Wednesday, 25 November 2009
THE LIGHT IN THE DARK SEASON.
Yes, it is that time of year again here in the Northern hemisphere… End of November, in the UK we are on winter time, so it is darker an hour sooner than in most parts of Europe!
This long period stretches in front of us, I know it influences and affects many people’s lives, they have the blues, they become morose, altogether down and even angry. Not enjoying life.
And of course, it seems trendy to be ‘cynical’ about Christmas, New Year, the ‘commercialisation’ of the festivities, the music, the presents, the sending of cards, family gatherings and parties, hats and party-poppers, the cold, dank- and darkness.
I’m different; I love the cold, especially snow, blue skies and crackling fresh air… that is if and when we get it, which is no guarantee nowadays, even in the North of England.
Snow makes everything so beautiful and silent; you see small details, on familiar buildings, you never knew were there.
I love the long evenings, I bring out the candles, they give off such a romantic light, I love the flickering flames, the shadow play on the walls, the smell when you blow them out before bedtime.
When I’m out, the festive lights are on, since last week, they twinkle in the wind, sparkle in the rain.
Shop windows are dressed festively, glittering and enticing.
It is the season of silver and gold, red and green. Everywhere you walk or drive, decorated homes, I agree some over the top, it again makes me smile… each to their own, it is much more pleasurable than driving through dark streets.
For many animals, winter is about hibernation, for me it is about reflection, making up the emotional balance, joy for a good year, hope for a better year? Thinking of people, making contact, touching once more… most of all the lonely ones (some with families!).
I embrace it, accept it, you see, I believe the more you rebel against something, the worst you make it for yourself! It is not going to go away!
Just imagine that whole ‘LIGHT’ period away from the dark months, how would we feel then? Many more people depressed and even more on Anti-Depressants?
The Christmas market is back in town, we are going for a visit next Sunday.
A lot of happy smiles there, blowing on a steaming hot German potato pancake, eating bratwurst fresh from above the glowing coals, drinking a cool beer, children looking wide-eyed at all the wooden toys, spinning toys, glass baubles, candy and sweets.
For many years now, Paul and I celebrated by ourselves, dressed up to the nines, having a real party, just the two of us.
On Christmas day, we saw and heard families arrive in our street… not for us, that is when you miss your loved-ones even more.
Then, one year my one son and his family came, this year, my youngest and his family will join us, coming from the Continent. OOHH the joy! I can’t wait! I’m loving ‘the preparations’ and planning even more now.
And when all is over and the baubles and bling packed away till next year, I’ll have the smile of the memories… and in the meantime, gradually, it will get lighter and brighter again, the soil will break up with the new life and colour of the crocus, followed by the daffodils and tulips… the hope of Spring, then the warmth of Summer, the nostalgia of Autumn, to come full circle to the darkness of Winter.
And so our life goes by…
I dread to think the dark season without the festive season, even with all its ‘trappings’.
Have a great one, be safe and enjoy! And thanx, M, (*_*)
For many of my CHRISTMAS IMAGES , to make you happy, view HERE
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
On our last Friday in Belgium, we had a 'quiet/free' day, and decided to just drive of into my beloved Flanders and see where the wind and the roads took us.
We came at a crossing where we had to make a decision, when I saw a road sign, which would take us to a place full of memories that we had not seen for ages. As we neared, a helicopter flew over, we saw lots of military vehicles, meandering the narrow road, crossed a small bridge and round the bend... we were stopped by military police, we were very puzzled.
With a smile they waved us into a field full of cars.
We were close to the river IJzer ( ISERE), where so many had fought, had lost life or limb, and eventually won the battle.
This was the place where in 1918 the invader was brought to a halt!
That's what it said on one of the memorial stones...
We arrived in the middle of an important commemoration.
Soldiers from all over ...
It was very moving, you see them, they look forward to these ceremonies, meeting up with old friends, remembering old friends... bringing children, so fitting, being given the opportunity to live in peace and 'freedom'...
They all look so proud.
They are the 'survivors'!
