Category Archives: photo challenges

Friendly Friday: Favourite Photo Challenge

Linked to the Sandy Chronicles

Chef Eddie does his thing

This picture is one I love because it captures, for me, a moment of total relaxation during a cargo ship cruise we took about 30 years ago. The ship was ‘The Author’, one of what I learned to call “the big whites”, boats of the South African Safmarine line.

Sunday was a big day for the crew when they had the brai, or barbeque, a tradition that was almost a religion for the South African crew on board. It was dress-down day when even the captain sported shorts and tee shirt, hair-cutting took place in quiet corners on the decks, and the crew relaxed in their ‘civvies’.

I was surprised that a barbeque was allowed on the deck, but I was assured all was perfectly safe. Eddie, the chef, had everyone’s favourite food ready, from salads to heavy carbs, fruits to exotic vegetables, and a fine selection of meats, fish and shellfish. As passenger we numbered only 7 but we had become friends with the crew over the course of our trip from Tilbury via northern Europe to South America. In fact we were their ‘shoppers’ as well, as some of the countries we stopped at would not allow the S.A. crew to disembark (political not racist) so we were given shopping lists when we disembarked – usually tee shirts for themselves and a gift for a Mum or a son or daughter.

I know this isn’t a good photograph, it’s blurry and lacks definition but it’s one of my all-time favourites because that holiday was one of the best ever and that evening sums it up so well. I must add here that I don’t go on cruises as floating hotels are not my cup of tea but a trip on a cargo-ship is a world apart.

On “The Author” we mixed with the crew as they went about their work during the day, and in the evening we socialised with them over drinks and dinner, played games in either their lounge or ours and swapped books and DVDs. Some evenings we lay on our backs on the deck and were taken through the star system by one of the crew, seen to its best away from the lights on land.

Thirty years after and I’m still in contact with one of the captains and two of the crew. It was an unforgettable holiday and I remember every minute of my time aboard “The Author”, Eddie’s great food, and the treats left in our cabin daily, from warm biscuits to gooey cake, the ever-changing menus due to the fresh produce he picked up at the different ports, and the tears and the hugs when we all said good-bye to some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

Lens Artists Challenge: Picking Favourites

Linked to Toonsarah who is hosting this week’s Lens Artists Challenge

It is with great trepidation that I sit down once more to enter one of the photographic challenges on the site, but I’ve been looking at various entries in different categories and especially Sarah’s today so here I am. I haven’t posted for a few months now but I have managed to dip in and out of the site and kept up with what’s been happening.

I said “with great trepidation” and I meant it, because after seeing some of the entries in today’s challenge and some of those from former weeks, I realize how far short of “artistic” my work falls. Being more interested in the words than the pictures I’ve never looked really closely at my images, or taken enough time to get them right.

Apologies over. Here are a few of my favourites, and I stress the word favourites as I can’t claim they are great!

  1. This is one of the monuments to World War ll spotted along the coast of Normandy. I do like this picture mainly because of the sky, the clouds were wonderful on that day and seemed to change shape every few seconds so I was lucky to get them just when they looked especially good.

I didn’t get to know the Normandy coast well until a few years ago when, with a friend, I spent 10 days touring the area. I loved the horses trotting along the beach, their passengers snugly wrapped up in carriages behind them, the serious tourists with their maps and photographs of relatives who landed on these beaches during WWll, and the fact that the food in Normandy was as good as I remembered from many years back. And I loved the fact that the museums and monuments, cemeteries and commemorative parks are still there to tell the story of what happened in France between 1939-1945.

The Library of Celsus at Ephesus, Turkey

This is Ephesus in Turkey. It’s a print taken probably about 30 years ago and yes, it did win a prize.

I don’t think it’s a great image but I think it does show the magnificence of that place and when I look at it I can still remember my awe as we walked in and faced this extraordinary facade.

Ephesus was an ancient port city lying just 80 km from Izmir, and whose well-preserved ruins are in modern-day Turkey.  Once considered the most important Greek city and the most important trading centre in the Mediterranean region, it survived multiple attacks and changed hands many times.

Today it is one of Turkey’s most significant ancient cities and it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2015.

Ephesus came to prominence under the ancient Greeks and became a city under the Romans in 133 BC and the capital of Asia Minor in 27 BC, seen as its historical turning point as it then became second in importance only to Rome.

