Local Heart, Global Soul

September 12, 2014

Instant Artworks, … Just Add Water!

Filed under: Art,Greece,Pelion Peninsular,photography,Platania — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

At our dinner at Spiros’s  restaurant in Platania Greece, back when we visited in 2012, I mentioned that our party were offered extra Ouzo on the house after our meal and we made a slow walk back to our accommodation so that Himself could partake for once without worrying about driving us back.

I needed to have a few little rests along the way so took my time and attempted a little night-time photography.

I’m certainly no professional photographer and previous attempts have been rather hit and miss to say the least.

It’s not to say that this wasn’t any easier: I took roughly one hundred photos and got only about a quarter of them in focus (the biggest reason digital photography is brilliant).

Tomorrow evening we will be busy packing and getting ready to go to the airport, so tonight is my opportunity to try and catch the lights on the water from the fishing boats and from the built up are around the bay. I like that although the lights look white at first glance, their reflections in the water come out multi-hued.  Instant artworks: just add water!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 2, 2014

With The Flick Of A Switch: A Glittering Array Of Artworks…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this post about our 2012 summer visit to the M.C. Escher Museum in the Hague, I was surprised to see that this is actually a sort of exhibition within an exhibition, within a Palace that’s an exhibit in itself.

The main draw cards are naturally the Escher works, and then the Palace in which they are displayed but here there is added value for your entry fee because the chandeliers in many of the rooms are also works of art in their own right. Wikipedia tells me:

In the rooms of the museum are fifteen chandeliers made by the Rotterdam artist Hans van Bentem.

The artist designed these especially for the museum, with some references to the work of Escher and the Palace. In the ballroom, a star chandelier is endlessly reflected in the two mirrors. In other rooms there are chandeliers such as a shark, a skull, a spider, and a sea horse.    Ok, I’ll have to admit that I’m no fan of spiders, especially big ones and they don’t really come bigger than this, but credit where it’s due, these really are impressive.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I tried getting an ïnfinity” sort of photograph of the book and star chandeliers reflected in the two mirrors but mostly only succeeded in getting myself in the frame too, over and over and over…

The other difficulty was that the rooms were never completely empty anyway so there were always other people in the photographs and clearly to  succeed I needed a tripod, a remote cable to take the photographs,  rooms sans tourists and talent enough to make amazing photos of the reflections  after that.

Since I lacked all four items for success I did my best with two shots, one on an angle showing the tops of fellow tourists heads (but not my own) and another taken at a right angle showing the star chandelier with the mirrors on the walls either side of it.

It’s as good as I can get it and on this day that will have to do.  This ended up being a long photographic post because these chandeliers really made my creative juices sparkle, spider and all…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escher_Museum

http://www.escherinhetpaleis.nl/

November 23, 2012

A Car, An Aeroplane and Streaky Coloured Lights…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this page of our retrospective travel diary we are in the process of leaving  Singapore and flying back to The Netherlands. It’s past eight p.m. when we head to the airport, it’s dark and we have a long long night ahead of us.

Little Mr. is already cuddling up in the minibus… we hope that the excitement of the airport will wake him up and keep him awake at least until we get through the security checks and with any luck, until we board the plane and then he can sleep for the full 14 hour flight if he wants.

I try to photograph the Singapore Flyer from our moving vehicle in the dark… the giant wheel has lights on it that change colour constantly so is beautiful to look at at night, buildings flash by, most of them in a blur and we arrive at the airport before we know it.

The control tower is also lit, busy presiding over constant flights arriving and departing. As our bags are unloaded I’m reminded that whilst it’s still roughly 30 C  (86 F) here, it most certainly won’t be once we land at the other end.

There’s a surprise coming later that neither kid knows about, but more on that tomorrow…

Since Singapore’s Changi Airport consists of multiple terminals over a seemingly endless area we have already figured out that I will never be able to cover the distances on crutches, so organised wheelchair assistance when we booked out flights and after checking in our large suitcases we sit to wait for the wheelchair to arrive.

