Not only did I learn that I could possibly fix a leaking toilet this week I also discovered that enforced silence is excruciating. I invigilated a senior exam at one of the schools this week, and was not prepared for the agony. I'm perfectly fine with silence when it's of my own choosing, but it was agony having to be basically a fly on the wall and not say A SINGLE THING about ANYTHING for a few hours, just watch people writing and watch people watching people writing. (Invigilating isn't supervising, it's reporting on how things are conducted and supervised, so basically a silent dobber. To clarify, there was nothing negative to report at all, so not technically dobbing). It took me a few days to recover. I talked to EVERYONE to restore balance. If there was ever any doubt that I'm an extrovert we can confidently substantiate that this is indeed the correct classification of my personality. My introvert friends all laughed at my pain.
I tried it in Black and White, but felt that the colour version has a more appealing mood/story. I think I'll be trying this again some time.
Such a broad topic for Week 40 "Rule of Odds"! Pressed for time (as usual) I looked around the house for inspiration. I have a lot of old stuff, & things that look like they could be old (like this basin & ewer my brother bought me because he knew how much I loved the one at our great grandparents' house).
I actually shot this in sepia in-camera (because I have yucky pink blinds & I haven't played with those in-camera settings in a very long time), but on import to Lightroom all the colours came back. I tweaked the sliders a bit to help the blue glass bottle and Billy Buttons pop.
I wish I had more time and more opportunity to do something really fantastic with this theme, but it had been hella crazy around here (and I'm actually stunned that I managed to hang in there for 40 weeks! Go me!)
Immediately when I saw the topic for Week 41 "Shoot through something" I knew it was the perfect time to play with shaped bokeh. I love stars, but when I thought about foreground interest I decided to use my guitar, and change the star to a music note. I hung a string of fairy lights in a bunch in the corner of the room, then cut a music note shape out of black card and secured it around the lens with a heap of rubber bands. Focusing was a challenge because of the card and rubber bands (and the low light) but I got it done (kind of).
I'm hoping inspiration strikes for "Details" by Sunday afternoon. It may be another job for the bellows and something shot in macro. Wish me luck.
Last week's 52 Frames topic was "Golden Hour", and I didn't make it to the dam for a sunset portrait session. There was an impressive mackerel sky one afternoon, so I looked around my street for something interesting to put in front of it, but couldn't manage that. I did notice the Jacaranda across the road had a different glow in the afternoon light when looked at from below.
This week is "Portrait of a Stranger", and I'm trying to think of the least weird/creepy way to ask someone if I can take their photo... because photographing a stranger unbeknownst to them, from a distance, paparazzi style is definitely weird/creepy. I wish it was next week, and then I could have used a photo of a Wildhorse Cutting competitor that I don't know. As it is I have to think of something for "One Light Source" for next week. I'm at Week 37 of 52, so I feel like I have to stick with it. It's certainly forcing me to think outside the box.
I had every intention of being punctual with this blog post... and then life happened. Never mind, I'm here now.
the specialized part of an angiospermous plant that occurs singly or in clusters, possesses whorls of often colourful petals or sepals, and bears the reproductive structures (such as stamens or pistils) involved in the development of seeds and fruit.
I had never really thought of ‘flower’ as a verb, other than in the context of a plant producing blooms, but I’m adopting it in the same way I use ‘photograph’. It’s what I do for a job.
to produce flowers; blossom
to become more successful and completely developed; flourish
to provide or create floral decorations for; to decorate with flowers
I have flowered. I am flowering. I will flower.
So much better than 'floraling' or 'floristing', and 'floral designing' really doesn't seem on-brand for me. Also, I do feel as though I'm flourishing, so it has a blooming lovely double meaning!
It has been such a great few weeks in the shop in Blackwater. I just love going to work in the morning, opening the shop, renewing the floor stock, and taking and filling orders. Last week I filled an order for an arrangement that had to be:
Impressive enough to make her (the recipient) say, “Holy sh*t!”
This one stands over a metre tall (1.3 to be exact, and I am now officially limited to 1.25 because it was only special Tetris ninja skills that allowed it to be put into the car for delivery. Oops! I can imagine the colourful utterances that were coming from the two who loaded and delivered it). I was up and down on the step ladder putting it together because that's an awkward height on the workbench.
