Let’s Phlog Monday: Patience and Persistence To Reach Magnificence

I am thrilled to be able to bring you this Let’s Phlog Monday post after such a long Monday Phlogging hiatus.

Last weekend I had the good fortune to visit the Wombeyan Caves. A large network of limestone caves, the Wombeyans are located in the Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve, about a 3 hour drive south of Sydney. It includes the Fig Tree Cave, which is generally known as the best self-guided cave tour in New South Wales.

The trip was made more exciting because it was totally spontaneous.  A friend and I had been in the area for coffee and decided to use the afternoon to explore. After seeing a turnoff with a sign that the Caves were sixty six kilometres away, we decided to do the Thelma and Louise thing and just go for it (without the death plunge, of course).  A mere two hours later we arrived after braving the (unbeknown to us) winding unsealed road. The drive was well worth the effort.

We chose to take a ranger guided tour through the Junction Cave, which is known for its colours, flowstones and shawl formations. There we met the Mango. John Mango was our ranger guide and he made the cave come alive. There are some people you meet and you can’t help but admire the passion they have – this was The Mango, a ranger of twenty years experience in the area who clearly had an affinity with nature and the beautiful formations that lay before our eyes. The Mango’s enthusiasm and dramatic (almost poetic) commentary gave the afternoon another dimension. Better yet, we had The Mango to ourselves as we were the only tour participants that afternoon.

As we wandered through the cave, The Mango played with the lighting to create the most dramatic effects. Looking at the structures, I marveled at how unique magnificence can be built drop by drop with patience and perseverance. All around me there were new stalactites and stalagmites forming, and reaching for each other.  The drop before supporting the drop that would come after. And when the two “ites” meet a column would be formed.  Mites and Tites reaching out to each other willing to connect.

One of the most magnificent formations was a large shawl, nicknamed, streaky bacon grandma shawl. The colours were amazing along with the horizontal layering effect. Each layer representing change in the morphology above the ground.

The area and the caves certainly had a mystical quality to them and we will be back to explore them further.

 

Patience
Persistence

Drop by Drop

Structure

Connection

Enduring Magnificence

 

IMG_1398

IMG_1400

IMG_1402

All of these were taken with a smartphone camera, no flash.

Have you ever headed off the beaten track on a whim? Do you prefer sponteneity in your advertures or would you rather pre-plan everything?

Let’s Phlog Monday: A Little Warmth And A Whole Lot of Renewal

I can’t believe that August is almost over and with it, winter. It has been a cold one here, windy and flu ridden and I am happy to bid it goodbye. Not that I desire to wish time away, certainly not at this stage of the game. But when the sun shines and the shivering stops, the heart swells just a little more and the momentum of renewal grows.

Spring in Australian doesn’t officially start until 1 September, but it has been the in the air for the last week or so. There are stirrings of colour in our gardens and insect activity has been on the increase. This is almost one of those perfect moments of the year. The harshness of winter is all but behind us and now our seasons of warmth and increased outdoor activity beckon. An almost child-like sense of anticipation pervades and it’s all ahead of us.

Not my photo although I wish it were!

And like the seasons cycle, so do the seasons within our lives. Happily, my own personal sense of renewal has coincided with the start of Spring! Coincidence? Methinks not. The Universe has a way of delivering to us the appropriate backdrops for our personal seasons or perhaps the Universe is the driving force behind the change of those seasons. Whatever the rationale, I’m riding this wave for all it is worth from the lucky position of never having suffered from hay fever!!

I am more than ready for some colour to re-enter my world. Here’s some early Spring Sydney colour that I captured over the last week together with a shot of the big bath tub that was our waveless beach.

Awakening

Renewal

Regeneration

Promise

It means that T-shirt, shorts and sandals weather is just around the corner together with cooking and entertaining outdoors. Goodbye hibernation, hello interactive community!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a favourite flower? What colours in nature draw your eye? When was the last time you had an almost child-like sense of anticipation?

 

 

Let’s Phlog Monday: Showcasing the Scrapography Talent Of Toni Legates

A slightly later than usual Let’s Phlog Monday, but still posted on a Monday evening for all my readers waaaay over there.

I am more than a little bit excited about my post today because I have the opportunity of showcasing someone else’s amazing talent. It’s a real joy discovering something just a little bit different and having the channel to share it.

