Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Verse and worse

The master builder taught his daughter
How to lay bricks and prepare the mortar
Her skills and talents could not be finer
Now she's cloning the Great Wall of China

Identify this mystery object

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: 7323)

OK, so it's not the most common viewpoint. That's because I stood with my back to the object, bent over as far as I could, and shot it upwards to get the most unconventional angle. Yes, I must have looked like the Hunchback of Notre Dame in reverse!

But can you guess what I've shot? Feel free to post your guesses as comments - and yes, you can guess as many times as you want. I'll reveal the answer in 24 hours, but if you just cannot wait that long, you can check the high-resolution image here on my Red Bubble site to see what the answer is.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Verse and worse

The new lighthouse keeper
Is such a heavy sleeper
That he sets eight alarms to rise every morning
And take on his duties even while he's still yawning

Dune not disturb

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: 122-3368)

I love a decent abstract as much as the next photographer, so I found this simple sight really arresting. Why? Simply because of the strong shapes and the bold colours - and I guess the unusual view as well.

This was a temporary outdoor stall at Melbourne's Docklands precinct, shot on a very warm summer's day on 10 January this year. The central pole swept the canvas upwards sharply, which was perfect for the way I "saw" the image, contrasting that bright yellow against the strong shadow and the flawless blue Australian sky.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Verse and worse

William Spode bought "Abbey Road"
But his credit card began to implode
Downloading the Beatles brought him so much delight
That he logged into iTunes right through the night

Never yawn, from dusk to morn

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: USA2010-8530)

It's not often you get to photograph dusk over your own country and then, scant hours later, dawn over the Pacific. But here's the tricky bit, right? The first image shows dusk on 23rd June 2010 and the next one shows dawn on - that's right, the same day!

The shot above was taken a couple of hours into the long haul from Sydney to San Francisco aboard a United Boeing 747. Then some hours later, I gazed through my window as I tried to sleep - and sat there transfixed by the colours that began to develop on the horizon, from my vantage point more than 30,000 feet up.

I was really tired, but I got to my feet, walked back a couple of rows, took my camera from the overhead locker - and then made my way to the rear of the plane, to shoot some frames through the tiny observation porthole in the last emergency door.

It was well worth the effort. I can now claim to have photographed dawn AFTER shooting dusk on the same day.

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: USA2010-8533)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Verse and worse

It was terribly sad to see Angus McCracken
Get his new grey trousers ripped by the bracken
So he patched the holes and sold them for a shilling
To Raggedy Fred, who was ever so willing

Some drivers are so ... pig-headed

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID:USA2010-Long Island-8645)

We were in a hurry, catching up with close friends for dinner in Long Island. It was late evening and the light was fading quickly. But after we'd parked and were on our way to the restaurant (Smokin Al's, a rib joint) I noticed this mural on a wall.

I didn't even need to tell Mrs Authorblog and the Authorbloglets that I was stopping to take the photo. They had seen the mural too - and turned around because they kinda KNEW what I was going to do next.

By the way, during the meal, one of our friends, whom we've known for many years, told me that she used to read my blog regularly and asked why I had suddenly shut it down. Now that I've resumed the blog, I'd better get in touch with her so that she resumes her reading habit ....

Friday, November 26, 2010

Verse and worse

Great-uncle Bryce was addicted to dice
He'd gamble his wages without thinking twice
He'd look for a contest when he went for his stroll
But he won lots of gold - he was always on a roll

Wiggypedia gets a facelift

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: 124-6129)

This might look like a page out of the French Revolution or from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but it was nothing as dramatic as either of those options. It was simply a performer at the Moomba street parade, shot in March this year.

I used a 70-300mm lens for the duration of the parade, because the focal range gave me a variety of options. From memory, this was shot at 300mm. The performers were twirling and moving constantly - but this great costume really caught my eye.

From memory, I shot about three or four frames very quickly, but this one is the best in terms of clarity. No, there was no one doing red carpet interviews! Or even green carpet interviews ....

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Verse and worse

Henry Moloney was ever so bony
So he ate fried mushrooms laced with baloney
He began to work out, now he's sinew and muscles
And the women all love him in faraway Brussels

Yup, the pizza dough was ... light

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: USA2010-LongIsland-8590)

So there we were, the entire Authorblog clan, dining out with close friends at Bertucci's in Long Island. It was late in the evening, we'd all had a long day, but we reckoned we could all fit in some pizza (most of us) or pasta (some of us).

