Sunday, August 31, 2008

Going Stag

When Did You Last See A Nuzzle Like This?

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Sometimes you see the best sights in the strangest places. Just over 24 hours ago, I was about to take a series of photographs of the Tintina Trench, here in the Yukon, when this caught my attention instead.

Okay, so you're looking at this picture and you're so observant that you know something doesn't quite add up. Correct?

You're 100 per cent right. Because I didn't really photograph two "live" moose exchanging a gesture of affection. It was just a mural on the side of a Holland America cruise line coach.

Check out the rules at Camera Critters or go to Misty Dawn.

The Sunday Roast

Real Life, Presented As A True Story

This week's interview is with D, who writes
the blog My Life Is Based On A True Story.

The first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?

I've only been blogging for a year now. I started blogging because my best friend, Bubba's Sis, was a blogger and, mainly, as a way to entertain my brother who was deployed, once again, with the Coast Guard. I knew that silly stuff where he could "publicly" pick on me would thrill him. We are so thankful that he is home now. By the time my USO duties were over, I had made some wonderful friends. I didn't want to stop blogging and lose my connection with them.

What's the story behind your blog name?

Actually, this is my second blog name. My first, Just Call Me Part of the USO, was while my brother was away. When he returned and my entertainment duties were over, I changed it to My Life Is Based On A True Story. I picked that because I tend to write about my life and my kids, a lot. It's all true, even though sometimes it might sound otherwise.

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

For me, the best thing is the people I have met. I never in a million years thought that people would "visit" and stay. But, a few have & there is that connection now. A very real connection, a friendship, that I cherish.

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

Sometimes I still feel like I'm a newbie! Hee! I guess I would say make sure whatever you put out there, you mean & will stand behind. You never know who will read your words so make sure it's something you don't mind your friends, family, and lurkers knowing about you. If you want to build a readership, participate in weekly memes.

What is the most significant post you've ever read?

I have read so many, from the heartbreaking to the light-hearted. I can't possible pick just one.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?

I'm not sure I have ever written anything that would be considered "significant"- I'll have to think a minute.... This post, Amazing Grace, is about my son one day after Vacation Bible School. It shows how, even though he has a mouth on him, he is so sweet and tender. And this one, Not Your Typical Teenager, a tribute to my daughter, shows how unique & aware of herself she is. Neither are significant in any way except it showcases how special they are.

Today's Sunday Roast with D is the 32nd in a weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world.

Cop That!

Has Anyone Seen This Missing Police Car?

Austria's top police officer is fuming after thieves made off with her official car - which was parked right outside her house. Andrea Raninger, head of the country's Federal Criminal Police, had to report the theft of the $45,000 Toyota RAV4 stolen to her own officers. She had been set to leave her home in Vienna for work when she discovered it was missing.

FOOTNOTE: Oh, what a feeling!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

Way up north in Dawson City
I'll strum my gee-tar and sing you a ditty
Of men, of claims, of unimaginable cold
And how the Yukon was defined by gold

Spruced Up

When The Sky Is Soft And The Hills Are Blue

Just a few hours ago, Margaret Goodwin of Yukon Tourism drove me up to the top of The Dome here in Dawson City. We joined about eight other people watching and photographing the setting sun and I was able to shoot some memorable images of a golden sunset that looked as though someone had poured a molten ingot across the sky.

A few seconds after the sun had disappeared slowly over the horizon, I scrambled up to the very pinnacle - and that was when I looked all around for the first time. Because I spent my high school years in a wonderful boarding school in the Himalayan town of Darjeeling, I am accustomed to the wonderful post-sunset colours over a range of hills.

But here on The Dome, I experienced something very rare. It's not often a city slicker like me gets to stand on such a high vantage point - and be able to look at a ring of peaks all the way around, for an entire 360 degrees. At every quadrant of the compass was a vista even more breathtaking than the one before.

After the true sunlight began to fade, I spent several minutes in the soft lingering embers of the day, shooting into the valleys and across the now-silver rivers snaking across the landscape. Finally, I put the lens cap on both cameras and carefully negotiated the scrabbling shale down the hillside to where the car was parked.

