Saturday, 31 May 2014

Day 151: A brief shower...

Day 151: ...a forlorn hope?

Actually, today was a little better than that. Looks like we might have a bit of a regular gig of sorts down at the local cafe...took the old sax along, played a few tunes and made some people happy. It was a bit of fun, and a good way to get the saxophone up and running again. Our new cafe owner Gloria is bringing a special vibe to the neighbourhood. 

[People actually gave actual money* even though I wasn't properly busking, just reading a few notes, down the arcade and faking the vibrato...*all monies donated to charity]

There were a few light showers this morning, following a beautiful pink-coloured sunrise. I was intrigued with the focal decisions the fruit phone made today...just a little different from the roses, the petals of which dropped on the ground following the rain. 


Water beads 1 

Beads of water 

Fallen petal

The afternoon was play day. Another one at the QTC studio in South Brisbane, starring Ursula Yovich who did such a marvellous job last year in Mother Courage. Today's was 'The Magic Hour' a dark, contemporary take on the Brothers Grimm, a two-hour one-hander. Yep, one woman, several characters. Beautifully realised and what a voice! So pleased I saw it. 

Keep calm,
remain optimistic
On the way though, a little street graffiti...someone dropped in disappointment (?) or stuck in hope (?) a sticker on the footpath, on my way to the theatre. It is State of Origin season, one game down, two to go. Queensland needs to win in order to make this sticker a reality...it's a tough call. We'll see. Always best to remain hopeful!

[Camera : iPhone 4S 8.41-8.44am; 1.28pm]

C'arn the Maroons. 

Friday, 30 May 2014

Day 150: Things we might be grateful for...

Day 150: ...or just things that drop by

I'm listening to evening radio as I write tonight. I generally do. One of the topics of conversation is the things we are grateful for, and how we can be grateful for something, one thing, each day. I certainly try. Indeed, it is one of the #project365 aims: our pics should show something we might otherwise overlook; or make us appreciate small things. 

One of the things I like photographing is, of course, detail (just in case, dear regular reader, it wasn't obvious).  And so it was over breakfast. I like kiwifruit and something about the light this morning caught my eye. 


Breakfast...
A little later after a medical appointment, when I was reading and recuperating, (a book on philosophy) this little insect alighted on the page. It made a kind of interesting pic too (where the word 'gratification' appears by sheer coincidence...)


Reader...
The book? Dave Edmonds, Would you Kill the Fat Man? It's an elaboration on the famous 'trolley problem' in philosophy. I'm grateful it's not a question I'll ever have to deal with in anything other than a philosophical way...

[Camera: iPhone 4S, 7.01am, 11.37am]

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Day 149: When things aren't always...

Day 149: ...what they might seem

Trick photography of a sort today. Have a look at the blue sky pic here: 

One small ripple...

Bit blurred perhaps. Did the camera shake? No, not at all. It's a water feature in the backyard and it is actually simply a reflection on the surface of the water. That's all. I do like capturing reflections, along with light...

Some days, one can work away on a paper, on a grant application, edit a book chapter perhaps. You can get almost to the end of the day thinking it has all been quite productive...

Then, there's a line of 'fine print' that dashes all the day's work.

Some days are just not what they seem. Oh well, tomorrow is another day, another pic. 

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 3.07pm]

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Day 148: Quite the creme de la crema...

Day 148: ...after a microfilmed morning

Yes, back to the archives to read 1890s volumes of Queensland Hansards, what was then known as Votes and Proceedings. Now, having worked my way through bundles of actual correspondence over 100 years old over the last ten days, page by page, the QVP access is somewhat different. In a past research life, I have accessed the actual books. These days however, they are on microfilm. That's quite OK, I'm an old school researcher, having started out with cards in catalogue drawers in the last century (young people, ask your parents, maybe ask your grandparents). 

Now, though, microfilm readers are hooked up to somewhat temperamental software programs. It was, I have to say, a little more frustrating than I anticipated and the material wasn't as accessible as I had hoped. Nonetheless, I shall work out another way. 