Ephesus is also important from the point of view of Christian history in that St. Paul wrote his “First letter to the Corinthians” from here, St. John wrote his gospel here, and it is believed to be the final resting place of the Virgin Mary.

The facade of the library of Celsus which looms over the city and which you see above has been very carefully reconstructed from original pieces. It was originally built in 125 AD and Celsus is buried in a sarcophagus beneath it.

Apart from the facade of the library, there are many impressive ruins to see in Ephesus. Allow at least 4 hours to see it all, the amphitheatre (largest in the ancient world), the Odeon with its Corinthian-style pillars made of red granite, the 2nd century Temple of Hadrian, the aqueducts and the Agoras.

Sadly, Ephesus died, by reason of silt building up in the harbour to the point where no ships could reach the city. Without ships, trade died, and without trade the city died and was abandoned.

Torii Gate at Miyajima, Japan

I have so many Torii Gates in my files that the problem was picking out the one I like best but then the problem was, do I want one with a boat, with a beach, or set in a forest? In the end I decided on this misty morning scene.

I think everyone has seen images of Torii gates, the most famous of which is probably the above gate near Hiroshima, but there are many dotted around the seas, all calling out for a photograph.

A Torii gates represents the boundary between a sacred shrine and the human world. Once you pass through the torii gate you have entered the sacred, special space. 

Originally Torii gates were white, but now they are mostly painted red because the colour symbolises vitality in Japan and it is believed red gives protection against evil. (It is also said that as red paint contains mercury, the gates are preserved for longer – practical as well as spiritual).

White was the original color of torii gates which were more common than red ones until the arrival of Buddhism in Japan. After the separation of Shinto and Buddhism was officially implemented in the mid-to-late 19th century, some shrines started to paint over their red torii gates with white again, but they are fewer in number than the red.

Although the most photographed appear to be those that are located in the waters, torii gates appear in many inland spots such as the base of famous mountains, or along forest routes. These gates are said to embody the deity which is believed to exist in nature, sacred mountains and the ocean.

If you do come across a torii gate on your travels in Japan, as a mark of respect and if you wish not to offend your hosts, it is a good idea to bow before entering through the gate.

Linked to Toonsarah who is hosting this week’s Lens Artists Challenge

Odds & Ends 189.

Linked to Lens Artist Challenge Odds and Ends,

I started trawling through my archives sure I would find heaps of oddities but somehow when I came across oddities I found myself thinking, hold on there, you could use that in something else one day. I did have some though, and here they are.

This is a ruby on a banknote, or so the seller tried to convince me, when we stepped into a jewellry shop in Bangkok to have a watch strap repaired. Never do that! If you walk into a jewellry shop in Bangkok you have only one reason for doing so – according to the seller – you want to buy something.

Two very odd tree trunks I found in a village in the Pyranees.

No, neither do I! Nor do I know where it was taken: it was probably somewhere near Malaga, going by the surrounding images.

Another Trio

Something a bit unusual I think, for Mama Cormier’s Thursday Trios.

These are total immersion suits that will keep you alive for at least 6 hours in freezing water. I photographed these some years ago when I visited the workshop of Survitec in Sweden. Survitec is the worldwide group that manufactures and maintains rescue craft for ships, planes, oil rigs and container ships, as well as the above survival suits. Chances are that whatever cruise line or airline you are travelling on, its life rafts will be serviced and supplied by Survitec.

It’s something we take for granted, but I saw at first hand how important it is for this safety equipment to be in perfect order and how thorough the inspection is – right down to the medicines for pain, the batteries for the torches, and the bottled water, carried on board. So, a big clap for SURVITEC for keeping us safe, in the air and on the sea, and for the engineers and mechanics who test everything in freezing waters.

Join Mama Cormier’s Thursday Trios HERE

Action- One Word Sunday

This week’s theme from Debbie is ACTION. Linked to Debbie’s here

Ready to hurtle down the slope on the famous basket ride in Funchal, Madeira

Is praying action? Not the Klu Klux Klan but Penitents during Holy Week in Malaga.

The lock-keeper’s daughters open a lock on the Gota Canal, Sweden

Camera, Action. A tourist takes a photograph in Grenada, Caribbean.