Local Heart, Global Soul

August 28, 2019

Swinging Into The Brutal Facts Of Life…

I’m following yesterday’s post with the last of the “Owl Tree” wood carvings. This one maintains the strange juxtaposition of ideas in this piece, on one level it’s clearly a swing for very young children to play on, on the other hand the subject matter of the carving is not exactly age appropriate, child friendly material. I

n this piece we have had the hunted rabbits in the burrow (“The Owl Tree, And…”) at the base, and now, further up, we see a startled group of birds in terror, fleeing their perches higher up in the tree. Closer inspection reveals that this too is a predator/prey subject, and that a fox is the cause of the birds frantic exit.

Once again I don’t find the subject matter restful, particularly enjoyable or in any way appropriate as an accompaniment to play equipment for very young children. Surely the creator of this piece must have at some point entertained the idea that for a good percentage of children, this would be a very upsetting theme? I fully realise that we can’t sugar-coat nature, the food chain and the circle of life, but when and how we introduce these hard facts to children young enough where a swing in the back yard is their greatest joy and entertainment, must surely be more carefully considered?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 17, 2019

The Story Of The Boars, Birds And Foxes…

Following yesterday’s post about the wooden fox sculpture I saw whilst visiting the 2017 Garderen Sand Sculpture exhibition, today’s post is all about what is at the other end of that bench. The fox kit / cub may be tucked away in a hidey-hole at the base, but a wild pig lurks just around the corner of this tree stump. Above them are three birds and another fox. Stupidly I meant to take photographs of the black bird at the end so that I could include more detail, but I got distracted by something and totally forgot. (Duh!) It’s an unusual piece as far as it’s purpose as a seat is concerned, but if I owned a large woodland garden then I can see how it would fit right in, under the trees. Then I thought of placing this at a bird sanctuary maybe… and remembered the foxes, so whoops.. maybe not.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 3, 2017

Birds Like Rising At A Decent Hour Too…

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,TEXEL,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our Texel visit during the weekend of 2016 was another occasion were I hoped to capture shots of my little feathered friends and one of my favourite animals: squirrels.

I took some seed meant for wild birds and some raw peanuts to draw them in, and in the absence of a bird table, pulled the picnic table from the house as close to the window as possible.

The friend staying with us has a small child so I knew that I would have to get up early whilst it was still quiet in the house, but Himself is an habitual early riser who  thinks that  5:00 am is a perfectly “normal” time to start the day, so he is my never fail alarm clock.

He does have to put up with my drawing the blinds and plunging the living /dining room into gloom as I attempt to make the house look uninhabited, but appears to think my endeavours are rather funny so takes it all in good humour. I have since discovered that birds and squirrels are not generally in agreement with Himself: they don’t like waking up and having breakfast until the sun is decently on the rise. This meant two things: first, I sat for an hour and a half of perfectly good sleeping time on the couch straining my neck to see if the birds would arrive, and secondly, bird awakening apparently coincides with that of small children: so it was difficult to keep our smallest friend still and more importantly, quiet enough for the birds to feel safe enough to turn up for breakfast. She kept wanting to jerk the curtains open for a better look, so my first attempts were definitely both trial and error.

Still, a few birds dared so I managed a few birdy portraits after 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)

April 8, 2015

Our Picnic Lunch Brings An Audience Who Expect To Dine…

Filed under: Delftland: De Kaag,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are enjoying a rare day out as a family, the occasion is my birthday and since I’m not mobile and many  places and events that require walking are out of the question, I’ve chosen a restful boat tour of a local lake “De Kaag” in a hired sloop.

De Kaag is located slightly north of the Dutch city of Leiden and is a roughly forty minute car ride from our door in The Hague. We are sharing the waterways not just with other human beings but also with the local bird life.

Whilst we motor around we see various “patches” on the water, which, once we get closer turned out to be flocks of birds, sitting on the water together.

Other times we saw a lone bird, possibly cormorants, often high up on a pole or outpost with wings outstretched, drying themselves out in the sunshine.

I’m not sure if that means they have just been in the water fishing, but it’s quite comical because I half expect them to start clapping their wings together in applause.

Then were were the local ducks, which found us remarkably swiftly as soon as we moored by the bank and unpacked our picnic lunch.Needless to say the longing and expectant looks from six pairs of eyes that bobbed up and down on the water, watching us eat, ended up in the “correct result” from their point of view which meant chunks of bread rolls finding their way onto the water where it was instantly fought over by our webbed friends.

I’m not too sure that brown bread is ideal duck food but the kids were begging to feed them and the ducks certainly didn’t object to their lunch menu. It was harder to get anywhere close to the floating communities of birds, they clearly preferred to be left alone so we  just used the zoom lens rather than pester them by going in too close.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 3, 2014

Electrical Substation: Birds Of A Feather Sometimes Don’t Flock Together…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I thought that I had found and photographed all of  The Hague’s colourfully decorated electrical substations, but every now and again when we are out and about driving to an appointment, Himself and I spot another one.