Just before I opened the door, I looked back across the valley where the sun had disappeared, and I was awe-struck at the many tones and hues of blue that briefly played across the hills. The closer hills were darker than the rest, while the furthest peaks were lighter in colour. The sky still had some remaining vestiges of colour, but I wanted something more to help me frame this stunning scene.

That's when I noticed the branches of a spruce tree nearby and it just took me a few seconds to work out exactly how I wanted to capture the arresting beauty of the scene in front of me. I shot this with my 300 mm lens - and no, it's not enhanced in any way. There is simply no need to use an electronic program of any sort to try and improve on the power of Nature.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

What Seems To Be The Hold-Up, Sir?

An Austrian man ended up in hospital after he faked an armed robbery because he was too scared to tell his wife he had lost thousands of dollars in a casino. The man, 26, broke his nose, jaw and arm as he beat himself with an iron bar to make the fake robbery seem authentic. But he eventually confessed in hospital.

FOOTNOTE: Bruise Willis.

Friday, August 29, 2008

No Paint, No Gain

See Why Dawson City Has A Colourful History

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Tonight I'm in Dawson City, heart of the Klondike - and I thought it would be the perfect subject for today's Photo Story Friday post. First of all, I'd like to provide an answer to the many friends who asked what I'm doing here in the Yukon - there is a very simple answer. I'm extremely privileged to be here as a guest of Yukon Tourism.

I've spent time in this territory before, but this is my first time up in Dawson. It's a place I've read so much about and an area whose history I know so well. As we drove towards the outskirts of the city today, after a 460-kilometre journey north from Fox Creek, I must admit I felt as if I was actually entering a place I knew well, even though I had never set foot on her soil before.

I dropped my bags off at my room and immediately I did what any self-respecting photographer would do. I picked up both my cameras and headed out to capture the essence of this frontier town. Did I want to drive? Naaaah. As most of you know, I prefer to walk, because this way I can stop wherever I want and shoot whatever catches my eye.

Mate, let me tell you there is a lot that catches the eye here. I chose not to walk down the historic streets. Instead, I chose a pathway beside the mighty Yukon River that was the scene of many tales of pure adventure during the gold rush. I chose to walk alongside the fast-flowing waters to my left and shoot a frame every few steps, because I was totally intrigued by the paintwork on the buildings along the main street.

It was just after seven o'clock in the evening, but the light was perfect, as I'm sure you'll agree ...

It's handy, on a trip like this, to have two cameras. I have my 18-125mm lens on one Pentax and my 70-300mm lens on another. This enabled to me shoot a variety of focal lengths and compositions without having to stop and constantly change lenses on one solitary camera.

The first shot in this sequence was taken looking down the main street, while the second was taken about 100 metres away. Having the 300mm lens meant I was able to compose a really tight shot, highlighting the contrasting colours of two adjoining shops.

In the last shot (below) I zoomed in from a long way away. Initially, the red T-shirt and the olive green T-shirt worn by the two blokes on the white chairs had caught my attention. Then I noticed the other bloke walking towards them, so I just waited till he walked into the frame. It's a completely candid shot and it's interesting to note, in retrospect, that all three people are looking in different directions.

Visit MamaGeek and Cecily, creators of Photo Story Friday.

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

If my buddy Sam were slimmer
He coulda been a swimmer
If his sister Jo were taller
She coulda been a race caller

Snow Patrol

There's Powder On Them Thar Hills (Already)

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

This photograph should give you a clue as to my whereabouts today. If you want a few extra seconds to work it out, let me give you some more information. I'm not in Melbourne. I'm not even in Australia. Have a good look at the traffic in this scene (I took the shot through the windscreen of a four-wheel drive) and you'll notice that we're driving on the right-hand side of the road.

Did you say the United States? Not quite. I'm in northern Canada, in the Yukon, a place that touched my soul the first time I came here, nine years ago. I left Melbourne before dawn on Wednesday morning, flew to Sydney on Qantas and caught an Air Canada flight to Vancouver before catching a connecting flight further north to Whitehorse, capital city of the Yukon.

There's something very special about seeing sunrise twice in one day, over two different countries. I saw one dawn as I flew from Melbourne to Sydney, and then I was privileged to witness Wednesday start all over again with soft tinges in the sky just before we landed in Vancouver.