I should have taken a video to get up closer to all the textures that were contrasting, yet united throughout the design...
Woody - pot, bamboo, Stirlingia
Fluffy - macrame cotton and the off-white Banksia
Bumpy - yellow Banksia and grosgrain ribbon
Smooth - Leucadenron and Geraldton Wax buds
Fuzzy - Kangaroo Paw, Acacia and Stirlingia
I sent photos to the customer when I had finished and he was really happy. He even came into the store the next day to thank me again, in person. That was so cool! It made my day. I loved creating it, and then I was humbled by having my work appreciated. All the feels!
I love that we can produce things that help augment an occasion. We can provide that little bit of extra something to make it spectacular. Flowers are for every occasion and in support of every emotion in all aspects of life. They can represent a moment in time, a feeling, or an occasion. Flowers are also a medium for creative expression, and sharing this beauty with others in personally meaningful ways nourishes my soul. I truly love what I do.
The extra special part is creating personally meaningful floral designs. Little details make the designs unique and help them fit to ocasion appropirately. A couple of months ago flowers were ordered for a birthday, and because it was so far ahead of time and I was told a little bit about the recipient I was able to look around for what I needed to make it fit the occasion a little more than a shop floor stock product might. I hope they were happy with what I created. I was happy that I could use that little bit of extra detail that made it more personal. I think that's what it's all about as a professional florist.
Purple Fairy Flowers - professional bespoke florals that tell your story in creative ways.
(When you give me time to create the magic... and order direct from the shop, not online through an order gatherer that takes almost half of the flower value in fees. End of today’s lecture.)
If you’re in Blackwater come and see me. I will flower for you.
Last week’s 52Frames topic was ‘Peace”, and even though I’m having such a joyous time ‘flowering’ and all, I couldn’t muster enough peace to come up with a photo subject that represented it in the flower child, free love sense of the word, or even in the War and Peace context, or the zen mindset. I went a different way.
“ Give peas a chance... please ”
I didn’t have much inspiration, but I did, however, have peas... and a pun… and a memory of a son who didn’t particularly enjoy eating peas. I also had a dog who would lick all the gravy off the peas and leave them in her bowl. They are the ruination of a perfectly good meat pie, so I guess I understand.
This week is “Edited by Someone Else”, and my mate Jacqui from Imagery Magic is going to do the honours for me. I’m a bit excited about what we can create together. (Mostly it will be her… I’m mainly the instigator, and will then bow out when it’s time to do the work.) I just hope the weather clears so it’s bright enough for me to play around tomorrow after I have ‘flowered’.
It’s been quite a party, ain’t it
There's a new reality show on Paramount +, and my brother is on it! It's called "The Bridge".
Everybody: Stunned silence
Most people that you talk to will tell you that Mount Isa Rodeo lost some of its atmosphere and traditional vibe when it moved from Kalkadoon Park into town to Buchanan Park. It was an opportunity to kind of rebrand and claim its rightful place as an iconic tourism event and cater not only for rodeo competitions and rural people, but also to showcase the region and attract spectators and festival goers from far reaching areas. I don't remember ever going to the Rodeo at Kalkadoon Park, although I visited the venue many times, as the Mount Isa Gun Club was also there. Personally, I love the Buchanan Park venue. At certain times of day the light is sensational and produces epic photos, and the raised stands means that everyone can see the action clearly. The only thing I don't like is that it's difficult to race around the arena to change positions between events as the programme rolls through so quickly and it's such a large area to cover.
You're too young to smoke!
(This windscreen WAS clean - I swear!)
Week 31 of 52Frames was "Choose a Colour". A random colour generator selected red for me, and as it happens I am brilliant at growing feral red fruits (strawberries, cherry tomatoes, rosellas, and occasionally a capsicum) or yellow flowers... most other things with markedly less success. Anyway, I discovered a ripe strawberry. Rather than eat it, as I normally would at watering time I photographed... and then promptly ate it - no option to re-shoot!
What a weekend we've had! I'm a tad late with this blog post because I spent the weekend buzzing around like a blue arsed fly... or like a one-armed fan dancer. (I know a bloke with one arm, and to my knowledge he's not a dancer, although if he could be persuaded it would certainly be worth a look, with, or without a fan.)
