Sunday 23 February 2020

Blog Post - 23 February 2020: Tasmanian Memories, Part 2

Another visual indulgence...

Last week I waxed eloquent – yet again – about the joys of Tasmania. 

Here’s Part 2. And – yet again – most of these photos were recorded within a walking radius of about 3 kilometres from our cabin in the Huon Valley. I have walked these roads many times and recognize individual trees... fields... cows... shrubs... spider webs. One of the most magical elements of the Huon Valley is its ever-changing lighting. Every day, I saw something new, or saw it again, literally in a new light. 

Walking the back roads of Tasmania also requires vigilance. The venomous Tiger Snake (typical length: about 1.2 m) can be very nasty indeed, especially if it has been disturbed unexpectedly. Normally very shy, the Tiger Snake can strike very quickly if it feels threatened. It is seen more commonly during the warm months and prefers staying underground during cooler weather. The first day we arrived at our cabin last year, a Tiger Snake had been found on the property. The local ‘snake guy’ had removed it, so we never actually saw it. It was a reminder that you have to keep your wits about you outdoors. The precautions are simple: wear trousers and scan the ground ahead of you while walking. I found that I adjusted quickly on my regular walks – it was just another layer of awareness that you built in. In several weeks of walking – and scanning – I never saw a Tiger Snake. For which I am grateful.

The photos today have no particular theme, other than the fact that they’re beautiful – or at least, they are for me. I hope you enjoy them. Take your time. And keep an eye open for any Tiger Snakes...

Sunday 16 February 2020

Blog Post - 16 February 2020: Tasmanian Memories #1

I have been feeling nostalgic this week – Tasmania has been calling out to me. My mind and heart are in a time warp because a year ago right now and two years ago right now, Bill and I were in Tasmania. It’s been a shock for my body coping with an entire February in Canada. 

I’m not whining – really, I’m not whining. I’m just – um – adjusting. Yes, that’s it. I’m adjusting.

Meanwhile, to sooth my soul, I’ve been going through my 2019 collection of Tasmanian photos and decided to dedicate the next two blog posts to my other heart home. The photos today are various flowers and birds that we found in and around Tasmania’s beautiful Huon Valley, where we lived for five weeks. 

Our cabin was perched on top of a hill. From the cabin’s vast picture windows, we could see the entire Huon Valley stretching off into the distance. 

Glorious, just glorious.

Our daily routine was idyllic. Waking up with the morning sun and having breakfast. Then, Bill settling into quilt making on ‘his’ side of the cabin, and me settling into writing and photo editing on ‘my’ side of the cabin. Around midday, driving to one of the little restaurants in the area for lunch, followed by sightseeing and grocery shopping. Then arriving back at our cabin by mid-afternoon. Bill returning to his quilts, and me heading out on foot to wander the local roads with my camera. By late afternoon, starting to think about dinner. Actually, Bill starting to think about dinner – me settling into reading. (I married well, my friends...) Then having a late dinner, accompanied by good conversation and decent wine. Soon, it was time for bed. Copy and paste the next day. 

As I said, glorious, just glorious.

I hope you enjoy these photos. What a treat it was to rediscover them on my hard drive. To be continued next week – and maybe even beyond that. Seeing these photos again is helping me ‘adjust’!

Sunday 9 February 2020

Blog Post - February 9, 2020: Weird Belleville

In the six years that Bill and I have lived in Belleville, I have been photographing odd things in the city. And I have concluded that Belleville is decidedly weird. At one point, I even considered having a sweatshirt printed that would read, “Keep Belleville Weird”. But I never did, and now we’re planning to move home to Picton in October. During our remaining time here, however, I’ll continue exploring its weirdness. (Picton and Prince Edward County have their own weirdness, and I intend to explore that as well.) 

I can’t account for Belleville’s weirdness. Perhaps it’s something in the water. Or the air. I do hear a lot of Belleville people putting down their city. “Oh, we’re just the place people drive through to get to the Sandbanks,” is a common refrain. And "They're just stopping here to charge their Teslas," is another. 

There are a lot of Eeyores here too. “I’d look on the bright side if I could find it.” 

But there’s more to weirdness than negativity and insularity. 

So here’s my working theory: there’s a secret pact that true Belleville’ians sign. They want to protect their community from invaders, especially those escaping Toronto. They want to keep their little slice of paradise intact. And they cultivate a subterranean weirdness, complete with secret codes, because they know they’ve got a good thing going here. They put up a fog of negativity to keep outsiders at bay. 

That’s my theory. Sticking to it.

Alas, Bill and I were never Belleville insiders. I suspect it’s because we were also Prince Edward County people, so our loyalties to Belleville were questioned. We never quite made the cut. The bottom line is that we didn’t always find The Friendly City to be – um – friendly.

I applaud and celebrate Belleville’s weirdness. Perhaps I was able to see it more clearly because I was on the outside looking in. 

Sunday 2 February 2020

Blog Post, February 2, 2020: Squirrelling Photos, Part 2

Once again, I draw on my photo stash. 

This time, however, I’m doing it differently. Normally, I use editing software – Lightroom and Photoshop – very lightly. On the whole, I want my photos to tell the same story I saw when I recorded them, rather than goose the colour levels for the ‘black velvet painting’ look. 

To paraphrase the Bible, however, "In photography’s house, there are many mansions." Not to mention approaches to photo editing, so to each their own. (This would be the unauthorized version of the Bible.)

I’m making an exception this week, mostly because I’m tired of winter’s relentless greys. The seasonal colour palette is wearing thin. I want more pow-pow. (And I’m missing the warmth of Australia...)

These ten photos started life modestly (read: boring), at least in the depths of Canadian winter. Enter Lightroom with its editing options to magnify and transform. Some would say distort.

So, yes, these photos have spent time in the make-up chair. 

I hope you enjoy them. 

New apartment building, Dundas Street West, Belleville

Sumach near barn, Prince Edward County Road 23

Bushes, Prince Edward County Road 23

Coats for sale at Wintermarket 2019, Picton

Hilary Rice wall hanging 
with Otis pillow (unknown artist) in front

Diving Lady (unknown artist) in our backyard, Belleville

Grocery carts, Loblaws store, Leaside

Donlands Avenue at O'Connor Drive, Toronto

Anna's birthday Mac & Cheese, December. 2019

Bad Dollies creation, Wintermarket 2019, Picton