Every time we visit Singapore, Changi Airport  has a different display for us to marvel over… this time there’s a massive mechanical fan in the departure hall,  it looks like half-fan half-flower and it tips and tilts in different directions. There’s also a massive Mer Lion and other decorations to admire on our way to the gate.

We board the plane and at roughly five minutes to midnight push off from the gate and begin the long taxi to the end of one of the runways. I try to take photographs of the airport, other planes and  the landing lights and mostly end up with abstract arty displays of wobbly coloured streaks…  art form airport style. One especially “fluid” photo is actually us rushing past the airport and control tower during take-off, even though I’m not really a fan of abstracts I kind of liked it because it’s recognisable if you know what it is and probably not if you don’t… unintentional surrealist photography.

When we get a good view of Singapore below us I keep taking photos but only one of the pictures turns out recognisable in any shape or form… it’s my last glimpse of one of my favourite cities and I can’t wait to be back here again.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 1, 2012

Christmas Lights… Southern Hemisphere Style!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The good thing about writing about this trip a short while after  the event, is that we get to have Christmas twice over!

… On one hand it might have been nice to have posted this in “real time” but reality is that there’s only so much you can get done in a day and after any activities  I really needed my afternoon naps more than I needed to be logging on and making blog posts.

My foot is healing well, and slowly but surely gaining back significant strength and flexability but since I’m still without mobility in the area directly below my toes, the crutches are still a frustrating but necessary evil. We tailor our days so that I can have time to elevate my foot, take pain relief and sleep after exercise and so far that’s working well.

My aunt and uncle tell us that there is a house a short drive away that has an amazing display of Christmas lights and decorations and that if we can keep the kids up long enough (it’s summer so darkness falls sometime around 10:30 p.m.) that we should go and enjoy the light show.

Actually they also mentioned that there’s an even bigger one around here somewhere but didn’t know the specific address.

We tried to follow their instructions involving various reference points, rights, lefts and straight-a-heads but since we have a well known penchant for getting lost, it’s hardly a surprise that in the end we gave up driving around in circles and were content with a visit to just one really well decorated house.

The night is warm, it’s now well dark and the festively dressed gentleman owner is outside to welcome people who are loitering on the footpath  wanting to look but a little unsure if they should proceed further onto the property.

He assures us that we are all welcome to come up the side path and up to the front window to see it all.

Amazingly many parts of the display are mobile, the little group of deer at the back of the property gently sway their heads, the santa and snowman see-saw actually moves like one, and the myriad of little houses etc that are displayed in the front windows have combinations of winking or changing colour lights, skating, walking or turning figures, and even one with four tiers with trains of decreasing sizes going around on each level.

Around the roof of the house, along the fences and in the trees there are lights, lights and more lights.

I took photographs but they really can’t communicate the amazing atmosphere that was generated around this garden, Christmas music poured softly out of the door of the house and it was lovely.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

To be honest, Christmas decorating of this type is only just starting to catch on in the Netherlands, in recent years a few people go all out, often using the limited space that their balconies provide and but mostly people decorate simply or not at all.

We have a set of little lights that we can tape to our front window, and yes you can set them to flash annoyingly, disco style, but we prefer the slow colour change setting.

I’m in two minds… I like the fact that our lights and others like them bring a little cheer into a dark and cold winter street…

…some of the decorations inject a little brightness and  humour and as a parent the game of  “spotting” these lights in house windows or balconies is brilliant for distracting grumpy, fighting children who are sitting in the car, tired out at the end of long days of whirlwind of pre-Christmas events …but sometimes when the various bits are thrown together they can look a bit disjointed and tacky.

I like “tat”and “kitch” sometimes but in severe moderation… and I can never quite put my finger on why I might like one decoration and say  “ooh, that’s sweet” and then go “um, maaaybe not” or “over my dead body” to the next.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Like most things in life, personal preference is everything.