We live in a wonderful age where despite all of its sins technology has opened up a whole realm of possibility and connection beyond our front fence. I had the good fortune to meet up with a North American talented photographer and digital scrapbooker, Toni Legates, through technology and a mutual friend.  Toni’s work runs the gamut from pure scrapbooking to visual melded design incorporating photography and scrapbooking. Put simply, I love her designs and I wanted to share a sampling with you.

Toni’s work moves beyond the realm of the obvious and incorporates a level of depth and dimension that is a feast to the senses. Every piece is meaningful and relevant. Every piece is a testament to designing talent.

Toni says “I’ve never worked in film photography.  My first camera was a digital point & shoot.  When I loaded the first photos I would take with this little low resolution camera I was instantly transported into a world of possibility.  I also discovered I had much to learn.  Shortly after realizing I could  make magic with my camera I found a free open source, editing program called GIMP and set out teaching myself how to use it.  Then it happened, I saw my first scrapbooking layout and knew that somehow I was home!  Not only could I take and edit beautiful images but I could greatly increase their impact by creating a layout that helped tell the story of my photos.  After teaching myself how to scrapbook and confidently putting those skills to use, I began looking around online at wonderful quotes and sayings that had deep meaning for me.  Those words inspired me to create my own spin on them creating something not only uplifting but beautiful to look at.  Every photo and every quote speaks to me and tells me what it wants to become visually.”

Please sit back and enjoy the work of Toni Legates straight from Toni’s digital darkroom.

A masthead for the blog, Love is An Action Verb:

Love is An Action Verb – design by Toni Legates

A highly stylized image with added artistic design elements to give a real piercing effect:

Nita’s Beaming Eye – photo and design by Toni Legates

A clever digital meld of two photos, which I am calling Smoke On The Water. A case of seek and you shall find?

Photo by Toni Legates

A digital scrapbooking montage of the quote Listening Heart:

Listening Heart – design by Toni Legates

You can find a further example of Toni’s work in my A to Z April Blogging Challenge post, O is for Orchard: Finding the Sweet Success of Life.

Toni’s designs leave an impression and I have carried them with me long after the first sighting. I hope you enjoy this magical mystical tour through Toni’s dark room and I can’t wait to see what new designs emerge from its depths in the future.

And now for the question of the day, is scrapbooking an action verb?

Hippo Bloat and Implausible Gnus: Closing the Loop On My Let’s Phlog Monday Post

Following on from my last post about a collective of bloggers, here are the answers to the collective noun matching game:

Mumeration of starlings
Weyr of dragons
Storytelling of ravens
Rabble of butterflies
Ascension of larks
Fesnyng of ferrets
Convocation of eagles
Generation of vipers
Bloat of hippopotami
implausibility of gnus

 

Surprised? Think some of these are wonderfully appropriate? Humoured? Feel more educated? Couldn’t Give a Collective Noun F…?  The last is so implausible,  it could be a group of these!

 And now for the announcement of the winners of the 100 Curtain Credits (drumroll please):

The winner is….Sisyphus 47 for his answers and a bonus 20 Credits for giving it a go.

Also 50 Curtain Credits to btg5885, also affectionately known as Old Fart (he is anything, but) who blogs at Musings of An Old Fart. OF’s blog is thoughtful and compassionate and if there were more people in the world with OF’s sentiments, it would be a much better place. The Credits are rewarded for coming up with the groovy collective term “blogosophers” to describe the group of thinking man’s bloggers and for stating that I am one of them. Thanks OF, you too are a blogosopher of the first order.

Can we have collective noun of applause for these true winners, please?

Let’s Phlog Monday: What Do You Call A Group of Bloggers?

Well, another week has passed and another Monday is here to phlog.

You will be relieved that I have no deep and meaningful message for you in my photos today. Rather, I thought we’d play a little matching game.

When most non-Australian natives think of Australian wildlife, they probably think of these (hint: these are NOT my photos):

or these:

or maybe even these:

It doesn’t help that the foreign press seems to only ever write about Aussie wildlife when someone (usually a foreign tourist) dies. Our most recent shark attack/casualty happened only in the last couple of weeks off the coast of Western Australia, but to most of us Aussies that news is relatively ho-hum. We are not unfeeling or uncaring, but swimming in the ocean to us is like crossing the road. It’s an inherently unsafe activity, but experience and the odds tell us that we are highly unlikely to be shark’s dinner any time soon. Millions of people actually swim in Australian’s oceans every year without so much as a toe nibble or even a suck. As for crocs, well we know to feed them the foreign tourists first. Especially those tourists who wear crocs. And as for the spiders, we have a healthy respect for those, because they actually cohabit in our suburbs.