Here in the Yukon, the colours are starting to change already. You know you're in a cold place when the captain announces the impending touchdown by telling you the temperature in Whitehorse is (and I quote) "Plus nine degrees". And so here I am in paradise, surrounded by mountains and as the low cloud starts to clear just after I arrive, I suddenly see that the first snow has already fallen.

Let's just call it a personal welcome-home sign.

For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch HQ.

Bless You Too

Monk Wasn’t Taking Note

A novice monk was arrested in Germany after he tried to give away money as part of his religious training. Shoppers raised the alarm when he stood in a shopping centre giving away 50-euro notes and blessing people in Goettingen. Police let him off after they had checked to see if the notes were forgeries.

FOOTNOTE: Got forsaken.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Post Of The Day

Today’s joint winners are Sandy Carlson with Tibetan Buddhist Temple In The Catskills and Jennifer Harvey with The Notebooks, And Why She Needs A Decoder Ring. The other top contenders were Sarah with Job Woes; Emma Tree with Keeping Track Of Life; Poetic License with Falling Behind; Spiritual Things Matter with Twists And Turns Of Life; Nourish The Soul with Did You Forget Something?; Babooshka with Welcome To The Deadwood Family Reunion; Les Becker with Goodbye, Captain Underpants; Kahshe Cottager with DayLily and Rambling Woods with The Wood Duck. And if you like a challenge, check out Jeff B’s post Portrait Of Words Kick-Off. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

If you’re tight around the collar
How on earth d’you holler?
And if you're a vocal fella
Does that make you an old yeller?

We’re Talking Big Money Here

To Coin A Phase

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Using a macro lens is always a great experience, because it opens up a whole new viewpoint. I have to say, the lens that is on my camera for ninety per cent of the time is the multi-purpose 18-125mm Sigma lens, but I enjoy using my 70-300mm lens. These photos were shot with the SMC Pentax-DA 1:2.8mm macro.

It looks as if I’ve shot these images in a carnival, where they have large-scale models of everyday objects. But that’s not the case. These might look as if they’re the same size as pizzas, but they’re standard Australian fifty-cent coins.

As you can see, they have 12 sides, which makes them dodecagonal and are the only Aussie coins that are not round.

Back in 1966, round fifty-cent coins were issued briefly and they are now collectors’ items. They do surface sometimes and I know of at least one recent case where a friend of mine thought a very rare fifty-cent coin was actually a contemporary twenty-cent coin instead.

To misquote the Lone Ranger, hi, ho, silver.

Red-Litter Day

One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Measure

Litter bins featuring celebrity voices saying "thank you" are being tested in Finland. If successful, they could be adopted across Europe. Helsinki has four bins with movement detectors and voice recorders which will be moved once a week. The trial "celebrity" is city mayor Jussi Pajunen. His message says: "It's great that you care about the city. Cool."

FOOTNOTE: Junk male.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Post Of The Day

Today's joint winners are The Lehners In France with Selling Your House In France, Part One; Woman In A Window with There's Nothing Sadder Than A Cheap Clown and Maddi with Fluffy Moments And Silly Questions. The other top contenders were Maxwell The Tattooed Boy with I Know What It Means; Big Blue Barn West with The Space Between; Daryl with On Friday; Firefly with Flowering Kapok Tree; Leslie with School Daze; Daisy Bouquet with Inch Worm; and Kathryn with The Rosy Glow Of Summer. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

If the Cape of Good Hope
Was located on a slope
Would you still get a thrill
If things went downhill?

F Is For Footwear

Shopping For Shoes Must Be Good For The Sole

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

The youngest Authorbloglet - God bless her - is kind of keen on shoes. This is indisputable. It is established in family folklore. But the manner in which this came to light was less obvious to one member of the clan than it was to others.

That member of the family was, er, me.

Some years ago, we were in a foreign land, and Mrs Authorblog and the two older Authorbloglets went off in search of a particular store. Realising that the youngest of our brood would have no interest in that pursuit, Mrs Authorblog told me to stand outside and wait with our little girl.

No worries at all. I revel in the company of my children and they revel (they’ll admit it under duress) in my company. So after about five minutes of fun while we stood outside, I was alarmed when Juniormost Authorbloglet asked to be carried. Did I say "asked"? Sorry, I meant to say "implored".

