Monday, 31 March 2014

Day 90: A morning star...

Day 90: ...a touch of magic

Today's pic of the day was hard to beat for its early morning magic. Again, it was probably one of those shots where I should have reached for the big cam, but I didn't want to lose the hint of the moment. 

I have, for many years, woken early and greeted the start of the day. Call it work, call it habit, I rarely dislike the start. I know lots of people don't like it but I do. This morning was one of those days where Venus, the morning star, shone brightly in the lightening sky, one pic I captured. 

Morning star and kookaburras

But just a few minutes later, were they sunbeams, were they something else? The pink hues across the morning sky were just breathtaking...I've tried to capture and share them here. Just to add to the atmosphere, it was the time the local kookaburras got their song going. Just marvellous.

Hues of magic

It makes the early start worth it. 

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 5.32am, 5.40am]

*At the dark end of the day, word is just through that the International Court of Justice has determined that Japanese scientific whaling is not scientific and that Southern Ocean whaling must stop. This is the subject of my next book...I have a long night ahead. 

^This blog will be interrupted for the next few days by the International Dateline. Next pic? Maybe here, maybe there...tba. 

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Day 89: A day of monuments...

Day 89: ...and a note of passing (in passing)

Just a couple of days to go before the conference so today required a trip into the city for a few last minute things. Also managed to catch a movie with some friends, the first in a little while. Saw The Monuments Men, about a group tasked with saving the art treasures stolen by the Nazis during World War Two. We can only hope that would never happen again but the possibility lurks I guess. 

The walk from Queen Street Mall to the Barracks building over at Roma Street offers some fascinating streetscapes (from a photographers point of view). I could spend a lot of time strolling along there, and one day I might.

It was a humid day with occasional showers, just enough to feel more like summer than autumn. The council has relocated one of the city's more interesting sculptures to the top of Queen Street Mall recently. It has replaced what was one of my favourites, a fountain in the shape of a dining table and chairs...the drought and ongoing maintenance was its downfall apparently. Anyway, this one is called Gestation by Baile Oakes and was part of World Expo '88 (which I missed completely, but that's another story). It makes for a dramatic part of the landscape. 

A monumental day
(Gestation, Baile Oakes, c. 1988, Queen St Mall, Brisbane)

There was a bit of return the past all around today. I've also purchased the second instalment of of Matt Condon's book on Queensland police and politics in the 1970-80s, Jacks and Jokers; and this weekend I learnt that one of the city's key architects, Robin Gibson, repsonsible for the very mall I was standing in, the cultural centre across the river where I spend so much of my time and early elements of Griffith University at Nathan, where I began my own studies and career. Vale Robin Gibson.

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 3.31pm]

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Day 88: Lots of knick knacks and stories...

Day 88: ...a visit to mum's place.

Back safely last night but off to clarinet rehearsal this morning. Some days just seem busier than they should be. After the rehearsal I had to head down the coast to visit my mum and friends who where visiting...they'd come from interstate. They are the sort of family friends where the emphasis is on the 'family' rather than friends, since we have all been apart of each others lives since before my generation of kids were born.

Hanging about on the verandah
A pleasant lunch and then back to mum's for the afternoon to share a few stories. Of course, in those moments, one sees things that have been around the house for many years and yet burnished with the reflection of the afternoon have stories of childhood and growing's mum's place after all. 

She sells sea shells...

So, individually, quite insignificant I suppose, but together they tell a story...and there's a flower, of course. All this on the big verandah out the front, at the table, the place of many stories. 

Beach cabins

Fish in a stone pond

Back home to work...there is some conference paper finessing to be done (post blog catch-up). 

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 4.09pm, 4.11pm, 4.27pm, 5.16pm]

Day 87: Waiting...

Day 87: ...departure lounge: Dateline Melbourne 3

Two long days of discussion, debate, ideas, actions. Can we make a difference in our workplaces? Can we change the world at large? Can we make a better place?

Well, maybe, one day. That's what gives us hope of course. 

Conference over and it is off to the airport to wait...and wait. In fact, this evening, I have to ope that all is running to schedule: I have to head directly to the Concert Hall in Brisbane for a long-awaited subscription convert; usually they are on Saturday nights, but this one is Friday, to coincide with the Melbourne meeting...will I make it?

