Come join the weekly Thursday photo challenge: Flavour

Welcome to the Thursday Photo Challenge! This is the most delicious time of year in many homes. Food underpins most celebrations around the world. Whenever people come together over a good meal, their spirits are lifted and hearts are replenished.

Usually, we travel somewhere for our December holiday. In 2017 we were in Thailand. 2018 was three weeks of morning sickness in Malaysia. Last year, we went over the Irish Sea to England. This year, we expected Greece, but instead, we are staying home in Belfast.

Instead of travelling, we will cook and share the flavours of places we loved.

This week’s challenge, then, is flavour. How do you photograph a flavour? I’m not sure I captured it amazingly but I know many food bloggers who are experts at it!

Here’s how to take part in the challenge:

  1. Take a photo or search your files for one that represents the week’s theme.
  2. Write a post, including your photo, any words of explanation or inspiration you wish to share, and a link to this challenge page.
  3. Comment on this post with a link to your page so others can see your contribution.
  4. That’s it! Super easy.

This challenge will stay open for one week, then next Thursday, I will post the next challenge!

Come and join the Thursday Photo Challenge! Nature

Welcome to the new weekly Thursday Photo Challenge, a weekly photography challenge for everyone who likes to take photos!

This week’s theme is nature.

In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect.

Alice Walker

Nature is interwoven with our story as humans. At the same time, we revere it and irrevocably change it. Nature supports life, and is both our saviour and executor. Natural disasters such as volcanoes, tsunamis and earthquakes happen every year. But from the rubble, new life springs forth.

Our contradictory relationship with nature is hard to represent in photography. For this challenge, show what nature means to you, how you see nature, humanity’s place within nature, or something special from the natural world which you have captured with a camera.

Here’s how to take part:

  1. Take a photo or search your files for one that represents the week’s theme.
  2. Write a post, including your photo, any words of explanation or inspiration you wish to share, and a link to this challenge page.
  3. Comment on this post with a link to your page so others can see your contribution and check out your blog.
  4. That’s it! Super easy.

This challenge will stay open for one week, then next Thursday, comments will close and I will post the next challenge!

Check out these prize-winning Earth Photo competition entries!

Wow! The photos for this year’s Earth Photo competition are incredible! This is one of the most prestigious photography competitions in the world and I get so excited to see all the entries!

It was actually this competition that got me interested in photography in the first place, when I was about twelve, and we went somewhere on a school trip (I don’t remember where) which had an exhibition on the year’s Earth Photo winners. It was amazing and inspiring to see just what photography could be, because before that, all I’d ever seen were the photos in the news, magazines, or on the front of expensive food we couldn’t afford at the supermarket. Our food almost always came from a blue-and-white tin.

You can find the photos for this year’s winners here.

First place was won by French photographer Jonk, whose work on abandoned spaces is breathtaking. In the lead photo in the BBC article, I’m blown away by the level of skill demonstrated. I would have made a different choice about how to frame the image, so I’ve definitely learned something, here! The lighting puts me in mind of Studio Ghibli imagery, but made real.

Clicking over to the Royal Geographical Society, which hosted the competition alongside Forestry England, the rest of Jonk’s collection is visible. The “Swimming Pool, Italy” is especially breathtaking. The diving board is a poignant reminder of what a precipice humanity is on right now with regards to the climate.

The People category was won by Yanrong Guo, with an image entitled “Miss” which was a photo of one of the Yi from the Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture, which is in Sichuan province, about 300 miles southwest of Chengdu.

But I think one of my favourite entries was the winner of the Nature category, which was “Dryland Farming, Study 7”, Yi Sun’s aerial photograph of Spanish farmland during a drought. At first glance, it looked like a space landscape or an abstract painting. When you look closely at the photo, you can see the wheel marks from where the tractors have gone around corners.

When I first looked at it, I wasn’t as amazed with the winner of the “Changing Forests” category, entitled “Dead tree #1”, as I think there are better and more evocative ways the prompt could have been interpreted, but when I looked a second time, I decided that actually, I am impressed by the lighting.

The A Climate of Change category winner, Joe Habben’s image of high water in Venice, was also, from a technical standpoint, something for me to learn from. Getting the sky to not be over-exposed while getting that level of detail in the water’s reflection is amazing. When I got married, I found out a lot of professional wedding photographers can’t manage to capture the detail in a white dress on the background of a bright day. The challenge in having two bright objects, both of which are actually best detailed in different camera settings, is tricky.

