Pictures

UnAnsel Series – Love in the Mist … Twisted

Thanks to Sharon over at newpillowbook for suggesting I start to call this series the “UnAnsel Series”. I always thought “Anti-Ansel Adams” sounded a bit harsh and inflammatory, but I couldn’t think of another way to describe this type of selective blurriness. (It really IS selective … honest!) ūüôā

Anyway, the UnAnsel Series it is from now on.

I’m throwing another entry into the weekly challenge pot, too, because this Love-in-the-Mist flower, as it begins to die down, definitely shows signs of being rather twisted.

SONY DSC

 

SONY DSC

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art

I hate cities, but I visit one regularly because it is the choice of my son to have our fortnightly contact time there.

Occasionally, we visit a dubious, but very interesting part of this particular city, where very eager “salesmen” offer bargain prices for “designer¬†goods” out of side-street operations.

This remnant of a building, perched round the back of this series of streets, always fascinates me. I have never had a camera with me when I am in the neighbourhood (for obvious reasons) but I tried to take a couple of pictures on my phone last time we went.

As it happened, the area is restricted by a tall steel fence, and it’s impossible to get very close.¬†On the original¬†photo,¬†the picture was¬†blanched by the surrounding sky, and the structure itself was just a silhouette. But I used Photoshop to¬†claw¬†back a bit of the detail, and the result is a bit “arty” (that’s Alice-talk for “I made a bunch of mistakes, but it was too much effort to keep going back to start again.”)

I have no idea why this part of the building has been left standing.¬†I just think it’s a fascinating remnant.

I wonder what stories those doors could share?

(click on photo for clarity-ish)

‚ÄúAh, what sights and sounds and pain lie beneath that mist. And we had thought that our hard climb out of that cruel valley led to some cool, green and peaceful, sunlit place---but it's all jungle here, a wild and savage wilderness that's overrun with ruins. But put on your crown, my Queen, and we will build a New City on these ruins.‚ÄĚ  Eldridge Cleaver  "Soul on Ice"

‚ÄúAh, what sights and sounds and pain lie beneath that mist. And we had thought that our hard climb out of that cruel valley led to some cool, green and peaceful, sunlit place—but it’s all jungle here, a wild and savage wilderness that’s overrun with ruins. But put on your crown, my Queen, and we will build a New City on these ruins.‚ÄĚ
Eldridge Cleaver “Soul on Ice”

 

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

 

Categories: Pictures, pictures by Alice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Spring has sprung! WPC: Inside a snowdrop

Inside snowdrop 1

Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,    Chaste Snow-drop, venturous harbinger of Spring,      And pensive monitor of fleeting years! - William Wordsworth -

Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,
Chaste Snow-drop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
And pensive monitor of fleeting years!
– William Wordsworth –

I lived overseas for many years (a two-week trip that lasted 17 years …), and despite my love of the wanderlust life, there were a few things I missed about England throughout that time: one was Marmite, another was Woodpecker Cider … and telephone boxes, and double decker buses, and Coronation Street, and sarcasm.
But, more than sherbet fountains or teabags or the Arctic Monkeys, after living in the sweltering balminess of places such as Southwest Texas and Louisiana, I found myself longing for seasons!
Granted, upstate New York had seasonal change, but their winters were a bit extreme, unless trudging through 8-foot snowdrifts is your idea of fun.
No, I missed English seasons – unpredictable, often erratic, with mild winters, cold summers, and slushy autumns … And most of all, I missed the English spring and the flowers that come with it.

So when I returned to England with my son and we “settled” in our first real home, I made a point of filling every nook and cranny of our tiny back yard with bulbs that flower every spring and herald the new green of the year.

Snowdrops are my particular favourite. There’s not a lot to them – just a trio of white waxy petals with a dash of green inside …. but they are often the first flowers to nuzzle their way through the frost, and the sight of them always brings a smile to my face.

(As usual, click on the picture for a better look).

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside … Gary Tyler’s world

Waiting here the world has turned a thousand times or more   Stranded like the man who never knew they'd stopped the war   Waiting for the pardon but the pardon never comes   I'm just waiting for the bus to take me home. - Chumbawamba -

Waiting here the world has turned a thousand times or more
Stranded like the man who never knew they’d stopped the war
Waiting for the pardon but the pardon never comes
I’m just waiting for the bus to take me home.
– Chumbawamba –

Those of you who remember my blog from the days before I went off the radar may also remember that I very rarely don my political head unless it is to talk about this guy. It would be incredibly remiss of me to ignore the opportunity to use this week’s theme of “inside” to remind you once more of the plight of Gary Tyler.