Sometimes the pics for these blogs can be little more than something that catches my eye, something that perhaps we wouldn't think would warrant snapping a pic...

And so it was with this stool...just caught my eye. (It was also the first chance I had to take a photo all day, as we sat, and waited, reflected on the day...and drank tea.)

Waiting for...?

Made it to the concert, notwithstanding the ongoing delays on landing in Brisbane, and a pleasant concert it was too. 

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 4.01pm]

Day 86: Flinders again...

Day 86: Block and back...Dateline Melbourne 2

With a long day ahead indoors in the pipeline, it is always good to take in the views before we head in. Fortunately, we get to stay in the heart of the city which, for an urban-type snapper like me, means lots of wonderful architectural contrasts. I could spend a lot of time doing that...first things first while waiting for the taxi on a rainy Melbourne morning: why Flinders Street Station of course, with contrast...

Flinders Street Station, and a view

My Brisbane colleague and I are always on strict instructions to purchase and return with chocolates of a particular maker (of Adelaidean origin I understand)...that meant a dash to the Block Arcade at the end of the working day: we made it with five minutes to spare. If ever one tired of taking photographs outside...there's always inside...

Block Arcade, a view...

And finally, when in Melbourne it's always a macchiato: double. 

Coffee, Melbourne.

Not bad. Achievement unlocked...

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 9.21am, 6.04pm, 7.10pm)

Day 85: Flinders Lane....

Day 85: ...Dateline Melbourne 1

Occasionally, I have to head south, Melbourne in fact, to attend work related meetings. It is not uncommon for me to have to hop on a 5.00am flight for a 10.00am start to allow for daylight saving time differences. Today however, with no classes to account for, I was able to head down the night before. That meant heading around the corner from the hotel to Flinders Lane to a little Italian restaurant we have frequented at other times. those in the passing lane

The laneway style is different form Brisbane (although we are making some efforts in that general direction) and tonight, we got a laneway-side seat to view the passing traffic. Perfect spot from which to plan and plot to propose ways to make the world, starting with the tertiary education sector, a better place (the purpose of the meeting over the next few days). 


[Camera : iPhone 4S, 8.04pm]

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Day 84: The rain came...

Day 84: ...oh, duck it!

So yes, after the promise of yesterday, the rain came down overnight and then followed on through the day. Much of my day was in fact back on campus (no frangipanis, the occasional lorikeet). It's been quite an interesting day on the political front (my actual day job). Starting with the dialogue between the former Solicitor-General, the state Attorney-General and the premier about who can say what to whom when and when the end of the day we were all dames and knights. Yes, our federal government has deemed that we shall resume the award of Sir or Dame on 'pre-eminent' Australians. 

First up will be outgoing Governor-General Quentin be a Dame for her pre-eminent GG. Incoming GG General Peter Cosgrove shall be the first Sir, apparently pre-eminent before he has his turn at GG. C'est la vie...

Rain in the pm

So what did all this have to do with the rain? Well, I reckon the birds around campus were similarly feeling a touch discombobulated today too. My guess is we've probably received as much rain today as we have in the last month or so. The swamp hens were in their element while the duck, well, the duck was, just like the rest of us somewhat overwhelmed and decided the best way to respond was to just sit, and breathe. Anywhere...

Duck it!

Swamp hen
Whatever will tomorrow hold in store?

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 4.27pm-4.32pm]

Monday, 24 March 2014

Day 83: We waited for the rain...

Day 83: ...and waited...tomorrow perhaps.

Well, more frangipanis, or plumeria to give them the more familiar Hawaiian name (the things you learn on twitter). Not the same as the others since they generally only last a day or two. There was a bit of a rush on today to get the chores done today given rain was forecast: laundry, part two of the lawn mowing from yesterday, tidying up, writing ... OK, that last one has nothing to do with whether or not it is raining but there was a certain anticipation of some precipitation today. 

Apart from a short spell at tai chi, I was generally playing the academic-at-home role today so I didn't get out and about. I do feel fortunate though that I can step outside and find photographic subjects and today's frangipanis were just at their beckoning best. 

Frangipani and its leaf


So apologies, dear reader, if you are tiring of them, but the amateur photographer in me is having some fun experimenting with cropping possibilities, giving us another viewpoint of the humble flower. The season comes to an end soon...

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 2.12pm, 2.13pm]

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Day 82: Neither constant nor compleat...