Most of these bits and pieces are cute…but maybe the piled up soft toys (I didn’t take a photo) or the parachuting Santa were a step too far?

One item tried to be cute but looked a bit strange to me… a blow-up Santa inside a plastic blow-up ball, it as supposed to be a snow-globe, was plugged in and there were zillions of tiny polystyrene balls being blown around inside it …

…but I thought it looked like Santa was trapped inside a plastic bubble since you could hardly see the tiny balls and they certainly didn’t show up in my photos.

All in all though this was an amazing display and I loved it, the atmosphere was really magical and people were stopping and coming for a look from far and wide.

I talked to the owner of the house and he said that it took weeks and weeks of preperation, but that when he saw the smiles on people’s faces it was all worth it.

I certainly appreciated his hard work… the photos don’t really do it justice… it’s magical!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This Santa is huge! (it’s tied to a fence that about 1.8 m / 6 feet tall)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Parachute Santa…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I think these are kitch… but cute. What do you think?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 13, 2012

A Little Light Show on the way Home…

Filed under: photography,Singapore,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

We have completed our Night Safari Tour and are heading back into the city of Singapore where we will need to transfer busses and then be dropped off back at our hotel on Sentosa Island. As we travel into the central business district we are delighted by the massive display of Christmas Lights… everywhere you turn, streets and building are lit up…

…like Christmas trees!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(next photo is included because it’s a double deck bus next to a single deck bus, Little Mr. thinks this is ultimate coolness)…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 7, 2010

Light up your Christmas!(in tee-shirt and shorts weather too!)

Filed under: New Zealand,photography — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Christmas Down Under falls in the Summer season, and over the years some of the traditions of the Northern Hemisphere have fallen by the wayside.

The massive hot roast dinners eaten with a struggle in sweltering temperatures have been replaced in many Kiwi households by a seasonal Ham or cold cut selections, salads galore, and of course the wonderful BBQ.

Some years ago in one particularly hot summer,  there was a problem on street corners and in shopping centers, as heavily padded “Santa’s”  in their masses passed out or fainted from heat exhaustion (some even required hospitalization) and since the alarming sight and sound of distressed, hysterical children  screaming ” Agggggh Agggggh Santa’s DEAD!!!”  was too much to bear, it was subsequently decided that “Santa wants to be healthy, is doing fitness and has lost an amazing amount of weight children…. ( well done Santa!) “

And thus New Zealand is slowing but surely melding the traditional points of Christmas to suit it’s climate and local situations.

The explosion of the internet however has imported a few new items that are very new to the New Zealand Christmas scene.  One of these is the decoration of houses with Christmas lights,  some are static, some are  attached to computer programmes  that display lights in amazing sequences and some  come complete with  coordinated arrangements to music.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One street on the hill close to our friends house has several houses with many lights and then one at the end of the street what is wired for sound and light, like nothing I have ever seen before. The lights are magical, like a luminary gingerbread house, and our family are as enchanted by it as everyone else gravitating down the street towards it is.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The good thing is that  it is warm enough that we get to watch these shows in our tee-shirts and shorts  instead of freezing on the pavement:  the downside is that it takes so long to get dark at this time of year that we struggle to keep the kids awake long enough to get out and see the lights in their glory. On one of the nights with Little Mr being kept awake only by the excitement of the pending show, we managed it…

Of course we were joined by masses of other people who also came to see the sights, so there is some background chatter in parts and in one or two clips. cars arriving and driving off again.

Here’s a selection for you to enjoy…

So… one little Kiwi light-show that had a stream of delighted people from all around the district at the end of their driveway every night, the kids loved it to bits and stood there goggle eyed and naturally, our tired Little Mr. fell asleep on the trip home in the car even though it only took ten minutes. I’m glad he managed to stay up and didn’t miss it, ihopefully it will be an impressive little memory of this trip.

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