Despite common belief, Australians don’t don flack jackets and machetes when they venture out should they happen to meet wildlife. Most of us merely shoot the wildlife with cameras. Here’s some of the friendly animal-folk that I encountered over the last couple of weeks. No toe sucking or nibbling was involved… well not by the animals anyway and that’s ALL I’m going to say about that!

I therefore proudly present to you a herd of kangaroos, a team of ducks and a mob of cockatoos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what do you call a group of bloggers?

Is it a flock, a school, a convention, a rhumba or is it murder? Maybe it’s an ascension, implausibility, generation or plump?

All of these are real collective nouns. Who knew?

I’m leaning towards the term “blaggle” to describe a group of bloggers. Not only does it give good alliteration, but twists the old tongue. I’d love to hear any other suggestions you may have.

And whilst you are pondering that let’s see if you can match up the collective nouns in column A to the right animals in column B, consulting Google University if you must. Post your answers in the comments section.  The nearest correct entry or entries will each receive 100 Curtain Credits. If you have read my “Hi There” page you will know that these are pretty much worthless, but think of the glory of being right, people, think of the glory ! Oh, and the judge’s decision will be final.

Winners and Curtain Credit recipients will be announced by Friday 27 July.

Column A 

mumuration
weyr
storytelling
rabble
ascension
fesnyng
convocation
generation
bloat
implausibility
 

Column B

eagles
butterflies
gnus
larks
vipers
starlings
hippopotami
ravens
dragons
ferrets

 

Good luck!

Let’s Phlog Monday: Shear Forces

M.I.A.

Three letters, one concept, apt description of the past couple of weeks.

There seems to be much to catch up on in blogdom since I was last here and I will endeavour to do so over the next few days.  But now it’s time for a good phlogging.

My last phlog centered on non-coastal landscapes and the search for the right pathway. Today, I would like to return to that landscape and explore the concept of sheer forces.

There is a duality in images of jagged rock. On the one hand the images can be beautiful and convey the passage of time and events. Examine the layers, each tells a story and provides a foundation to that which comes after it. Each layer is discreet, a beginning and an end. How many layers do we have in each of our lives? Have we built strong foundations for what is to come? Are we comfortable in having the layers exposed? Can we withstand a sheer force?

On the other had, the images can be harsh and unforgiving. The smoothness is hidden behind jagged edges and shattered pieces. Each break represents a cataclysmic  event, a force that was not reckoned with. A power that was not harnessed.

However, even a cataclysmic event, a sheer force creates something new that can be pleasing to the eye. Something that would never have been uncovered were it not for the application of an external event. Sheer forces bring a perspective we did not have before, a test of our strength and resilience and the opportunity to reshape and rethink. We may not immediately be able to deal with the exposed surfaces or jagged edges that ensue, but most will be smoothed and covered over time… if we let them and embrace the new landscape.

Enjoy these natural and man-made shear surfaces and think about your strength and beauty and the layers which represent the events and sheer forces in your life which you have survived.

Force

Fissure

Fracture

Function

Forward

Federation Square – Melbourne, Australia

Happy Monday and may you have the strength to withstand any shear forces that come at you this week.

Let’s Phlog Monday: Finding That Path Through The Forest And The Trees….

… and the rocks and escarpment.

Firstly, let me apologise for my absence from blogdom all week. It’s been one of those introspective weeks where I have been trying to make sense of it all. Much needed and no doubt some of this introspection will find its way here at some point. Raising that Curtain just a little bit higher requires a fair bit of energy and my writing has been impacted. Coupled with that is trying to ascertain where my true blog voice lies. This week has been about searching for answers or at least trying to narrow the breadth of questions.

As a part of that process I went for a trek out bush. Nature has a way of providing cues and motivation and on this occasion it didn’t disappoint. One of my bluggies (blog buddies), dearanonymousfriend, through her comments inspired me to take photos of some of our non-coastal landscapes. I hope you find the results as pleasing as the coastal photos.

The photos are from an area called the Blue Mountains which is famous for its escarpment and a rock formation called the Three Sisters, for obvious reasons. On the day we descended the Giant Stairway through the Three Sisters to the floor of the Jamison Valley below.  The Stairway is carved into the cliff face and comprises 911 stairs with a drop of almost 300 metres. The expression “jelly legs” was very much at the fore of our minds. Once at the bottom we walked the Federal Pass along the base of the escarpment, a walk of about 3.1 km. The walk is not unduly difficult but does require a fair degree of fitness and I absolutely recommend it if you are thinking of playing tourist here.