Afternoon coffee time was actually my lunchtime as it turned out and I called in to the local cafe for lunch, coffee and afternoon tea all-in-one. And partly to mark the end of this phase of the research project. Now, to the organising and writing before the follow-up. 

Luckily, it was a very good cup of coffee (maybe two...) and new additions to the menu, soft meringue.  Perfect for the Georgia O'Keeffe effect...


Crema, needed.
Meringue, needed
Committed to the Ekka photo comp too today, with just 23 mins (or thereabouts) to spare. 

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 2.51pm, 3.35pm]

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Day 147: It's the colour...

Day 147: ...or (subtle) lack of it.

I've spent much of the day reading police reports asserting that Japanese women in the colony are living off prostitution...despite the fact the women might be wives of pearlers, or housekeepers, or shopkeepers...or, something. No, in the late 1890s, all but one of the 116 Japanese women in the colony were prostitutes. Oh really?! Well, that just gets my hackles up, and I'm not sure whether others in the archives can see (much less hear) my hackles rising...

Seriously, when people tell me I'm wasting my time, or I have a nice hobby, or some other comment  which diminishes the importance of understanding our past so that we might make for an improved present and a better future, I get a tad annoyed. 

Thus, when I got home, I was pleased to see a little colour in the backyard. The unseasonably warm weather has meant the bougainvillea has flowered and flowered and flowered, and they were at it again today. Just lovely colour and I managed to get all Georgia O'Keeffe about it again today. 

Bougainvillea 1

The other bougainvillea

Then, just after that, my favourite kooka turned up in the gum tree, just as as the sky, the clouds and the setting sun offered us a marvellous canvas. How might I do this I wondered...and so with a little playing around with shutter speeds and f/stops, and always with the dial switched to 'M', here's what can happen: no further editing, except for a bit of cropping at the end. Just because you dear reader, should be joining me in this exercise in photography...

A silhouette...

Or a bit more...
Yes, I needed a little more colour in my day today. 

[Cameras : iPhone 4S, 3.09pm, 3.19pm; 
 Canon EOS 60D, 75-300mm, {1/50-1/80, f5.6,-f8}, 5.19pm, 5.20pm]

Monday, 26 May 2014

Day 146: It's the little things...

Day 146: ...that make you notice

I continue to use some of my time to master tai chi. I'm attending two classes a week. The Tuesday one has reached its goal, we now know the 108 moves. The Monday class started four weeks later so it serves well as a revision class. I might as well attend while I can. I planned to head back to the Archives for the afternoon...

On the way to class though, as I spent a little time on the verandah revising my moves, I noticed this little scene...a baby gecko. Now, they are a little bit of a problem for some, but I appreciate that they keep the cockroaches under control. There are quite a few in this neighbourhood. This one paused at the door, just next to the bonsai leaf which had blown along the way. The sunlight, the shadow, what else was a photographer to do...


Light, camera, gecko... (no filter, no edits)

Gecko detail
Meanwhile, there I was thinking my work at the archives was almost done, but no. It appears there may have been another envoy 15 years after Watanabe. Police reports noted a 'Y. Okada' with interpreter and camera equipment visiting Northern Queensland seeking information on, you guessed it dear reader, conditions of Japanese migrant labour. Talk about deja vu all over again!

Watanabe's report of his trip in 1893 was once just a small entry in a library catalogue that caught my attention...it has grown, and grown. The gecko caught my attention this morning, I'd like to see it grow too. 

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 8.45am, 8.46am]

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Day 145: We'll be coming round the mountain...

Day 145: ...SLO (BCPO) on the road...

Today was a regular event in my calendar. The Orchestra's day out to Mt Mee Community Hall. We've been playing there every year for over ten years now. Again, another marvellous community, we always play to a full house and the community always fills us with the very best of all that home made cooking at interval. It's a longish day, but I always look forward to it. 

But the day started with a rather determined little critter making its way along the fence...I spotted it while washing up, just outside the kitchen. Its determination had to be captured.

Inching along...I'll get there...

