Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting

26 07 2013

Urban art has a short lifespan and is only on show until the next person claims the wall.  Here is a fleeting glimpse of taggers at work in the now derelict powerstation in Coogee, Western Australia.  It’s an urban artist’s paradise.   Don’t ever believe these pictures are haphazard or purely opportunistic.  This guy had a small sketch book with him that he’d refer to occasionally as he marked out the scale and angles for his piece.

Creative mind at work

Creative mind at work

For more on the Daily Post and the Weekly Photo Challenge: CLICK HERE.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense

23 03 2013

This week, we capture a moment in time. Something that holds the promise or portent of the future.  I was reminded of this photo I took when leaving Perth, prior to our move to the Northern Territory.  It’s a moment in time – so many things to look forward to, so many things being left behind.  I had no idea then what the future would hold.  I’m still not sure.  But that’s what risks are all about.

Good bye

Good bye

To join the Weekly Photo Challenge – check out the details on the Daily Post here.

Miksang revisited

12 03 2013

This week I thought I’d revisit the world of Miksang or “contemplative photography“.  Rather than offer a single shot, here is a showcase of my miksang images.  Each presents its own character, but in a block format it’s something quite different again.

For more on my approach to Miksang, check out my other posts here.

Darwin community markets

21 02 2013

Since moving to Darwin in the Northern Territory, we’ve enjoyed sampling the various wares at the local weekend markets.  The food stalls offer a fantastic variety of fresh specialty dishes from from Vietnam, Thailand, France, Japan, China, India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Malaysia and more.  We’re slowly working our way through the Laksa, curries, vege noodles, rice paper rolls, broth and soup combinations, tofu and dim sum.  It is quite a treat and as we’re in a new place it is even easier to try different and ‘new’ things that we would have usually passed by.

The markets also have a range of fresh vegetables and fruit with a particularly tropical and south-east asian influence.  Tropical fruits and iced tropical fruit smoothies are popular and prolific in the heat, as are the fresh greens for a quick home-made stir fry.

I love the laid back atmosphere at the markets.  It has a really friendly and vibrant feel with so many cultures represented.   People are out and about, starting their weekend with some homegrown music and a wander through the spicy stalls, all buzzing with patrons patiently waiting (sometimes in the rain).  Mindil Beach Markets (in the Dry) offer a fantastic spot to sit and watch the sunset.  The rain doesn’t keep anyone away though, with the Parap Markets on every weekend even during The Wet.  Saturday is not Saturday any more without a Laksa!!!

19 February 1942 – War in Australia

17 02 2013

The Bombing of Darwin, 1942.

As a new resident in Darwin, I’m learning about this important day in Australia’s history and I’m disappointed to realised that is was not part of my school curriculum.  I grew up with a basic and brief understanding of World War II in the context of Europe and the Pacific war, but didn’t know that Australia had been bombed over and over and over again.  Here’s what I’ve found so far.  I must say, it makes really fascinating reading and coupled with visiting the remaining sites around town, is quite humbling.

Commemorating the Bombing of Darwin.  Cenotaph on the Esplanade.

Commemorating the Bombing of Darwin. Cenotaph on the Esplanade.

Under the command of Captain Misuo Fuchida, Japan launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbour USA on 7 December 1942.  The task force was led by Vice-Admiral Nagumo Chuichi.  Once the damage had been done, he ordered Captain Fuchida to turn his aircraft carriers towards Australia. A week later, there was an order to evacuate Darwin as the Japanese campaign advanced through South East Asia and cut off the sea lanes to Australia. Over the next month, Japan advanced on Malaya and the Dutch East Indies.The British stronghold at Singapore fell to the Japanese on 15th of February. With all eligible Australian men deployed to Europe to fight the World War, Australia was under grave threat and only military personnel and civilians who provided essential services (Police, Post Office, Telegraphy, Communications, Nurses) stayed to man their Darwin posts. An invasion was anticipated at any moment which would mean a bloody struggle fought on Australian soil, city by city, village by village.  It must have been horrendous.


Four days after Singapore fell,  on the morning of 19th of February 1942, Misuo Fuchida stationed his four air-craft carriers in the Arafura Sea, fresh from the devasation at Pearl Harbour.  They each carried 27 fighter planes and 54 bombers and launched, one by one. A radio report came through from Bathurst Island, just north of Darwin. Father John McGrath, a missionary on Bathurst Island 70km north of Darwin, reported “An unusually large air formation bearing down on us from the NorthWest.Identity suspect, visibility not clear”.  Ten US KittyHawk aircraft had left Darwin to fly over Timor and were due to return that morning, so the warning was ignored.  Everyone assumed it was the US pilots in formation. It was just before 10am.  There was hardly any time to sound a warning. People in Darwin initially thought the Americans had sent help – more planes ready to defend Darwin!!  188 planes were in the sky and the bombs began to drop.