Nebo Cutting Show ran 10 herds on Friday, 9 (and the Bareback Cutting) on Saturday and 8 on Sunday, and while they were smaller herds they were enough to keep me moving to (try to) stay on top of things. Nominations were slightly down, but it was a fantastic weekend, and so good to be back on the sand. Technically, I wasn't on the sand... I was on the concrete. (I really like how the pen is set up at Nebo, with the fence right at the edge of the concrete steps, with the judges sitting on the outside. It means that I don't have to watch multiple directions and be prepared to take evasive action should a frantic beast decide to run me over. I've had a few near misses with cattle making for the gaps, including one that came underneath the judges' stand with me at Comet, having been undeterred by the potted palms that were also "out of the way" under there. It's lucky that all the Skeet shooting has honed my reaction time.)
I got back to Emerald on Sunday night, tried to catch up on sleep, then had 2 days work at the florist in Blackwater around trying to sort out my photos and get all packed up and ready to head to Mount Isa. I feel like this week is a bit of a whirlwind and I have so much to do that it’s exhausting just thinking about it. On the plus side, they say that if you do something you love you never work a day in your life. Well, obviously I'm really not working this fortnight at all… except for the driving. Not loving the driving. If I had a driver I could sort photos and edit on the passenger side while the driving was happening. I don’t, so I had best just concentrate on the road and arrive safely.
I have recently downloaded an app onto my phone to record my voice notes as text, which I'm hoping will save some time and I can just do a bit of a brain dump and the app can do the typing. I also have articles to write from this fortnight as well, and need to find the inspiration to write two different articles about the same thing.
I was a bit worried this morning that I wasn't going to get this blog post up before the next one was due but then I remembered that this is my own show. I make my own rules, and no one's marking me on this or taking points off for being late or whatever. I have to say that the talk-to-text app is fairly accurate, and seems to understand what I’m saying. If I could only get it to upload directly to my website that would save even more time! On second thought, I just read through what it recorded, and it’s probably best that it doesn’t!
Part of my preparation to leave was to drop Bo at the kennel. He was super excited to get in the car. He rides with his face out the side looking forward. I wonder if he thought we were going to Normanton? He likes it there. He was beside himself when we got to the kennel! While he was excited to get to where the other dogs were he wasn’t stoked about me going in the other direction. I resisted the urge to wave to him. I did that when I left him at the Vet to have his tooth pulled out. I couldn’t believe that I did it!
Something else I couldn't believe I did was remember that my windscreen needed cleaning BEFORE I got in the ute and started driving away! I even used glass cleaner - you could almost put your hand through it. So impressed with myself. I usually realise as I'm heading down the road, try and wipe the inside with my sleeve and content myself with whatever is in the washer bottle until I stop for fuel. This time I even topped up the washer bottle and added Bars Bugs. I'm still trying to work out what I forgot that allowed me to remember this...
Another job was watering the garden. I don’t think it will come to much harm while I’m away, but I will be disappointed to miss the first home grown Stock flower that’s beginning to bud.
The surviving Geraldton Wax is beginning a stunning display (I hope I don’t miss it completely), but the Ozothamnus diosmifolius is pretending it’s just rice, and not flower, and showing no sign of ever doing so. Each time I walk around with the hose I promise myself that I will make time to spend in the garden – it desperately needs a tidy! The cherry tomatoes have engineered a coup and now control three sections of the yard… where I didn’t plant them. Similar story with the rosellas that I didn’t get to do anything with before they were overrun by aphids. I have proven under assessment conditions that I am capable of planning a garden, but in practice I seem unable to do so. When the tomato seedlings appeared I couldn’t bear to pull them out. I suspect that had I grown something intentionally it would require more care than I currently am lavishing on my garden. Gardener guilt is real!
Week 30 of 52Frames was “Single Focal Point”, and I brought some poppies home from the shop and had a play. I love the dynamic line of their stems, the fuzzy outer pod and the way they "pop" open and display papery textured crinkly petals. So much whimsy! This vibrant orange tone is quite eye catching against the black, so I feel it fits the topic well.
I raced around madly one afternoon to get something for Week 31, which was “Choose a Colour” before we headed to Nebo, and this week’s topic is “Night Photography”, so Thursday evening’s Indigenous Rodeo Championships will provide me with lots of opportunities to get the shot before I get run off my feet during the main event.