Determination is good. I often have to pinch myself when  think about playing in an orchestra, and one as good and as much fun as SLO (now Brisbane City Pops...). Years ago, in my mid-thirties as my abilities to continue with sport began to diminish through illness, I thought, 'what else can I do as part of a team'? Of course, having not picked up a musical instrument since year 8 music class (yes, the ubiquitous recorder), well naturally one's mind turns to playing in a band, playing wind instruments with lots of keys, like saxophones and clarinets...from scratch; which I did. And I've not looked back. I'll never be a Karin Schaupp (see Day 144), but days like today, in the fresh mountain air, make me pleased I get to sit in the back row and count lots of rests and play lots of semibreves (the long, whole notes)...well, sometimes it gets a bit more complicated. 

The view from the back row,  just after the break...


Lunchbreak, and time to look at the scenery: lovely, though there was a brief moment where the cow and I eyeballed each other, I know how she felt...sometimes my work makes me feel just like that, and tomorrow is Monday...

A concert with a view...

I hear you sister...

Thanks, as always, Mt Mee. We'll be back next year. 

[Cameras : Canon PowerShot A490 (Mt Mee outside), 1.36pm, 1.41pm; iPhone 4S, 8.46am, 3.28pm]



Day 144: More raindrops...

Day 144: ...and so much more...

Well, I can't help myself as you, my patient and dear reader, will well know. A little overnight rain on the plants, a touch of sun and voila...lovely pics. 

Rosy raindrop...
Leafy raindrop...
A good start. Later in the day I went along to our new-ish local coffee shop and after doing the Saturday morning 'cool' thing, reading the Saturday papers and eating croissant (except it was a pumpkin scone), I picked up the bass clarinet and gave the shop a little Saturday afternoon live music vibe. 

I actually don't believe I did it, it is not usually what I do. Today the bass, next week the tenor sax, maybe. Who knows? It's fun to be part of the community. 

The evening was all about Karin Schaupp though, tonight's soloist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra; guitarist and Brisbane local, she is a most wonderful artist. Karin has played with my Orchestra too, as recently as last year. She is a lovely person to work with, so natural and unaffected by her success.

The show was dedicated to her marvellous mother, also a guitarist, who passed away last year. The emotion wrought by Karin in the Rodrigo was palpable, especially in the second movement. Coincidentally, it was a year almost to the day since we farewelled my musical mate and QSO flautist Bromley too...how we miss our best friends.

Pretty sure they were 'raindrops' on those plants this morning, pretty sure...
(Oops, *something in my eye...*)

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 8.42am, 8.44am]

Friday, 23 May 2014

Day 143: A tale of two skies...

Day 143: ...or, two tales of one sky

There is a marvellous bunch of dawn tweepsters in these parts, the #612tweepsters, the people who listen to 612ABC in the early hours of each morning. We're not all Brisbane-based, some listen in from overseas too. It is one of the joys of twitter. 612ABC probably has the best bunch of presenters, journalists and producers who get twitter too. It has certainly has added to my twitter life. 

Anyway, early this morn, tweepster @dobboinaus alerted the photographers amongst us to get out there at 6.00am to capture the pink sky. Pink? Yes, very pink, almost on fire. I grabbed this on the big camera because the fruit phone just didn't capture it. It's the far horizon over the ridge from my back verandah. 


Dawn light
Journalist and newsreader @shelleymlloyd manages to get in a few pics while working the newsroom and bulletins too. There's always some spectacular pics in her timeline and she snapped a lovely one on the river this morning. Always worth a look. And always inspires me to get into town early one morning...

I spent the day again in the archives, back to the future, retracing correspondence between Japan and Queensland governments over immigration and other issues. No murders or prostitution today, but a very annoyed Japanese Consul in Townsville, frustrated by delays...all the while exchanging salutations about being 'humble and obedient servants' to everyone, everywhere. I think this is where bureaucratic sarcasm started. 

As I was driving home, I marvelled at the sky again, and thought about the contrast from this morning. I wondered what the contrast might look like. So what does a photographer do? Go for two pics, because there should be an occasional educational element to all that I do...