Something just didn’t add up. This was a child whose idea of freedom was to run as soon as her feet touched the floor each morning. An independent soul, she never asked to be carried.
So with the tenderness and concern that any father would show, I asked what the problem was.

"My feet are really hurting," she replied.

So I sat down and put her on my lap and immediately adjusted the straps on her left sandal and then her right sandal.

"Is that better?" I asked.

She shook her head. She told me her feet were still hurting. So - naturally - I loosened her straps until the sandals were ready to fall off her little feet.

But she told me she was still in a lot of pain. All sorts of thoughts went running through my mind. Was this some sort of mysterious ailment that had suddenly struck without warning?

At this point, Mrs Authorblog emerged with the other two children. Dutifully, I gave her a situation report.

Mrs Authorblog, as most of you would know by now, is a wise woman, a quick-thinking woman and a resourceful woman. She just grinned.

"Do you realise where you’re standing?" she asked, shaking her head at my stupidity.

I was standing in a square in a shopping mall, for crying out loud.

Then, Mrs Authorblog pointed to a shop that was right in front of me. It was a shoe store. "She doesn’t have anything wrong with her feet. She just wants new shoes."

So we trooped into the shop, Youngest Authorbloglet selected a pair, happily put them on and walked - o miracle, o joy, with no pain or discomfort - for the rest of our nine-week holliday.

Clearly, her brain was a lot more nimble than mine. And she was not yet three.

For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to Mrs Nesbitt's Place.

A Streetcar Named Desirable

Putting Our Heart And Soul Into Melbourne

Melbourne tram stop, August 2008. Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

He's Not A Boxer

Burglar Uses The Rinse Cycle

Police in Wichita, Kansas are on the lookout for a burglar with no trousers - who apparently broke in to a house just to do his laundry. The man, wearing just his boxer shorts, grabbed a handbag and fled. The woman in the house chased him down the street and retrieved her bag. When she returned to the house to found his jeans and belt still in her washing machine.

FOOTNOTE: Clean record.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Post Of The Day

Today's joint winners are Living In The Badlands with Tornado Experience; Airman Mom with His World and Corey with Wrinkled. The other top contenders were Baino's Banter with Untitled; Pappy's Balderdash with What Can I Get You, Sugar?; Camikaos with It's Raining On Prom Night; Jo Beaufoix with In Love With Borders; Beachy's Cape Cod Cupboard with Enchanted By Mermaids; Lee with Scrabble Online Or How To Survive Without TV; Annie with My Week In New York and Mielikki with Short Story Saturday. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

Melbourne’s fickle weather is really such a blessing
Bright sunshine? Frost and ice? It always keeps us guessing
No one really knows what next week will bring
But my guess is snow, on the first day of spring

Witch Hunt

Thank Goodness I Know How To Spell

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

A couple of weeks ago I was taking some shots of St Paul's Cathedral here in central Melbourne and had just wrapped up. I was walking out of the church and had already put the lens cap on my camera and placed it back in its bag.

That's when I caught sight of this huge hoarding across the street, advertising the musical "Wicked". It was emblazoned across a wall at Federation Square and so I guess I couldn't fail to notice it. But it was a busy time, with tourists all round the city and office workers on their lunch break - and I was determined to get a shot from across the street, without anyone else in the frame.

Naturally, I had to wait a while. So I framed the shot I wanted, zooming in close on the striking colour combination - and simply waiting for the crowds to clear.

I guess I was just spellbound.

Going Quick

It’s The Ferrari Of Office Chairs

Police in Germany have confiscated what's thought to be the world's fastest office chair. Two 17-year-olds had souped it up with a lawnmower engine, bicycle brakes and a metal frame. They could face charges on a variety of offences - including riding a vehicle without insurance, licences or registration.