Day 82: ...but lettuce be and you shall see...

I am not what you would call a 'constant gardener', nor am I a 'compleat gardener' (with apologies to Walton). Indeed, I am probably a sporadic gardener and not even very skilled at that. I suppose I potter a bit, I try things, see what happens. I do like mowing though. Right now, I have a few herbs and veges going.

I guess most people use Sundays to work in the garden. Not here today though I often think I'd like to do so. Today the orchestra played out again. One of the lovely things about playing in a community orchestra is that we take the show on the road, going to play in places such as retirement villages where there are people who can't make it to our theatre concerts. That was today, out at Durack in Brisbane's western suburbs. We've been doing that for about ten years. I don't do much sitting up the back playing the bass clarinet, but truly, it is a privilege to see the joy and happiness on the faces of the audience as we transport them back to another era...I often think it is the best seat in the house.

Anyway, back home, and I had time to start the mowing, well, whipper snipper anyway; the mowing can happen tomorrow. I was going to re-plant some of the herbs and veges too, until I noticed these 'buds' I suppose you'd call them. 

Lettuce be, lettuce be...

This is what happens when the sporadic gardener leaves things to go to seed...who knew lettuce ended up with flowers...the things you learn when not everything goes to plan...

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 4.26pm)

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Day 81: Where other feathered friends...

Day 81: ...dive and duck and swoop

Following much of the day at home working, the afternoon brought on 'crunch time' for next month's conference paper. Time out needed to think about putting the finishing touches to it. The trouble with writing on current issues is that things keep happening which, naturally, you want to add to your paper. For a paper which compares Japanese and Australian politics, recent elections and protest movements, there is a lot to consider. 

An opportunity then to head east to do some thinking at the waterfront. It is a clear space, and photography helps. 

There is something about the expanse of water out at Wynnum Manly. It makes for quite 'broad sweep' photos, colours and shapes that allow one to imagine a big canvas. Very easy to take 30-plus pics, how to narrow it down (a common question for the pics, and the paper)? It started with the perfect symmetry of some sailing boats...

Sailing symmetry

...and then, as if to throw up a further challenge from yesterday, after taking a few still shots of the birds wading, I raised the camera to catch them in flight. Enlarging them on the screen offered a different perspective: a blur of sorts on a blue sea canvas...

Take flight 1

Take flight 2

Take flight 3
Take flight 4
Take flight 5

Blame my interest in the impressionist painters of another era, but I rather like that the motion is hinted at here. A different perspective...that worked on my paper too. 

[Camera : Canon EOS60D 75-300mm, taken between 3.00 and 3.27pm]

Friday, 21 March 2014

Day 80: Some days, you know you just want to...

Day 80: ...let it out. 

Any concerns I might have had that there were too many loris on this blog were quickly dispelled last night via tweepsters and bird watchers, Shelley and Cathy. So by eerie coincidence, we have a few more today, just because.

I returned home from an appointment this morning, the type which requires a bit of a breather before the rest of the day continues along. Perfect photo-op time you might say. And for reasons known only to them, the loris were populating the trees out the back, much later than usual and in greater numbers than usual. The greater the number, the more the, shall we say, factional fighting, or at least, given my profession, I see it in those rather political terms. 

There is always much jostling around the seed tray with birds coming in and out, flapping around, the 'argy-bargy' in our highly evolved technical terminology. 

I tried to capture some of the movement today, and in the end, one just had to shout in exasperation...surely we can all share the seed with a little less fighting.

Er, move over...

On my way...

Oi, enough already...

I think there's a neat political lesson in that for all of us, don't you?

*Technical point: I remain divided on the technicality of perfect sharpness versus a bit of blur in a shot intended to show two of the pics above demonstrate.*

[Camera : the Canon with the big lens...10.12am, 10.17am]

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Day 79: Just a drop...

Day 79: ...despite the promise

So a mostly quiet day at home working, writing, thinking. A brief detour via the hairdresser to tame my unwieldy humidity-affected locks and back to work. 

During an afternoon break I thought I ought to clear up some leaf litter in the front yard--previous attempts having been disrupted by heat, humidity, rain...excuses. When I stepped out, it did look like some rain was possible, the intriguing effect of grey and white clouds jostling for supremacy in the sky. For a while it looked like we might get some of that much-needed rain to wash away the humidity. Alas, there was but one drop, which landed on my glasses...

