Category Archives: Sky

About 10kms north of Skora on road 15, Norway. 2011

It’s hard to take a photo in Norway, that doesn’t look like it belongs on a box of soft centred chocolates. Not that I’m complaining but I do feel such images could have been taken at just about any time in the last couple of centuries (the colour of the buildings do give a clue).

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When I look at, and think about such images I’m reminded of the romantic landscape painters of the early 19th century.  All “beauty” but no real information other than the mindset of the painter.

The Post Modernists have said for quite a while now that photographs aren’t “documents” in an objective sense, because they are the subjective framing of small parts of reality that have been given significance and therefore changed into an artefact by the photographer’s choice of where to point their camera and click the button.

For me such arguments don’t ring true because I think the Post Modernists have gotten too hung up on “titles”.  Just as we once thought that the sun revolved around the earth because we assumed man was the centre of the universe. In short I’m saying all material things have a nature of their own that is completely separate from what we think of them.

We’ve all seen Post Modernists playing with notions of  “reality”, by staging photos to look “real” (such as fake murder scenes) when in fact they are still recording phenomena that has a reality of its own, independent to the intention of the “artist”. Sure you can stage a photo and call it anything you like (much like the surrealists) but the photographic apparatus has recorded a simulacrum of what we perceive with our eyes (because that’s what cameras are designed to do). The camera makes no intelligent decisions it merely records in a mechanical fashion what it was pointed at. Photographs are products of machines and have a “reality” of their own and are “documents” as much as a crushed rock that has been hit by a hammer. To give a scene a title to change its meaning doesn’t really matter one bit, because to quote Shakespeare, “a rose by any other name is still a rose”.

What a difference a day makes. Mount Dalsnibba, Strand, Norway. 2011

The top of Dalsnibba (about 1500 meters or 4500ft) is reached by a toll road run by the locals and it is well known for the views from the top…. if the weather is good. The first time we went there the summit was completely covered in very dense fog (cloud, really considering we were so high), but the tour buses kept coming and the hapless and ill prepared punters spilled out into the mist to wonder what they were doing there as there was very little to see, other than little cairns of rocks piled up by thousands of other visitors.

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The woman in the picture above was standing, shivering in the cold (2 degrees C or just above freezing) while her male companion gave her directions as he took photos of her. When the photos had been taken, the woman bent down and picked up a rock and threw it quite hard at the guy with the camera, and hit him with a rather loud WHOMP! One couldn’t help but think she was nonplussed with being there.

The next day we (Engogirl and I) went back to the Dalsnibba with the hope of getting a better view.

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The Aurlandvegen snow road, Norway. 2011

Into every life a little rain must fall and in Norway they get more than their fair share. From an Australian point of view, Norway seems so green and of course the greeness is a consequence of rain. From a photographic pespective, there’s nothing more boring than a landscape that has either a hazy or a totally blue sky.

For the last two days it’s been raining but we knew that interesting scenes were waiting to be experienced. This might sound perverse but I love alpine areas in less than ideal weather. There’s nothing like freezing temperatures and a stiff breeze with horizontal rain to give you the feeling that you’re “out there”.

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To hell with fine weather and the sort of scenes that belong on boxes of assorted soft centred chocolates!

Happy New Year from Sydney. NSW, Australia. 2011

I’ve been so slack with my blog lately.

I could always use the excuse that I’ve been caught up in the social whirl that is what the silly season is all about. I HAVE been socialising an awful lot of late, but that’s still not a good reason for not posting for so long.

Lately I’ve been wrestling with what direction this blog should go. One of the reasons why I have a blog is to practice writing about my early years of colourful stupidity. I know I have at least one book in me. The reason why I write about other subjects besides my past  is to show that I’m not a complete out-of-control-wingnut with poor impulse management. I guess the problem I have is trying to control how, many people are prone to pigeon-hole others. It’s just so easy to form a mental image of someone when you don’t have to use many words to describe them.

I once heard it said that autobiographies are just a self indulgent way to try to control how the subject is perceived and that biographies are much more relevant.

As I think about what direction I should take this blog, I’m constantly conflicted about how much I should expose. Then again, it’s such an act of hubris it is to think that anybody would be interested anyway. I have to admit that such thoughts are fleeting because of all the affirmation I get from my friends.

I think that friends not only enrich our lives, but they are also the benchmark by which we can measure how successful we are as human beings. It’s not success in one’s career or one’s finances that define us in a cosmic sense, but our relationships.

The last week has been a blur of feasting and drinking with good friends. One event after the other. In the short moments between engagements I’ve been catching myself counting my blessings. I feel so lucky on so many levels.

Yesterday I was at a new year’s day get together with one of my wife’s co-workers. I know most of Engogirl’s comrades in engineering and count them among my friends. As the evening wore on I got to hear many accounts of how people spent their new years eve. Sydney is famous for it’s new year’s eve fireworks. People come from all around the world to see the fireworks and each year the crowds get bigger. This year about 1.5 million people lined Sydney harbour to see one of the best and longest fireworks shows available anywhere on planet.

For the well heeled there are very expensive viewing positions but for most people, it’s a case of arriving at least 12 hours before the show to secure a good spot. Of course Sydney at this time of year is stinking hot and many people try to drink themselves into some kind of comfortable place. All along the foreshore in various parks are crowds of hot, sunburnt, inebriated people having a great time. The vast majority of people are in a splendid mood and there is a real party atmosphere.

Luckily for my wife and I, a friend of ours (Peter) has just bought a lovely house in East Balmain that has great harbour views and he invited us to his place to watch the fireworks in comfort. No cars are allowed in of out of Balmain after 3pm on new year’s eve, so we and Peter’s other guests (also our friends) arrived at about 2.30. Before we settled in, to relaxing with food and wine, we took the opportunity to have a walk around the nearby parks that overlook the harbour. Every vantage point had been taken hours ago and there were quite a few people already flaked out on the grass.

A multitude of foreign languages could be heard, and there were plenty of very happy light skinned northern Europeans working on character building sunburns.   

It was pretty easy to pick out the people who are used to living in such a hot and sunny place as Sydney.

The smart people just relaxed in the shade and saved the drinking for later.

Because of Peter’s invitation to his house, we were able to kick back in comfort, drink lovely wines and eat nice food as the day wore on. At one point in the evening, another friend of mine said to all of us at the table with a chuckle, “I wonder what the poor people are doing?” I replied to him, “some of us are sitting with their rich mates drinking their fine wines, in their beautiful houses!”  To which our host beamed with pride and said, “what’s the point of having all this if you don’t have friends to share it all with?”

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