For the next few days I’ll be operating on coffee and sarcasm, but with a smile on my face. After all, I’m heading North West, which you will remember is my favourite direction.
It's been quite a party, ain't it
Well, here we are, one sleep away from August! How did that happen? The year is flying by, and for me, about to get really busy on the photography front.
If you need me I'll be parked in front of a poppy in a vase, waiting for it to open.
So, I decided to move some furniture around. I like to make a change every now and then. Inspiration will strike, and I'll feel compelled to follow it with all the mania of a pianist's fingers taking on Liszt's "La campanella" (Google it - it's impressive). The result was that I have marginally more space in the studio in which to work, but I will need to recalibrate my spatial awareness when walking around the end of the kitchen bench. If only I could just push a couple of walls a bit further out.
I toyed with the idea of opening back up because I miss
my kids, and there's something special about the kind of relationships
you build in family day care. But, at the end of the day I was pleased
to have my house back and fill it with floristry equipment in place of
toys. Cody was pleased not to have to share space as well, so that's
that. Seven years, 60 children and a lot of fond memories. I was gifted a
gorgeous book when I closed, made of reminiscences of my wonderful families and
it makes me teary when I look through it. It's one of the most special things I own. I had a moment recently when I
needed some reminding, so it was my go-to. I cannot
declutter that. Any books it seems. Marie Kondo made a pretty big call
saying you should ideally keep fewer than 30 books. I have more than 30
books' worth of joy to spark! Perhaps that's my problem - I'm too joyous to be uncluttered!
Working Mums might know this feeling... when you have a day off during the week and you feel as though you will achieve so much during school hours. Perception versus reality can be a bit unbalanced on these days.
Luckily I had shot a "back-up" image to submit for this week's 52Frames challenge, so my streak remains in play. (As does my Wordle streak, which is currently 56, and I hope saying it out loud doesn't jinx it in some Beetlejuice kind of way...) This week is "A Common Object", which I will give some thought to after a few REM cycles.
Last week was "Negative Space", and I wanted to include something botanical in the subject matter and story. This little girl has made an appearance in a couple of my floristry projects. She has so much presence about her, and there's so much story around her. What I had in my head was a tiny figure walking through a forest of tall trees with negative space above and beside her.
I created something close to that and positioned it in the greenhouse, then lay on the ground to photograph her. I really need to tidy that greenhouse... Add it to the list!
I might not have had as a productive a Friday as I had
hoped, but we made it to Townsville without incident, had a great
weekend (which included Mexican food and Zarraffa''s coffee) and after which made it home safely (several hours later than
planned, but home and safe nonetheless). Someone wasn't as fortunate.
I'm not sure how the last 2 weeks went by so quickly! It was super quiet at home, and it seems that my boy had an absolute blast in Normanton over the school holidays. I'm about to meet Mum part-way there to pick him up, so that means a bit of time in the car this weekend.
1. Biscuits - Kasey Musgraves
2. Way Too Pretty for Prison - Miranda Lambert and Maren Morris
3. You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive - Brad Paisley
4. A Thing For You - Easton Corbin
5. Out In The Parking Lot - Brad Paisley and Alan Jackson
6. Takin' Pills - Pistol Annies
7. Tennessee Whiskey - Chris Stapleton
8. Whiskey Lullaby - Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss
9. Pretty Bitchin'- Miranda Lambert
10. Have You Ever Seen the Rain? - John Fogarty
I have thought about what it would be like to have a soundtrack to your day, like in the movies. A song to accompany your walk down the street, tempo dependant on the mood of the walk, location, and purpose. A song to add interest to the monotony of boring every day tasks like grocery shopping. A song to build to crescendo and enliven and amplify an experience, or give you a few moments of wallowing in despair and sadness before the melodic strains of something hopeful and rejuvenating brought you back to being in the present. In that former life many moons ago when I entertained the notion of creating for the screen I was excited about producing a story, and not just telling it verbally, but also with accents to enhance it aurally.
I've always been in awe of songwriters. I can tell you a story, or explain something, using verbose prose that might even inspire a mental picture, but songwriters do it in time to music and with the limitation and challenge of the number of syllables, and usually some kind of rhyming. Genius!