FOOTNOTE: Sitting on the offence.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Post Of The Day

Today's joint winners are Fleeing Muses with Pied Piper Of Ghosts; The Grownups Wanted Us Dead with What Goes Thump In The Night and Rune with A Rowanberry Stroll. The other top contenders (it was a particularly tough choice today) were Misty Dawn with Sky Watch Friday; Miranda with A Wealth of Information; Steph with The Folkie Never Dies; Louise with About A Funeral Home; OC with A Currency Debate; Crazy Cath with Welsh Rarebit. From America. With Love; Holly with The Lady From The North and Daryl with Untitled. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

Josephine Joyce had no choice
When it came to daughters
Each time at the brink, she'd think of pink
Whenever she broke her waters

Blind Guess

Roll Up, Roll Up, For All The Fun Of The Fair

Sometimes you find a photograph where you least expect it. While we were in Langkawi last month, I was waiting outside a shop when I noticed these rolled-up wooden blinds. I was looking at the pattern of the parallel slats, trying to figure out what type of wood they were made from.

Then I noticed that the blue paint was marginally brighter at the middle of the blinds than it was at the top.

So of course I had to take a couple of shots, because the colours made such a striking contrast against the dark background. And yes, I shot the frames to emphasise the fact that some of the wooden slats had warped while the others had remained unaffected by the weather. The lines were irregular, rather than strictly geometrical - and that just made a great image in my mind.

(The Odd Shots concept came from Katney. Say "G'day" to her.)

Board Meetings

Honey, I’ve Got My Own Set Of Wheels

A disabled tortoise has found love after being given her own set of wheels. Arava arrived at Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo a few months ago, but because her rear legs were paralysed, staff strapped a metal board to her stomach with two wheels attached. She has even attracted the attention of an amorous male tortoise and the pair have begun mating.

FOOTNOTE: Shell shocked.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Weekend Wandering

Please answer today's question here or on your own blog, any time until next weekend. Just link to this blog (or to this post) so I can follow the progress of the discussion.

The question is: Do you remember your first day of school?

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

Was Muhammad Ali
Made to drink barley?
Or did he celebrate lunch
With a rather large bowl of punch?

Heavy Metal

Watching A Rock Legend Flutter By

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

In the grand tradition of my friends throwing photographic challenges into my lap, Quilly has ordered me to produce a photograph of a butterfly in flight. One problem. One small problem. It’s still winter here. Ain’t no butterflies in this part of the world.

Quilly, ma’am, as soon as summer comes a-knocking on my door, I’ll be out in the garden chasing every butterfly I can find, in an attempt to come up with the shot you want. I’ll climb hills. I’ll tramp down dales. I’ll swim rivers. I’ll find butterflies. And I’ll photograph them till they beg me not to photograph them again.

But until then, this is the best I could do. When I took this shot, there was the nagging thought in the back of my mind, that there was somehow a rock reference lurking somewhere. I paid no attention to that, took the shot and kept walking.

But as soon as I sat down to write this post, the penny dropped. The heavy metal reference should have been obvious. Remember the 17-minute hit track In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida? It was by a group that famously got stranded at the airport on their way to play at Woodstock.

The name of the group? Iron Butterfly.

Check out the rules at Camera Critters or go to Misty Dawn.

The Sunday Roast

Mama Mia, She Has So Many Talents

This week's interview is with MamaGeek,
who writes the blog What Works For Us.

The first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?

First and foremost, for the community factor. I never imagined to meet and greet so many people through blogging. Secondly, it gives me a photography platform that forces me to practice on a more consistent basis since I always post a photo I took with every post.

What's the story behind your blog name?

Oh, I hate this question. It was the very first thing that came into my mind. In hindsight, I wish I'd named it something else or at least thought about it for more than 3.14 seconds. OY! My blogging voice has changed so much since I first (rather naively) started.

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

The best part about being a blogger, for me, is having a creative outlet to both share and learn from.

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

Blog on your terms (when you want, what you want) and always remember, it's the honesty that keeps 'em coming back.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?

If I had to pick only one, I'd pick this - I'm a fan of anything written by Janet.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?

Being a whacko for macro, it's a photo I shot: Raindrop Reflections.

Today's Sunday Roast with MamaGeek is the 31st in a weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world.

No Kidding

Who Needs A Nursery Rhyme Or Reason?

Noise control officers in Auckland, New Zealand - accustomed to breaking up rowdy, drunken parties - found themselves busting a nursery disco. Kids were doing the Chicken Dance when officials responded to a complaint from a neighbour to pull the plug on the bash. As instructed, the music was turned down and the hell-raising kids partied on for another 30-minutes - until bedtime.

