by Catriona Mills

Articles in “Random Photographs”

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Posted 26 November 2008 in by Catriona

I decided to put our Christmas tree up tonight, partly because I like to have it up early, or else we don’t have the advantage of it for a full month, and partly because I got a little squiffy and it seemed like a good idea at the time:

We’d never put up a tree before last year, but last Christmas I rebelled and decided I had to have a tree.

It’s a tiny little tree: according to the box, it’s something called a “Canadian Black Pine,” but I find that unlikely, since the tree also has sparkly silver and purple highlights—I’m quite certain there’s no tree in the wild, Canada or elsewhere, with that type of colouring.

But we are limited to a small tree by available space and it was this or a fluorescent pink one.

Frankly, though, the main reason I determined to put the tree up so early was because I adore my lights:

Falling in love with these lights at Tandy was a determining factor in deciding to buy a tree to display them on.

I don’t want to spoil their novelty as Christmas lights by displaying them on non-Christmas occasions, so putting them up a month before Christmas seems a fair compromise.

Lights, Camera . . .

Posted 20 November 2008 in by Catriona

Yeah, there was really no chance I was going to avoid making that pun.

Once the storm moved away from us, we could see an amazing lightshow from the back verandah: these don’t do it justice, but they’re fairly funky, anyway.

This next one is a cropped version of the above photograph, showing the lightning in more detail:

Tempest-Tossed

Posted 20 November 2008 in by Catriona

The storm is still going on as I write, but I thought there was no point living in Brisbane during the worst storms in twenty-five years if I don’t take some photographs of it and post them on my blog.

Solipsistic? Me?

There are also some photographs of the back end of the storm after it moved over us in this post.

The grevillea:

The palm tree, without lightning:

And the palm tree at the moment of a lightning strike:

Soggy Wildlife

Posted 18 November 2008 in by Catriona

After being completely invisible during the rain of the last few days, the bigger water dragon appeared first thing this morning to try and absorb as much heat as possible from the soaking-wet barbeque:

He couldn’t have flattened himself out any further, however hard he tried.

He was also either unusually pleased with himself or absolutely desperate for warmth, because he let me get closer than he usually does:

He’s a lovely boy, despite that vague look of contempt in his eyes.

To counterbalance that, here’s a photograph of the world’s most lugubrious noisy mynahs (if anyone reading this doesn’t have a garden full of these birds, that name is not a misnomer. Damn birds won’t shut up at the moment.)

They’re huddling together in yesterday’s rain. It would be hilarious if they didn’t look so miserable:

Well, no—it’s actually pretty hilarious, anyway.

Frangipani In The Rain

Posted 18 November 2008 in by Catriona

Not everything about the rain is bad—in this suburb, at least.

I'm Just Going To Keep Posting These

Posted 13 November 2008 in by Catriona

Because I can, really. And because they’re pretty. And because I haven’t quite shaken off my marking exhaustion, and am feeling lazy.

But I do think that this is a nice counterpart to the twilight moon photograph from two days ago.

Still, it makes a change from endless photographs of the frangipani, doesn’t it?

Huh. Wrong Again.

Posted 13 November 2008 in by Catriona

It turns out my camera can take reasonably decent photographs just of the moon, without any intervening foliage, if I concentrate.

Who would have thought it?

Not that this should form a distraction from the fascinating discussion about The West Wing going on two posts below this.

More Night Photography

Posted 12 November 2008 in by Catriona

Since I took the last moon photo, I’ve become obsessed with the likelihood of taking moon photographs later at night.

The problem with that idea is two-fold.

To take decent photographs of the moon, I need to either adjust the ISO setting and exposure time myself (which I’m not a sufficiently accomplished photographer to do on the run) or have the camera on a setting where it adjusts them itself (rather than on a fully automatic setting). If I just try to use a fully automatic setting, the camera will insist on using the flash, to compensate for the poor lighting. And using the flash ruins the ambient lighting.

