So often we walk around in nature failing to notice the details, the grass under our feet.
Subtle changes in colour and appearance indicate the passing of the seasons. Many varieties of grass remain invisible, yet are an integral part of the natural landscape.
The theme for this week’s Friendly Friday challenge is:
‘Splendour in the Grass’
Using Grass to Frame a Landscape in Photography
In photographic terms, grass can be used to frame the shot or make an interesting feature in the foreground.
This ‘Moon viewing,’ photo captured during the Tsukimi festival in mid-Autumn, in Japan.
Japanese Senga Grass Fields at Mount Fuji
The Japanese find Splendour in the Sengakuhara Pampas Grass, by strolling along a walking trail, at the western side of Mount Hakone. For it is here that the changing colour of the tall grass offers stunning vistas. In November, the grass turns a shimmering, silvery gold. Wedding proposal and selfies abound at this time of year.
In Australia, a country fringed by blue oceans, you will find grass the colour of sunburnt earth, which often makes me yearn for the vivid fluorescent green grass of wetter climates.
Australian deserts display different kinds of saltbush grass.
In the arid conditions of the Australian landscape, plants have adapted to grow under extreme conditions, such as the grass tree.
Grass Trees in Australia
A relic of the Age of Dinosaurs, Xanthorrhoeas, also known as the Grass Tree, grow very slowly and are resistant to bushfire. In fact, fire helps the grass tree produce its flowers. They also have a unique symbiotic relationship with the soil. The presence of a mycorrhizal microbe in the soil around their roots allows them to flourish, even if the soils are nutrient-poor.
Grass Trees are highly sought after in Australian horticulture and as such are often illegally removed from their natural locations. They fetch high prices as ornamental plants. Little do the owners realize that if the soil in their garden does not contain the mycorrhizal enzyme, the grass tree that they paid so dearly for, will wither and die.
Imitating Nature in Growing Grass Trees
Here’s a secret that an old-timer once told me. Take a cup of brown sugar, put it in a bucket of water and water your grass trees once a month for two years with that mixture. The sugar feeds the mycorrhiza and gets it going and your grass tree will survive.
Stabilize your camera as much as possible – (a tripod or solid base helps)
Move the subject, not the camera
Try adding the effect of different backgrounds
Check your depth of field for focusing
I got a bit fancy with the Canva templates, but the close-up, above, of the little mushrooms, were very worthwhile to highlight. So delicate sitting atop their thin stalks, they appeared to defy gravity.
And now for a slideshow of flowers:-
I added a frame around the pumpkin leaves. It may have been edited with Snapseed, but it is from my archives, so I can’t be sure. I do like the way you can see the furry hairs on the pumpkin leaves. Glaucous is the botanic name for hairy leaves, I think.
“Taking pictures is savouring life intensely
every hundredth of a second.”
Friendly Friday Photo Challenge – Close Examination Prompt
Now it is your turn to write a Friendly Friday post with the theme, “Close Examination.”
Don’t forget to tag your post and link with a pingback here, so all readers can find your post.
Sandy, will have another great prompt for you next week.
Is taking photos just a whim, a bit of fun? A hobby you would like to improve? Or a serious pursuit? Whichever category you fit into, (or don’t), we notice photos that are striking, ones that capture attention, (pun not intended).
Scott Bourne has some thoughts on the magic behind photography and it was his post that made me re-consider how we take photographs.
Do we snap a shot just as a record of what you saw?
Do we compose for interest?
We might even find an angle that portrays a little more emotion, particularly for street or portrait photography.
If so, we convey a feeling through the photograph to the viewer.
Scott explains a little more of what he looks for in a photo:
Unfortunately, in today’s instant gratification-hungry world, it’s rare to find someone who will look past the superficial to find something special. Everyone just wants a magic camera, or lens, or camera setting or post-processing, preset. Unfortunately there is no magic anything. What there is well, that is all about SEEING. I want to encourage you to “feel” your way to a photograph.
Scott Bourne – picturemethods.com
Some people have an eye for photography. Others have to work to develop it. Regardless of your camera budget, if you do have an eye or can develop it, your photos will attract attention.
Friendly Friday Theme – ‘Capturing a Feeling’
This week for Friendly Friday, when you take a photograph try to compose to capture a feeling or emotion.
If you are using your archival photographs, you might crop a photo or edit to exhibit a particular mood that you wish to create.
Today for example, we made a new friend.