I wish I was musical. I attempted to learn guitar, but apparently it is near impossible for each of my hands to do something different simultaneously, especially without looking at them! Car Karaoke will have to do. I sang actual karaoke in a pub with a friend last week, and while it was lots of fun I have to wonder if my voice really does sound like that. Apologies to the people in the pub. Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to get up there on my own, without my security blanket (thanks for that Chloe!), but until then I shall practice in the car.
Last week's 52Frames theme was Pattern. Aside from the stripes and spots of zebras and big cats, lines in seashells and leaves are possibly the most commonly first thought of patterns in nature. Lacking a local zoo with such animals, and having already photographed patterned leaves in previous weeks I hunted through my shell collection for a striking pattern that would convert well to black and white. Both photographers that I had looked at during the "Inspired by a Photographer" week (Imogen Cunningham and Harold Feinstein) had photographed seashells as well as botanical material, and this black background, black and white image is a mix of both of their styles.
This week is Negative Space. I created a plantscape for that, and got the photo taken a couple of days ago because I knew I'd be pushed for time this weekend with all the driving (and singing in the car).
Coffee, road snacks and play list ready, and I'm off. On the road again...
I've been quite homesick this week. Homesick for Normanton, my family, and (I guess because my son is living them right now) the days of school holidays spent at the service station, and then heading out with Dad after work to do whatever he had planned for us. My boy is having a wonderful time up there, and by all accounts has been a big help at the service station. It makes me proud as a parent to know I can send him off into the world and he not only enjoys himself, but acquits himself well as part of that world.
Whoa! 2 days ticking over on the clock and 1930km ticking over on the odometer. How was your weekend? I drove for just over 20 hours to spend 18 hours in Cloncurry.
"My birthday is coming up, so I'm buying myself a present."
It's turned cold here in Central Queensland. Time to break out the wool doona and the quilted cover. What a wonderful purchase that was! Even without the doona inside its a warm delight, and it's King sized on my Queen bed, so it covers everything beautifully, even when I roll over and take some of it with me. On the "Am I a Grown Up?" screening tool I think I can confidently tick the "Excited by linen" item.
It's an overcast Saturday morning, and after the longest four-day week ever I feel only motivated enough to crawl back into bed and let Caroline Lee's modulated tones draw me in to 1960s London or park myself on the lounge under a quilt and watch the last episode of season two of The Witcher. Aside from the first thought that these are both lazy options and I could be doing something more productive (heaven knows, I have a to-do list!) I hesitate because I don't really want to come to the end of either the audiobook or the television series.
I looked for botanical photographers and was inspired by the clean, crisp images of Harold Feinstein, and the way he controlled light to show the viewer everyday things from nature in showstopping ways.
I showcased a canna from the garden. In all honesty this flower is not high on my list of garden favourites (they are only there because they fill a space, grow tall, thrive on neglect, and the leaves can be useful for floral designs), so I generally don't pay much attention to them. Perhaps I have underestimated them.
This week is "Everything in Focus", and I thought it was
about time I did a landscape shot... if I can find an interesting
vista. Failing that I have a back-up flat lay story board idea.
I had nothing specific in mind to write about this week. For some reason Nan (Mum's grandmother) has been on my mind, so I thought I could introduce you to her.
Here's a photo of Nan and my Mum at Granny's house. It's from the early 70's, but Nan really didn't change much. Check out my Mum! No wonder she won so many Belle of the Ball sashes! Insert wolf whistle
As the first great grandchild, and the only one in Normanton for almost 8 years I pretty much had everyone's attention. Nan used to say that ,"You can't spoil a good kid," but I'm pretty sure they were all pushing the boundaries there. The sun shone out of me!
Growing up I spent time at my house, my grandparents' house and my great grandparents' house. Nan and Pop even let me keep the kittens I found in the shed. We weren't a cat family (I'm definitely not a cat person now) and I have no idea how that got past the Board of Directors, but I wanted the kittens, so they said I could have them at their house. What I remember most is that they didn't house train well... perhaps that's why I'm not a cat person...
I had "stuff" in all three locations and a ring around inquiry regarding the menu for the evening meal would often determine where I would dine that night.