FOOTNOTE: Chicken dunce.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

Following a trail of lightning
Can be fairly frightening
So stay inside the cordon
Dictated by "Flash" Gordon

Rip Van Wrinkle

Street Musician Brings Harmony To Us All

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Sometimes a late reaction is better than no reaction at all. Mid-morning on 15th December, I had a couple of hours to kill in Singapore before catching a connecting flight further east. Rather than spend that time indoors, I caught a train to Orchard Street, an area that used to enchant me when I was in primary school.

The street, as I expected, was a rainbow of living colour, with Christmas decorations as far as the eye could see - so of course I walked briskly from one end to the other, shooting as I went.

I chose to capture not just the vibrant colours, not just the wonderful Yuletide sights. I wanted to capture the broad spectrum of life in the island state - its many subtleties and its many faces, its corporate wealth as well as the everyday scenes of its people. I stopped to shoot colourful garbage bins, I stopped to shoot a Buddhist shrine, I stopped to shoot unusual colours, I stopped to shoot the faces around me, for each one told a story.

In my hurry to cross an arcade, I almost missed seeing this man. I was about to walk past when the sound of a harmonica stopped me in my tracks. He was just playing, lost in his own world, as the shoppers and the tourists and the city workers brushed past him on either side.

I dug my hand into the pocket of my jeans and put some money into his open music case. He nodded and I reckon I must have taken three or four strides past him.

Then I turned back. I was, after all, trying to capture the many faces of Singapore - and he surely was one of them. I asked if I could photograph him and he nodded without missing a note.

Much later, when I had time to think aboard the next leg of my flight, it struck me that I should have taken the time to speak to him. I don’t know his name, I don’t even know how old he was. I didn’t know whether he took his spot on the pavement every day.

He seemed to have no teeth, yet he wore the attire of a young man. His face and arms were wrinkled, yet his wiry physique could have belonged to someone much younger. His neck was lined and weathered, yet his hair would have fitted comfortably on any rock star.

Maybe even the shirt, too.

Visit TNChick, the creator of Photo Hunt.

On And Off Love Affair

The Seven-Year Switch

A Welsh bachelor has finally seen the light and had his home wired up for electricity. Hubert Hilling, 60, is thrilled: "It's fantastic. I keep switching the lights on and off," he said. "They all come on at once instead of having to be lit with a match." But he still makes a daily five-minute walk to a well to fill two buckets.

FOOTNOTE: Light entertainment.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Frond In Need Is A Frond Indeed

Cleopatra Would Have Been A Big Fan

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

This post is dedicated to a (very) young man in Britain who is possibly my youngest reader. John (for obvious reasons, I won't identify him) asked his mother to contact me when I wrote the post Palm Reader, because he wanted to know if I had shot any other images in that sequence.

Yes, I did, and here they are at John's request, along with the story of why and how I actually shot them. We were on holiday on the Malaysian island of Langkawi at the time, and I was still blogging because I had my laptop with me. The weather was fairly stormy on the morning we flew in and while we explored the beautiful 40-acre property of the resort, I happened to spot this banana tree towering above me.

It took me a few seconds to work out what sort of tree it was, before I spotted the distinctive leaves, which are traditionally used in some parts of rural India as a substitute for plates. I figured it was a banana tree, but I'd never actually seen one where the branches fanned out in such perfect order, rather than growing at random angles.

It made an interesting silhouette against the dark, cloudy sky and I shot just one frame before walking on. The next morning, the weather had cleared, so of course I had to shoot the same scene and this time the bright green of the giant leaves worked beautifully against the clear blue sky. As I hit the trigger on this shot, I thought it looked like a giant Roman fan, of the sort that palace serfs would have held above Cleopatra to protect her from the elements.

But there was clearly a better angle to be had, so I explored the options with the shot below, which was the next one in the sequence. It was only then that I realised the most unusual angle, along with the geometrical precision of the fronds, would be best served if I composed a tighter frame - and you can see the best result here.

Visit Mama Geek and Cecily, creators of Photo Story Friday.