As always, I had my trusty camera beside me. (Yes, like Mary's little lamb in the nursery rhyme, it went everywhere with me in NYC, as it always does.) And when I noticed the reflections in the interior of this lamp above our table, I had to ask permission to use my camera. Just as you would have, too.

And the pizza? A big thumbs up. Yes, I'd go back.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Verse and worse

Alas, the frustrations of Scientist Jones
His experiments failed to produce any clones
But all he could say was "By gosh and by golly"
When he saw reports of a sheep called Dolly

Mall things bright and beautiful

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: USA2010-Long Island-8626)

This was shot at a large shopping mall in Long Island in June this year. The geometrical precision of the huge cupola above our heads had me standing there, looking upwards as though I were taking in some metallic equivalent of the Sistine Chapel. Oh well, you get my drift, right?

But I didn't just want a shot of the dome. So I found an angle from which I could include a tall indoor tree just to introduce an extra point of interest. Not an easy angle to shoot, but quite a rewarding one to look back on.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Verse and worse

Miss Harlequin Bunning
Looked ever so stunning
In a gown of laced pearls
Before emp'rors and earls

Bold as brass

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: 124-6111)

Shooting images during street parades can be really difficult. On the plus side, you are outdoors, so you have good light, and bright colours to work with. But people are constantly moving in front of you (even if you are over six foot tall and standing on tiptoe) and those who are part of the parade are constantly in motion.

But I shot this during the Moomba parade here in Melbourne in March. Beautiful day. Plenty of sunshine. And I decided to use the longer of my two lenses, replacing my 18-125mm lens with a 70-300mm lens. This gave me great depth of field as I zoomed in on this tuba player.

Did you notice the reflection on his brass instrument, showing the city skyline behind him - and the crowds lining St Kilda Road in front of him? If you want to see the original high-res version of this shot on my Red Bubble site, just click here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Verse and worse

``Whatever,'' mused the oracle, ``would rhyme with `tumbler'?''
``I know,'' said his pupil, ``why don't you try `bumbler'?''
And so on they did joust, with such mental alacrity
That they tied in a contest, for Rhyme King Of The Ditty

Wonder why he looks so familiar

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID:122-4401)

With these strong colours, you might think this was shot on Caribbean soil, but it wasn't. I was striding down Flinders Street in central Melbourne on a Friday afternoon in January this year when I noticed this vivid evocation of Steve Wonder.

It wasn't the only one on the wall of a store that opened up onto the busy street. There were many famous musicians depicted in an amazing mural. I was in a hurry that afternoon, so I only shot two or three frames, but I reckon it's high time I went back there to find out who painted these great images.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Verse and worse

If you love to pose
With a freshly cut rose
Then nuthin' will thrill yer
Like a purple grevillea

Just gimme a ball park figure

Photograph copyright: DAVID MCMAHON (Image ID: USA2010-NYC02July-1050)

There aren't many shots I take with a focal length of only 18mm, but this is one of them. It was shot late on a perfect evening in early July in New York's Central Park, as a single batter limbered up, with long shadows showing how late in the day it was when I took the photograph..

The range of colours, as well as the strong horizontal patterns, had to be captured against that beautiful sky. For us, it was strange to be walking through Central Park in shorts and T-shirts, because frosty Melbourne was in the grip of winter when we flew out.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Verse and worse

There once was a bloke called Wilberforce Schneider
Who slid down ALL banisters (and was nicknamed The Slider)
He did blackflips and star jumps and 360-spanglers
But his mother complained that he ruined his Wranglers

This seat fits like a ... glove

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: USA2010-Long Island-8563)

I'd never seen anything so unique - or colourful. On our first day in Long Island, we drove past an ice cream parlour that had these outdoor chairs in the late-June sunshine, so of course I had to stop to take a shot.

About a week later, we went back there, on a dual mission. Not only did I have to find out if the "chairs" were locally made, I also had to sample the ice cream as well. Turns out the chairs were ordered specially from a non-NYC manufacturer and shipped in.

And the ice cream? The Authorbloglets and I gave it a thumbs up!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Verse and worse

Lord Balfour was ill (so terribly stricken)
When he ate his enemy's poisoned chicken
His lips turned blue, his hips wouldn't move
But a drink of fine port gave him back his groove

What kind of honeycomb is that?

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: 131-6646)

It's not a honeycomb. It's not an advertising hoarding. It's not a computer game. It's not some hi-tech set for a television game show, either.

