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Follow Di's board La Superba - An ancient Italian city on Pinterest.


Not only has Di changed my perception of the city I have called home for the past six years, she has also taken me beyond my own limits as a photographer. She has inspired me to stop living my entire life on the default settings I have grown so comfortable with. By pushing a camera to its limits and learning how to manipulate the manual settings, I, for the first time in my life, realized how much potential I was wasting by always deferring to my default auto setting.

Leah Armstrong, from Help! I live with my Italian mother-in-law, and her article about the workshop over at Holiday Mag.

Come join me on a journey of discovery in an exquisitely ancient Italian city.


'Visit' Genova via Stefano's RIGHICAM.

Of all the things I wondered about on this land, I wondered the hardest about the seduction of certain geographies that feel like home - not by story or blood but merely by their forms and colours. How our perceptions are our only internal map of the world, how there are places that claim you and places that warn you. How you can fall in love with the light. Ellen Melloy, Writer
Next workshop

the quick brown fox

Come travel with me to...

Rome from xx to xx December 2099


On Flanders Fields ...

The dignity of the artist lies in his duty of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world.

Marc Chagall.

Yesterday was one of those slightly epic days ...

Sander and I headed off to Flanders Fields on an assignment that involved using a panoramic tripod head to capture a series of precise images.  I had prepared a folder of lists, directions, and maps however ... we couldn't control the weather.

And so it was that we lost an entire morning of work to raindrops on the lens when taking a particular series of shots.  The umbrella didn't help as the rain varied between wind-blown sideways and simply drifting.  It was never of the straight-down variety ... a fact I wouldn't have noticed unless trying, so desperately, to keep the lens dry.

Bone-achingly cold, we stopped for lunch.  I found myself obsessed and watching the puddle out in front of the fries shop ... to see whether rain was disturbing its surface.

The rain stopped and we headed off again.  We covered the kilometres required to find those specific shots, again.  And the rain held off.  Finally, at the last location and voila, Flanders Fields did what it has so often done to me after a day of trudging about in the rain with my camera.  The clouds shaped themselves into something extraordinary, the sun broke through in places, and the landscape looked like some kind of beautiful painting ... just for a little bit.

I didn't manage to capture it in all its beauty but you get a small sense of it here, perhaps.  Just as the change started to happen.


Just a Note ... 

You know ... I don't remember where I found this shot, or ... but I do know it was taken some place in Antwerp and I didn't how unusual it was until I saw it here on my computer.

There's another place I inhabit when I take photographs.  It's difficult to explain.  It simply is.

Meanwhile I'm gearing up for a rather interesting photo-shoot out on Flanders Fields this Wednesday. The panoramic head arrives tomorrow.  Lists and directions are printed and ready.  More on that in the months ahead .. when the story of it all becomes news I can share.

And the exhibition in Brussels.  It's still happening.  More on that as soon as we have dates.



Hozier, From Eden

I wonder, was I the last person to discover Hozier's music?

Love it.


Genova, by Simone Trucco &Valerio Andreani

By Simone Trucco e Valerio Andreani, with music by Bruno Coli.

The scenes filmed are exquisite and give you a real sense of Genova, and the villages and mountains nearby.

Congratulations to everyone involved on a work beautifully done.


Rain ...


Waitakere Rain

Ernest Hemingway found rain to be
made of knowledge, experience
wine oil salt vinegar quince
bed early mornings nights days the sea
men women dogs hill and rich valley
the appearance and disappearance of sense
or trains on curved and straight tracks, hence
love honour and dishonour, a scent of infinity.
In my city the rain you get
is made of massive kauri trees, the call of forest birds
howling dark oceans and mangroved creeks.
I taste constancy, memory and yet
there’s the watery departure of words
from the thunder-black sand at Te Henga Beach.

Paula Green.



To Begin Again ...

Define your Muse ...

That for who you long to labour.

Twyla Tharp.


It was a good day ... !

It's your wairua journeying here to your turangawaewae... your spirit returning to the place you belong. nothing can keep you from being here... not physical time or distance love you.  can't wait to you are here in person though, sitting on my porch with a wine and laughter xxxxx


It was one of those awful days that became magnificent.

The infection on my back has healed but I had to wait until tonight to hear that from the doctor.  The story of why I was there is almost laughable, now that I'm on the other side of it all ... but that's for another day.  Perhaps.

Meanwhile I'm assisting in organising a symposium later this year.  The subject is so very dear to my heart.  We worked hard on it today, more to follow tomorrow.

Then I had a rather exciting project arrive in the mail tonight. 

And the words at the start of this post came from Pippa's Facebook post ... I had written to her back in New Zealand saying, ' It's you, you're working the magic of the land on me. I know the smells and the air and the views somehow.'

She has moved house and is posting photographs of the landscape she sees. 

Pippa replied with the words I posted first.  I think she's right and, one day, I hope to be home again.  Sitting out there on her porch, drinking red wines and telling tall stories ... like we have done through the years.


A Month ... 