Twi-light...

Eleven hours apart, both on 1/50, f5.6, ISO200. What a difference a day and 120 years in the Archives makes...

Thanks @dobboinaus and @shelleymlloyd and all the #612tweepsters. It's Friday, have a good one.

[Camera : Canon EOS60D, 18-55mm, 6.22am, 5.16pm]


Thursday, 22 May 2014

Day 142: A day of contrasts...

Day 142: ...a rose to mothballs

Today I headed back to the Archives to continue digging in the 1890s. Actually finished a couple of bundles and I'm working my way through the rest. Still very much in the area of negotiations over migration of Japanese labourers and artisans versus people with 'commercial purpose'; much to-ing and fro-ing between Brisbane and London over the Anglo-Japanese commerce treaty. 

Japanese migrant labour in the 1890s became quite a political issue, bureaucrats in Brisbane wanted restrictions because 'constituents in the northern districts' wanted restrictions too; meanwhile employers such as Bowden Bros and Burns Philp wanted Japanese labourers were preferred over others because of their skill...

But I'm glad I started the day with this rose, it's not a perfect rose, like some of the others we've seen on the rose bush, but the sun hit it briefly and it seemed like a lovely day.

Every rose deserves its chance
Helpful for later when it came for dealing with some of the material in the archives. For example, the Commissioner of Police in 1897 so confidently declared that 115 of the 116 Japanese women in Queensland at that time were earning a living from prostitution. Really? I need to investigate further. 

There's some interesting material in there, so many stories, still, to be told. Was nice to get home where there was some stillness...the moth just appeared, just in time to bring me back to today.

At rest...
More to investigate tomorrow. 

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 9.03am, 5.39pm]


Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Day 141: Telling stories...

Day 141: ...writing histories

Today was a day on campus, the main purpose was to speak to senior high school students about Japanese history. It was a particular period of history, the Meiji period (1868-1912) but as we write history, understand history, how we make history...how important are dates versus the actions, the outcomes and do our stories in fact traverse time? 

This group was the first group to hear about the story of the Japanese woman I discovered  yesterday. I talked about the work in the archives...the letters I noted, the letters I passed over (not many of those really), the decisions I have to make as someone writing 'one history'. I guess for those students interested in the topic, it made for interesting listening. 

On the way back to the car I walked past one of the ponds on campus. I suppose it could be a pond for 'industrial' purposes or it just might be a pond. Nonetheless, with the sun setting through the trees, the reflection, the lilies, there was a touch of the Monet...at a stretch. If you look closely there was a bit of life left in the day after all. 

Reflections on a sunset pond...
Something there...


There's always a story to tell. 

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 4.47pm, 4.46pm] 

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Day 140: Desk occupied...

Day 140: ...*another* day digging in the 1890s. 

Yes, I'm afraid I spent another day at the Archives and barely moved from my desk. I couldn't really. There was just too much of interest. Today's main pic was just one of those 'accidental' photos. As I was working away, instead of turning off the camera, I hit the shutter button. Well, it's a desk-eye view of the day I guess. 

Pre-occupied..
But the second pic is part of a document that really moved me. Tomorrow, I will have the chance to talk about it to a group of senior high school history students. It is part of a transcript of an interview, translated into English as told to two Japanese identities on Thursday Island. It appears she was kidnapped, duped into going to Singapore to visit her sister, but taken to Thursday Island to 'work off' her debt in a brothel. She was 21 and in her words, 'I found myself in a strange country without a friend to help me...'. A poignant reminder of conditions for women in history, then and now.

Usa Hashimoto's story...

Sometimes the stuff we find in the course of our work does give us pause for thought...

[Camera : Canon PowerShot A490, 3.48pm, 3.21pm]



Monday, 19 May 2014

Day 139: One for the purists...

Day 139: ...back to the archives.

It was back to the Archives this afternoon, I expect only my most dedicated dear reader will continue on from here. This is one for history wonks really. 