But allowing the camera to adjust its own ISO settings and exposure to compensate for low-light shooting also means that the shutter has to be open for longer. Plus, the moon itself is too far away for my camera to focus comfortably on it. So I need to have the moon near something else, so that the camera can focus on what’s in the foreground while still taking a relatively crisp photograph of the moon.

That’s where I was lucky last time, since the grevillea was nearby and the moon had risen early: it wasn’t full dark when I took the last moon photos.

And that’s why I couldn’t resist trying to take these photographs when the moon moved over the palm tree in our back garden late tonight (about three hours later than the last photos were taken):

The clouds create an interesting effect, too:

Not A Ghostly Galleon . . .

Posted 11 November 2008 in by Catriona

And not a proper update, either:

The moon rising over the neighbour’s garden.

Holding Pattern

Posted 11 November 2008 in by Catriona

Right now, I’m trying to simultaneously finalise my first years’ grades and deal with some of the bills/housekeeping from the last fortnight.

Once I’m done with that, though, I’m sure I’ll be able to find something weird on my bookshelves.

Today's Random Weirdness From The Bookshelf

Posted 9 November 2008 in by Catriona

Today’s random weirdnesses (if that’s a legitimate plural) all come from a book called The Girls’ Biggest Book. I’m not sure where I found this one—though it was originally given to someone called “Bubbles,” whose mother and father didn’t date their gifts.

It contains a school story by May Wynne, though, who wrote (according to this page) 211 books between 1899 and 1954.

(Of course, that page also says she was born in 1985, but I suspect that’s a typo, although even 1885 would be rather early, if she started publishing in 1899.)

But even if this book is from what we tend to call, ironically, a “more innocent time,” these illustrations are still hilarious.

I love this one for two reasons: people falling on their faces are hilarious (except when it’s me), and they look to be playing some odd variant of hopscotch.

Or how about Prudence’s adventures?

Lucky Prudence.

This one isn’t captioned. But judging from the look on the face of the girl on the left and the fact that the girl on the right is trying to pull her friend away by the elbow . . .

. . . I think we can label it “Peer pressure in action.”

Now, I don’t mean to question the sympathetic instincts of the woman in the fetching driving cap in this next image . . .

But surely his primary concern is that both his legs seem to have disappeared? Covering the place where they used to be with a coat doesn’t really seem like sufficient first aid to me.

It’s the expression on the teacher’s face that I love in this one:

Does it look to anyone else as though she’s deliberately opened the door on those two girls? They probably sit up the back of the classroom together and talk all the way through geography, and this is her revenge.

And now, holiday advice from fifty years ago:

I’m certain that the Great Barrier Reef Preservation Society would like to point out that riding on turtles is neither fun nor legal.

I love the world-weary expression on the turtle on the left, though. How many times do you think ill-advised tourists have knelt on him, for him to greet the behaviour in such a fashion?

And, finally, a history lesson from the 1950s:

Would you be inclined to trust either of these men?

In Lieu Of An Actual Update

Posted 8 November 2008 in by Catriona

Since I’m still marking, have in place of an update a photograph of a frangipani bud in this afternoon’s rain:

Nothing to do with books or television, of course.

But pretty.

Night Flowers

Posted 7 November 2008 in by Catriona

The frangipani in the back garden—the yellowy-white one—is finally beginning to flower more heavily.

I took a series of photographs at about 10.30 p.m. from the back verandah with the zoom—because all the flowers are still quite high on the plant—and with the flash enabled.

I’d love to try and take some photographs that show the softness of the flowers in low light, but I’d need a proper tripod; my hands are too unsteady to take photographs in low-light conditions, when the shutter needs to remain open for longer, without having some way to steady the camera.

Have I mentioned recently that I love the zoom function on this camera?

Today's Arrogant Reptile Photograph

Posted 6 November 2008 in by Catriona

Although I suppose this is more “world weary” than “arrogant.”

I also love this one:

From this angle, he seems to be wearing chain mail.

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