I shot this in an amusement parlour a few weeks ago, with the permission of the staff. As soon as I saw the changing colours on these segmented platforms, each for a single player, I knew I had to take a shot. I chose my angle carefully, to include the silhouette on the right and the metal stool on the left.

By shooting it from side-on, I figured it would create a more interesting (even perhaps intriguing) sight than shooting it from front-on. This angle also gave me the added attraction of the reflections on both sides of the metal.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Verse and worse

Because her brain was affected (by weevil)
Lady Macbeth never thought she was evil
She thought it her duty, as a nobleman's wife
To know how to use a sharp stabbing knife

Cutting remark

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: 132-8552)

Let me start by saying the cutting remark was not made by me. It was made by one of our neighbours, when we happened to meet at a recent wedding. And no, the cutting remark was not made in a mean-spirited way. All she wanted was a rose (you guessed it) cutting.

She explained that she drives past Casa Authorblog every morning and throughout spring and summer she really enjoys the sight of the sea of roses that adorn the western perimeter of our property. They are a variety of colours, with traditional bushes mixed with climbing roses - and our neighbour says they bring her joy every morning as she goes to work.

And then she made me promise that the next time I prune the roses, I will give her a selection of cuttings for her own garden. Gotta love those "cutting" remarks, right?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Verse and worse

Nuthin's colder or windier
Than the far north of India
Where my first cousin Betty
Rode to school on a yeti

A real display of inviting colours

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: Malaysia2010-3816)

Perhaps this was once the main entrance to a pagoda. There was no one around to tell me if this was a real pagoda or not, or whether it used to be one many years ago. This was adjacent to the entrance of a shopping centre in Kuala Lumpur - and really whetted my curiosity.

I was drawn to the shapes and the bright colours - but I also wondered about the unpainted wooden square on the right. Perhaps it once held flowers or incense. It just doesn't seem to be part of the original structure. If you have any theories, do let me know.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Verse and worse

The dance instructor, he was so miffed
When they told him he moved way too swift
So he took them round, from waltz to jive
Before the pupils could count to five

Going for gold

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: 125-7680)

Sometimes the more unusual shots occur in places where you wouldn't instinctively look. There was a great sunset across the Yarra on a late-April evening, and after I took a couple of shots across the shimmering river, I turned my attention to the city skyline in the opposite direction.

Briefly, the golden glow transformed an ordinary office building into a huge vertical ingot - yet it didn't endow the surrounding buildings with any special effects. I guess I framed this tight image to concentrate on the contrast, to highlight the semi-abstract view, and to include the nearby spire of St Paul's Cathedral. And yes, the flawless sky can be seen as well, between the skyscrapers.

Who said city skylines are dull?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Verse and worse

Monsignor Noakes drank several Cokes
And fell in a heap beneath the oaks
The doctor (a swine) said ''You’ll soon be fine ….
But next time stick to Communion wine’’

Raise the red lantern

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: Malaysia2010-3575)

I shot this outside the Pavilion centre in Kuala Lumpur on a hot, humid January day this year. We had walked past the place the previous evening and my attention was caught by a beautiful floral display in the courtyard, as well as the lanterns that seemed to rain down from the atrium above.

But the real challenge was to shoot the red cascade from a different point of view, rather than simply front-on. By shooting it from directly underneath, it brought fresh perspective, as well as the reflections behind the lanterns. For me, the bonus was being able to see the clear glass atrium above, with the geometrical squares against the sky.

By the way, if you fancy your powers of observation, take a simple 30-second challenge here that I've posted on my Red Bubble site.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Verse and worse

So proud and tall above the marble plinth
Stood a lead-crystal vase of water hyacinth
No rose-like aroma, no clustered azalea
The botanist felt like a miserable failure

Studying for your bar exam?

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: 131-7720)

We had just finished dinner at the Hog's Breath Cafe when the lighting around the bar area caught my eye. By this time we were out on the wide pedestrian walkway, and I knew I didn't really have enough time to go back inside.

So I shot this from outside, looking through the wide glass window that allows passers-by to look into the cafe. I could have shot a really tight frame, with just the black silhouettes against the blue-lit bar, but it was much more fun to allow one of the wooden chairs to intrude in the foreground!

By the way, did you look close enough to spot the reflection on the top of the chair in the middle?

