"an elegant tapestry of quotations, musings, aphorisms, and autobiographical reflections" (James Atlas)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New toy

Well I took my new toy for a walk the other day, the new toy being a new camera. Now the proud owner of a Canon EOS 550D, I shall snap everything that comes across my path! Claude the retriever is traditionally the subject of my first 'shot' on a new camera, and for this one he obligingly sat still, no doubt expecting a reward for his efforts.
What better place to try out a new camera than at the zoo, where the inmates haven't much choice but to suffer my benign intrusion! I do try to present them in the best light, and was happy with about 5% of my 'haul'. I'm very happy with the image quality of my new toy, and once I've learned a little more about it's functions, I hope to do some interesting things with it. In the meantime, I'll keep posting a few shots here now and then.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pets (2)

To continue my story about the pets that have shared my life....
In Frankfurt, I lived on the 11th floor of a high-rise, in a village called Schwanheim. This was very close to the airport, where I worked. The high-rise ("Hochhaus") consisted of 1 and 2 bedroom apartments, and had an interesting mix of inhabitants - the first 7 floors were occupied by elderly folk, who were quite independent. The upper floors were rented out to single women, most of them airline staff. Many flight crew shared rooms there, and ground staff as well. I first shared a two-room apartment with a flight attendant from Cologne, then moved into my own 1-room bedsit. It was quite cosy, with an alcove for the bed,  a large-ish living area, separate kitchen and bathroom and a balcony overlooking the Main river. More about that another time.
After living there for a while, I thought the company of a kitten might be nice. I can't quite remember now where I got him from, but soon a little tabby tom joined me. He was very cute, with a white tummy and socks, and I called him "Julius". He provided endless hours of fun, loved to curl up on the window sill and watch birds flying past. I couldn't let him out on the balcony, for fear of him falling from such a height. Instead, I got a lead and we went for walks. Well, he went for walks, and I followed! He grew into a magnificent cat, and I couldn't get home from work too soon to play with him! At night, Julchen slept in my bed. When I went to sleep, the pillow was mine - by the time I woke up, it was his!
By the time Julchen was a year old, I had met DH and knew I was going to live in Australia. It would have been enormously expensive to take Julchen along, and the idea of leaving him in quarantine for months on end did not appeal to me either. So, sadly, a new home had to be found for my kitty! Luckily, a lady at the cattery saw him and wanted to adopt him immediately! It turned out to be the best thing all round - Julchen lived a long, happy cat life being pampered by his new owner (she wrote to me for many years telling me about his exploits), and spending his days in cosy comfort, with a garden to play and chase things in. He had indeed fallen on his furry paws!
Once in Australia, one of my priorities was finding a new kitty. I was lucky to have found a partner who also liked animals, so we ended up with the three mouseketeers.....more next time!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Little lanes

I love exploring Melbourne's little lanes. They're always full of surprises, no matter how often I visit. Armed with my camera, I go in search of new and interesting vistas of my city. One of my favourites is Union Lane, just off Bourke Street Mall. It's a very narrow space, claimed by spraycan artists (I'm sure there's a better term but I don't think they like to be called 'graffiti' artists!). The tableaux change on a regular basis, and some are stunning. Colourful, shocking, artistic, joyous - so many ways to describe them!
The trick is to look UP! (Thanks for reminding me of that, Scott!). One encounters a whole new dimension, especially in Melbourne, full of Art Deco architecture. Delicate glass ceilings in arcades, antique lamps overhanging a narrow lane, art nouveau tiles in stairwells, carved sconces supporting window sills, criss-crossing walkways high above - I expect them to swing away suddenly, magically as in Griffindore  - every turn reveals more.
The lanes are bustling with people, tables laden with food and drink cramming the sidewalks, coffee shops galore, their heady aroma stimulating the chatter....everybody talks to everybody here.
Some of the lanes are not for the faint hearted, even in daytime. Accosted occasionally by (mostly polite) homeless folk, one might stumble across a lively drug trade, imperious wedding photographers, politicians. Nearby backpacker palaces ensure a international and boisterous youth presence at all times. The retail outlets here are quirky and transient, favouring the hand made, fair trade, ethnic, and downright intriguing.
One can walk through the lanes and arcades from Flinders Station all the way up to Melbourne Central, through the heart of the city, over to QV and back down again to the east, discovering downstairs bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants, all hopping on a Friday night.

Come with me on a photographic journey through my city...