Which one is your favourite?

Big Things on Tiny Chinese Vehicles

One thing I saw several times in various cities in China was gigantic things being carried by tiny vehicles. Some of them moved really fast and I didn’t get to capture them all through the lens before they were gone! Here’s a selection of some of my favourites that I did snap:

By Chinese standards, these two e-bikes aren’t carrying a whole lot, but the stand-off between them and the oncoming car was absolutely hilarious to watch, neither party would move, they all just kept honking at each other for over ten minutes. I was on my way to a shop and I didn’t find out how it ended as I wanted chocolate, but when I got back, the e-bikes had disappeared and the car was parked further up the road with a shifty looking security guy in black shades standing next to it.

funny things on bikes in China mamaadventure

This bloke in Xi’an was taking all of the packaging somewhere. I like to imagine a single duck egg in the middle of it all.

funny things on bikes in China mamaadventure

This guy looked like he’d built a campervan on the back of his bike, complete with easy access ladder, but I can’t help thinking it all looks a bit cardboardy, like it’ll collapse in a heavy rainstorm.

funny things on bikes in China mamaadventure

This bloke looks like he’s moving house! All he needs is the kitchen sink.

Meanwhile, this chap is having a smoko from taking his rubbish to be recycled.

funny things on bikes in China mamaadventure

But the real, baffling question was, with all those metal poles in the back of this e-bike, HOW has it not tipped backwards?

Incredible!

Come join the weekly Thursday photo challenge: Structure

Welcome to the second ever weekly Thusday photo challenge! I’ve changed the day to Thursday so as not to clash with another challenge, so Thursdays are now our permanent home. This is a weekly photography challenge for everyone who likes to take photos! You take the photos, then share your posts here following the instructions below.

This week’s theme is structure.

Japanese architecture is traditionally based on wooden structures that need renovating on a regular basis.

Tadao Ando

Structures are everywhere. Buildings. The way plants grow. The markings on insects. Power structures. The structure of a daily routine… this week’s challenge is to take a photo that represents or depicts a structure.

Here’s how to take part:

  1. Take a photo or search your files for one that represents the week’s theme.
  2. Write a post, including your photo, any words of explanation or inspiration you wish to share, and a link to this challenge page.
  3. Comment on this post with a link to your page so others can see your contribution and check out your blog.
  4. That’s it! Super easy.

This challenge will stay open for one week, then next Thursday, I will post the next challenge!

Come join the NEW Weekly Friday Photography Challenge: Beginnings

Announcing… the new weekly Friday Photo Challenge, a weekly photography challenge for everyone who likes to take photos!

So the Weekly Photography Challenge used to be an amazing way for photographers (amateur and professional alike) to take a prompt and turn it into a piece of artwork. You could search your files or go out and specifically take a photo for the weekly challenge.

“Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring.”

Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s

I was scared of participating at first, because I knew nothing about photography (I still don’t know as much as many people, but enough that I’ve sold pictures to national news outlets) but I enjoyed taking pictures and I knew what I liked seeing in a photo.

I was away in China, where I couldn’t update my blog as our internet in our apartment was too slow, when the final WPC came and went, and I only found out earlier this year that the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge has now passed.

Obviously it’s a big commitment, to put out a challenge for everyone every single week without fail and to go and look at everyone’s contributions, but I am going to take it on. I hope this new one will be one of many challenges to inspire people to share beautiful photos and to bring together the strong community we used to have a few years ago on WordPress.

Beginnings

From endings, there are always beginnings. Leaves fall to the ground at this time of year and in decaying, they become the nutritious soil that nourishes all plant life.

Late Autumn is a time for new beginnings, as the lifecycle of the earliest plants begins, months before we see anything happening above the ground.

This week’s challenge, then, is beginnings. Here’s how to take part:

  1. Take a photo or search your files for one that represents the week’s theme.
  2. Write a post, including your photo, any words of explanation or inspiration you wish to share, and a link to this challenge page.
  3. Comment on this post with a link to your page so others can see your contribution.
  4. That’s it! Super easy.

This challenge will stay open for one week, then next Friday, I will post the next challenge!

Silence…

Today’s photo isn’t part of any photo challenge, it just reflects how I feel at the moment. I’m feeling quite introverted and I don’t seem to have anything to say to anyone in real life or online. I am struggling with the fact that, on Facebook, the rot has set in quite badly.

