lori...neither mad, nor barking, quite.

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 75-300mm, 9.07am, 4.11pm, 4.58-5.00pm]

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Day 268: Clouds, Oceans...

Day 268: urban Topology

I did get up and about today as I intended to yesterday. Starting with a coffee with a friend it was off to town to update my technological life (though due to a lack of stock, that won't happen until Monday now). On the way, I had to make a bit of an unexpected detour to the Western suburbs on some uni related matters but that was minor. It made my time a bit pressed to ensure I got to see another Brisbane Festival event or two today. (More of that shortly.)

The clouds today portrayed their own story from morning to the storms in the afternoon to sunset. And, as you know dear reader, I've got a bit of an interest in photographing clouds...

In between engagements in town, I managed (just) to catch a performance of 'Ocean's Skin' a collaboration between one of my favourite Brisbane groups Topology and Los Angeles-based Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre. It was in the Whale Mall in QPAC and, always intrigued by whales and their cultural representation I went along, for work purposes of course...

The clouds, the ocean, the water sounds...

A little cloud cover

Ocean's Skin scene 

Cloud wisps

Scene from Ocean's Skin

Storm clouds circling (colour...not greyscale)

In the Whale Mall

The storm arrives (colour, not greyscale)

Ocean's Skin, final scene

The storm, final scene

By the end of the day I thought they wove and interleaved with each other. Another fascinating and challenging performance by Topology and the choreography was fabulous. And yes, the thoroughfare remained open during the performance. 

It just occurred to me that this is what our arts festival is all about. The Brilliant Arts!

[Camera : (Clouds) Canon EOS 60D, 28-55mm, 7.26am, 7.47am, 4.20pm. 4.26pm, 5.44pm;
(Ocean's Skin) iPhone 4S, 3.05pm-3.26pm]

Day 267: Out of place...

Day 267: ...but a new picture emerges

And then there's the feeling of always being watched. 

I have things to do, plenty of things. I shouldn't really spend a day at home just reading and writing. That wasn't the plan. I was going to read a bit, head to the city, update my technological life, sort travel details and maybe take in a bit more of the Brisbane Festival festivities. 

I read a bit. Quite a bit more than I planned in fact. Had another look at the Festival diary and added a few more pencil marks against some 'must-see' events. And in the end, didn't get much further than the back garden. Oh, well, that's leave I guess. 

The bougainvillea is blooming again and the flowers sometimes fall in the most interesting of places; just when I thought the elkhorn gained some unusual colour, up close and personal, it was just an out-of-place flower. Still, I liked the colour and contrast. 

Petal out of place
And poss. Never mind that possums are supposed to be nocturnal. Poss in her tree box observes all during the day as well as night. This pic is really just a technical experiment, I've been playing with the effect of different ISO ratings to get the right picture. 

1/400, f5.6, ISO800

Nothing quite in its right place or time, but trust the amateur photographer to make a picture out of nothing, really really nothing. 

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 75-300mm, 2.29pm, 11.36am] 

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Day 266: Wish list...

Day 266: ...for a lovely garden, one day

Tuesday and back to the Gold Coast to accompany mum to tai chi after a three week absence due to work commitments (yes, work commitments while on leave). Last week we noticed one of the major hardware megachain was busy building a mega-mega store, not far from, according to mum, one of their existing merely mega-stores. 

Earlier in the day we visited her independent little bonsai specialist as well to look at some possible specimens. And he suggested should we find a plant we'd like bonsai-ed, we could take it to him to get it started. So for that and other reasons, we dropped into the merely mega-store in the event it might be closing down soon to make way for the mega-mega store up the road. 

Mum has always had more success than me with gardening and she also has a fabulous eye for interior decorating and garden ideas. It's always interesting looking at what is around, what might be done. 

While wandering around, I snapped a couple or three of the new roses...such delicate and traditional colours...AND perfume! So rare it seems these days. 

Almost like fine paper...

We didn't buy today but I think we have managed to help each other with a Christmas wish list (yes, just three months away...). 

A touch of water


I headed home for another three hours of intensive tai chi instruction and practice. Perfect tai chi...that too is on my long term wish list...

[Canon : iPhone 4S, 1.08pm, 1.09pm, 1.18pm]

Monday, 22 September 2014

Day 265: Newness...

Day 265: ...a winter survived

I have several weaknesses. One of them is gardening. Anything you see before you dear reader is a fluke. Anytime I've carefully planted, tended, coaxed new foliage, it has generally ended in tears (and who likes to see plants cry?). Whenever I've left something be, let it take its own course, embrace its own has thrived. What does that tell you?

(The same does not happened with writing, unfortunately; it would be good if it looked after itself.)

Anyway, one of the plants I fret over during winter is the bonsai. A gift from my mother a few years ago, it has survived, nay, thrived thus far. It gushes fresh green leaves in spring, it pretends to offer shade to small insects during summer, it fades to brown in autumn, and stands tall and bare in these horrendous Brisbane winters. (OK, the last is a bit of literary hyperbole...)

Nonetheless, it is always a tense few weeks around the time the shoots should appear. They didn't appear this year in their usual time. I kept watering. I watched. I trimmed the branches. Nothing. 

Oops. Or so it seemed. 

Then...this morning: 

Signs of spring, at last

Bonsai spider

And all is well as spring powers on.

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 28mm, 9.01am, 9.07am]

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Day 264: Once had a life...

