Weekly Photo Challenge: SHINE

Shine can have many meanings: a high gloss polish, a brilliant lacquer finish, a light on a mirror, moonlight on water, a child’s freshly washed face before bedtime any or all of these can be offered.   I’ve found one or two that fitted these categories but they weren’t my favourites, instead, I’ve gone for the photographs below.

The first ‘Shine’ is the colourful and exquisite marble floor of the covered-in Galleria Emmanuelle in Milano, the trendy, upmarket shopping area that stretches from the famous Duomo to the Opera House.  All the top-named brands have shops here (dare one call them shops, I wonder?) and apart from the gloss of the beautiful marble, the whole place has a ‘shininess’ that seems part of this monied world.

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Exquisite marble floor of the Galleria Emmanuelle in Milano – Mari Nicholson

And now for something completely different.   The photograph below was taken when I visited a workshop outside Hanoi where dedicated instructors were teaching children who had been injured by landmines in Vietnam, a trade that would eventually enable them to work in the world outside.  The glass jar on the table is full of wafer-thin sheets of gold leaf and this young girl is painstakingly applying it to parts of a picture.

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Vietnam, Applying gold leaf to a picture to make it shine.

On on the same trip in S.E. Asia, in Cambodia, we came across a school .with something of the same idea.  A group of young students were being taught how to use gold leaf on religious icons, how to make Buddha statues, how to do intricate woodwork etc.  To me, it seemed incredibly difficult and needing great patience, but the ever-smiling children assured me it was easy for them and better than working in the rice fields where they never had enough to eat.

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Cambodia, Using gold leaf effectively on Buddha statuettes and bowls – Mari Nicholson.

And what is nicer than a sunset with the falling sun shining on the water, the rustle of palm trees, and the lap of the waves.

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And lastly, probably the best shine of all, the moon on the water, in this case a silvery moon that turned the sea a shiny gunmetal grey that could have been anywhere but was actually in a tropical land.

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Shiny, shiny, moon.  I feel a song coming on – Mari Nicholson

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: LOCAL

“Any place I hang my hat is home”, or so the old song goes and this is almost true for me.  I seem to be able to settle in any location and feel instantly at home – even on holiday.  Feet under the table, a few friends around, some olives and some wine to keep the conversation flowing, and I’m happy.

That’s not to say, however, that certain places don’t take precedence, one of which is my permanent home now and has been for many years, the Isle of Wight, and the other is my childhood home in Northern Ireland.  These definitely represent home to me.

Starting from childhood:

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Scene just outside my birth town – Photo Mari Nicholson

 

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Growing up I may have spent too much time in this pub, for the craic and the wild music – Photo Mari Nicholson

 

 

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Another favourite pub in Belfast – Kelly’s Cellars – famous for its Guinness.                        Photo Mari Nicholson

 

Now I live near the sea, in this town, a favourite of many people many of whom visited it for the first time on a school trip.  The weather is usually good, we seldom see snow, the beaches are clean and safe, and the walking is superb.

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My Home Town
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View to my beach from just outside the town – Photo Mari Nicholson

 

It’s a place of thatched cottages, thatched pubs and even a thatched church                   Photos Mari Nicholson

Weekly Photo Challenge: H2O

No rain promised in my area for a while so I’ve looked through my photos to see what I could come up with and here are two.  Both of these were taken in Thailand, one in Koh Samui, the other in Hua Hin on the Gulf of Siam just a couple of hours drive from Bangkok.

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Having fun at Hua Hin, Thailand

This little boy was having the time of his life on his polystyrene box lid which served as a raft from which he was trying to catch fish.  I don’t think it mattered whether he caught any or not, the fun was in trying, and in having such a marvellous float to carry him along the seashore.  Don’t worry, Dad was trawling the near water keeping an eye out so that he didn’t drift off.  They had little money, it was obvious.  Mum was digging in the sand for tiny little sandfish and crabs for supper and his sisters were gathering leaves from the hedges around.  Tech toys were unknown to him and even though I am sure he hankered after them, I confess I hoped he could continue to enjoy the childlike life he was having at the moment I took this photograph.

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Torrential rain in Koh Samui, Thailand

Oh dear, it wasn’t supposed to rain in Koh Samui, but it did, and heavily.  Two days of torrential rain rendered the hotel’s umbrellas unusable, the decking awash, and the grey sea a hazard if one wanted to swim.   Day and night it pounded the beach, the noise like thunder at night.  Room service was needed but by the time food got to the rooms it was cold – and sometimes very wet – so everyone waded through the water to the restaurant where the staff did their best to serve us with hot food.

Two days later it was all over.  We woke up to sunshine, dry decking, dry beaches and a placid blue sea.  Had it really been as bad as I remember?   As the locals say, “TIT” – This is Thailand”.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgia

The  last days of summer, the last two deckchairs on the beach, coats on because the weather has turned really cold on this early Autumn day.   Maybe it was just the contrast with the former sunny days that made this party don what looks like winter gear?  Who knows, but the scene struck me as somewhat forlorn.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgia

I hate to think how many years ago this was.   Rubbing down, preparing, under-coating, top-coating an entire broken-down house.  I look back in wonder at the energy and enthusiasm we had then, but I also look back with gratitude at the fun we had in doing up an old house and then standing back and saying, this is all our work.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Mirror

My photograph this week pretty basically depicts the challenge word, Mirror, and shows just a reflection.  It is, however, one of my favourite photographs from a fondly remembered day spent recently in lovely St. Albans in the UK, formerly the ancient Roman city of Verulanium.

The picture was taken in the grounds of a hotel in the town where I was attending a wedding.  I’d escaped for a few moments to wander through the 20-acres of beautfully landscaped gardens and as I came upon the quiet waters of this lovely lake the symmetry of the trees reflections had me reaching for my camera.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: RARE

Elephants Hauling Teak, Chiang Mai Thailand copy

This is an old photograph from my collection, one I took way back in 1972 when the elephant was still known as “the tractor of Thailand”.  Sadly, the lovely big animals no longer haul teak and this sort of thing is a rare occurrence now as they no longer live a happy life with their mahouts in the forests in the north of the country.  Their habitat has been destroyed by logging, legal and illegal, and most of them have had to journey south with their mahouts, to the coastal areas where they are reduced to giving rides to tourists.  In many cases they fall ill from diseases to which they have no resistance; the grasses along the sides of the road are sprayed with pesticides which harm them, and their young ones are often taken away from them and chained up outside a bar for the amusement of tourists.

If you see such a thing, tell the owner you don’t approve.

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: FUN

Ain’t nothin’ more fun than Second Lining in New Orleans behind some of the best jazz bands in the world. They usually happen on a Sunday morning, just for fun, or maybe to honour someone who has just died, to raise money for a family in need, or “to let the man know we here”!

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Photography Challenge – MORNING

A few of my favourite images from over the years seem to fit the Morning Challenge so here they are.  It’s amazing how some places never change, and how they still attract customers to these old-fashioned deck-chairs.

Mornings in Thailand

  Morning

Weekly Photo Challenge: ABSTRACT

Truly abstract I think.  Love the subtle muddy colours and the starkness of the image.

This is a piece of graffiti on a wall in London’s East End (Brick Lane area).  It’s a wonderful place in which to make artistic discoveries.  This one comes from the camera of London photographer Steve Moore who has given me permission to use it.

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