Japanese "Zero" fragment.  Australian Aviation Heritage Museum: Darwin. NT.

Japanese “Zero” fragment. Australian Aviation Heritage Museum: Darwin. NT.

The Darwin Port was crammed with 45 naval vessels, merchant navy ships, American destroyers and Australian vessels.The port was destroyed, 20 military planes were destroyed, 14 ships damaged, 8 ships sunk, hundreds killed and injured. Oil spilled into the harbour and set the water on fire.  There was no escape.  Gwenda Hansen worked as a secretary at the Qantas Airways Office when the first bomb fell.  “We dashed out of our glass fronted office to go to ground”, she said. Ground was the nearest gutter.“We saw a bomb hit the lovely old sandstone post office.  During a lull we set out to run there to see if we could help anyone, but the planes came over again and we dived flat in the nearest paddock”.

Kitty-Hawk - strafed.  Australian Aviation Heritage Museum. Darwin NT.

Kitty-Hawk – strafed. Australian Aviation Heritage Museum. Darwin NT.

Darwin’s Parliament House now stands on the site of the old Post Office where nine civilians lost their lives as their slit trench took a direct hit.Over the course of half an hour, 71 medium bombers, 81 dive bombers and 36 fighters decimated Darwin – the harbour, airfield, communications centre and major facilities.All but one of the returning KittyHawks was shot down.

The raid lasted just over half an hour.

An hour later, the Japanese returned again, another raid of destruction.

There was another 63 bombing raids on Australia over the next two years.

Unknown civilian loss - 19 Feb 1942 - Adelaide River War Cemetery. NT.

Unknown civilian loss – 19 Feb 1942 – Adelaide River War Cemetery. NT.

Lest we Forget.

References for this blog post:
Japan on the Doorstep
Federation Frontline: A secondary school resource
The National Archives of Australia – the Bombing of Darwin
The Battle for Australia
The Bombing of Darwin

Contemplative Photography 16

17 02 2013

My approach to contemplative photography (or Miksang) has been quite intuitive. I’ve read everything I can find and am developing my ‘eye’ but it’s hard to describe miksang without it sounding like a riddle.  I’ve had a break recently and it is interesting to observe the process of “getting my eye back”, as I call it.  It really is about seeing things in a certain way.

Miksang, or contemplative photography is more of an ‘approach’ or a ‘way’ rather than a set of rules. To me (and remember I’m only learning), it is about going out with an open heart, open eye and open mind. I clear out judgement and expectation and just see freshly and clearly. Think about your trip to work each morning. Whether it is a drive, train trip or walk to your office, there are things you pass every day without even noticing. Miksang helps you notice all around you and see them, without judgement.

Here is something that caught my eye.  It captured me, evoked a feeling.  That’s when I know I’m onto something.  I connect with it somehow.  Although it might seem mundane, this pic is full of pattern, shape, form, lines, light, shadow, colour and order.

The urge to order

The urge to order

There’s also disorder, and I find that it’s the disorder that evokes something in me – questions and wonder,  annoyance, an urge to order and reshuffle, eventually I’m settled and like it.  At first I love the neat stacking but something about the red crates being placed in arbitrary positions is jarring.  I think they should be neater somehow.  But then again – why?  does it matter? does it change their purpose? make them more useful?  Is it any of my business?  Why am I so judgemental?  Can I just let it go?  They’re just crates.  Interesting isn’t it?  Miksang leads you out of yourself and then back through yourself.  You examine a scene, and it examines you too – if you let it.

In Miksang, I don’t try to find a ‘better angle, I don’t zoom, I don’t crop, edit, straighten or do any post editing. I shoot what I see. What you see is what I saw and what captured me. Hopefully the shot shows you things that capture my eye, my heart, my mind.  So that’s where I am on my journey into Miksang.  I hope you give it a go as well – enjoy the journey.

If you’d like to find out more about Miksang and the art of Contemplative Photography, check out these links:

Miksang Institute for Contemplative Photography
Miksang Society for Contemplative Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Kiss

16 02 2013

This week’s challenge, is KISS.  When I was little, my lovely Fairy Godmother bought me an inflatable seagull at the seaside.  Why?  Because I wanted one, I screamed my head off and she is my Aunt.  Little did I know that she would repeat the treat some thirty-odd years later and send me one all the way from the UK, with lots of love.   It’s the little things isn’t it?

Mwa mwa Mr Seagull

Mwa mwa Mr Seagull

My Beautiful Fairy Godmother

My Beautiful Fairy Godmother

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