In Stillness: A Photographic Exhibition @ Everglades, Leura

It was one of those days when it would be so easy to stay at home. The weather was undecided, and then the skies darkened, a large storm approaching at speed. I waited until the worst of it was over before heading out, still feeling like it might have been a good call to stay put.

In driving rain I made my way to Everglades at Leura. I’d spotted a notice for a photography exhibition called ‘In Stillness‘ with the following blurb:

The photographs exhibited each draw on the essence of the Irish proverb, “In stillness, the world is restored”. The concept of stillness is explored by each photographer in their own way, with works ranging from monumental mountain landscapes to exquisite native birdlife to impressionistic interpretations of the landscape. The breadth of style and subject matter will give visitors to the exhibition a chance to join with the photographers in experiencing the concept of stillness in a myriad of forms.

There are three photographers exhibiting work: Louise Bishop, Fiona Huddleston and Dilshara Hill. Each photographer has an overall theme and style, but the work is complementary and creates the sense of stillness that it promises.

Winter is the setting for Bishop’s work, a time of ‘waiting, conserving, decaying and surviving’. The intrinsic stillness of this time of year, inherent in nature, is demonstrated in a myriad of forms including the nakedness of nature in winter. Decay is evident too, illustrated in landscapes and through dilapidated buildings. The quality of light itself is different in winter, and this too is captured in the work. Animals and landscapes feature throughout the photos, with a variety of textures and filters used for different effects. I particularly enjoyed the following: Sunrise, Kanimbla Valley; Once a Home, Hartley; and Winter, North Yorkshire Dales. The Hartley home is one that I have spotted on the Mid Hartley Road. I have also wondered at the lives that echoed within the old house.

Trees are the defining element of Fiona Huddleston’s photographs. They are identified as symbols of life, wisdom, strength and knowledge, amongst other things. Each part of the plant is revered: root, stem, leaf, trunk, branch. In her overview, Huddleston writes that her aim is to ‘endeavour to see rather than just look and to express rather than just capture’. Her exhibit is stunning in its range, with the works offering both depth and transparency. Tree of Contemplation, Tree of Connection and Tree of Imagination stood out for me, particularly with the gold highlights. It made me think differently about something that I see everyday.

Native birds feature in Dilshara Hill’s photographs. Her aim is to capture the world around her, recording the beauty in landscape and nature, and she hopes her work encourages and inspires others. The birds are captured in a striking array of poses: in bird baths, gracefully gripping grevillea, poised to take nectar from a camellia. And the range is broad: rainbow lorikeets, eastern spinebills, pelicans (a personal favourite), brolgas and zebra finches amongst others. The silvereye stood out, along with a clutch of fairy-wrens and an eastern yellow robin. But for me the showstopper was the gang-gang cockatoo, captured with a cheeky, over the shoulder look. I smile whenever I think of it.

There are prints and cards of some of the work available for sale, in addition to the exhibition pieces. When I wandered through, one of the photographers was there, providing an overview along with a friendly welcome. It was such a treat.

As I headed back through the mist-cloaked gardens of the Everglades, my mind was abuzz, filled with the wonderful images I had seen. Definitely worth leaving the house for.

Everglades Gardens Gallery, 5 – 27 November 2016, Wed – Sun 11 am – 3 pm.

[Photo: pool at Everglades as mist rolls in]

 

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Be a Tourist at Home

The proximity of the Blue Mountains to Sydney makes it a popular tourist destination for weekends, short stays and longer visits. Within two hours by train, less by car, you can be in a different environment altogether with a wide assortment of activities to do and sights to see.

I have lived in the mountains now for over 3 years, but there is still a lot that I haven’t seen, and places I am yet to explore. If you have spent any time in Katoomba, you will be familiar with the big red double-decker buses and the brown trolley buses that offer all day tickets, along with various other packages to some of the attractions around the town and nearby villages. When I’m in Katoomba, I often see these buses full of tourists in all sorts of weather, pressed against the windows and generally having a good time. So I thought I’d give it a go.

On a fine spring morning I boarded a trolley tour outside the Carrington Hotel along with quite a few tourists ready to do a loop around Katoomba and Leura. We headed off to Leura, driving up the main street and stopping just around the corner – a handy spot to stop if you want to explore the many shops and boutiques. We then continued on, heading past Bygone Beauties which I have visited before. Then it was off to Leura Garden Resort, through the Leura Golf Club (oldest of the four golf clubs in the mountains) and past the Fairmont Resort. Everglades Garden is the next stop, a beautiful National Trust property with spectacular gardens. As we approached there was a magnificent peacock on the nature strip: apparently his name is Andrew and he is well-known in the area.