I learnt to use the phone pretty early. In those days we had an Exchange, and black Bakelite phones with heavy handsets and a handle that you wound to call the exchange. (Granny's phone is in the photo, on the bench just over Nan's right shoulder.) In a small town when you pick up the phone and say, "I want to talk to Granny," even when you're three, the exchange operator knows exactly who you are and which number to connect you with. Granny's house often offered "Stewed Chicken" or "Chow Mein", but Nan's house had a wider variety that included some form of sweets. I have lovely memories of cooking with Nan. Using egg beaters (which, incidentally I have only ever seen at kindergartens since, and they were often used to fluff up Lux Flakes slime, rather than beat eggs) and baking cakes, biscuits and baked custard in her wood stove. Vanilla essence reminds me of those times. Nan wore aprons. I remember the ones with hand towels sewn onto the band - great idea that - if there's one thing I need in the kitchen it's a hand towel in easy reach (that doesn't slide off my shoulder). Nan also wore petticoats. In Normanton. In summer. In a corrugated iron house with a wood stove. Her body temperature must have been constantly above 37 degrees.
Nan lived with us when I was a kid, after Pop passed away. I had her attention when I was little, and my brother had it while she was grieving. She always said that he kept her going. They had a very special bond.
To half the town she was "Nan" because I think she preferred that to "Mrs Whyte", and to the other half she was "Aunty Lulla" because she was in some way, shape or form related to them. As a child her sister couldn't say "Eleanor", and it came out as "Lulla", which obviously stuck because that seemed to be her name for many, many years.
I've been missing her this week. It's been almost 19 years since she passed. Remembering her mannerisms and traits, amusing sayings and mispronunciations makes me wistful.
She had been in hospital for three days before the nurses cottoned on to the fact that she couldn't actually see. It was remarkable how she adapted. I don't know when her sight eventually failed, but she had worn glasses for all of my life. Her usual response when asked was, "My eyes are settled. I had Sandy Blight when I was sixteen," and that was apparently the end of the conversation.
I ended up with her old sewing machine when the arthritis got so bad that she couldn't do much with her hands anymore. I think of her whenever I sew (which, unfortunately, is not all that often). I don't think I'll ever associate the scent of wintergreen with anything other than Nan's liniment. When she lived with Mum's aunt in Mount Isa her constant companion was an old fluffy dog who was similarly afflicted. I'll never forget the sight of them hobbling down the hallway together, bonded by their arthritis and easily keeping pace with one another. She would often begin a conversation with me thus, "Eve, ah!, Di, ah!, Cherie..." (This is particularly amusing to me, since my parents do a similar thing when talking to my son... "Dean, ah!, Cody...") She used to call my Dad "Way-en" (his name is Wayne) and he always made her laugh. Nan liked to keep up with the cricket, but was never sure whether it was a one day match, or a test, "Do they play again tomorrow, Way-en?" All the good mangoes grew on the tree next to the well at her place, and every time it rained she would proclaim that the tanks would all be full now. She was pleased that I was driving Pop's old Premier ("it's a good, strong, car"), and Dad always took "good, clear photos", although we're not sure how she knew because she wouldn't let on what she could actually see.
Nan didn't often talk about herself, even when prompted, so there's a lot that I don't really know about her life. That makes me a bit sad, but I'm forever grateful that I knew her and spent the time with her that I did. She was a truly special lady.
Last week's 52Frames topic was "Abstract", and I photographed an acrylic pour. That might be why I'm now keen to paint and create this weekend. I don't really know what I want to do, I just want to paint. That won't help me with this week's topic though.
This week's theme is "Inspired by a Photographer", and I really wanted to use Allan Arbus as my inspiration. I didn't know he was a photographer until I started researching - I just knew him as Dr Sidney Freedman from M*A*S*H. He was mainly a fashion photographer for Vogue, Glamour and Harper's Bazaar. Lacking the kind of fashion items his models wore, and indeed an actual model, I had to find inspiration elsewhere. Having no baby to dress in plant material, or as some kind of cute animal I had to discard the Anne Geddes inspiration. Botanical photography is where it's at for me this week. The challenge will be getting the light right, and accessing interesting flowers (the ones I want are out of season). Wish me luck.