Post Of The Day

Today’s winners are Old Man Lincoln with Progressive Bee Fly and Woman In A Window with There Was Magic. The other top contenders were iMac with Sky Watch 6; Dot with Spider Webs; Jeff B with Berry Good; Sandy Carlson with Late Summer? Early Autumn?; Sabonai with Milestones; Michelle with Morning Skies; Jo Beaufoix with Sweet Dreams; Holly with David Tennant Wants To Heart Kimberleev; Mama Geek with Chapter 2; The Depp Effect with The House Where I Lived As A Child; Cowgirl with Some Things Make Me Cry; Lucy with Ending or Beginning? and Daryl with Smooth Jazz. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. Righty-o, then, it's
over to you ....

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

According to my neighbour, Granny Hotchkiss
Domestic bliss has come to this:
If ya don’t do the dishes
Ya sleep with the fishes

Dawn Syndrome

Just A Simple Salute To Nature's Power

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Early on Wednesday morning, I looked through the kitchen window to see whether I needed to take my umbrella to work. To my delight, I saw a tinge of pink in the east. It didn’t solve the problem of whether it would rain or not, but I knew I had to keep an eye on the colours.

There was a strong breeze, so I knew either of two things would happen just before the sun rose. Either the colour was dissipate very quickly as the cloud cover broke up, or it would rapidly intensify.

My camera is always within arm’s reach, so I took it into the garden and shot this series of frames. There was not more than two minutes between the first shot and the last - and a minute after I went back indoors, the colours had vanished completely.

Nature paints some amazing images for us early risers, but even then we have to react quickly to capture them.

For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch HQ.

Honey, They’re Playing Our Thong

Row, Row, Row Your Bloat

The Borat "mankini thong" has become's surprise summer bestseller. The item was famously worn by comedian Sacha Baron Cohen in Borat -The Movie. But Amazon says recent sales have been driven by the popularity of a spoof video, called Rowing, My Way, featuring members of Great Britain's Olympic men's silver medal-winning eight crew.

FOOTNOTE: Tight fit.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Post Of The Day

Today’s joint winners are Suldog with Roddy Goes To The Hospital and Just Jamie with The Door Is Open. The other top contenders were Epijunky with Downward Spiral Concluded; Kimberly with Putting It Into Words; Chewy with Golden Yellow Heads; Fat, Frumpy and Fifty with What the F?; Akelamalu with Kefalonia Part 3; Merisi with Morning In The City; Moannie with Pompiers I Remember; Katherine with Colourful and Sandi McBride with A Can Of Cackle. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

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Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

My mate on the coast used to train a porpoise
Instead of Fred, he christened it Habeus Corpus
Then he worked with a bottlenose dolphin
And used it as a caddy when he went golfin’

Exit Strategy

Always Take Time To Reflect

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Sometimes even the simplest of objects can make a striking image. I took this shot in a multi-level car park here in Melbourne. Just before I walked out, I happened to look up and noticed, to my surprise, that the ceiling was coated with a high-gloss paint.

Naturally enough, this gave me an interesting effect to capture. It’s not often a reflection overshadows (in more sense than one) the original source, but in this case I framed the shot so that you look at it exactly as I did. I noticed the reflection first - and then the exit sign.

Interestingly enough, if I’d been walking through the car park in broad daylight, the neon sign would not have been switched on and I would have missed an unusual shot.

Here’s another point to ponder: when was the last time you saw a reflection actually positioned above its source, rather than below it?

Caught Napping

She Sells Sea Shells On The He-Snores

The worst snorers in Britain will attend a special boot camp next month, seeking a cure. More than 200 people applied for just six places on the military-style weekend - which the chosen few will attend with their sleep-deprived partners. A strict sergeant-major will be there to make sure no one smuggles in cigarettes or alcohol.

FOOTNOTE: Seeking z-z-z-z-z-en.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Post Of The Day

Today's joint winners are Pat Houseworth with Reluctant Sky Cop, Maggie May with A Challenge and Crystal Jigsaw with Still Heart. The other top contenders were Daily Cookie with Beach Blanket; Remembrances Of An Arkansas Stamper with Sunglasses Required; A Bananna with Fire Sky; Incurable Insomniac with What A Dog; Bubba’s Sis with Mommy Guilt; Liz with The Day We Saw Elvis; Ramblings Around Texas with Elfins And Egrets; Rune with Early Rivers; Travistee with Celebration and Jennifer Harvey with The Mood. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....