Animal Farm – ‘Grun 80’

Today was the first really Spring-like day this year; sunny with deep contrasty shadows, warm enough to throw coats and caution to the wind, flowers popping their heads up everywhere you look. Just lovely! The perfect day to visit “Grun 80” or “Grun Achtzig” (parkimgruenen.ch)  – not far from home. Many years ago when I first moved here, a dear friend introduced me to this beautiful park in Spring; to the swans a-swimming with their cygnets, very photogenic ducks in thier pond, flowers and trees a-blooming, the herb garden, orchard and many other lovely growing things – all near the centre of the city. There are outdoor concerts on Sundays, a waterside cafe and a small working farm complete with animals. At present, the main attraction is the new “crop” of baby lambs. The adult sheep come right up to the fence for a pat by curious children and their parents. I love the way the sheep’s horns curl around their ears and how one rather cheeky sheep kept sticking his tongue out at the little girl stroking his back! 

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Chalk and Cheese…

How I love this British English expression! I learned it when I lived many years ago in London, and somehow it has stayed in my vocabulary. It means to compare two things which are completely different from each other  – with a rather ironic tone. I still have a little giggle each time I use it.

Lately, I have been in London making my annual  creative “pilgrimage” to Central Saint Martins University of the Arts for courses in photography and printmaking, so there has not been a lot of time for looking through the shops. The huge number of tourists on the streets and the hot weather have also been deterents. I did manage a day out with my youngest son who needed an “update” to his student wardrobe, so we visited Primark (sheer claustrophobic madness!) and afterwards a little detour to Liberty for mummy and a look around through the fabric (haberdashery – another British word I love!) department. Actually, any excuse to vist the iconic Tudor building which houses Liberty  (liberty.co.uk/…etails/article/fcp-content) is a good excuse, as the shop’s architecture is incredibly beautiful, not to mention their scarves and other lovely flowered things.

I thought it was an intersting contrast to take similar photos from a mezzanine above the main shop floor. Both locations were captured within 40 minutes of each other.

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Did it!

Overcoming obstacles is difficult and takes courage, overcoming one’s own insecurities (yes, we all have them, those “Am I good/talented/creative enough?” moments in life), requires a deep breath and some reckless daring….so I dared. I entered a big competition for the first time; the Magnum Photography Awards 2016. Will I win? Probably not BUT this particular competition gives feedback on the photos submitted….good learning and practice for the next moment of bravery. If anything, be inspired and use this as the first step and the encouragement for getting your own creative endevours “out there” somehow; enter a competition, create a new photo or art blog, curate a small exhibition at home and invite friends. All good practice and good fun!

Please have a look and please share…. https://www.lensculture.com/magnum-photography-awards-2016/event-submission/203218?utm_campaign=62-submit&utm_content=submit&utm_medium=social&utm_source=fb-social

Lovely leftovers….

I was going through my photos tonight, trying to organize them into some kind of sensible chaos, when I came across a few from our last trip. There is no real “theme” to these images, except for the fact that I like the way that these ‘visual experiments’ turned out. Enjoy…..

Moody blues…

Today is the last time that we can enjoy the beach; it is the end of an era. We have come to sort out and clean out the family cottage on Long Island. The evening is cold, rainy and stormy; the day has come to say good-bye. As the light disappears over the Atlantic, there is a fleeting moment in which to capture Francine’s empty deckchair, the darkening clouds and the deserted beach.

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Wanderweg in Wengen

One of the great delights in Switzerland is being able to take a cog railway up to the top of the mountains. Two hours out of the city and suddenly you are transported to a completely different world; one full of magic, breathtaking views and time to wonder….oh, and the strangest UFO-looking clouds I have ever seen!

Wengen is a beautiful car-less village, favoured for decades by the British and full of skiiers and holiday-makers. A few minutes walk outside the village, past the sport shops and cafes favouring tourists, takes you up to alpine meadows, barns full of mooing cows and wooden mountain huts reminiscent of Heidi.

I guess it would be difficult not to take a memorable capture in such a photogenic landscape, so I am cheating a bit today. But now that the snow is long-gone from the cities, the mountain snow is a refreshing reminder that it is still early-ish Spring.

The Colours of Nuit Blanche

Toronto turns into an art-lover’s dream for one night in October when it hosts “Nuit Blanche” (http://nuitblancheto.ca) – a curated free-for-all from 8pm to 8am.

Wandering though downtown streets from Nathan Phillip’s Square to Harbourfront, the city pulses on all sides with colour and crowds of creatives mixing with party-goers, theatre buffs and those just trying to squeeze into the last place on the crowded streetcars.

The beautiful textile installation displayed in the main hall of Union (Train) Station is by a young Toronto artist named Amanda McCavour (http://amandamccavour.com) and is entitled Pattern Study 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MM2-34: Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness

I love Leanne‘s challenges and the positive and encouraging feedback which she ALWAYS gives! Her Monochrome Madness was the first public photographic forum that I had the courage to enter last year and now I am a huge fan! It is also great learning to see what other photographers are doing and how different people interpret express the same challenge in very different and creative ways.

It is really worthwhile to have a look. Why not? Give it a go and try one of your own photos!: http://leannecolephotography.com/2015/11/25/mm-2-34-monochrome-madness/

Here is the photo that I submitted – used on my post about Paris and very excited that it was included in this edition of Monochrome Madness.

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Studies in Black & White

Somedays, no matter how creative the day begins, it reaches a dull spot where suddenly there is a need to entertain oneself (hopefully without the use of anything digital…). Look around the house and something will always pop up.

Deciding that I could use some more practice with depth of field and settings (I still do, any suggestions?), I decided to look for details around the house . What came out of it was a pretty satisfying experiment in black & white.

 

If it is Autumn, it is time for the fair!

It is certainly Autumn in Switzerland; bright sunshine in that golden Autumnal hue, blue skies, dipping temperatures and crisp leaves that you scuff on the pavement with new leather shoes.

In Basel, it is also time for the Autumn Fair or Herbstmesse in German. One of the very special things one finds at the fair (amongst beautiful handcrafts and Swiss treats such as melted cheese Raclette, braised sugar almonds, and marzipan gingerbread) is a an antique two-story carousel. This same carousel has brought delight to several generations of  Basler children and looks spectacular again the darkening sky.

On my way home, nibbling roasted chestnuts in their special paper bags (one section for the chestnuts waiting to be eaten, another section for the shells of those already gobbled greedily!), there was just enough light to take a picture of the typical Swiss architecture in the Old Town.

What a great day!

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