weekly photo challenge

Endurance

The Cathars were a religious sect in the southern regions of France in the 12th and 13th centuries.  They opposed what they perceived as the moral, spiritual and political corruption of the Catholic Church.  As a result, Pope Innocent III launched a campaign against them that resulted in the death of about 20,000 men, women and children, Cathars and Catholics alike.   The Cathars retreated to strongholds in the Languedoc region of southern France where they were held under siege by their persecutors.  Queribus, one of the fortresses, endures today atop the highest peak in the area and is a reminder of what the Cathars themselves endured.

cathar stronghold Queribus

cathar stronghold Queribus

cathar stronghold QueribusWeekly photo challenge: Endurance

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Challenges, Travel Theme Challenge

Surround Sound

What sounds go with these photos?

Oom-pah-pah, Warnemunde, Germany

Oom-pah-pah, Warnemunde, Germany

Steady rhythm of soldiers marching in unison, Copenhagen

horse and caleche

Clip Clop on pavement – Calèche in the market, Ottawa

Revelry and laughter - Tallinn, Estonia

Revelry and laughter – Tallinn, Estonia

Ailsa’s travel theme challenge: Noise

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Write it Now

Overload

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Halcyon days of my youth … I don’t wish to go back, I’m quite enjoying myself in the here and now.  But, Bob Dylan sang it to me when I was a teenager in the ‘60’s … “times they are a-changing”.  And they did.  And, I’d venture to say, faster than they ever did before.  Time and technology have proven to be, in my opinion, a toxic combination.

We left the closely knit extended families who worked together and prayed together somewhere out in the forests and on the prairies.  Now we have the 21stC family.  We zoomed right past the “nuclear family” and ran smack into the “blended family”– relationships complicated with step parents and half sisters and relatives scattered like dandelion seeds on a summer breeze.  Moving to the next town, the next province, across the country, over the ocean, it’s all the same as we hop a plane and disperse ourselves around the globe.  We have greater mobility than ever before.  And, I’d say, less stability … unravelling even.

So to keep up we “multi-task”.  We set the dishwasher going while the clothes spin in the dryer and the vacuum robot performs its programmed rounds while we pay our bills on the telephone and shop on the internet while waiting for the potatoes to cook.  We talk on the phone while we drive, watch movies while we fly, broadcast our news to everyone at once on Facebook.  Email has taken over and letter writing has become a lost art. We talk, calculate, take pictures, send mail, watch television, and make a movie all on our once lowly telephone. Less and less we take time for one-on-one or face-to-face, or heart-to-heart.

We do all this, and we do it fast. Cars go from 0 to 60 in seconds; personal missives and business documents speed from Canada to Hong Kong in the blink of a cursor; planes can cross the Atlantic between breakfast at 7 a.m. and coffee break at 10, and man flies to the moon in a capsule and is home in a week.

Our world has shrunk. News of events that happen in the remote regions of Africa or in the bombed out villages of Iraq or Afghanistan speed through “cyberspace” from the furthest reaches of our world and land in our living rooms, in “high def” colour and surround sound.   The impact of the cyclone in Pakistan, the tsunami in Indonesia, the suicide bombings in Afghanistan … all served up the same day with supper.

Our world has shrunk because of the speed of technology, but our sense of responsibility for family has been stretched out of shape by distance and consequent apathy, and now  it has to be shrunk back to fit society’s need for us to take care of our own, because society no longer has the resources to do so.

Everything is so inter-related that a computer glitch in Air Canada’s reservation system in Toronto can create line ups, long waits, flight delays and cancellations in airports around the globe;   the domino effect … like a house of cards.

What has it taught us?  Instant gratification.  And what happened to patience?  The listing for “patience” in the dictionary will soon be followed with “archaic” and a definition that tries to impart the understanding of the foreign idea of waiting for something.  I suppose anticipation will also disappear – with instant gratification there is no time to anticipate.

Privacy is down to zero and personal rights and freedoms seem to be the exclusive right of the minority.  Anywhere, at any time, someone can make a video of you with their phone and post you and your day on UTube before you get home.

We went from wars of fighting a known and see-able enemy to the technology of missiles that chase aircraft.

From children in happy, healthful outdoor play until the lights come on, to children bound to indoor game-boy stations, hiding from neighbourhood nasties, under the watchful eye of fearful parents.

A better world?  Definitely a different world.

The Daily Post writing prompt is: Overload Alert

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Challenges, Travel Theme Challenge

Taking Photos Saves $$

On our last trip I had decided NOT to bring home more ‘stuff’ that needed dusting.  I took pictures instead, and as Ailsa said, saved money.