A young magpie landed on our fence, literally right behind our heads, as we sipped our morning cup of tea. The bird was bold and curious and his reward for that, was a morsel of cake. We watched his confidence and trust, in us, slowly grow as I hand-fed him a small piece of ham.
I cropped the following photograph to create a feeling of intensity, of concentration and to convey the beginnings of trust in the bird’s eyes.
After tasting the morsel of carrot cake, he must have thought his luck had changed.
I like the contrast of nature and the stark white and ultra modern built environment behind, but feel that some editing would help the photo stand out. But today, I left it as is. What do you think?
This afternoon the bird returned with his mate, who was much more cautious about the ham and preferred a lawn grub or two which is far better for them, anyway.
Posting a Friendly Friday Challenge?
Don’t forget to comment here, tag and pingback to this post.
Traditional Tuesday – [A look at traditional Art Forms]
Poland is a country of deeply rooted culture and pursuits, not the least of which, is iconic Polish Folk Art forms, such as a specialist kind of stitching, called Kashuby embroidery. Initially used as a decoration for clothing, particularly folk costumes and women’s caps, these distinctive motifs have been transformed and used to decorate items as diverse as pottery, furniture, tableware and a range of merchandise from lanyards to mouse pads.
Kashubians are a proud people with a separate language, craft and folklore to other Polish areas. Their motto is “There is no Kashubia without Poles and Poland without Kaszubians.”
Previously considered an activity for Grandmothers, girls of all ages and even men, in Kashubia, enjoy decorating clothing with Kashuby Embroidery.
Kashubia, [a province in coastal Pomerania], is famous for its distinctive embroidery that consistently features seven main colours.
The palette used in Kashuby embroidery utilises seven main thread colours and believe or not, this tends to be strictly observed, i.e. 3 shades of blue, yellow, red, green and brown/black, for it to be called Kashuby Style.
Each of the colors used symbolized something from nature and the people.
Dark Blue – represents the profound depth of the Baltic Sea
Medium or Royal Blue – the colour of the Kashubian Lakes
Light Blue – for the sky of Kashubia
Light Yellow – representing the sand on the beaches and the sun.
Medium Yellow for the grains ripening in the fields
Dark Yellow symbolizing amber, commonly found washed up on the beaches, in these coastal areas.
Symbolizes the meadows and plant life
Indicates the forests teeming with animal life
The use of the colour red indicated the heart and love
also indicative of the blood of every Kashubian. They are a fiercely patriotic people, and would die to defend their homeland.
Red also represents poppies in girl’s hairs
BLACK or BROWN :-
representing sorrow and adversity
symbolizing the earth in the fields awaiting to be sown seeds.
Because of the poverty of the surrounding soil, the Kashubian landscape produces flowers that are stringy, but still colourful. Nature is an important inspiration for floral motifs, especially bell-flowers, lilies, daisies, roses, cornflowers, pomegranates and clovers. Tulips and Acanthus motifs, derived from Christian religious traditions were incorporated as oak or thistle leaves and restricted to embroidery executed by Nuns in the convents.
Adding Beetles and bee motifs to the embroidery stemmed from connections to the ancient pagan traditions of honouring nature.
A lovely element used in Kashuby embroidery is the ‘tree of life.’ Ideally, the branches mustn’t cross or intertwine because it symbolises that life ought to be simple and clear.
In the nineteenth century, fashions changed and traditional folk art patterned outfits began to slowly disappear but some crafts hung on and were printed on to modern merchandise to appeal to tourists.
Formerly, the different style of embroidered costume was related to the particular job the person was doing. Farmers had different motifs and outfits to that seen on fisherman.
In modern times, these outfits are rarely seen outside of special occasions, events or musical performances yet the popularity of the embroidery style, lives on.
“Photographers are writers- Writers are photographers: we catch a glimpse of something beautiful – a flower, a glance, a window – and catch it into our camera or writing lens: add a bit of glimmer, a ghost of a shadow, allowing the background to sink into fuzziness while focusing on the sharp beauty; thus, we highlight the romance of life.”
What beautiful words from Pam – inspirational words that inspire us to become better photographers, whether we are amateur or professional. We strive to become photographers that capture the emotion in a scene, or evoke a feeling from the viewer.
It is my photographs that tell me that four years ago I was leaving Poland on a flight to Denmark. I was overjoyed to be in Denmark, but so sad to leave Poland behind.