It's been quite a party, ain't it
It's a sad weekend for me this weekend because I really want to be at home. By home, I mean Normanton, and more specifically the Normanton Gun Club. It's the Annual Shoot this weekend and while a hectic time for the Reeves clan it's an occasion of good fun, good company, good targets, good food and the source of many good memories.
It's been a couple of years since I've been home for it. I should make an effort next year. My job for the weekend is usually taking out the scoresheets to the layouts (whilst driving Nanna's golf buggy "too fast"), making sure the scoresheets come back to the office, keeping a running sheet for shoot-offs and attempting to keep Nanna calm(ish). We have a great team of people who all pull together to keep things rolling along. I especially love how they do what they say they'll do, do it well and in a timely manner. Thank you to each and every one of them.
The club is almost 40 years old, so we might be looking at another milestone event in the near future. I have vague recollections of shooters in the middle of the racecourse when I was a kid, and then the day that the current clubhouse was relocated from the old Hospital to its current location. (It might be the old photos that jog that particular memory.) I was there for a lot for Dad's bricklaying, some concrete pouring, general construction, and installation of traps. My first job was as a "Trapper" who loaded the trap machine by hand. I spent pretty much all day in a Besser block box with one electric fan on the machine and one on me. It would have been a bit toasty in there without them, and it was definitely cosy surrounded by cartons of clay targets. Having a walkman was essential to pass the time, so naturally there were trap house karaoke sessions (luckily the shooters all wore earmuffs or plugs.) I began shooting around the time that the first trap machines with hoppers were bought, which meant that they could be filled with clays between rounds and no one would have to stay in there are load them one by one. How lucky was that?
I learned to drive at the Gun Club. At one stage there was no water being piped there, so Dad used to fill a huge tank on the back of the old Dodge and use it to fill the water tank. I clearly remember driving that truck down the hill, sitting right at the front of the seat, with legs stretched out as far as they could go to get to the pedals, looking through the steering wheel, with the driver's door open so that Dad could stand on the running board.
Carting water was a recurring theme out there. Dad used to load a trailer with 20 litre drums, which he filled with water, and then drive around all the trees that he had planted and give them a drink. I may have jackknifed that trailer a time or two doing laps in Dad's ute (when I forgot that I was towing it). I had a flashback of such a time earlier this year when I hired a cold room for my flowers. Let's just say that I prefer not to tow anything, and reversing sends me into a cold sweat.
You will notice that Layouts 3 (left) and 4 (right) have signs. Layout 5 also has a name, but I don't have a photo of that sign. There's a bit of a yarn as to how and why these came about.
Before construction of the third layout could start there needed to be some earthworks. The levelling of a slight mound to be exact. A knoll, if you will. It had grass on it. Dad, being the history buff that he is, and someone who appreciates a good turn of phrase began referring to it as "The Grassy Knoll". I mean, why wouldn't you call it that, instead of "that bit of a hill"? Following on with the JFK theme you would naturally expect Layout 4 to be called "The Book Depository", which it is. When Layout 5 was in the planning stage there was some discussion as to what to call it to be in keeping with the other two. It is called "The Basement". Fittingly, it is down the slope from the other layouts. That's not the reason for the name, however. Lee Harvey Oswald (the man who was to stand trial for the assassination of President John F Kennedy from a sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository) was himself assassinated en route to the county jail by Jack Ruby in the basement of the Dallas Municipal Building. So ends this history lesson.
These photos are from a couple of years ago when the traphouses got a new coat of paint. They are pink and blue because of the Pink & Blue Initiative that the Northern Zone put together to raise awareness and funds for breast and prostate cancer. Over the course of a few years the Northern Zone raised $30,000 for the fund, and it was donated (half and half) to the McGrath Foundation and the Prostate Cancer Foundation. We were all pretty proud of our efforts.
This year is the first year that Normanton is awarding the Jim Edmonds Medal in honour of a wonderful man who gave a lot to the sport of clay target shooting in North West Queensland. The inaugural Medals were presented at the Cloncurry Annual Shoot last year, as the two clubs have teamed up to create this additional award for their main events of the year. My fingers are crossed that a Reeves gets to take one home this weekend. Good luck Granddad, Nanna and Uncle Teddy!
I shall sit at home and sulk, catch up on how everyone is shooting on the My Club My Scores app, and hope that things are running smoothly up there.