Apart from breathing in the fresh mountain air and scouting photo ops, I was happy to be travelling along a discernible path. One that left no doubts about the direction of travel, one that ended at a meaningful destination, in this case, the Scenic Railway. Whilst there were side paths, they were less developed and the destination a little more uncertain. How many of us are searching for that path to that meaningful destination? I don’t need a path that is necessary well-travelled, I am happy to be a pioneer to an extent. But I am one that needs to understand the destination if only in an oblique sense and to be able to see a few steps in front of me.

One thing the trek taught me is that to be able to discover that next path, I need to be mindful of both the forest and the trees. The bigger picture and each individual element is equally as important and needs to be savoured. It also taught me that symbiosis is often necessary to maximise opportunities.

Symbiosis

Journey

Growth

Destination

Three Sisters

 Do you like to pioneer or go down a path more travelled?

Let’s Phlog Monday: Coastal Textures

Patterns are intriguing. Particularly natural ones.

They depict a wonderful combination of logic and creativity. A meeting of the left and right brains. For the longest time, my creative side has been drowned out by logic, reasoning, problem solving, facts, principles, process and tasks. If you are one of the lucky ones that have married your logical and creative sides, then I applaud you. This is still very much a work in progress for me.

I am often awed by the surrounding coastal landscape and the patterns found within it. Even when there are obvious natural flaws, the patterning is often sublime and impossible to humanly replicate. Elements combining together to construct three dimensional wizardry. The energy used to create these patterns is often immense, but Mother Nature takes it all in stride. Patterning is the instrument of the universe.

Here are some coastal patterns I have recently encountered. I hope you can feel the texture of the images in these photos. There’s a beauty in patterned repetition. Rough and smooth, creativity and logic…… balance.

Smooth

Weather

Erode

Design 

Create 

Do you tend to be more creative or logical? 

Let’s Phlog Monday: All Is Swell

I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day – when it’s cold outside, I’ve got the month of May

And I’ve got these wonderful two opening lines from the Temptations 1965 classic My Girl shuffling around in my head as a precursor to the pictures to follow.

After last week’s rain burst, the sun has returned to our fair shores bringing some enjoyable winter days. Whilst it’s still cold, the sun has taken the edge off the chill during the day and brightness has replaced the dull somberness of eternal cloud.  Whenever it’s a sunny day, my optimism escalates. Most of us Aussies are sun chasers. When there’s sun, there’s hope of a warmer existence. During winter I scour the house for wind-protected sun patches and chase the movement of the sun as it filters through the windows with the passing day.

Aussies also tend to love the beach and I am lucky enough to be within reach of some amazing ones. The legacy of the Southerly of the week before was midweek six foot swells on our surf beaches. The surfers donned their wetsuits and came out to ride the waves. The dolphins smiled, looked on and frolicked. The whitewash was like shaving cream.

Before the photos, a touch of surfing humour:

 How do surfers clean themselves?

 They wash up on shore!

I consider surfers in six foot wintry swells to be very brave people. But days like these to a surfer are like rare manna from heaven and out they come to feast. The shots were taken just before dusk.

Waves Crashing

Pipeline Curling

Arms Thrashing

Board and Rider Hurling

Are you a sun chaser or do you prefer to be out of the sun?

Let’s Phlog Monday: When Winter Weeps

Wet, wet and more wet that’s what the long weekend has brought us here in the land of beaches and cream. It has been raining hard for the last two and a half days with no let up until at least Thursday. Today is a no work day, thanks to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and her not so real birthday.

To begin with a winter quote from Edith Sitwell:

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth,  for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time  for home.

This is a warm up photo and not one of mine.
Photo from flikr – song under the sugar sugar.

It certainly is a time for home … or a time for canoes, ducks, rubber boots and jumping and wading through puddles. It’s also a time for stews, dumplings, apple strudel and hot chocolate.

But first, a small winter joke and a nice topical segue…

Q: What do you get from sitting on the ice too long?

A: Polaroids

Please grab a mug of something and enjoy this week’s photos.

Driving Rain

Dark Descends

Winter Weeps

These were taken last week, just after a southerly decended on my town. A southerly refers to a cold change from the South usually bringing with it chilly Antarctic winds. In this case, the change decsended rapidly causing the light to dim and tempratures to plummet. It also brought with it heavy rain.

The pictures were taken from a skybridge in which I sought shelter. Minutes before the change, the outdoors were filled with people. Despite the weather, life pushes on.

What do you love about Winter?