WPC: The Golden Hour

This week, Cheri Lucas Rowlands tells us that “In photography, the ‘Golden Hour’ is the first and last hour of sunlight of the day, ” and challenges us to post photos taken during these golden hours.

I’m not often up and out for the morning’s golden hour, but I have on the odd occasion, been known to venture outside to witness the early morning sky.

Walking along our promenade early one morning, I caught the sun rising over the sea and bathing the sand in a wonderful golden glow.

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Sunsets are more my thing, and in Venice whilst waiting for our speedboat taxi from the hotel, I was mesmerised by this gorgeous gold and lavender sky, reflected in the lagoon.

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Travelling across the Venice Lagoon, the church of Santa Maria della Salute was sillhouetted against the golden backdrop of the setting sun.

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In Wyoming, the Little Bighorn Battlefield with the grave markers of the two hundred and sixty-three soldiers who were killed during ‘Custer’s Last Stand’, looked so windswept and sombre under the rays of the setting sun. We arrived just as the attendant was closing the gates, but he kindly allowed us in for just a couple of minutes.

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A much more cheerful golden hour was the one caught in New England when we went leaf-peeping in 2001. It had been raining for most of the day, and late in the afternoon, this double rainbow appeared.

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To see more bloggers’ entries for this challenge, just click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgic

I have an old button tin, in fact it’s 60 years old this year. This is a very special old tin, a Coronation Casket issued by Payne’s Poppets, manufacturers of confectionery in England since 1937. Doesn’t Queen Elizabeth ll look young and beautiful? In 1953 when it was bought, it contained toffees and since then, has been well used over the years. It travelled with us all the way from England to South Africa, and I guess one day it will find itself living in Florida with me. I haven’t kept it because of its beauty, and as you can see, it’s rather scratched. It’s just always been my button tin, ever since my mom passed it on to me when I got married. When my sister and I were children, if the weather wasn’t fine enough to play outside. mom often would pull out the button tin for us to play with, and we would happily play at being shop keepers, using buttons for money.

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Many of the buttons in my box hold special memories for me. That brushed gold button down on the left, once adorned my funky pink shiny plastic coat which I wore with pride in the 1960’s. Mini skirts were all the rage then, and my coat was very short. To complete the outfit, I had knee-high white crinkly plastic boots, and I really thought I was the ‘bee’s knees’. The shiny gold button at the back, was a spare for my favourite red cardigan which I wore until it almost fell to pieces, and the tiny rabbit-shaped buttons are from my daughter’s crocheted baby jacket. I can get quite nostalgic as I look through my strange assortment of buttons, and even though I may never use any of them again, I know I can’t throw them out. It’s not just any old tin box, but a box full of memories.

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To see more contributions to this week’s Photo Challenge, just click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves

This week’s photo challenge is ‘curves’.

My first pics are taken at The Vatican. Here is an Arnaldo Pomodora sculpture which I saw in the grounds outside. It’s a sphere within a sphere, and the original was designed for the Vatican, although several others have since popped up around the world. It looks like a new world trying to burst out through cracks in the old one, don’t you think?

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Another curve very close by, is the Dome of St Peter’s Basilica, the tallest dome in the world, being 136.57 metres (448.1 ft) high.

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The inside of the dome is even more exquisite, and was painted by Michelangelo himself.

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Another curvaceous construction in Italy, is the Colosseum in Rome, the largest amphitheatre of the Roman Empire, which was opened in A.D. 80, and for many years, was the site of many bloody combats between man and beast.

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I couldn’t resist adding the beautiful curve of a rainbow at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

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Last but not least is this painting of African dancers enthusiastically shaking their curves. It’s been for sale for over a year at one of the stalls along our promenade. I can’t imagine why no-one has bought it yet. Wouldn’t you like it for your entrance hall? 🙂

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To see more contributions to the curvy theme, just click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says

Well here we have yet another sign challenge. I’ve already done posts for both Ailsa and Cee for this theme, so I thought I may be running out of signs to show you, but it’s become obvious to me that I’m fascinated by signs, as I’ve found quite a number that I haven’t used before.

