Tag Archives: photography

Glass Beach

29 May

What happens when people dispose of their waste in the most irresponsible way, try to clean it up, until it all gets a bit too hard, then when they can’t think of any other way to repair the damage, they close up and move on?  OK, maybe I’m being a bit harsh, but I’m filing this one under “what the hell were they thinking until it becomes wow that is just too spectacular for words”.

I am a beach glass collector.  I like to find it, feel it, decorate sandcastles with it and then leave it for the next person to enjoy.  I rarely take it home with me unless it is quite spectacular or the Drama Queen insists.  I love its smoothness, the way that time and energy have ground down all the sharp bits to make something soft and subtle.  I really like the blue ones, though they are really hard to find.

I think I would be in beach glass meltdown if I ever manage to visit Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, California.  In the early part of the 20th century the residents of Fort Bragg disposed of their waste by hurling it off the cliffs onto the beach below.  No object was too big, too toxic or too much.  Household appliances, cars, trash all were tossed over the cliffs until the 1960’s when attempts were made to clean up the dump.  Despite clean up attempts, nothing could be done about the masses of glass that remained on the beach.  This is the result, a now protected altered beach landscape.

Pity it took such a gross act of human laziness to make something so beautiful.  What do you think?

Sam

images from digggsmeganpru,lee rentz

The cliffs of insanity

17 May

I love when landscapes, whether they be natural or designed, remind me of places from movies or books.  When we travelled the Great Ocean Road a few years ago this place reminded me of the Cliffs of Insanity, they were simply inconceivable!  I’m showing them today because that’s a bit like I feel with so much to do before the Daredevil’s party.

If you haven’t seen the Princess Bride, and have no idea what I’m talking about, what are you waiting for?

Sam

Climbing a mountain

15 May

I’m having a love / hate relationship with my post a day May idea.  I love writing my blog, I always have, but hate (well, probably not hate, but mild dislike) that I’ve tied myself to posting each day and thinking about what to post.  I’m sure that I’m going to be extremely proud when I’ve achieved the goal, but for now I’m starting to struggle a little.  It’s starting to feel a little bit like an uphill hike.  You start out fresh, excited, ready conquer the peak, but as the trek wears on your breath shortens, you need more  breaks and it feels like you’ll never make it.  The good news is I’m half way, so to mark the half way point I thought I’d show you my favourite mountains. Theoretically, the rest is downhill!

The weather in Sydney has been pretty chilly this week, apparently they’re starting to get their first snow down in the Mountains.  OK, so we’re in Australia and we don’t have really impressive mountains.  On a global scale they’re more like hills, and the fact that we get excited about skiing these tiny mountains with the smear of snow that we get is a bit comical to those of you who are more enhanced in the alpine stakes, but we love them.  The Snowy Mountains National Park which contains Australia’s highest peak – Mt Kosciuszko, is a fragile Australian Alpine ecosystem.  The Australian high country is characterised by the Snowy Gum which helps to give it it’s unique character.  It’s an area that I find extremely calm and peaceful whether it is covered in snow or spring wild flowers.

Hope you enjoy my downhill slide!  Hopefully we will get to take the Drama Queen and Daredevil to see their first snow this year.

Sam

Photos from Drawn Outdoors, http://www.godadgo.com.au and http://www.boardworld.com.au

Out the Back

14 May

One of the iconic Australian landscape images is of the Outback.  The desert, kangaroos, Uluru, you know the picture.  Like most Australians, I haven’t actually been there.  We like to stick close to the coast most of the time, but Mr Perfect and I did venture a little way back a few years ago and visited Lake Mungo National Park in far western New South Wales.  It was a spectacular and ancient landscape, with an interesting juxtaposition of Natural, Indigenous and European histories.

Love how these landscapes can inspire.

Sam

 

Friday Finds – Happy Star Wars Day

4 May

It’s May the fourth – May the fourth be with you!

This week’s Friday finds has been around for a while, but it is a good one.  I struggled to work out how I was going to combine Star Wars day with landscape – sure there’s the really cool computer generated intergalactic Lucasfilm landscapes, but we’ve all seen them.  I decided to delve into the world of things to do in your garden – enjoying your space, and enter the wonderful world of photographer Chris McVeigh.  Combining the Chipmunks that occupied his yard, and a collection of Star Wars figurines, he has created these gems.