(There are lots of links in this post, so hold on to your hats! I particularly recommend the songs …).

This year is Gary’s 40th year inside the notorious Angola Prison in Louisiana, having been sentenced in 1974 for a murder he did not commit, at the tender age of just 16 years old. You can read the details of the case here, as published in the NY Times, and check out a previous post of mine here.

Two songs have been written about him by UB40 – “Tyler”¬†appeared on¬†their first album Signing Off, released way back in 1980 and¬†talks of Gary having “been there five years and they won’t let him go.”¬†¬†A further¬†track¬†called “Rainbow Nation” was recorded for their album¬†TwentyFourSeven¬†released¬†in 2008. It¬†is a sombre reminder about “the futility of writing songs¬†(referring back to Tyler)¬†¬†if you want to get something done” (Robin Campbell).

Gil Scott Heron’s “Angola, Louisiana” on his album Secrets (1978)¬†and, more recently, Chumbawamba’s haunting¬†“Waiting for the bus to take me home” on their album The Boy Bands have Won (2008) also tried to¬†draw attention to the injustice of Gary’s plight, as did a young rap band with close family ties to the Neville Brothers called Deff Generation, who penned a song called “Gary Tyler” for their album Medicine in 2000.¬†

If this has tweaked any interest amongst you (and I hope it has…) you can watch a documentary report aired by Democracy Now! in the States¬†about the case by clicking the link below. ¬†Be aware, it’s a long piece – almost 45 minutes in total – but very illuminating. (It includes excerpts from an interview conducted with him way back when, beginning at around 22mins 20secs if you’re impatient).

http://www.democracynow.org/2007/3/1/the_case_of_gary_tyler_despite

If you’re wondering why I’m so strongly opinionated about this particular situation, it is because I was (am?)¬†the graduate student who interviewed Gary in Angola many moons ago in 1997. Back then, I was just an ordinary person who had¬†an¬†extraordinary¬†opportunity to interview this usually very private man for a full five-and-a-half¬†hours¬†in the bowels of one of the most notorious prisons.
I would normally shy away from drawing any attention to the “real” me – but as I appear to have been outed anyway (see yesterday’s brief post) then what the heck?

The excerpts you hear in the documentary were taped by me during that interview, and the majority of any photos you may find if you look up Gary Tyler images on the net were taken by me during that interview.

Sadly, Juanita Tyler, Gary’s mother and staunchest supporter, seen in the video, passed away last year. Let’s hope that the forty years she devoted to fighting for her son’s release were not in vain.

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A rain poem …. (and picture)

My head is busy, noisy, struggling to find peace.
But in between bouts of madness I finally managed my own poem about rain and a photo that makes me feels reasonably calm:

Rain, rain, go away,
Come again another day.

On second thoughts, come back and stay.
Send deluge down and wash away
The tears, the fears, the rent arrears,
The given name as it appears
On credit card and banker’s draft.
Let monsoon flood the bailiffs aft.

Bring cloudburst on and, with it, hail.
Drown out the offspring’s frightened wail
That stranded, man should understand.
Then bruise the bully’s stinging hand.
Let showers pour and flush aside
The errors, wrongs, mistakes I tried.

Oh, rain, let purer rivers rise
Spite crags’ and canyons’ compromise.
Though blind I am to future ends,
Dilute the past and present cleanse.
Sweet rain, be now my closest friend
And bring this heartache to an end.

Raindrops on pine

(Click on the photo for a clearer look).

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective OR “Fire in them thar trees!”

I like the idea of this week’s challenge. When I saw “perspective” on my email, I ignored the post for a while – thinking I had to start trying to find a picture with an obvious vanishing point, or something architectural, or a railway line fading into a blip somewhere in North Dakota …
But no. Nothing that straightforward it appears. Instead, we are given an example of a cropped photo giving a different perspective than the original.

Gotta love a bit of lateral thinking … just the way I like it.

So here’s mine. Don’t forget to click on the photo(s) for better and clearer pictures.