A drop, suspended

One of the original aims of the project365 in which I participate at arm's length, was to try each day to catch the unexpected, the overlooked...I think the rain drop does that...

The grey versus the white

And, if you look closely at that white cloud, a plane is flying into looked much bigger in real life; it's just another iPhone technicality I'm going to have to investigate...

*As I write, the proper rain came down. 

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 2.49pm, 2.51pm]

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Day 78: Bend and stretch....

Day 78: ...even the loris are getting into the tai chi...

I've had a lovely day working at home today. All the birds have been chirping away out the back, poss has moved about in her treebox adjusting for the heat and humidity and I've managed to get a good deal of work completed. 

You might recall, dear reader, that I have recently taken up the challenge of learning the fine art of tai chi. I practice it daily out on the back verandah, assuming no-one can see me...until today. 

Just after I completed this morning's session of stretching and started my work, one of the loris flew to the verandah, which they often do when in search of their seed. Not that they are demanding birds, much...

As I got up to move, so did this lori, a regular visitor. I thought she was going to fly off but in fact, as I tried to capture here in between laughing, she just went ahead and did the whole 'bend and stretch' I had just been doing...out of sight, I thought.

Start here? 

And then you did this yeah?
A bit this way, no?
And that was, the seed thanks.

Yes, there was seed given afterwards, how could I not?

Cheers, from the loris.

[Camera : Canon EOS60D, 28-85mm, 8.59-9.00am]

Day 77.5: Just a small technical post...

Day 77.5: ...on the capturing of colour

So, a funny thing happened on the way to the blog of those quite stunning sunrises with very hard to capture colours, photographically-speaking. I tried to capture it on the fruit phone but it didn't quite do it. I got out the other camera, jut for my own interest really. Here's the result (one for the camera techies really):

The difference is quite strong really, the Canon really capturing the intensity of the orange hues this morning (albeit a little depleted on the web view).
...probably a good argument for getting the big cam out more often. The phone cam is always handy, and it captures terrific moments but for colour, it is the big cam for me. 

Canon at 6.05am
iPhone at 6.00am

Now, to today's actual post...yep, those loris again...

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Day 77: Can't see the trees?

Day 77: ...stop looking for the leaves...

Yes, a twist on a familiar saying or two: can't see the wood for the trees; can't see the trees for the forest...etc. Look for the detail I suppose. With several cameras poised in the west this morning for another moonset, we were all disappointed to encounter major cloud cover. Never mind, there'll be another time. 

And, I had to head off to the camps today for meetings and other things so it meant a trip up the Bruce Highway. Lots to think about...

I'm also aware that if I had to nominate favourite photographic subjects it would be...trees. I don't know why really, just that they seem to be something that catch my eye. There are several up and down the Bruce Highway, for example, that I would love to stop and photograph...I might still do it one day, stop--start---all the way to the SunCoast.

We've got plenty of trees on campus too. It was a hot, busy day today, and I had to rush away at the end of the day to make my tai chi class back in Brisbane (three monkeys today...we're getting there). 

A warm afternoon... 

As I hastened towards the carpark, I made myself stop and capture this I've looked at many times, the angle and the glare capturing the afternoon sun and heat. It sits there starkly, on the edge of a pond, amidst its leaved cousins. Next time I walk past, it will look different again. I don't know why it is minus its leaves, but for me, and my camera, the lines of the stark branches give me reason to ponder...

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 4.29pm]

Monday, 17 March 2014

Day 76: Sunrise...moonset

Day 76: ...sunrise, moonset

One of those lovely celestial coincidences today where the moon was setting in the west just as the sun was rising in the eastern sky. And while there wasn't a lot to capture with the sunrise, (clear sky, no clouds, took quite a while to get above the treeline), the *crested pigeon* next door was getting, you might say, a bird's eye view of the sun coming through the trees. 

The moon setting over the houses and Brisbane suburbia did so against a subtle sky as night turned to day...

I know, I probably should have gone for more green being St Patrick's Day and all but there you go, the moon won out this morning. And another opportunity to capture the moon should be gratefully received. 

Moon setting
Sun rising...over there

I'v been humming a variation of that Fiddler on the Roof tune all day...sunrise...moonset, sunrise, moonset...must be the influence of yesterday's concert.