These are all part of an initiative taken by Geemente Den Haag ( The Hague City Council) to brighten up the city by turning what were originally sombre grey electrical substations into cubes of colourful creativity.

Different artists were called upon to do the work and their styles vary greatly, which I personally think is excellent, giving the locals of The Hague a taste of everything from photographic realism to cartoon whimsy or drama.

Whilst I’m delighted to have discovered several more examples recently to add to my photographic collection, the downside of finding them a good few years after they were commissioned is that some of them have deteriorated in quality and in some neighbourhoods a few of them have been vandalised by graffiti.

This electrical substation can be found on the Regentesselaan and has one of the more limited colour palettes of all the boxes: the original having a bird theme  in black, yellow and grey. I find this a great shame, surely one person with a can of spray paint should show a little more respect to another spray paint artist?  Birds of  a feather may well flock together, but in the case of spray paint artists, apparently they don’t.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 13, 2014

Entertainment Swoops In Around Us In The Skies…

Filed under: LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS,ZEELAND (Province) — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There is something captivating about  large flocks of small birds and their rituals when getting ready to roost at night.

There is the “dusk-dance” in mid air that involves intricate turns and manoeuvres as tens or hundreds of birds dip and dive in stunning formation.

How they manage to not fly into one another and knock each other out of the sky I don’t know.

I also have no clue why they do it, but it’s one of natures beautiful spectacles and judging by the small crowd of other people who were also at the holiday park  Roompot “Noordzee Résidence De Banjaard”   and who also stood in awe watching, it’s something that most people find fascinating.

We were staying here back in September 2013, with most of Himself’s extended family, for a special family weekend with Oma (Grandmother) and adult and child alike were standing staring at the birds, unwilling to tear ourselves away from the sight of the birds lining up  in groups on the rooftops and then taking to the air in yet another aerial display. Eventually the show was over and the birds disappeared towards some trees a little way off in the distance, where we assume they all settled down for the night. Nature provides the most simple and the best entertainment sometimes.

(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)

 

January 19, 2014

Starting Romance By The Chapel With A Kiss, …Or Was That A Peck On The Cheek?

Filed under: Aldenhoven,GERMANY,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In this post about our retrospective travels and adventures of the summer of 2012, Family Kiwidutch and visiting Singaporean friend “Velvetine” have arrived in the small German town of Aldenhoven.

We have unpacked our bags at the hotel of yesterday’s post, a quaint throwback of accommodation as it used to be  in the days before en suite bathrooms and trendy coordinated colour schemes.

Now hunger pangs have prompted a walk outside to find an establishment that sells food and  the stretch of legs is most welcome after a decent proportion of the day spent in the car. The evening is warm and balmy so I take my camera for a walk whilst we look around.

A short walk away, close to the church we find a beautiful little building: a chapel from 1654 from the information board in German  and plenty to photograph. I smiled at the photos of the birds on the rooftop aerial, first they both sat on opposite parts of it, then they sat together side by side getting to know one another, finally it looked like they started a little romance with a kiss… or should that be a peck on the cheek?

Other birds are on congregated on a rooftop close by and the kids enjoy running around… Let’s take a look…

(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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 30, 2013

Property Extension Ideas… a Bird Brained Idea?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I love seeing unexpected things when I’m out and about.

On this occasion I glanced up and saw that someone had adorned a blank wall of a house with some small extra accommodations.

Accommodations for birds…

We can’t have pets due to the allergies to fur and feathers of Kiwi Daughter and I,  but earlier this winter I started putting out food for wild birds on our balcony, and I am enjoying their visits  more than I expected.

These birdhouses have set some thoughts in motion,  although we don’t have a wall nearly as high as this one, but we probably do have enough space for at least one of these bird apartments… maybe even two, and one of our two walls might be suitable (the other balcony houses the BBQ).

My ignorance of birdhouse stuff and bird habits is rather large, do birds even still use the nests in summer? or will the chicks have flown by then?

I’m inspired to do some research, both into birdhouse purchases and into finding out if our little patch of wall is big enough for whatever birdie needs birds may have.   Watch this space…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

December 8, 2012

A Birds Eye View… of Butts!!!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I was watching the News yesterday feeling rather sorry for people in the United Kingdom as snow moved in on the other side of the North Sea and started blanketing the country.

Himself and I don’t  like snow: actually I need to quantify that…we don’t mind snow if there is no necessity to go outdoors for as long as it lasts and there is a massive log fire, slippers, comfort food and a douvet involved.

We are tropical types, give us long warm days full of sunshine any time and we will be happy bunnies.