Sometimes there are tears in their eyes, then there's a smile round their lips, afterwards when the ceremony is over, the sound of laughter echoes against the wall of the old tower, drifting off into the rustling of the poplar leaves, the silence returns, another year gone, hope we'll meet again!
It never ceases to amaze me how people come together more in adversity, form bonds and unbreakable friendships for life... great, however somehow sad... nowadays there is such an alienation amongst people. You can live in a street for years, nobody knows or speaks to anybody... let there be a flood or whatever happening and everybody comes out, they all talk, get to know each other... sometimes after years! Western 'civilisation'???
The notes of the Last post were blown hauntingly across the skies, the tradition, from the top of the Tower of O.L.V Hoekje in Stuivekenskerke not far from The Trench of Death (Le Boyau de la Mort).
"All Wars Arise For The Possession Of Wealth" (Plato)
I merged two images for this photo the soldiers and one of a poppy-field.
Thanx, M, (*_*)
Please do not use this image on websites, blogs or any other media without my explicit permission. © All rights reserved
Sunday, 25 October 2009
Please do not COPY or use any of my images on websites, blogs or any other media without my explicit permission. © All rights reserved.
I see and hear that there are a lot of complaints about Flickr deleting accounts... apparently for no reason????????????
I've been on the site for well over two years, it took me quite a while to get used to the 'MAGNITUTUDE' and the working of it, because each site is different, has its pro's and cons.
Now I love it, the diversity, often also the 'level' of the photography.
What I don't like is their so called highest accolade, to be in their group 'EXPLORE', I see many bad images there, it is 'calculated' by some logarithm. I want NOTHING to do with that, I prefer going on pure merit and a jury of my peers.
This rose that I uploaded was a BIG thank you to all those who were so prompt, helpful and supportive last week.
It meant a lot. I was distraught.
It was a thank you to all the administrators who immediately removed all the images and banned the thief from their group. For all the emails of support and help.
Ok, I lost half a day of my life on the one hand, time I could not afford to lose, on the other hand it reaffirmed my strong belief that there are still many 'caring' people in the world.
Also how much our images mean to us, these, like so many, had started in my brain, my heart, a lot of organising, relaxing the patient model with music, studio not too cold, not too hot and ultimately the creative eye, the anticipation, would it work or was it not such a great idea, some Polaroids taken to adjust the lights exactly to what I wanted and then, the rest of the day, the rest of the shoot with different flowers...
For those who haven't got a clue what went on, here's a quick summary.
By sheer coincidence, I discovered one of my images in a group, with someone else's name under it,
This was MINE!!! I took the photos in my studio on 35mm film, with my Nikon F4, in my studio, 13 years ago, as a series called SECRET GARDEN:
for an exhibition on the Continent called "Salon des Dames".
It was in several exhibitions since.
The whole sorry matter was quickly dealt with.
I am happy to inform that the THIEF has now been removed from Flickr.
I received this email the same day:
"Dear Mrs Indigo
Thank you for your email. We have now forwarded this matter to the relevant
Flickr team and have requested that the offending photograph be removed from
the Flickr user's account.
We will confirm to you when this has been completed, which can take up to 24
UK Copyright Team."
The thief's account was completely removed a few hours after my formal complaint and immediate at the time they sent me this email! I do not know if the thief was warned, so she might think, she was kicked off 'without any reason'????? I don't think so!
Be very aware and vigilant, from what I saw, I recognised other photos on her photo stream that were also not from her, actually, I wonder if there was ANYTHING of hers, I did not have the time to research it. It could be one of YOURS!!!
Thank you again, Magda, the REAL CREATIVE BRAIN AND proud maker of the image, (*_*)
Friday, 16 October 2009
...( see previous)
The rope is tied back, the monk returns, caped, to his place for more prayer and meditation…
On one of the big pillars I see what looks like a very an ‘old’ St Michel statue, with a burning candle, the stones blackened by years of devotive soot.