Whilst in California, on our way from Las Vegas to San Francisco, I was rather surprised to see this signpost to Johannesburg. At the time, my home was in Johannesburg South Africa, and I really thought I was much further away from home than 1 mile. 🙂 I have since looked up this place on the internet, and found that Johannesburg CA, was founded to support mining operations at nearby Randsburg, and that this town was named Johannesburg, by miners who had previously worked in the gold-producing region of South Africa. It has a population of only 172 people.

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Still in the USA, we found a pyramid and a Luxor sign in Las Vegas. Who needs to travel to Egypt?

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Also on the same trip, we found ourselves at the O.K, Corral, in Tombstone Arizona, the site of the infamous gunfight in which Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Virgil and Morgan Earp, fought the Clantons and McLaurys in October 1881.

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Here is general George Custer’s tombstone at the Little Bighorn battlefield in Wyoming, which is supposed to mark the place where he fell during the 1876 battle against the combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes. This has been named ‘Custer’s Last Stand’.

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On our journey from La Paz to Machu Picchu, we stayed overnight at this hotel in Huatajata on the bank of Lake Titicaca. As you can see, it boasts the highest elevator in the world, at 12,550 feet.

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On our fabulously scenic ten-hour ride from Puno to Cusco, Peru’s most beautiful city, we stopped off at the highest point of our trip, La Region Puno Les Desea pass at an altitude of 14,200 feet. There was a woman there, doing a roaring trade in thick jerseys and hats made of Alpaca wool. I was feeling rather cold at such a high altitude, so bought a jersey, but drew the line at wearing a woolly hat with pom-poms dangling under my chin. Vanity before warmth, I always say. 🙂

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Back to more normal altitudes; outside Bangkok there are salt flats, and we saw this lady selling bags of salt. I have no idea how much they were, as I don’t read Siamese.

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Here on Phi Phi Island, hubby wanted my pic taken with the laundry sign, as he often jokes about my concern that we should always have clean and ironed clothes on our travels, however difficult that may prove to be.

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Here in Kuta Beach Bali, we found this sign really funny, and thought it should rather have read, ‘Bogus Watch’, as they were all fake replicas of the really expensive famous makes.

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Lastly, here are many signs down the street in the Beiyuanmen Muslim Market in X’ian. This pic was taken in 1999, before it became a tourist attraction well known for its food stalls and souvenir shops. Of course the signs are all in Chinese, so I really have no clue what they say. 😕

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I have still more signs, just in case we get another challenge, so bring it on. 😀

To see more bloggers signs, just click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background……sort of

The latest Weekly Photo Challenge, ‘In the background,’ isn’t as straight forward as I at first thought. I looked out a few pics with something interesting in the background, like this one of Table Mountain in Cape Town,

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and one taken from our hotel balcony in Rio, with Sugar Loaf Mountain in the distance,

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and one taken across the Hudson River, with the Twin Towers rising above Lower Manhattan.

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Then there is this one taken on our long-boat canal tour, showing Bangkok coming into view.

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What about this one of a country market in Ecuador, with a giant yellow blow-up ‘Pilsener Light’ beer bottle and the smoke from a volcano in the background?

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and this one taken on a boat off the coast of San Pedro in Belize, with hubby and his dive buddy bobbing around in the background.

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I also love this smiley one of little Sienna, with a shark in the background.

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Then as my teachers at school used to tell me, I thought, “Let me read the question again.”

In the Background: The places that we pass through day after day, or even once in a lifetime, leave in their small way, echoes and traces of themselves upon us. But so often when taking self portraits or pictures of friends, the places themselves become a soft blurred mush of indistinct semi-nothingness, the limelight stolen by our smiling faces. In today’s challenge, let’s turn the tables. Take a picture of yourself or someone else as a shadow, a reflection, or a lesser part of a scene, making the background, or — as in the example above — the foreground, the center of attention.