Warnemunde, Germany

Warnemunde, Germany

St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg, Russia

pottery in St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg, Russia

Kubota machinery

Green Valley, Ontario

market

Byward Market, Ottawa

Ailsa’s travel theme is: Merchandise

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Challenges, Write it Now

Art, Movies, Songs … whatever

I can shed tears when drinking in the beauty of a work of art …  

pieta

Source : christusrex.org

One of the attractions at the World’s Fair in New York in 1964 was Michelangelo’s Pietà and Ed Sullivan highlighted this extraordinary sculpture on his Sunday night show. I was captivated by the beauty that Michelangelo wrought from a slab of Carrara marble and I never forgot my sense of enchantment.  As I passed for the first time through the doors of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, I was eager to see her again.  In 1973 her beauty was almost within reach; there was no glass to protect against vandals, just a rope keeping me at my distance a few paces away. She almost took my breath away.  I gazed at the perfection of the lines and graceful curves, taking in the incredible workmanship and artistry of Michelangelo’s work. As my eyes came to rest on the turn of Mary’s hand, tears pooled in my eyes and slipped down my cheeks.

In 2002 I returned to St. Peter’s.  Again I stood before the Pietà just as enthralled as when I had last stood there, and I felt the passage of time.  Then I had been a young twenty-something, almost a bride; now I was a fifty-something, a mother, and a grandmother, and yet here I was, as if no time had passed at all, with tears in my eyes.

And I can weep throughout a movie …  

Source : movieberry.com

Source : movieberry.com

Being a family of five we didn’t venture out to the movie theatre very often.  This night though, the Cineplex had a movie for me, and a movie for the girls and so they entered one theatre as I passed into another.  It was Beaches, with Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey – the story of a friendship, through thirty years of ups and downs, of loss and love.  At some point the tears welled, and then spilled over.  At some point the sniffles started and the Kleenex came out.  At some point my shoulders shuddered and I gave it all up and wept.

I had yet to regain my composure when the lights came up and it was with some embarrassment that red-eyed and tear-stained, I gathered my girls up to head home.   Some time later the movie was on TV, and I watched it again with the same results. Some time after that  I came home one evening to find the girls watching a videotape of Beaches.  As I passed through the living room I saw only the closing few minutes … with the same result.  The tears I have shed over Beaches are legend in my family.

I can become teary at the first strains of music …  

anne murray

Source : my-piano-notes.blogspot.com

My husband proposed to me in a parking lot.  Most unexpectedly, as we got out of the car, he said, “Would you like to be married … with me?”    Inside, we sat in the lounge, in our magic bubble, with a cocktail and a beer, drinking in each other when someone on the small stage began to sing, “Can I have this dance?”  He took my hand and pulled me onto the dance floor and we swayed to the music, the only dancers in a dimly lit room amidst idle chatter and clinking glasses.  We walked down the aisle to those words and when I unexpectedly hear them, or purposefully play them, tears of love and happy memories spill over and trace along my cheeks.

I can cry and not know why …

We were strolling through the crowded Granville market of colourful stalls and oft times even more colourful people when I felt a sadness settle on my chest and tears prick at the back of my eyes. Only after my awareness of how I felt did I hear the faint strains of bagpipes floating through the crowd and only then did I realize the skirl of the pipes had caused my sadness.  I was back at the church door, watching as my father’s coffin was raised into the hearse, and the piper played his last notes, and the bagpipes fell silent.

The weekly writing challenge is: Moved to Tears

 

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Challenges

Technology R Us

A good place to capture images of people and technology is at the airport …

Toronto Airport

Toronto Airport

Toronto airport

Toronto airport

It’s almost impossible to get shots in St. Petersburg, Russia without the jumble of overhead wires running through the images …

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg

Zyelyoniy Most - Green Bridge, St. Petersburg

Zyelyoniy Most – Green Bridge, St. Petersburg

The word a week photo challenge is: Technology

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Challenges

A-Z Challenge (again): I

I’m back again for another round of A-Z challenge but, wanting to add a personal challenge to the challenge, I am going to concentrate on signs this time – pretty signs, interesting signs, funny signs … whatever.

Sidewalk billboard in Buenos Aires

Sidewalk billboard in Buenos Aires

The Irish are alive and well and St. Petersburg

The Irish are alive and well and St. Petersburg

Tallinn, Estonia - understood in all, or at least most, languages.

Tallinn, Estonia – understood in all, or at least most, languages.

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Write it Now

Growing up Normal

win badge I’ve decided to continue to intersperse my photo focus with writing –  short excerpts from the volumes I’ve written.  Comments and feedback welcome.