And if you want to take part in a fun title-writing contest on my Red Bubble site, just click here to enter (or simply view) the entries for a "numbers" image with a difference!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Verse and worse

The bloke next door is Big Tim Buck
He drives a massive haulage truck
He has two does and one buck (Hugh)
The deer farm helps pay Tim Buck, too

All the fun of the fare

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: USA2010-01July-0274)

If you're familiar with my photography, whether it is here on my blog or on my Red Bubble site, you'd know that I enjoy shooting familiar objects from unusual angles. (This is only a low-res version, but if you'd like to view the full-size original on my Red Bubble page, just click here.)

So when Mrs Authorblog and I took the Authorbloglets to the Big Apple in late June this year, we figured we had to take one of those open-top bus tours to see as much of Manhattan as swiftly as we could, while trying to cover all the major spots on foot. It's a good thing I'm used to firing off shots from a moving vehicle, after my experiences in the Yukon and certain other spots around the world.

This shot was taken from my vantage spot on the left-hand side of the top of the bus. I was using my standard 18-125mm lens, rather than the 70-300mm lens I always carry with me. It was more than sufficient to compose a tight frame of a familiar symbol of NYC, albeit from a point of view not often seen.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Verse and worse

Lord Balfour surveyed the gathering rabble
But called on his courtiers for a game of Scrabble
“Instead of sending soldiers to our stout wooden door
I’d much rather play for a triple word score.”

Lest we forget

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: USA2010-021July-0337)

This just seemed to be an appropriate image to post today. As you'd remember, my post yesterday was about an Australian veteran from World War II, but this shot is for my friends in the United States, as they celebrate Veterans Day.

This was shot in the first week of July this year, as we soaked up the atmosphere of New York City. But if you're curious about where this image was taken, displaying light and shade in an extremely historic part of the city, all you have to do is check out an image I posted on my Red Bubble site here along with my reason/s why it was one of the most significant moments of my trip.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Verse and worse

Doctor Perkin and the redoubtable Nurse Firkin
Found a defribilator that just wasn’t workin’
So they ripped out the paddles and called Doctor Carter
To see if they’d substitute his Bentley’s self-starter

Homage to a World War II airman

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: 125-7670)

These two images are part of a series I shot while talking to a gentleman who served as a gunner in the RAAF during World War II. We spoke for a few minutes at Southbank, Melbourne, just before the Anzac Day parade on Sunday April 25 this year.

He wore his service medals anchored to the zipper pocket of the dark blue civilian jacket he wore - and he spoke about his time in the Pacific theatre of war. At the time, the telemovie "The Pacific", co-produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, had just begun screening on Australian television - and we spoke about the accuracy of its depiction.

His chest proudly bore  the Pacific Star, among other wartime ribbons. It is the second medal from the left, in the first of these images. I thanked him for being so generous with his time - and when we shook hands before he walked on, I thanked him for his service, too.

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: 125-7670)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Verse and worse

Vincent van Gogh once painted a crow
Its plumage was white as the purest snow
And when Warhol returned from far-off Guadeloupe
He brought ten crates of canned Campbell's Soupe

We three kings of Orient are

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: Malaysia2010-3463)

Appearances can sometimes be deceptive. This might look as if it were shot in some fine theatre, with all the trappings of art and culture. However, it was shot in the basement of a shopping centre in Kuala Lumpur.

It was mid-January this year, but the pre-Chinese New Year festivities had already begun. All the street decorations were ablaze and every major intersection carried a colourful reminder of the auspicious time that was fast approaching.

When this play began, I was on the fringe of the crowd of onlookers. Anxious to find out whether I could use my camera, I caught the eye of a security guard, pointed to the camera around my neck and was delighted when he gave me a big thumbs-up. The light wasn't great, because it was not a true theatrical setting - but I was pretty pleased with the way some of the shots turned out.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Verse and worse

My first cousin Trent hitch-hiked to Kent
Leaving size 16 footprints wherever he went
He was sponsored by Kumar and well shod by Puma
And regaled the drivers with his great sense of humour

That ain't how you clock off

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON. (Image ID: 129-5731)

It's not a movie set. It's not a theatre rehearsal. It's not even a real person, so you can relax! This lifelike figure is suspended high above the entrance to the Pancake Parlour at the Jam Factory, in the inner-city Melbourne suburb of Prahran.

The figure clings to the hands of the clock - and I was immediately caught up by the challenge of finding the best angle and the most suitable focal length to capture it. From memory, I shot about five or six frames before deciding this one was the most dramatic.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Verse and worse

Before he embarks on each roller-coaster ride
Pastor Mullally must be firmly hog-tied
Or else he'll chant and invoke the heavens
While he continues to rant at young Pastor Evans

Please don't shut me out

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: SingaporeA2007-1603)

I shot this at Clarke Quay, Singapore, in mid-December 2007, during a brief stopover on my way to India. The quay is a lodestone for photographers, not just because of its range of colours, but also for the way it preserves the city-state's colonial past.