You will recall from a couple of days ago I've been wondering about what I might do as far as this project goes...there is a lot of material...it may be a research garden path from whence I shan't return (or at least stay on the path for a long time). 

After consulting on the weekend with colleagues about the possibilities I came to the Archives today with a view to putting some high fences around the planned work. I thought I should consult one of the senior archivists too, to gauge her professional opinion. 

Of course, as with much of the research we get to do, it can be a case of heart over head, mind over matter. I think this project will fall into the 'gee, just go for it and see what's there'; at least, that was the view of the archivist. I sense they see it as a bit of a public duty to see what is in all these bundles of letters I'm uncovering...

And there were a couple of magic moments today. Notices (in Japanese) from Consul Furuzawa about the status of Japanese in Australia; a note written in his own hand by Torajiro Satow, probably one of the key merchants and agitators on Thursday Island in the 1890s, about whom I have read much; and tables of data furnished by the representative on Thursday Island, John Douglas. This is after getting through just one half of one bundle of perhaps 120 such materials...



Notice from Furuzawa


Page 2
Satow's letter page 1

'Example of a table: return of Japanese agricultural laborers'

Every page is revelation. Really, what else am I to do?

[Camera : Canon PowerShot A490, 3.00-4.30pm (yes, I found an old compact camera)]

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Day 138: I shan't wait until I'm old(er)...

Day 138: ...to wear purple

Or so it seems. Sometimes the oddest things will catch the photographic eye. Like the occasions I need to hang my clothes on the clothes airer on the verandah, just because it looks like rain. Like today. Yes, I wear purple and yes, it is a nod to my feminist life. It just never seems quite so apparent until days like today when the clothes are all lined up. 

Variations on a theme of purple 1
It brings to mind the rather well-known verse from a poem 'Warning' (1961) by British poet Jenny Joseph, 'When I am an old woman I shall wear purple'...and finishes with 'Maybe I ought to practice a little now'...I have included it below. 

I don't really need to practice. I've been surrounded by purple for as long as I can remember. My childhood room was in hues of mauve and purple; my stationery tends to be purple; a number of the flowers in the garden, just happen to bloom...purple; and conveniently, purple is the colour of my union. 

So really, I shan't wait until I'm old(er), my purple is now...



Variation on Variations on a theme of purple 1

Warning 1961
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple. 
Jenny Joseph

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 3.24pm, 3.25pm]

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Day 137: 'A Tribute of Sorts'...

Day 137: ...to 'Moby Dick', via a boardwalk

I had a plan today to head into town to see a play, 'A Tribute of Sorts'. Perhaps I was out of sorts, I didn't quite get the humour others in the audience did. I left home a bit early, big camera in hand, switched to 'M' with a clear intention to wander around from the bus stop to the theatre in South Brisbane. A bit of a retracing of steps but also a desire to take some pics of the industrial area. I've been interested in that most urban of urban landscapes since I first picked up a camera. It is a theme I like to focus on (pun unintended).

For some reason, I always feel a little more self-conscious walking around my city, camera attached, than I do in a place I might be visiting. I have no reason to be like that really...I'll just have to get out more. 

After the play, I had an opportunity to sit at SLQ and properly contemplate the potential enormity of the task if I pursue yesterday's archival work...should I or shouldn't I? It is academically (and therefore career-wise) precarious because there are no grants forthcoming, and without grants, one's value diminishes...and yet...

The other reason I sat at the State Library was to fill in time before the evening's piece de resistance...Moby Dick (1956), the John Huston-directed film, featuring Orson Welles and Gregory Peck, amongst others. The Gallery is running a series of Welles-related films, I've even managed 'a tribute of sorts' below in the pics.  I'm working on the whaling issue between Japan and Australia and consider Moby Dick to be a central part of popular culture from whence our views emerged. The Gallery had two versions showing tonight: a digital remastered version, or a restored 16mm version...I went completely old school...so glad I did. 



Orson...awesome (Gallery of Modern Art)

Starting, on the boardwalk....

Mangroves, always fascinating...

Underside of the bridge

Could be anywhere, any era...