Day 264: ...briefly rediscovered...

Once upon a time in my earlier life, I used to make a point of going to the Art Gallery regularly. I mean three or four times a month. Sometimes to see the new exhibitions, sometimes to see the same old favourites again and again. I actually viewed it as part of my experience to bring to the classroom: the ideas of interpretation and representation. 

Exxopolis and the Wheel
But then modern academia intruded. Weekends are given over to marking and class preparation, reading and writing, as well as all the other things. Today, though, as part of the Brisbane Festival, I went off to see a couple of events, a good four hours apart so not quite enough time to make a return trip home in between. 

Promenading outside the Art Gallery
What to do? Art Gallery of course. Quite deliberately in fact to go and look at all the familiar and favourites including, by chance of sorts, a special exhibition of Japanese hanga, (prints) which belong to the Gallery's collection. 

Prints of a sort: VHS tape installation
Columns (2006) by Zilvinas Kempinas

So I saw some favourites, wandered along the BrizFestive South Bank again, watched the Viney-Grinberg Duo, courtesy of ABC Classic FM and listened to a very interesting panel on the Qld Theatre Company's upcoming production of 'Black Diggers'.

Liam introducing the program
Today's #studio420 phase 1
I once worked with Liam's mum Judy and I recall Liam (one half of today's piano duo) coming to the office as a schoolboy returning from or on his way to piano lessons; watched him compete and perform in local piano competitions; followed his career all over the world. It was a terrific performance today.

The panel discusses Black Diggers
Today's #studio420 phase 2

Today's resolution: must do this more often...

[Camera : iPhone 4S and Canon EOS 60D, 80mm; 12.30pm-6.51pm]

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Day 263: The sun sets...

Day 263: ...on a musical day

I haven't been down to play at the cafe for a couple of weeks. Two weeks ago, I was down with a bit of a cold. Not too bad, but hard to play a wind instrument with a sniffle. Last week I was asked not to play so as not to disturb the yoga

Today I headed down there in the late morning with the intention of playing for a couple of hours. Turned out to be a bit longer. 

Lots of lovely people call by and sit and enjoy the music. People are very kind. My lovely neighbour was one of them (along with BJ, the dog). I got to try some new music, people asked for their old is all very nice and good opportunity to play the sax, since I don't get to play as often as I'd like. 

Sunset 20/9
All that meant that I didn't really get home until close to sundown. And didn't we see some intense colours as the sun departed until tomorrow. As the sun was setting, the noisy miners were out the back harassing... guess who. I managed to capture the kooka in take-off mode (in low light, hence the wing movement). It wasn't until I saw this pic that I was surprised at the apparent wingspan of a humble kooka: it looks quite big really. 

And kookas are go

Oh well, having seen the sun off, I'll catch it in the morning as it comes around again.

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 75-300mm, 5.41pm, 5.51pm]

Day 262: A community day...

Day 262: hour in the local mosque

A brief departure from the usual pix today but an important one nonetheless. I live in the neighbourhood of a Brisbane mosque. Today, although planned for some time, the Imam and the mosque leaders held an open 'hour', inviting the community into the mosque for questions and discussion. 

The mosque has been here for 108 years, yes, 108. In the current climate of renewed terrorist warnings and given its relevance to my work, I went along, part curiosity but mostly in support, as a member of the community. 

The Holland Park Mosque
I pass this mosque almost everyday. It was a valuable opportunity to join about 200 other members of the community and media (...and police) to hear Imam Uzair Akbar and community leader Ali Kadri answer questions, put their views share their hopes for the community. 

The Imam explains the features of the prayer hall

Ali Kadri 'Do we have a facebook page?' 'We do, since last night.'
And the audience appreciated his passion and humour
I was glad I went, a privilege to enter this house of worship. A peaceful world is possible. The experience will be conveyed to my students. That's what we do. 

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 3.40pm, 3.58pm, 4.18pm]

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Day 261: The day was swell...

Day 261: ...and so were the sculptures

Today was a sincere attempt to get one's long service leave (relaxed holiday version) back on track. I had to make up for the planned and then cancelled Tuesday visit to mum on the Gold Coast. And what better way to do it than aim to get to the beach. 

Not just any beach but the annual Swell sculpture exhibition along the Currumbin Beach stretch. It was a perfect sunny day (lovely, but not quite the light a photographer-type wants to play in), no wind, and...unexpectedly: crowds! Not ideal camera conditions, but I hope you'll get the picture. There were 66's just a small sample...

Flying foxes? Not quite...
Post Colonial Colony (detail), Catherine Lane and Linelle Stepto

The Studio, Carly Scoufos

Floating in the Light (detail), David Ardley

Paradise - Girt by Sea (detail), Jules Hunt

Wandering koala, not part of the exhibition, formally

Hatchlings, Adriaan Vanderlugt

Intervention, Michael Van Dam

Two in one...
Seagull, Ibrahim Koc and
Octopus Attacks, Filthy Luker and Pedro Estrellas

Erebus, Glen Star

Nurture, Alex Polo and Michael Dowling

Sea Ball (detail with Jonathon Livingston), John Wilson

Air-filled Celluloid Cloud, Clayton Blake

Actual seagull, tai chi moves

Keeping up with the Kalashinikovs (detail), Daniel Clemmett

Lunch and shopping a bit later. And then home for tai chi...a really swell day.

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 28-85mm, 11.34am-12.42pm]