Once we turned onto Cliff Drive there was a succession of beautiful outlooks and views, including the Kiah, Honeymoon and Silvermist lookouts. Various walks are accessible from these points, and with buses coming by at regular intervals it’s possible to walk comfortable distances and get back on if required. The Three Sisters and Echo Point, perhaps the most recognisable of the lookouts, were next, before we headed past Lilianfels and towards Scenic World. This is yet another place I haven’t made it to yet, and it was good to get an idea of the layout as we passed by the east landing before continuing around past the Katoomba Falls to the main entrance.

There were various stops and points of interest on the way back into Katoomba before the trolley bus paused at the Carrington Hotel to fill up again.

It was a real treat to be a passenger, rather than a driver, and to be able to focus on the scenery rather than the road. The gardens throughout Katoomba and Leura are so lovely at this time of year, with beautiful blooms and exquisite garden design on display. Leura is famous for its garden festival in early October, and there were still many visual treats to be enjoyed. The driver provided an overview of the history of the towns and key places along the way, and this added to the experience.

Being able to get out and about, especially if you travel up by train, is made much easier by tours such as this. I really enjoyed the experience and have added quite a few things to my local to-do list.

Do you ever get the chance to be a tourist in your home town?

[View from Kiah Lookout]

Blogs I Enjoy

In last week’s post, I wrote about the reasons why I blog. Like most people, I read blogs for a long time before ever considering that I would write one. These days I am reading more blogs than before, and for different reasons. It made me think about the blogs that I really enjoy and why.

Newtown Review of Books

There are often really interesting book reviews posted on this blog. I used to cherry pick the books that sounded like they were up my alley, but over time I’ve discovered lots of great books and interesting writers by reading the posts regardless of whether they are in an area or genre I would normally lean towards. The reviews are well written and informative, and I have picked up many useful recommendations from this blog.

The Godfather: Peter Corris

This blog, also hosted through Newtown Review of Books, is by the oft-named Godfather of Australian crime. Corris is a prolific writer and is best known for his series of Cliff Hardy books. Hardy is a Sydney private investigator and the books are engaging with Sydney and its surrounding areas forming a characteristic background. The weekly blog covers a wide range of topics, from music to books to memoir, and is always enjoyable.

Meet Me At Mikes

I mentioned Pip Lincolne’s blog last week as it has started me off on an I spy hunt. Pip is a well-known Australian blogger and craft creator. Her regular posts contain warmth and humour, a ray of sunshine in your inbox.

Quiet Revolution

This is a fairly recent find, and it may have come about after I posted a review of Quiet by Susan Cain. This blog is for introverts, and there are regular postings and articles about how to survive and thrive as an introvert. There was a recent two-post special on creating the creative space as an introvert which I will return to at a later date.

In addition to these blogs, there are an increasing number of blogs that I am following as part of the wider blogging community on WordPress. These include – but are not limited to – the following:

Autumn: for her thought provoking posts on all matter of things, and especially for her Whacky Wednesday posts.

Real life of a MSW: a mix of posts across professional life, home life, cooking and current affairs, this blog often gets me thinking deeper on issues.

La Tour Abolie: lyrical writing across a range of topics, interspersed with humour and warmth. Always a delight.

Barbara Ann Paper Arts: I came across one of Barbara’s beautiful cards online and am so glad I did as her posts are worth lingering over. Whilst not especially crafty myself, I take delight in seeing her creations and getting a glimpse into what is required to create these cards and other creative projects.

Edge of the Bell Curve: a lyrical mixture of poetry and the challenges of real life. As the online magazine Algebra of Owls grows, this blog often provides insight into what goes on behind the scenes of creative publication.

Muddling through my Middle Age: these blog posts cover a range of topics and delve a little deeper on issues such as friendship, blogging and changes over time.

Suzanne Rogerson: this blog offers lots of interesting information about the process of self-publishing as well as fantastic photos. A visual delight.

Every time I open my mouth some idiot starts talking!: the name alone of this blog is irresistible to me, but the content is also well worth the reading time.

What blogs do you love?

[Photo: garden at Everglades, Leura]