Five years ago, I took photos of our newest family member.
While six years ago, I was driving overland across the mountains and fjords of Norway.
Ten years ago, the following photo reminds me of the serenity I felt the day I was punting on the Avon River in Christchurch, New Zealand. It was just two weeks before the first of two devastating earthquakes to hit that city.
More than 40 years ago, I was about to fall in love. Not with a boy, but with the snow. I was leaving for my first skiing holiday with friends.
Without photographs, these memories and feelings might be lost in the passage of time.
Memories are made of moments.
Life is a collection of such moments fused into an ever-changing continuum.
The transient nature of life’s experiences are one reason why we take photographs. Like time travelling, photographs are a way to give life to the past, so we can imagine again that moment in time, in all its visual richness.
Looking at photos might evoke a feeling of NOSTALGIA.
Join the Weekly Friendly Friday Challenge Theme
To join in with this week’s challenge theme, simply create a post, including a pingback, using the theme Nostalgia, and tag it:
“Friendly Friday – Nostalgia”
Be sure to leave a comment below,as well as the pingback, so others can read your post.
Write a Little More for Friendly Friday
As this is the first Friendly Friday post for the month, we would love you to write a little bit more about your chosen photo/s. It’s far more interesting to hear the narrative in addition to the photos that you post. [This does not have to be a lengthy]. Here are some ideas if you are stuck on what to write:
What is its significance or history of the photo/s?
Where and when were they taken?
Why was it taken?
Post a recipe/ re-tell an old story that relates to the topic
Monthly Guest Blogger – A Mindful Traveller
Each month, Sandy and I publish a Friendly Friday post from a guest blogger. This month the wonderful Lorelle from Melbourne, Australia, who blogs at A Mindful Traveller will be our guest blogger and will take about an old family recipe that evokes Nostalgia for her. The post will be published here at StPA tomorrow.
If you are interested in submitting a guest post for Friendly Friday, please contact me or Sandy, via the Contact pages or our WordPress Profiles.
Weekly Photo Challenge Next Week
Next week, Sandy will have a new topic for Friendly Friday. Follow our blogs to receive new themes each week.
Many years ago, whilst travelling through country Australia, I snapped a photo of a patch of forest in an old park, where we’d stopped to have lunch. This was the days when you had to drop off your camera film and wait for several days, for it to be developed.
Weeks later, a friend saw the photo in my album and insisted the photo depicted a fairy pointing her finger towards something in the bushes. It was a mystery and a tad spine-tingling to remember there was a plaque, on a monument in that same park where I’d taken the photo, which said, “ in memory of the first white child who died in the valley.”
Photographers often claim to have captured photos with unexplained objects in them. Some turn out to be a simple case of double exposure, minute dust particles or even reflections, called Orbs, whilst others cannot be fully explained at all.
Do you believe in UFO’s or the Unusual?
More recently, as you can see in the photo below, I was in the picturesque town of Sandane, in Norway. I’d arrived in the early afternoon and was snapping photos of the fjord. Actually, it is pretty difficult for me not to take photos when I am presented with such natural beauty.
Walking further along the fjord, a shower of rain interrupted my progress, so I snapped a few photos and quickly turned back for the Gloppen hotel, where I was staying that night. Something strange appeared in the photos, that I noticed only when back in the hotel.
There was a pacman in the sky.
Or was it some kind of chopped Photo Orb?
What is an Orb?
Orbs are a somewhat new phenomenon that appeared at the dawn of the digital camera in the 1990s. At first, the camera manufacturers believed these orbs to be malfunctions of the camera, but to this day they claim that these balls of light are microscopic particles floating in the air. On the other hand, those in the paranormal community hold firm that these orbs are the presence of spirits.
How to Tell if an Orb is Dust or Something Unusual
From the abovementioned website, here is some information:
*If the orb or orbs in the photo seem to be behind a person or thing, as if peeking out or passing by, it could be supernatural. That’s because reflections don’t fall behind an object or person in a photo.
*If the orb has more density in the photo, it might not be a natural particle like dust.
*On film, if the orb or orbs seem to have a light of their own and move independently of wind or motion, it could be a spiritual encounter.
There are ‘Unusual’ things all around us.
Have you ever seen anything unusual?
Weekly Friendly Friday Prompt
For this week’s Friendly Friday Challenge, show us something you have photographed that was –
New Zealand has often been compared to Norway. In fact, on the way to Kastrup airport in Denmark, I saw one of those massive billboards, illuminated with a photograph of a snow-covered mountain.