Was once a busy factory...

Back in the day


Digital v film: I'm going to have to get the old school camera out again soon, just because. 

[Camera : Canon EOS60D, 18-55mm, 1.06-1.36pm; various settings]

Friday, 16 May 2014

Day 136.5 More roses...

Day 136.5 ...because they were there.

And just another snapshot of the roses. I thought the day's work at the Archives was important to document (Day 136) but today I may have taken just about the best rose photo of all time...in my rose-photo-taking history at least. Just almost perfect, and one or two others...


Best in show...(#nofilter, #nocropping)

A touch of dew...
Sunlight...

Just a Friday night bonus. Enjoy!

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 7.18am, 8.39am, 8.37am] 

Day 136: There's something about 1893...

Day 136: ...a day at the State Archives...

...is just one new discovery after another. I am now on the horns of a dilemma. In just a few short hours, I 'discovered' so much material relating to my Japanese envoy Watanabe that a) I simply must return (not such a dilemma) and b) there could be a major chapter on Japan-Australia (especially Queensland) history sitting there, I have to decide whether or not I'm the one to write it...

Much of the work done at this time has really focussed on the lives of the immigrant labourers working in the pearling industry on Thursday Island. But just a few hours of perusing some documents and there is so much more...for example, the Japanese person 'Abbe' (sic) who was given the death sentence; at one point there were letters exchanged on the matter of 'informations (sic) concerning the control of emigration of women of low character from Japan' (30 September 1894) and the suggestion that 'measurerers (sic) might be taken for the imposition of a Poll Tax on Japanese arriving in Queensland' (27 April 1894). 

And so much more...

I've always been very fortunate with librarians and archivists in my research over the years. Today I met a few more who know their work very well and were so helpful...even a tad more excited than me (if that were possible). I'll need to make a very clear assessment of the materials and what to do with them over the next few weeks...

And to think all this started with an accidental discovery in the National Library. 

I thought, dear patient reader, I'd show you a couple of examples of what I'm doing...it does require and ability to read the handwriting of civil servants of yesteryear. 

Concerning the murder of two Japanese near Cooktown...

An 'Electric Telegram' from Adelaide

The Archives are out in the suburbs but in a marvellous bushland setting. I had to get there and back by bus which meant  a charming stroll through the bush on the way to the 'office'.


Bush walk...

I'll be back. 

*With thanks and acknowledgement to librarians and archivists everywhere*

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 11.28am, 12.43pm, 3.39pm]

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Day 135: Full moon

Day 135: ...(again)

Another day working at home; working on the life of pearlers on Thursday Island c. 1890s. I stepped out briefly to do a few minor chores, but it was mostly at the desk, writing and preparing for a day at the State Archives tomorrow...and trying to fend off a cold. 

This evening saw the rise of the full moon over the bushland out the back...and never one to miss a chance to try, try and try again, I thought I should put my recent learnings to the test ... again ...

B+ for effort...

I don't know. I'll have to keep at it I think. 'Could try harder...'

[Camera : Canon EOS60D, 75-300mm, (1/125, f 8.0 at 200mm); 6.52pm]

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Day 134: Environment hazards...

Day 134: ...call of the wild

Bit of a wildlife theme here at the moment dear reader. After a long day at the desk, I thought it was time to go out and get some fresh air. The rallying squawks of the noisy miners are always a sure sign something is about out the back. This time, 'twas a friendly kooka...not the kooka known as Dylan, but a smaller, more timid, comrade. 

I thought I should also get the big camera out and practice some of those skills I learnt recently. Fortunately, I was offered an opportunity to capture some of those action shots I need to work on...


Kooka on the fence...
Taking flight...

Escape...

Brief repose...

Off again...

Going, going...

Gone...somewhere

From the side fence to the Hills Hoist...s/he didn't give up.  There's another lesson from the wild there today I think...

[Camera : Canon60D, 75-300mm, 4.05pm; 4.23-35pm; shutter speeds around 1/100 for effect, to 1/250] 

And I can hear them out the back now, as I write, farewelling the day.