While trying to take in the huge range of colours, I suddenly spotted this muted scene - a simple facade with monochromatic windows closed against the tropical heat and humidity, flanked by the dark foliage of a large tree. The simplicity of it all had to be captured, right?

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Verse and worse

My next-door neighbour, Mr Algernon Boyd
Was told by his shrink that he lived in a void
So now he tap-dances all the way down the streets
And tips his top hat to each lady he meets

Whose hairstyle is better, buddy?

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: USA2010-01July-0472)

When I first saw this mural in Manhattan, I was only mildly interested - but when a passer-by appeared, I knew I had an extra perspective. I had to work quickly to take the shot, because as you know, New York can get very crowded and a clear field of vision can swiftly change.

From memory, this was shot in the vicinity of the Empire State Building. It was fairly late in the evening, but because we were there in summer, the light was still strong enough for me. Only just strong enough!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Verse and worse

So Obama's in "neutral" and the House has changed hands
The voters have spoken, amid shifting sands
Even Arnie's departed, with a brave "See you later"
And Jerry's moved in, to replace Terminator

Star shows up for a jam session

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: 129-5738)

Okay, so it's not a real star - but you can understand why I saw the resemblance. This unusual ceiling is part of the Jam Factory here in Melbourne.

Definitely one of the places to be in the uber-trendy suburb of Prahran, it comprises a shopping mall, cinema and restaurant complex. And do you know where it gets its name from? Simple - it was once (you guessed it) a jam factory.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Verse and worse

Way out in space, it’s a special occasion
A decade of humans aboard the space station
The crew can’t play football, or bring home fresh prawns
But there’s no noisy neighbours, or mowing of lawns

Soft embrace of silk and timber

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: 129-5811)

The silky fabric of these miniature Chinese souvenirs caught my eye because of the bright colours, and also because of the yellow script on their surface.

They were for a wedding and this was shot indoors, in soft morning light, so the colours really worked well against the Asian timber. I shot about five or six frames, with slightly different angles, but the depth of field seemed to work best on this shot.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Verse and worse

No mood is more bellicose
Than Rear-Admiral Jellicoe's
He ordered the fleet from New York to Crete
With no thought of danger, or fear of defeat

No Big Bang, but is it a starburst?

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: 131-6722)

As soon as I saw these plants in our local nursery, I snapped them up - and now they grace the garden at Casa Authorblog. They burst into bloom at the start of spring and are extremely sun-sensitive, so they close up at night and in cloudy conditions.

The plants are called "osteospermum" – the white variety in the foreground is called Afrikaan pearl and the deep pink one in the background is called Afrikaan crystal.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Verse and worse

A little dry-cleaner on Netherby Road
Claimed to have found the lost nuclear code
He said he discovered it near a row of old bowsers
With a notice that said: ``Press with Bill Clinton's trousers''.

Sole survivors

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID: Malaysia2010-3456)

So you're wondering what on earth I've shot here? They're just rubber beach sandals, displayed on a rack at a store in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

By shooting really close up and by concentrating on the colours and shapes, there is a semi-abstract quality to the image. Hopefully it's the kind of composition that makes you look closer!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Verse and worse

Devils and wraiths and witches and warlocks
Dastardly demons that tug at their forelocks
Are they netherworld dwellers ever so keen?
No, they're just children, enjoying Halloween

Classic art can be such a pipe dream

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID:131-6570)

Sometimes you see Renaissance-style art in the strangest places. This mural brought me to a halt as I walked down Lygon Street in central Melbourne about three weeks ago. It's not a huge wall, more like a small rectangle tucked into an inconspicuous spot beside the cafes that line the famous stretch of road.

But look carefully at the mural and you'll see that the exterior pipes have obviously been there for years. This in turn would suggest that the mural is fairly recent, and has been painted around the pipes.

Look at the image below and you'll also notice a clue that Lygon Street is famous for its cafes and multicultural cuisine. Can you see the glass that someone has left on the low parapet on the left? And there's something else there too, that I didn't notice until I reviewed these images on my computer screen - the artist has left his mobile (or cell phone) number under the dials on the bottom left-hand side of the image.

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON (Image ID:131-6570)