A Poppy Kind of Day ...

It's a grey day here in Antwerp.  Grey in so many ways, and so a splash of colour didn't seem out of order here on the blog. 

I'm reading an exquisite essay by Rebecca Solnit - The Far North of Experience, In Praise of Darkness (and Light), cooking the first of two pavlovas, and I'm back on everyday school-runs for 2 weeks as of today.

My photography exhibition is coming together and I have some workshops to plan.  There's a Passenger concert to attend soon too.

Wishing you a lovely weekend

Colin Monteath, and the Poppies

Over years I have filled my journals with notes, quotes, and photographs too.  Some of those journals traveled from New Zealand with me, and many many new ones have been filled since I flew.

I love quotes and extracts.  They seem like small pieces of intense wisdom or pure beauty but I keep them all locked up in my journals.  So ... I've decided to go through my extensive, sometimes unexplored, photographic archives and merged some of these collected wisdoms, from others, with my images.

I met with Colin Monteath, author of today's quote, a couple of times during those years before leaving New Zealand.  And even then, I still didn't know quite how to describe him here.  Photographer, mountaineer, adventurer, Antartic expert, writer ... and probably so much more that I don't know about.

Anyway I found one of his books here in Antwerp, wrote to him full of laughter because it cost a lot more than he was selling them new but still, I was working at the time.  How could I resist.

I've never regretted buying that book.  I found the quote, the one on the photograph below, and feel it gives a good sense of the man himself.

As for the poppies.  That was me, crawling around on the edge of the church garden in Mesen, out on Flanders Fields, here in Belgium.  I had some time and really wanted a good poppy shot.

The Poppy

My way of seeing involves using my 70-200mm lens in ways that most people wouldn't.

The bulk of my portraiture work is done with that telephoto lens.  The bulk of my photography actually ... I'm always a little bit sad when I have to change to a wider or more 'appropriate' lens.  I do it but only if I must.

I keep finding folders full of work I haven't really explored.  This was taken back in 2009, stored away, and not examined again until now.

A poppy in a garden in the city of Mesen, Belgium.

Today ... and some other days too.

We shopped for our monthly supplies, Colruyt and Makro.  Later, we slipped away to our favourite secondhand shop by the airport and voila, found the beautiful orange bicycle for Miss 'Almost' 9 ... it has flowers.  It is a little early, as her birthday is actually 4th of July but it was meant for her.  We're sure.

Then I slept. 

Last night I was out with Lucy and Ruth, there was some red wine involved, much laughter and many conversations.  And then, cycling home after midnight, I learned that using my phone while riding a bike is to be avoided.  Only my finger was hurting this morning.  I was lucky.

Tomorrow I'm off to the Westhoek, really really early, to photograph a special moment in the lives of one of my favourite Belgian families.   I love this kind of photo-shoot, the kind that involves extended family.  I love attempting to capture not just the day but the emotions and connections too. 

Let's see how it goes.  Meanwhile, there was this poppy in Piedmont and I was there photographing it, just a few days ago.