I think of my growing up as being “normal” … but, of course, I see now that my “normal” is not anyone else’s “normal”.  To me it was normal because all my friends were growing up the same way.   All of us had mothers that were there when we came home from school … except Wendy two doors down whose mother worked … what was it like coming home from school to an empty house?   We were all two parent families … except Mrs. Brooks across the road who was raising two sons on her own … how would I feel if Dad didn’t come home every night? All our neighbours had two children … except the McFarlane’s who had eight … how did they all get along and where did they all sleep?

When people learn I grew up in Quebec they say, “Oh, you speak French?”  But I tell them, alas, no, I grew up in an English enclave … at that time there was only the one French family in our entire neighbourhood.   That was normal.

The four of us lived in a comfortable three bedroom bungalow – a wood fireplace in the living room where we sometimes popped popcorn; a finished basement where we could entertain our friends, and a separate dining room where we ate, even breakfast – we never ate in the kitchen.  Although it was large enough, the space by the front window where the dinette would sit if we’d had one was always left empty.   Dad doled out a weekly allowance:  25¢, raised to 50¢, and by the time I was a teenager I received $1.00.   Summers were spent at a lake, somewhere, and Christmas vacations were spent skating – Mum helped me on with my skates lacing them tightly, and Debby and I hobbled to the rink by the club house.  There we glided and twirled through figure eights for hours, fancying ourselves to be the next Barbara Ann Scott.

Aunts and uncles didn’t participate in my upbringing and I didn’t know my cousins well.  We rarely had family gatherings, except at Christmas and then only with Mum’s side of the family – her parents, and two surviving brothers – Uncle Doug and his family, and Uncle Howard, a lifelong bachelor. I have nine cousins but we never got all together.   Dad’s parents and brother lived in Hamilton, too far away. His two sisters lived in Montreal, but our only visits with them were during  the Christmas season delivering presents for my cousins, engaging in some polite chat, and sipping a drink before departure.   I guess that’s why Dad so often asked me as an adult if I had called my sister recently – encouraging us to keep in touch and stay friends. (Which worked, Dad – we imagine you looking down on us and being pleased with our closeness.)

The drive home from Granny Laird’s on Christmas night was magical. All the businesses along the Cote de Liesse decorated huge Christmas trees.  As tired as I was after the festivities of Christmas day, I stayed awake to see them, my nose pressed to the car window in anticipation of the majestic trees lit with coloured lights twinkling like a rainbow of stars in the darkness. And then, on the other side of Cote de Liesse was an orphanage and on every passing I wondered about the lives of the children within its walls.

So, normal was a home with both parents together, a working Dad, a Mum who was always there but no extended family;  my own room, and only one sibling, living in an English-speaking, upwardly mobile neighbourhood in suburbia, summers at the lake, a new car in the driveway every two years and never a serious want.

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weekly photo challenge

More on making your photos talk …

Frédéric Biver offered up quite the challenge this week – bring two of your photos together in dialogue. What do they say to each other?   Place together two photos that open up meanings that weren’t there when viewed alone … hmmm.  

Click on image below for a closer look at Underwater Symphony

digital art photography

Underwater Symphony

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Fine Art Photography

Emergence

“Today I am someone different. Today I have finally become who I really am.”
― C. JoyBell C.

Click on image for more detail

digit art photography abstract

Some have enquired how I produced this.  Below is my starting image -

door Cardiff

In Sagelight I played with the light for a more dramatic effect and changed the colour to blues. In Photoscape I did a zoom blur distort.  In PS Elements I used the polar coordinates distort ‘polar to rectangular’ twice, compounding the distort and that’s when I saw something I really liked begin to emerge.  I went back to Sagelight to adjust lighting, texture and colour to enhance what I saw.   Photo editing in the extreme ;)   It is about transformation …  reinventing ourselves … emerging from a past to a future …   I’d really like to know if it works and what others think, yay or nay.  Click on first image for a closer look and let me know.

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Challenges

A-Z Challenge (again): H

I’m back again for another round of A-Z challenge but, wanting to add a personal challenge to the challenge, I am going to concentrate on signs this time – pretty signs, interesting signs, funny signs … whatever.

 

Village store in Rossport, Ontario

Village store in Rossport, Ontario

The Crown Inn, Raglan, Wales

The Crown Inn, Raglan, Wales

Abandoned in northern Ontario

Abandoned in northern Ontario

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Photography

Photo Editing: Making your photos speak

I’ve said before that I think of each photo I take as a canvas with which to play, to see what I can bring out of it.  Ideally I’d like my photos to speak to the viewer, to evoke a feeling or spark a memory. So I challenged myself and took some pretty mundane images and tried to get them to speak …  these are my starting images.

The Hot Seat

waiting room seating at airport

Opposition

waiting room seating at airport

Wallflower

DSCN3776 St Petersburg theatre

They are just chairs, after all, but … I’d be interested in your comments.

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