The caption read,
No! New Zealand!”
Several years ago, I took a bus from Christchurch in the South Island of New Zealand all the way to Queenstown, via Mt Cook. I am hoping that I will be able to do this trip again.
If you are tempted to travel this section of New Zealand, I recommend taking a power block, or back up batteries for your phone or camera, because, if you are anything like me, you will find many jaw-dropping photo opportunities, as you pass through the Southern Alps.
One of the sights we passed by, that got the attention of fellow bus passengers, was a location that was one the film sets of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Movie trilogy.
Apparently, the local farmers were called in to provide extras for the Horse Stampede scene. This involved a large number of horsemen, a battle charge and horse stampede. The crews were set up and ready to film and had organized a large group of local farmers to be on standby as horsemen actors, but Peter Jackson felt that the weather and light was not optimal for filming so he cancelled the day.
This went on each day, for seven days. The farmers dutifully turned up each day, at the appointed time, ready for their big-screen break. After Peter Jackson cancelled filming again on the seventh consecutive day, the Farmers walked off the set.
They complained they couldn’t afford to be away from their farms, for so many days on end, twiddling their thumbs, so it was decided that their wives would step in and provide the horsemen extras for the stampede scene.
Next time you watch one of the movies and you think you are witnessing a cavalry charge of men, think again!!!
The Lindis Pass
The 60 kilometre stretch of road, known as the Lindis Pass, is considered by some to be the most beautiful passes in all of New Zealand. With the tussock grass covering all but the high snowy peaks, it is a great place to stop and view the majesty of the Southern Alps.
Be sure to check road conditions for the pass in the town of Omarama before you embark on this journey, as the pass crosses 971 metres above sea level, at its highest point. As such, its often closed due to bad weather conditions. It can even have black ice, making driving treacherous.
Approaching Lindis pass in our bus, I spotted a road farther up encircling the peak of the mountain; one that would give Norway’s “Trollstigen” a bit of competition.
Traffic through the pass will often queue up when weather conditions force road closure for a few hours, or days. Oftentimes, travellers waiting along the road, will leave their cars and walk around collecting piles of rocks which they turn into cairns.
Norwegians would call these trolls.
Yet another parallel between New Zealand and Norway.
In many ways, travelling through this area I that if I squinted, I could easily fool myself that I was somewhere in Scandinavia or Iceland again.
And that brings us to Lake Dunstan. It glorious aqua colour indicative of the glaciers that feed it.
Ski Fields and Lake Dunstan
Andrew our bus driver, explained how Lake Dunstan was created when a river was dammed, so the old township of Cromwell had to be relocated and the locals rehoused.
If you’re a ski bunny, the ski fields of Queenstown are a manageable driving distance away from this spot, (50 minutes to The Remarkables and 40 minutes to Wanaka). This is a great alternative to staying in Queenstown itself, which can be a tad more expensive.
Activities in Otago and Queenstown
Besides Skiing, activities for individuals and groups who prefer to explore and experience places at their leisure, include:
Four-wheel driving the many hill tracks, or guided 4WD tours
Trekking and mountain biking
Visiting the Central Otago vineyards
Exploring the heritage stone buildings
Museum and Old Cromwell Town
Old mining landscapes
Guided fishing trips on Lake Dunstan
Snowmobiles (winter only)
Jet boating the Kawarau or Clutha Rivers
Continuing our bus journey meant only a short Tea stop at the roadside Fruit stall. I took the opportunity to purchase a couple of serves of breakfast fruit at farm gate prices.
The stall also displayed some of the largest pine cones I have seen.
When Amanda asked me to write a post with the prompt, “Pink,” my mind went in many directions first.
Then I paused: what’s really my relationship with this girly colour?
Let’s be honest, no matter how modern you are on the gender stereotyping theme, it will still take yonks before pink is something else than a female shade!
I grew up in the 70s, though, which was supposed to be a decade of change and evolution in the matter. But my mother was rather traditional. My bedroom had a pink wall paper – until very very late.
I wore pink dresses.
But looking at this other photo from my dance class, (ironically, it’s black and white!!); it seems I was suddenly totally opposed to pink and decided to make it very clear!
Being a teenager is very tricky, isn’t it.
You want to fit in but also you want to show the world how different you are from the crowd!