Well this was a different kettle of fish entirely, and all I could come up with, was this one taken by hubby during our kitchen renovations in Florida. 😀

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my pics of foregrounds and backgrounds nevertheless, even if I didn’t keep strictly to Michael Pick’s guidelines. 😳

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

When the going gets tough, the tough escape to the beach; at least that’s what happens here in Umhlanga. Today dawned bright, calm and sunny, after a rather dreary Friday. Of course hubby and I were keen to escape from the house and see what was happening along the beachfront. Imagine our surprise as we rounded the corner, and came upon this guy. He’d been running, and was now just cooling down. I asked if I may take his photo, and he obliged and did a couple more handstands. In the course of our conversation, I learned that he was an ex gymnast from Kosovo, and that during the war in the late 1990’s, he escaped to England. After getting his British passport, he came out to South Africa on holiday and decided that Umhlanga was the best place on earth, so stayed and bought a home near the beach. I have an even more amazing pic of him which I’m saving for this week’s Wordless Wednesday. He was really happy to have his photo taken, and asked me if I would e-mail them to him.

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A bit farther along, someone had escaped from home, and was all setup for a day’s fishing.

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This couple looked to be dancing in the surf.

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You don’t have to be young to escape on a surf board,  just fit.

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Riding the waves is a wonderful form of escape.

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This also looks like a lot of fun.

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Children love to escape to the beach and play sand pies.

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Here at the lifeguards station, you can see the pole, which in an emergency, is the quick escape route down to the beach, just like in the fire stations.

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For the adventurous, there’s deep-sea fishing and wave jumping on offer,

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but if you just want to chill out, you can lay yourself down at the water’s edge, use your shoes as a pillow. and just dream the day away; that is until the tide comes in. 😉

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I hope you enjoyed my pics for the Weekly Photo Challenge. To see more contributions, you can click on the link.

WordPress Photo Challenge: Pattern

As Sarah Rosso says,Patterns are everywhere. Patterns are sometimes intentional and sometimes accidental. They can be decorative or merely a result of repetition, and often patterns can be in the eye of the beholder to discover them.”


When I visited Bignor in the centre of the South Downs National Park in England, I was fascinated by the stunning remains of a third century Roman farm and villa. The intricate patterns of the mosaic floors were really pretty.

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It’s mind-boggling to imagine all the work that went into creating these beautiful floors. One of the corridors in this sixty-five roomed home, was 79 feet (24 metres) long.

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At our holiday resort in Phuket, we were most impressed with the skill and patience this young woman exhibited whilst creating exquisite patterns out of watermelons.

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Also in Thailand is some exquisite pattern work at one of the doorways to the ‘Wat Phra Kaew ‘complex, better known to tourists as the ‘Temple of the Emerald Buddha’.

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The Mezquita Mosque/Cathedral in Cordoba, dating back to the 10th century has beautifully patterned horseshoe-shaped arches with 856 columns of  jasper, onyx, marble and granite. These were crafted from pieces of the Roman temple which had occupied the site previously, as well as other destroyed Roman buildings,

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This beautiful memorial at Kuta in Bali was built on the site of the destroyed Paddy’s Pub to commemorate the first Bali bombing in 2002, when 202 people were killed. The memorial is made of intricately carved stone, set with a large marble plaque, bearing the names and nationalities of each of those killed.

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The Balinese are skilled craftsmen and the wood carvings for sale were really amazing. Our guide explained to us that the rooster inside the cage was actually carved through the holes. Wow! No wonder it had a hefty price tag.

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Now for something completely different. In downtown Lima, Peru, is the17th century San Fransisco church, which once had a normal graveyard for its members. When space became a problem, the skulls and bones were removed from the graves and thrown into a deep pit.  This pit, over time, became the last resting place for most of Lima’s dead, and today the remains of some 25,000 to 70,000 people are stored at the catacombs. Until 1808, the bones were just heaped up in there, but in 1943, when the place was opened up for archeological excavation, it was decided that the Catacombs would have more ‘appeal’ if the human bones were arranged artistically. They placed some of  the skulls together in a centre pile, with same length arm bones radiating outward, and matching leg bones extending beyond the arms, and then more rings of skulls; a rather grisly sort of pattern, don’t you think?