Too cool and way too much fun.  He also photographs lego figurines and toys and sells prints, mobile phone cases and laptop skins of his images.  Check out his website here and his shop here.

And remember, use the fourth Luke…

Sam

PS I’m really not that big a Star Wars fan, but Mr Perfect is rather fond of the original trilogy and is just waiting for the right time to share them with the Drama Queen and Daredevil.

Red flowering gums

3 May

stunning is the simple word for any red flowering gum.  They generally don’t grow very well in Sydney, but there are some cultivars and new varieties of Corymbia ficifolia that are challenging the Sydney conditions.  There are quite a few in the gardens around Drawn Outdoors HQ, and I couldn’t help but take a photo on our wander up to the shops.

I’m feeling a wee bit like Little Ragged Blossom now.

Sam

A Park of Stories

24 Apr

I have been meaning to visit Ballast Point Park – Walama for a while now, since it opened to the public in 2009, so it has taken me too long to get there.  Design Mom’s love the place you live theme gave me the perfect opportunity to pack the family up and have a look.  I’ve watched the park transform from the ferry as we travelled past, and looked at it from afar as the munchkins have played on a favourite playground, but never quite managed to physically get there.  But once again for love the place you live, we gravitated back to Sydney’s picturesque harbour, and explored Ballast Point.

Let me start by saying this is my kind of park, but initially it wasn’t the Drama Queens.  There is no structured playground, and this was a bitter disappointment to a four year old. I firmly hold the belief that the world is a playground and you shouldn’t need a set of swings to ensure endless fun.  The richer the landscape, the more fun that can be made, and Ballast Point Park is a landscape of quite divine treasures.

The Drama Queen needed a bit of convincing to come around to my way of thinking.  I explained to her that this was a park full of stories instead of a park full of playground equipment.  This sparked her interest as she loves a good story – especially when she makes them up herself.  I started to tell her and show her the stories weaved through the landscape, and as she started to see them for herself the park took on a whole new set of adventures.  There was no such convincing needed for her brother, this park is a Daredevil’s wonderland, so much to climb and explore, and he didn’t care that it wasn’t primary coloured and structured.

Ballast Point is a rich and diverse landscape of layers and stories.  The current parkland weaves an interesting and engaging tapestry of landscape design, artwork and historic interpretation to provide a valuable recreational resource for the community of Sydney.  Located in Birchgrove, Ballast Point Park is part of the expanding network of foreshore parks that the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority is developing and managing in order to return previously alienated land back to the public.  Designed by McGregor + Coxall, a Sydney based landscape architectural firm, the current format recognises a long and interesting history while addressing the functionality and significance of the site as public open space.

The site has a rich Indigenous, colonial and industrial heritage, and there are features through the park that tell these stories.  Some are literal, like the retention of industrial site features and signage, others interpretive like the display of relics suspected to have come from the excavated Menevia foundations, the original home built on the site, and some more ephemeral like the poetry and artworks that punctuate the site and recognise the site  and it’s significance to the harbour and its history.  Significantly, the park has the dual names of Ballast Point Park and Walama recognising both  the European and Indigenous history and importance of the site.

One of the most interesting layers of the park is its eco-cred.  The site is full of recycled and re-used materials, the most obvious being the imposing gabion walls made out of recycled building rubble.  The surprising flashes of mosaic tiles, electrical cover plates and marble make these walls a significant feature on their own.  The electricity for the site is produced from wind turbines located on the imposing Tank 101 artwork, and the storm water from the site is filtered through a network of wetlands on the site before it enters the harbour.  Plantings throughout the site enhance local biodiversity through the utilisation of local provenance seed stock.

Through all the design and history, my favourite part of this park is the layer that the current use has provided.  While we were there, we saw dogs being walked, people picnicking and families exploring.  The most interesting part was one I hadn’t expected.  People have begun to place padlocks on the gab ion walls overlooking the harbour.  Families, lovers, friends, travellers all seem to be locking their “love” on the site.  Reminiscent of Pont des Arts in Paris, these locks are commemorating people’s own personal life journeys of birth, love and death.

I am seriously considering adding a lock to the wall!

Sam

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