That’s when I started wearing very different items of clothing.
I particularly loved a velvet jacket and suede tie which belonged to my grandfather – 4 sizes too big for me. The results of my combo choices were often extremely peculiar but I guess that’s how I decided to be creative at that time.
And took ballet classes wearing pale pink leotards and tights. In a way, pink was the colour of my childhood.Then the teenage years followed. And they were black. Didn’t we all wear black then? It was the way to merge.
Pink never really came back in my wardrobe in my adult years. Except for fuchsia. Vibrant colours are what define me now. In French, we have a way to qualify vivid shades: we call them “shouting” or “yelling tints.”
As if it was so bright, it could actually make an unpleasant sound.
In my never-ending craving for strong saturation, I even painted my house’s front wall, one Saturday afternoon, in bright pink. My courtyard had already been indoctrinated with a mixture of bleu majorelle (link to jardinmajorelle.com/ang/ ) and anis green !
Vero was born in a green and quiet Parisian suburb. She left this idyllic scenery in her early twenties to live in England, later settling in the South of France and started a family of three (+dogs!). Now in her forties, she lives in a rural coastal village in Brittany.
Thanks to Vero for this interesting glimpse into her relationship with the colour pink prepared for this week’s Friendly Friday theme.
If you would like to be featured as a guest blogger for a Friendly Friday Challenge post, please contact Amanda or Sandy – hosts of Friendly Friday, via our contact pages.
Young girls are pretty much divided into two camps – generally speaking. You are either a PINK or a PURPLE girl.
As each person’s eye sees colour, and variations of hue, a little differently and individually to the next, what is one person’s dreamy hue might be something another person intensely dislikes.
Pink or Purple?
When we are young and asked what about our favourite colour, most girls will answer pink or purple. Very rarely, yellow or any other colour. This usually translates to little girls wearing predominantly either pink-coloured or purple-coloured clothes and decorations.
And never the Twain shall meet.
Just as most young boys will preference red as their favourite colour. At least in Australia, this is the pattern that we regularly see and hear, with young children.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that a Pink girl won’t wear, or use, other colours at all. It only means that when you ask a young girl what her favourite colour is, she will generally answer “Pink,” or she will answer, “Purple.”
It’s a thing.
The Princess top in the above photo was purchased in Legoland in Denmark and was highly sought after in the Pre-school crowd at my daughter’s Kindergarten, especially so as it was unobtainable, in Australia. Fights even broke out, between the girls, over who got to wear it and there was lots of pouting from the ones that missed out. I had to ban the top from being worn to Kindergarten. My guess is the pink girls were the ones fighting.
One day a play date with a four-year-old friend of my daughter ended in tears. The little girl refused to leave our house unless she was allowed to take the Princess top home with her! My daughter naturally refused such an offer.
As for me: I used to be a purple girl, never a pink girl, but life changes you.
I had a wishy-washy lilac painted room as a child, as pastels were really the fashion. Yet, I have way too much Scandi genetic material to be completely sold on pastels, so a more cleaner, intensive colour is my choice these days. Yet looking through my WordPress archives, I note that most of my photos are indeed shades of purple, usually in the form of flowers.
I did find this gaudy ‘Pet Expo’ photo hidden in my archives:
We also see lots of pink in nature.
Or is it purple?
Join the Weekly Friendly Friday Challenge Theme
To join in, simply create a post, including a pingback, using the theme The Colour Pink, and tag it:
“Friendly Friday – The Colour Pink.”
Be sure to leave a comment below, so everyone can find your published post.
As this is the first post of the month, we ask you to post a little bit more about your chosen photo. This is not compulsory, but it is much more interesting to hear the narrative behind the photo. This does not have to be a lengthy piece.
Here are some ideas if you are stuck on what to write:
What is its significance or history of the photo/s?
Where and when were they taken?
Why was it taken?
Post a recipe/ tell a story that relates to the topic
Monthly Guest Blogger – Vero
We will soon be publishing a Guest post celebrating this theme, from the wonderful blogger Vero, in two parts. The first part will be published here at StPA tomorrow and the second part at Vero’s blog, so do check that out.
If you are interested in submitting a guest post for Friendly Friday, please contact me or Sandy, via the Contact pages, or via our WordPress Profiles.
Weekly Photo Challenge
Next week’s Friendly Friday Photo Challenge will be found at Sandy’s blog. See you there.