I have a lousy head cold and a headache so went to bed early, Himself had a full schedule away from home and Kiwi Daughter got sent home from school sick on Thursday so we turned the heat up in my bedroom downstairs and she crawled into my bed so that we wouldn’t keep the lads awake with our coughing all night.

Himself got the fun chore of climbing into Kiwi Daughters high bunk bed for the night, having unceremoniously evicted jettisoned a small mountain of soft toys, so that he could creep out in the morning without disturbing the household. He mentioned casually that it would probably be a cold night as he wished Kiwi Daughter and I good-night and left us coughing and wheezing and stocked up with tissue boxes, nose drops, cough lozenges and paracetamol.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It was a surprise therefore to open the curtains on Friday morning that discover that the whiteness I assumed was fog, was actually a thin layer of snow.

I took a photograph of the snow and Kiwi Daughter emailed it to her school friend who’s family have just gone to live in Singapore.

Later in the day Himself came back home and needed to dash out to get some things for dinner, so I asked him if he could also  pick up some bird seed or bird feeder things because I was feeling sorry for the littler birds out in this cold weather.

That’s how late yesterday we ended up with a mesh bag of peanuts and some balls of fat and bird-seed tied onto the balcony washing line outside my bedroom.

Being later in the afternoon the light wasn’t brilliant and after it was tied on Kiwi Daughter and I sat on the bed and waited but the birds ignored it, so we gave up and had a nap instead but I kept the camera next to me on the bed.

I woke to find Kiwi Daughter had left the bed and that the birds had decided to visit after all, so slowly reached over for the camera.  I was under the covers so I think that therefore maybe this time the birds can’t have realised I was there.

I zoomed in as much as I could and started clicking.

I can now confirm that  Sir David Attenborough need not fear… my wildlife photography “talent”  (ha ha)  isn’t  quite  ready for the BBC Natural history department just yet LOL. I do however seem to display a talent for capturing bird bottoms! (either that or the birds did realise I was there and were mooning me!!!)

(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)

November 17, 2012

I’m as Proud as a Peacock!

Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY,Rasa Sentosa,SINGAPORE — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another page of my diary where at the moment I am documenting our travels to New Zealand and back earlier in 2012.

Now we are on our way home to the Netherlands but since we have a friend here in Singapore our stopover’s here have gradually gotten longer and longer.

After a brilliant day-trip to Melaka, Malaysia yesterday everyone is feeling tired and lazy today so a little while after breakfast the kids drag Himself to the pool for a swim and I do a bit of cleaning and tidying in the room.

There’s a washing machine available in the hotel (that I posted about here: https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/new-572/) so I’m sorting dirty clothes so we can do a load of laundry and cleaning out the little refrigerator in our room because we put some bread in there for Little Mr. the day before yesterday and he didn’t eat it.

He hadn’t been hungry at breakfast but has an annoying habit of declaring he’s ravenous about an hour after we’ve left the hotel breakfast table so I’d packed some bread rolls and a croissant for him and put them in the fridge and half of it was still there two days later.

Now I’ve got some fruit I want to put into the fridge, and the bread’s gone rock hard so I broke up the bread and put it on the table outside our room for the birds.

About fifteen minutes later whilst I’m tracking down discarded kid socks on the floor around the pull-out bed in our room I catch a movement outside in the corner of my eye and look up just in time to see a peacock  flying up onto the wall between our patio and the next room.

Forget the socks, I’m now reaching for my camera as slowly and as swiftly as I can, scared that any sudden movement will frighten the bird away but also if I move too slow that the window of opportunity will be lost. My first shots are taken through the glass window but as both the bird and I grow more confident with each other’s presence I summon up the courage to ease the sliding door open  just enough to poke the camera lens out …

Bracing myself on the bed I attempt to try and zoom in as much as possible… a little drama unfolds as a little bird with a bright yellow beak and matching  knee socks joins us, then another, until peacock decides that three’s a crowd on the table and that the supply of bread looks like disappearing a little too quickly at this rate and shoo’s them off in no uncertain terms, but not before the interlopers had stolen some breakfast to take with them.

Peacock tolerates my presence at close quarters but then all of a sudden begins a song and dance that involves much feather ruffling and fluffing up of it’s rear end… did I startle it?  No… the song and dance turns out to be for the mate who turned up to see where the party’s at.

I get to see a full feather display but these peacocks have their bright colours like jade necklaces at their necks rather tan on their tails, very different from their European cousins. Wildlife photography is a bit of a hit and miss affair with me so far (actually if I’m really honest it’s usually “miss”) so I was delighted for a chance to  practice a little with an obliging and somewhat  tame model.  Here are the results…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’m going to call this next shot the “Vogue Cover Shot Pose’ …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

And the shot I like best of all? …This one…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.