It would have been a month tomorrow ... since I flew into Rome and met up with Tanya and Ruby.  We were heading for a small village in Lazio.  I was staying 10 days, they were staying to house and dogsit for a couple of months.

Maybe I should have suspected something when my flight was delayed by a few hours due to the traffic-controlling Romans having some kind of wildcat strike.  It meant that we arrived in the village too late to shop at the supermarket located at the bottom of the massive slope we were to be living on but stuff happens and I had no sense of what lay ahead.

We woke the next morning to rain and realised that we had all slept under damp, cold sheets and blankets.  And we had no supplies so we walked the 2kms to the village.  It was beautiful but it was also cold and there was the rain too.

We found a bit of this and a bit of that, and The Two Brothers cafe, where we relaxed over the most divine coffees and hot chocolates.  We trudged back up the hill with our shopping, torn between admiring the view and being cold. 

By the time we reached day 3 I was fairly sure about needing to leave.  The chimney was blocked and  smoke filled the house when we lit it.  The heaters didn't warm any room enough, except for my room, so we gathered in there.  The toilet was leaking.  The dehumidifier took out more than 5 litres on that first full day in the house, and kept pumping water out in the days we spent there.

I have never caught a chill because of dampness and cold.  Or never been so aware of it but the dampness roared straight into our lungs and while my throat ached as I coughed, Tanya could feel it  go deep into her chest.  A month later she's still coughing up the consequences. 

We left on a fast train to Rome.  Tanya found us a beautiful apartment, so close to St Peter's that we could see it from our balcony, the Vatican too.  But most importantly, the place was warm, with a powerful shower and so we stopped there 3 nights. 

We coughed our way around the city.  I met up with my lovely old friend, Marco, after work one evening and we wandered the old city for a couple of hours, chatting, getting lost, and stopping for that espresso I should have resisted but couldn't. 

I returned to the apartment, to the warmth and walked straight into a sleepless night and a bit of a medical problem.  I didn't sleep at all and the next morning we were up and out early, heading for Genova.  5 and a half hours later we arrived.  An epic train ride, with no food available, even in first class.  How we envied all those who had packed themselves sandwiches and snacked their way through Italy.

Once in Genova, we shopped for extra blankets for Tanya and Ruby, found food, water and wine, and really relaxed.  I was 'home' in my favourite northern hemisphere home.  Although, in retrospect, relaxing was silly.  The hangover the next day convinced me of that but it was good to simply arrive in a place that I love for a while.

We spent time with my Genovese friends, we ate good food, we rested and Tanya tried to work out how she and Ruby could stay longer in Italy.  Nothing worked out.  It was always too expensive and anyway, our health wasn't improving.

Tanya had destroyed her knee in the train station as we were leaving Lazio, teaching me one of the most important things I needed to learn about this New Zealand friend of mine. When she says, with a smile, 'It's all good', she's underplaying whatever's going on, in a huge way.

Her knee was so swollen and she had walked all over Rome on it (not knowing when and if she would return),completely fooling me with her it's all good.

So my really kind friend in Genova, Stefano, organised an MRI and a visit to the specialist for her.  Tanya needed surgery.  She was given powerful painkillers/anti-inflammatories to deal with the pain she was in.  She also managed to find a cough syrup for her horrible cough.  And it was decided, she was coming back to Belgium with me because I was sure our health system would work more simply for her.

We arrived home and suddenly I had to go to the doctor.  I had picked up an infection and needed some strong antibiotics, 4 times a day for 12 days.  I was stronger and fitter than I had been in a while but I was about to lose most of it while feeling like rubbish as the infection and antiobics used me as a battleground. 

Cloudy thinking would be one way of describing my way of being in the days since.  Even I have to laugh at how simple-minded I've been.  No alcohol, or one and half glasses per day but honestly, I just wanted the infection gone and I've been good.

Tanya still hasn't been back to the doctor's for the congestion lodged in her lungs but she is taking a decongestant.  My cough is all but gone.  I guess the antibiotics helped there.  Her knee is behaving, only swelling when she walks too far on it, and she decided not to have surgery this time ... but may return for it after her 4-6 week stint in the UK.

So it's been an adventure but I'm hoping that we are now entering a period of complete recovery and that our lives will return to something like normal ... or as normal as it gets for either of us.   We had some good adventures along way.

It's, at least, 10 celsius in Antwerp today and the sky is a beautiful blue.  Meanwhile Tanya and Ruby jet off to England any minute now and I'm ready to get back to work on photography workshop stuff.

It's like that ...

Feb152015 remains felt, not thought.

I often feel like I want to think something but I can’t find the language that coincides with the thought, so it remains felt, not thought. Sometimes I feel like I’m thinking in Swedish without knowing Swedish.
Peter Cameron, Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You.

Source: Words n


Madeleine L’Engle, Home

We are all strangers in a strange land, longing for home, but not quite knowing what or where home is. We glimpse it sometimes in our dreams, or as we turn a corner, and suddenly there is a strange, sweet familiarity that vanishes almost as soon as it comes…
Madeleine L’Engle, The Rock That is Higher: Story as Truth