Last week's 52Frames theme was "Architecture", and lacking any interesting buildings that I could think of in the area, or indeed, inspiration for interesting angles to shoot a 'normal' building from I opted to create my subject matter. Some time with the Lego box resulted in these little hootchies. This weekend I'm shooting something "Abstract", so I'm planning on creating that subject matter as well. It's going to be something soothing to spend my time on.
A few days of glorious rain in the Central Highlands has necessitated the postponement of the Comet Agricultural Show, so I unexpectedly have the weekend off. I'm torn. The rain is so welcome. I'm disappointed not to be spending a busy and enjoyable weekend covering a great event. I'm relieved that I don't have to do that in drizzle and slopping around in the mud. I hope there's an opportunity to reschedule so we don't miss out.
This week is a different story. Architecture. With the
rain around I didn't like my chances of getting out and about to find
interesting subject matter. Luckily I insisted that Cody not sell his
Lego, so I'm going that way instead. I think it's going to be a good way
to while away some of the weekend.
What a week it's been!
I love a public holiday as much as the next person, but I have to say that having a normal Monday tomorrow will be nice for a change. These short weeks have been jam-packed, so I'm spending Mother's Day enjoying some down time. My boy bought me Giant Sour Skittles (the jury is still out on the different flavours) and a big block of chocolate that I suspect pairs well with a glass of wine in the bath. How lucky am I? I love that he put thought into what he bought me.
What I was going to say last week before I ran out of week...
I used to listen to a rodeo podcast where the host asked every guest what their definition of hustle was. The premise being that there has more than likely been a time when everything was on the line and they had to back themselves. I formulated my own answer to that question.
I have never been in the situation where my entry fees have been paid, but I don't have fuel money, so I have to make it to the pay window to get home. I'm not much of a gambler, and I'm a hell of a planner, so it's unlikely that I would put myself in a situation where I didn't have an out. That may be because I don't have unshakable confidence in myself, despite outward appearances. My definition of hustle is much simpler. Hustle is life.
Find things that light you up. Things that feed your soul. And do them. Do them lots. Learn. Be teachable - we never know it all. Practise. Improve. Perfect. Innovate.
All of that takes time, and if there's something that we don't have an infinite amount of it's time. Life is short. Too short to spend doing things that don't serve you. Things that serve you challenge you, and to rise to those challenges you need to hustle. We owe it to ourselves (and to those who lost their opportunities and had their lives cut short) to really live and enjoy every day.
Hustle doesn't always equate to busy, but in my world it usually does as I fit in all the things that bring me joy. When you're living nineteen to the dozen, getting caught up in logistics, planning and schedules can dull the enjoyment a little. There is a danger in a busy life that you forget to appreciate the small things and don't quite live in the moment as you're always reaching ahead. It's these times that might not nourish your soul if you don't let them. One of my all-time favourite quotes is from the book "Lonesome Dove" by Larry McMurtry, in which Texas Ranger Captain Augustus McCrae is explaining to the hapless Lorena Wood that pinning hopes on something in the future blinds you to enjoyable experiences in the present. I try and remember it often and find that beautiful, fragile balance.
“Lorie darlin’, life in San Francisco, you see, is still just life. If you want any one thing too badly, it’s likely to turn out to be a disappointment. The only healthy way to live is to learn to like all the little everyday things, like a sip of good whiskey in the evening, a soft bed, a glass of buttermilk, or a feisty gentleman like myself.”
Gus also said, "It's hard to have fun in a place like this, but I do my best."
I try and remember that one too. Sometimes you have to remind yourself to find the fun and remember your why.
In my hectic week last week I had a plan that didn't work out, so I had to come up with a different idea for my 52Frames submission for Leading Lines. I originally wanted to shoot out of the roping box at the Rodeo and have the lines of the railing lead into the arena, but I'll have to bookmark that shot for another time. Perhaps the long alleyway at Mount Isa's Buchanan Park would be better anyway (if I can position myself for the best light advantage). Instead, I placed a plant next to a brick wall and came up with a submission.
I had more time this week, and the topic fitted in well with what I was doing. I'm not sure how I'm going to incorporate next week's theme (Architecture) into what I'll be doing, which is covering Comet Agricultural Show. It might be a week to get a bit more creative.
It's been quite a party, ain't it
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