Suddenly we are approached by an ‘official’ looking lady, she says the church is going to close in a minute, that if we want to stay for prayer, we can, however, if we want to see the rest we have to go now and hurry, still a lot to come!
Along with some other visitors we hurry out into the heat and bright light, we walk down a few steps and arrive in another haven of peace, because alongside the church, on top of the hill is a charming arcaded cloister garden which offers vertiginous views of the bay, and was started in the thirteenth century. Today the garden is planted with herbaceous plants. They would not have been here during the Middle-Ages but they create an unexpectedly soft domestic character to a dramatic place with dramatic views.
We have been warned that there is not much time left… we are so engrossed in what we see that we do not take much attention to it.
The cloister is rectangular, and the one side, there are windows… one almost down to the ground. Apparently, another part was eventually be added and this was to be a doorway… but now, thick safe glass is set in the arches, I can assure you, it is not for the fainthearted or those suffering from fear of height! Even ‘mildly, however the views are stunning, the bay, as far as the eye can see, the tide is out, it is the ‘low season’ that means the sea can be out 12 km!
As I am taking my images, in between the admiring, there is a commotion behind me, a French family, a stout looking mum, a dad and two small children, one in a buggy are in a discussion with the official ladies, the mum is vociferous about the fact that they had to pay so much and were never informed that there was a time-limit, the statement grabs our attention, we were here for the sunset which is still a couple of hours away, there are more rooms, staircases, and vaulted halls that make up the abbey to see.
The official lady seems quite used to this and remains calm, to the frustration of the mum, as we walk out, I approach the lady and tell her our main reason for being there, namely photography, she seems sympathetic and says, go ahead, take your shots, but we move on nevertheless.
We are welcomed in the coolness of what used to be the refectory, two massive fire –places on one wall, a long wall with view on the side of the bay, each blue window a different design. On one of the tables an hour-glass, TEMPUS FUGIT, more true that ever, lol!
But the tour goes on, we pass through a small anti-chambre, blink at the strong sunlight when we come outside to walk down more stairs and come in the darkness and cool of one of the oldest parts, Romanesque architecture, heavy pillars and a strange pool of water…
Once more the raised voices get louder and resound under the lower vaults; I continue to take shots… no flash… no tripod… ahhemmm, a recipe for disaster, I know!!! Eventually the official ladies come to me apologetically; she tells me something that indeed we did not know prior!
There is a day tour and an evening tour, which is more expensive, she furtively looks around, no… the other bunch have left, still grumbling and reluctant, I remain polite and shrug, she turns and whispers” venez, come with me” we are quickly rushed through a door and arrive by miracle, this place really is a maze, in the anti-chambre then I will come and fetch you and you can join the evening tour and stay as long as you like, she winks and adds… take sunset shots! “
I profusely thank her and say we are more than willing to pay more; she gives a pursed lipped tchutt and disappears, locking the massive door with the huge key, Paul and I look at each other, smiling, wondering, laughing…
We wait, I take a photo of Paul staring out over the bay, we look through the beautiful stain glass windows, see the tide coming in the other island/rock called Tombelaine, towards Avranches.
The key is turned and people stream in, we arrive back in the refectory, transformed into a music-room, red carpet on the floor, a clavecimble in place and a young musician tuning it, we hang around, she starts to play, it is brilliant!
Very beautiful, you get ‘enveloped’ by the sounds…
We decide to continue, we hear other instruments in the distance, we are curious. Via another way, we arrive back in the church, the monks and nuns have left, the familiar scent and smoke of the incense lingers heavily in bands across the high vaulted ceiling, off-setting the rays of incoming sunlight, it is awesome!
Feverishly I take more images, the sun might go… the incense is thinning.
A young cello player plays a hauntingly melancholic melody, the music tumbles and slaloms between the pillars. We wait until it’s finished, applaud and walk out onto the big terrace overlooking the bay, the heat from the flagstones hits us, we sit on the steps, first in silence, then, with a big contented smile, we agree that once more, kindness and politeness have won!