*revised, courtesy of birdwatcher and knowledger @Chasseur06

[Camera : Canon EOS60D, 75-300mm, 4.49am, 6.27am]

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Day 75: The Magic Mirror

Day 75: ...and the big chillin'

Day two of a busy weekend, today was concert day for my orchestra, the first for this year. We play four concerts a year at the Schonell Theatre in the grounds of the University of Queensland. 

Today was hot, mid-30s. Not the sort of day you'd want the air-conditioning to break down now would you...two hours rehearsal, two hours of concert, uniform, stage lights, much blowing (I play the clarinets...)...but breakdown it did. None at all, for the entire time. Tough for us, tougher for our audience I suspect.

In the break between rehearsal and concert proper, there was time for lunch at one of the coffee shops on campus. I sat down to find one of the local scrubbies also sitting down for a bit...

I felt cooler even just looking at the cooling condensation on the milkshake container...

Lunch time chill

Romper Bomper 
Stomper Boo...
tell me, tell me, tell me do...

And then, as if the old Romper Room mirror of my childhood returned, I looked up and the scrubby 'appeared' through the table number stand...

I see you, scrubby

Magic Mirror, tell me today, 
Have all my friends 
had fun at play?

I think, in the end, we had a good concert, we had fun, at play. 
Just glad I chilled at lunchtime, with the scrubby.

*For the record, my name was never called through the magic mirror...not that I mind, of course (now).

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 12.52pm, 1.05pm, 1.11pm]

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Day 74: Play day...

Day 74: ...a soft touch

Just occasionally, my weekends get a little crowded out. I'm involved in the performing arts as a participant and spectator and some days it all comes together. 

So it was today: my clarinet group had its rehearsal, ready for a concert tomorrow and this afternoon I went to watch a play The Mountaintop at the Queensland Theatre Company.  And it continues tomorrow...I'll miss the clarinet concert because my other band, the orchestra formerly known as the St Lucia Orchestra, shall hold its first concert of the year at Schonell Theatre, St Lucia. Sometimes the clashes are unavoidable. 

Anyway, play day at South Bank also means my occasional ice cream from the Dairy current favourite: the Ginger Mac, ginger bits and macadamia nuts. 

Another view of the wheel

Always a good day, a play will make us think about things differently. Any excuse for a soft touch really...

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 1.40pm]

Friday, 14 March 2014

Day 73: Birthday wishes

Day 73: ...for mum

Today is mum's birthday, and it is a significant one, which she would rather we didn't note too obviously. Still, it was an opportunity to for family to get together and for me, that means a trip down to the Gold Coast. We gathered at one of the Coast's bigger hotels with plenty of seafood. It was all very pleasant. 

Birthday flowers
Earlier in the day I had some politics business to do with a meeting and trying to capture a good pic of the statue of TJ Ryan, for a related project. Not exactly a blue sky day for a statuesque photo, so you will have to wait, dear reader. 

But mum's flowers were quite beautiful, and who am I to resist a pic or two of flowers from my local florist...she does a marvellous job every time. So, in honour of my mum's birthday, pics of her flowers: gerberas,  antique roses and tulips. Lovely. 

[Camera iPhone 4S, 1.34pm, 1.35pm]

Up close: gerbera
Up close: rose

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Day 72: Single, solitary...

Day 72: ...beachtweets.

The moon and clouds and sunset
Today was a day at the office. Had to be done. But in upholding the bargain to oneself, I was also quite determined to make a point to get down to the beach again before the day was over. 

And I did. 

It was getting quite late when I arrived, but I got there. There was a high tide, a high moon and the water temperature had noticeably dropped in the last week. There were also fish 'n' chips, naturally. 

The moon's reflection in the northern rockpools

Today also we learnt of the jury's determination in the long-running Daniel Morcombe case. I find solace in the beach for all sorts of reasons. This afternoon it was also to reflect a little for the Morcombe family, a Sunshine Coast family whose son Daniel was a student at the school next door to my university. There has been a constant association over the past decade. 

The beach speaks...and when I got home, I noticed an interesting and coincidental theme in the tideline pics too. And so, at the risk of boring you, dear reader, with more beach pics, here is today's selection. 

Incoming tide...

Tideline 1

Tideline 2

Tideline 3

Just some single, solitary thoughts today...

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 5.58pm, 6.02pm, 6.08pm-6.19pm]