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To see more examples of patterns, just click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above

“The Earth is Art. The photographer is only a witness. ” ~Yann Arthus-Bertrand

This week’s photo challenge, ‘From above’, had me especially remembering the thrill I had of flying in a helicopter over Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. It was my first time going up in one, and I hung back whilst the other passengers got on, not out of politeness, but because I realised that the last one on, got to sit at the front, next to the pilot. Method in my madness. 🙂 I took several photos, but this one came out the best, and hubby, who was white water rafting at the time, was very complimentary.

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Here is one taken at Niagara, looking down across the falls.

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This is an aerial view of the approach to Belize.

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Looking down over the Hong Kong skyscrapers, to Victoria Harbour.

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A view of the famous New Orleans Bourbon Street, from the balcony of The Four Points Sheraton Hotel, which is built on the site of the legendary French Opera House.

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Whilst in Palm Springs, we took a fifteen minute Aerial Tramway ride, and ascended 8516 feet up Chino Canyon.  The rotating cars allow for breathtaking views for up to fifty miles in all directions.

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Looking down at the Pacific Ocean from cliffs in San Diego.

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Half way up the Rock of Gibraltar, looking down on the bay of Algeciras.

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The city of Granada viewed from the beautiful Alhambra Palace.

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You don’t get much higher than this; soaring above the clouds like an eagle, looking down at The Alps on our flight back from Venice.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my “From Above” photos. To see more entries for the WordPress Photo Challenge, just click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

The WordPress Photo Challenge ‘Up’ is a great opportunity to share some of my  pics taken whilst looking skywards.

These were taken at our local annual airshow, over the past couple of years. Hubby took them, and I think he did really well. I’m sure I would overbalance if I had to try to take photos of planes flying overhead. 🙂

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You had a view down the steps of the Balinese temple in my last post, and this time you can look up at it.

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Here’s Mount Rushmore from a different angle, showing only George Washington’s profile.

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Another profile now of the Lakota warrior Chief Crazy Horse, in South Dakota. This colossal monument has been sixty-four years in the making, and as you can see, is still nowhere near to completion.

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At the southernmost end of Las Ramblas in Barcelona, is the memorial honouring the great explorer Christopher Columbus, depicted pointing out to sea.

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The dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica, designed by Michelangelo, is the most prominent building  in the Vatican City. It’s as beautiful from the inside,

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as from the outside.

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Of course, I can’t do an up post, without including a photo of my favourite landmark, which is just a few yards up the beach. This is something I would really miss, if we move away from here.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my pics for this challenge. To see what other bloggers have come ‘up’ with, just click here.

Colours for two photo challenges.

“Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No. Just as one can never learn how to paint.”  ~ Pablo Picasso

The WordPress challenge this week is ‘Color’ and Marianne’s CBBH Photo Challenge for this month is ‘Multi-Coloured’, so however you want to spell the word, you can’t get away from brightly colo(u)red photos on bloggers’ posts. I decided to combine the two challenges, just to save time and effort.

The world would be a much less interesting place to live in if everything was black and white, so here are a few bright colours to cheer your day. This one taken at Machu Picchu, whilst the stallholder was having a little nap, is probably the most multi-coloured photo I have.

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This cute Rainbow Lorikeet seen at the Kurumba Bird Park in Australia, surely qualifies for the theme.

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Here where I live in South Africa, this beach vendor cuts a very colourful figure as, on her way to work, she wears all her wares at the same time.

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In Mauritius, the room at our resort was beautifully and colourfully welcoming when we arrived.

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In Bangkok, it was really difficult to choose between all the brightly coloured sandals for sale, at the floating market, so in the end, I chose black. 🙂

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Their long-tail boats were just as colourful.

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In Singapore, this temple was a wonderful blaze of colour,

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as was the Medina in Morocco.

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Of course one doesn’t really have to hop on a plane in order to see bright colours. Just go down to your local supermarket,

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or  flower shop.

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If all else fails, buy some balloons and have a party.

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To see more interpretations of both challenges, just click on the links above.

The CBBH Challenge requires me to give you links to two blogs which I enjoy. First up is my Swedish friend Viveka, at “My guilty pleasures” blog. You’ll always find something interesting and entertaining when you visit her.

Secondly, I’d like to introduce you to Gilly, the “Lucid Gypsy.” She writes poetry, stories, and shares wonderful pics from a really lovely part of England.