There is a morality here, you, often, will get much further with tolerance and understanding, the people who work there have their orders, they get paid to do their duties, that’s their job… and the lady remained calm and composed which also made a difference.
I do not know if it was written anywhere about the regulations, if it wasn’t… I think it should!
Another hour in the life of a photographer…
(… a suivre… more to follow)
THANX, M, (*_*)
Please do not use this image on websites, blogs or any other media without my explicit permission. © All rights reserved
FOR THE WHOLE STORY:
WHILST YOU ARE READING, WHY NOT LISTEN TO THIS? Food for the soul!
Bach's Cello Suite No. 6 - Rostropovich plays the Prélude
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
On the MONT ST MICHEL.
(why not listen to this while you read?)
There are many special moments in your life, of many different kinds… but some just surpass everything.
Often unexpected, and yet so intense that they stay with you like it happened yesterday, etched in the front-room (lol) of your brain.
You know when it happens, it alters your state of mind, your are in a HYPER mode, alert, you’ll remember the sounds, the smells… and record the ‘visual’, because you are a photographer!
Such an experience happened to me on the Mont St Michel.
It was getting later but not cooler, we decided to linger on in the church a while longer, we’d been around, so we sat on the benches, soaking up the atmosphere, admiring this in history-seeped monument.
Suddenly amongst the lazy crowds, I saw a fast movement, a nun dressed in a pale blue habit, a white veil… and a pair of boots!
My camera was up before I realised it, lol. I must be the fastest ‘shooter’ in the West?
Then she was gone, through another door I saw another, she walked reverently, went and stood for a moment in front of the
Madonna. And left.
More activity, I saw a young monk dressed all in black, there was a coming and going, I waited with a real sense of expectation; the ropes had been removed from around the beautifully ceramic-tiled floor in front of the altar.
A silence has descended, people whisper, the odd child cries, hushed quickly by the parents…
Another nun appears, she is wearing a white cape, carrying books and what seems like a small stool.
We watch as she enters the center of the church, she bows and greats the holy cross, then takes her place, kneels down, puts the stool under her thighs and bends forward for quite some time, while others prepare, one of her sisters comes and arranges the flowers.
A young monk, dressed all in black, brings and dons his white cape with great flair.
Eventually the nun straightens and reads, forgetful of the world around her; this all happens in an eerie silence, except for the shuffling of feet, the clicking of cameras, some coughing, overheated children whimpering, it seems like the stage is set…
More nuns arrive and follow the same ritual as the first, a few more monks, they are the oldest. One carries a small chair; he is too old to kneel, he is allowed to sit.
A gold leafed book was carried in and put on a lectern, the light from the windows falls on the few ‘decorations’ in this church, (as most of it was lost over all the years for many reasons), the small, delicate cross and the top edge of the missal.
It is a magic moment, as they all sit in deep prayer.
I am not a religious person; I respect the religions and their followers.
So here I sit, this cannot leave one indifferent, I find it emotional and almost ‘envy’ them for their belief, their apparent peace, their silent devotion and commitment.
I dare not move to take shots from a different angle, my camera, otherwise so quiet, now seems to go off with a huge ‘clack’ whenever I push the shutter.
Paul and I sit in the front
The young monk gets up, disappears behind one of the huge pillars, to return without his white cape, he smiles at us, half winks and nods like to say, “ now’s your moment, get ready…”, he walks towards the rope I photographed earlier, carries it till it is straight under the spire, where it disappears, high up.
He takes a deep breath, a good grip, looks up and with all his force pulls it down, and then up, at last we hear the solemn tolling of the bell.
The sound reverberates through everything; you hear it in- and outside, you feel it in your body.
After about 3 minutes, he starts to slow the bell down, he‘s skilled at this, handles that rope expertly till the silence returns.
The rope is tied back, the monk returns caped, to his place…
(… a suivre… more to follow)
THANX, M, (*_*)
Please do not use this image on websites, blogs or any other media without my explicit permission. © All rights
For the story of Day 1:
For the story of Day 2, part 1:
For the story of Day 2, part 2: