Tag Archives: Photography





My friend E visited me on Wednesday. She walked in, carrying a generous bunch of Inca Lilies, freshly cut from her garden. As ever, she apologised for the mess they will make, and as ever, I replied “I don’t care, they’re lovely!” Which they are. Deep red, with yellow highlights. En masse the flowers produce a light, frilly effect, but day by day the papery petals fall off, until the tall glass vase is surrounded by a halo of drying petals. I could care less – the flowers are so beautiful, and it takes but a few moments to pick up the fallen petals and bin them.


I always enjoy her visits. E’s passion in life is to travel. I listen with envy to her planned trips for 2019. Her equal passion is photography, and she take hundreds (and on occasion, literally thousands) of photos on her journeys , which she puts into visual presentations and photo-books, and shares with friends. I’m an armchair traveller, but she is a modern female Marco Polo.


Two days later she texted me to say she was in hospital, and the prognosis was not good.
I’m looking at my vase of Inca Lilies, and know that this may well be the last bunch of Inca Lilies I will receive from E’s garden.








It doesn’t seem to matter which charity book sale you attend, when or where, but you can count on finding a pile of that familiar rectangular, bright yellow bordered magazine. Often in mint condition, and dating back to the Year Dot – obviously lovingly kept in a cupboard or garage, evidence a lifelong subscription to the magazine. I note on the May 1988 copy I bought on Saturday ( Vol 173, No. 5) that 1988 was their Centennial Year. That’s an achievement, for a magazine devoted to the sciences, travel, and photography.
At various points in my life I’ve been a subscriber, or been gifted with a year’s subscription. And my 12 copies are stacked neatly on the shelf, for future reference, or to read that fascinating article on undersea exploration that I don’t have time for right now . And of course, during my next Marie Kondo book blitz off the pile goes, to a charity book sale.
Yes, I know we’ve got Google etc. etc. but nothing beats paging through the magazine’s gorgeous photos, and beautifully illustrated pictures/charts/diagrams on a topic you had never thought of or encountered before. Why, only this morning, over my mid-morning cup of coffee, I discovered an article on Fleas: the Lethal Leapers. I’ve now learned a whole lot of facts I rather wish I didn’t know!
But kudos to Nat Geo for keeping the flame of enquiry burning – may they live long and prosper.




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On my recent Writing/Meditation retreat at Dharmagiri in July, I gave myself a break and packed no fancy gadgets, only my trusty old Nokia. It’s not a smart-phone, just a chunky Stone Age Nokia that provides basic services like texting (where would we be without it?) phone calls, a calendar/reminder system and that’s about it. Over the years I’d ignored the little circular lens at the back of the phone – I mean, you look at the screen in the front of the phone, don’t you? Who goes around examining the back of the thing?

However, once I’d retreated to the Centre which offers no radio, TV, newspapers, or internet connection (you really do RETREAT when you drive up the hill) and when the Writing course was finished, I spent another four days on my own, doing more writing, and relaxing. But even I grow tired of reading, and I was written out, and while basking in the mild winter sun is lovely it doesn’t do much for fair-skinned folk – and that was when I remembered that my cellphone had a camera feature.  Now: I’m no photographer. I’m the first to admit this. Furthermore, I have a family who take a keen interest in photography, have fancy camera equipment, and take umpteen photos on every family occasion. So I don’t bother to take photos myself.

But, left to my own devices, and admiring the winter scenery in the Berg, I thought:what a marvellous picture the mountain would make, especially at sunset, and dawn. What a pity I didn’t bring my camera.  Yes, I do actually own a camera, but it languishes in my cupboard at home and whenever I go on an outing you can bet that halfway to the destination I’m thinking: drat! Should have brought my camera .. It happens every time. So, as you can see, I’m not camera minded. However, I used a Box Brownie when I was a kid – point and press – that worked for me. Dead easy. Then my Dad (reluctantly) let me use his precious Kodak, which boasted the concertina fold-out lens – this was high-tech stuff, back in the 1950s. Years later I acquired another simple Point&Click camera, still using rolls of film.  What a pest those film rolls were! They had a life of their own and would unroll exactly when you didn’t want them to, exposing the film, and you landed up with even more grainy, light damaged prints of – nothing. For klutzes like me, the digital camera has a lot going for it. Unfocussed pics, wobbly pics, finger trouble and mistaken clicks? No problem! Just press the magic delete key.

I gingerly explored the Media Menu on my phone, found the Camera option, hopefully pointed the lens at the mountain, pressed the Capture Button and voila! See some of the results below.  A  shady pathway,  Bamboo Mountain at dawn, and my favourite picture of Bodhisattva Quan Yin.


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