What do I mean? Everyone on Facebook has to follow the same set of opinions, you can’t just have one opinion that agrees with other people and two that don’t, or you’re a bad human being and everyone gets angry. You have to be that background noise on Parliament TV where you can here the politicians agreeing with whoever is speaking, and they sound almost like cows mooing. “Yurrrrrrr…”

I don’t agree with everything everyone else says. I am not a mindless zombie. And no one listens to each other anymore so there’s no point even pointing out when I disagree with people because we can’t discuss such things as adults nowadays, they are just sucked into a silent vacuum of passive-aggressive, judgmental arguments left unsaid.

On the plus side, in my personal life things are going better. I have been stably back off my meds for several weeks and my therapist is helping me work through stuff. We’re keeping a pin in the bipolar diagnosis, and the ADHD one, and she suspects I developed post-natal OCD at some point in the past year, which has made everything worse.

https://www.ocduk.org/ocd/ocd-during-prenatal-postnatal/

So for now, I’m sitting in silence a lot of the time and trying to quietly get on with things. The TV is on a continuous loop of nursery rhymes, the baby is always making noises and we live by a busy road with thin windows so every passing car is audiable. But still I am sitting in silence, learning to tune it all out.

My photo is from Nepal. Kathmandu was so noisy and busy, everyone was always going and doing and seeing and selling and moving and begging and eating and… and yet the city has this strange inner silence. Anywhere else, all that busyness would have been a very stressful sensory overload, especially for me, but here, there was a silence woven through everything that made the noise easier to bear. Not words unspoken. Not the silence of death, or inactivity, or thousands of thoughts flitting from one moment to the next.

It is the silence of inner peace.

 

Postcards to my baby: Pattaya

Christmas Day 2017. Twenty-four degrees celsius, if you can believe it. Blue, cloudless sky, punctuated only by palm trees. The sound of the sea, gently rising up the clean sand, leaving gifts of shells for me to find. The calls of men selling hats, water bottles and street food on long bamboo poles or hand-carts as they amble up and down the beach.

For our Christmas dinner, we went to the Hard Rock Café Pattaya, and had a delicious English-style Christmas dinner complete with turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes, gravy and all the trimmings. After four months in East Asia, it was like coming home, without having to actually go back to England with all its problems.

After we had eaten, a group of twenty or so children arrived and took to the stage, singing Christmas carols they had learned in their English lessons, and their teacher explained how the school had been set up for them. Education is widely seen as the key to ending poverty, and in countries where literacy is low, getting schools built and teachers trained is very important.

I hope by the time you are old enough to see Thailand for yourself, those children are out changing the world and teaching the next generation.

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This is part 2 of my Postcards to my Baby series. Part 1 here. All photos copyright MamaAdventure.

A Photo A Week Challenge: Footwear

This week’s challenge from Nancy Merrill Photography is to share a photo or two of footwear. This photo is the sandals I have been wearing for the past 18 months.

Basically, my feet grew during pregnancy but they got so wide that none of my shoes fitted, so I bought these when we were still living in China, back in late 2018. They’ve been to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Xi’An in China, Osaka in Japan, Oslo in Finland and they’ve been to London, England and Wexford, Ireland before finally leading me to Belfast, where my Jellyfish arrived. Their journey is another point of view that tells the story of my pregnancy and motherhood so far.

They’ve been with me for two Christmases, despite getting some strange looks from the in-laws this Christmas (not sure why… I live indoors so sandals were fine over winter), and I’m still wearing them. I was beginning to think my feet would stay huge permanently.

A couple of weeks ago, I tried my old trainers (sneakers) back on, and found they finally fit me again, but of course, it’s summer now, so I’m still wearing these sandals, except when I go running. My feet have got used to feeling the wind against my toes, and I’m not sure I could go back to wearing closed shoes most of the time.

They’ve become like a good friend whose company I don’t want to part from. Some shoes are like that.

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A photo a week challenge: Just for Fun

This photography challenge comes from Nancy Merrill Photography. The challenge was something fun. My contribution is a photo of Hogwarts castle, from Harry Potter, which I took in 2019 at Universal Studios, Japan while I was pregnant last Spring.

Japan was so much fun. I think Japan and South Korea were my two favourite countries to visit in Asia. I would definitely like to spend more time there one day.