Here’s a plain old silver birch as you may (or may not) notice as you wander through the woods:
Birch from a distance

Look a bit closer, and you see the way the bark peels away from the tree and curls up:
Silver birch trunk

But look what magic happens when you catch one of those peely bits with the sun behind iit:
(there’s four pictures, so don’t click off after one)

Sun behind the clouds

Sun behind the clouds

Sun’s coming out to play …

Wait for it ...

Wait for it …

Tada!  Magic!

Tada!
Magic!

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Rain and me …

I tried to write a rain poem to accompany this photo, but in the end I just couldn’t say it better than Shel Silverstein did in 1974.

I opened my eyes And looked up at the rain, And it dripped in my head And flowed into my brain, And all that I hear as I lie in my bed Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head. I step very softly, I walk very slow, I can't do a handstand-- I might overflow, So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said-- I'm just not the same since there's rain in my head. Shel Silverstein 1974

I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.
I step very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can’t do a handstand–
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said–
I’m just not the same since there’s rain in my head.
Shel Silverstein 1974

(Click on the picture if you want it bigger and better – I recommend it with this one!)

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weekly Photo Challenge: Abandoned

Thought I’d go for the challenge properly this week. I expect lots of buildings will be highlighted, but my favourite abandoned building, as shown in earlier posts here and here has been locked down securely to prevent any accidents.
I expect some entries may represent more profound abandonments, such as homeless people, or animals.

Sadly, once again, I haven’t risen to such levels.
Instead, I dug out a couple more pictures I took on a day trip to Whitby last October. I was walking along the jetty to go take a closer look at the breakwater and lighthouse when I stumbled across a gladiola plant … as you do …. just laying there. It can’t have been there long, because it seemed quite fresh, and the wind was ripping across the jetty. But I thought it was a beautiful deep shade of purple/indigo. Rather than move it, I decided to get down on my hands and knees … as you do … on a windswept jetty … in the freezing cold … and took a couple of pics with Whitby in the background.
If you look closely, you might even catch a passing glimpse of the gothic Whitby Abbey.

(click on the photos for bigger, clearer images)

Abandoned gladiola
Abandoned gladiola 2
Abandoned at Whitby

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

It’s my anniversary … time for a Wee Beastie! (#62)

The Computer God just sent me a message to inform me that today (as of approximately twelve minutes ago) is the anniversary of this blog site.
The second anniversary to be exact.
And, granted, while I have taken a substantial hiatus since my very first blog post “Into the Rabbit Hole” on 27th February, 2012, I am still about to press “publish” on my 183rd posting.

So in true reminiscent sentimentality, I feel a fitting tribute would be to return to my love of Wee Beasties. This is technically Wee Beastie #62 for those of you who may have a need for such numerical reminders – although I wouldn’t blame you if you have lost count, as my last Wee Beastie posting was as long ago as September 2012, when I finally discovered a grasshopper, doing what it does best (hopping in the grass?) during a day trip to Whitby. You can find it here if you fancy a trip down memory lane.
If you want to take a look at any of my previous woodland mini-fauna, just type “wee beasties” in the search box, or “bug-a-day” as they were initially called.
(I abandoned the term Bug-a-Day after number 39 as it started to sound a bit like a celebration of a rather unconventional sex act …).

I’m not sure (yet) exactly what this little darlin’ is, but I know that I’ve photographed it before in conventional light, so I’ll be digging out some of my back-catalogue of pictures and figure it out soon enough. I didn’t even realise it was in the picture until I was looking through some close-ups I took of a miniature iris flower that had opened up to welcome the Spring last evening.

Anyway, Happy Anniversary to me, and Happy Blogging to you x

Wee Beastie on Iris

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2014]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Through a dewdrop darkly …

You may recall¬†that yesterday’s quick pic of a sycamore seedling¬†had tiny dew¬†droplet in the background …?

These two pictures are taken from the other side of that composition.
Voila!
Tiny dew droplet now takes front and centre stage!
Feel free to click on the pictures, and see them in all their microscopic glory:

A host, Innumerable as the stars of night Or stars of morning, dew-drops which the sun Impearls on every leaf and every flower. John Milton - Paradise Lost

A host,
Innumerable as the stars of night
Or stars of morning, dew-drops which the sun
Impearls on every leaf and every flower.
John Milton – Paradise Lost

Every dew-drop and rain-drop had a whole heaven within it.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Every dew-drop and rain-drop had a whole heaven within it.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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