Confusion: Join the Thursday Photo Challenge

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

This week, the challenge is to show confusion.

Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.

Roger Ebert

As photographers, all the advice we get given is to have a clear subject, follow this rule of thirds, follow that rule of using a tripod, follow yet another rule about the right lens, the right ISO, the right exposure time, the right sort of post-processing…

Throw it all out. Right now.

Start from an empty slate. Don’t even try to make sense. Just take a photo!

My photo is of a taxi I saw near Shanghai. I’d been living in China for about a year at this point. I snapped the picture while we were both moving at around 50mph. I was inside another taxi (you should be able to see the window reflection). This guy was just driving down the motorway with his boot open and seemed to have no idea that the white lines were supposed to show you where to drive!

I wanted to get the shot, because I’d never seen anyone driving like this before; most drivers in China are excellent. But there was no way this would ever fit those rules we impose on ourselves as photographers.

I was so confused about how anyone could just drive down the road so oblivious to the fact his boot was open (he must not have looked in his rear view mirror once the whole journey) or the fact that he was straddling two lanes.

What can you come up with?

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 Thursday, I will post the next challenge!

Wheels: Join the Thursday Photo Challenge

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

Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel, never ending or beginning, on an ever spinning reel.

Alan and Marilyn Bergman

This week’s challenge, then, is wheels. My baby adores wheels! He loves watching cars go past the house, or play with his toy fire engine, pushing it around the room. And his favourite song is The Wheels On The Bus. But wheels aren’t always literal, as this week’s quote shows. It’s from The Windmills of Your Mind, a song made famous by the (now-largely-forgotten) film The Thomas Crown Affair.

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 Thursday, I will post the next challenge!

Flow: Join the Thursday Photo Challenge

Welcome to the weekly Thursday Photo Challenge, a weekly photography challenge for everyone who likes to take photos! Anyone can join in, all you need is a WordPress blog and a picture you have taken with your camera!

This week’s challenge is flow. This is a super open-ended one, so it’s going to be hard to choose your picture!

Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force.

Lao Tzu

Mine is from an artistic waterfall in the Dubai Mall near the Burj Khalifa. The Dubai Mall is possibly my favourite shopping centre in the whole world. I really adored visiting Dubai and look forward to going again in the future.

Alongside all the myriad literal interpretations of flow, you could go metaphysical and look at the flow of life’s rhythms, or perhaps examine the impact of too much or too little water flow, cash flow or electricity flow on a community. If you’re in Minnesota or Canada, a frozen waterfall might be the way to go! I look forward to seeing what you can come up with.

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 Thursday, I will post the next challenge!

Steps: Join the Thursday Photo Challenge

Hello and welcome to weekly Thursday Photo Challenge, a weekly photography challenge for everyone who likes to take photos and share them once a week!

This week’s challenge is steps!

My steps are from the Garden of Dreams, Kathmandu, Nepal.

What photos can you come up with? Are your steps dance steps, following on from last week’s challenge? Do you have some literal steps to share, like I do? Or did you find a photo that represents the metaphorical steps in a journey of self-actualisation and personal growth? Maybe you have the steps in a recipe or beauty routine? A worn out shoe? I can’t wait to see all the inspiring images people will create!

The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

Chinese proverb

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 Thursday, I will post the next challenge!

Shadows: Join the Thursday Photo Challenge!

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

This week’s theme is shadows.

The eye is always caught by light, but shadows have more to say.

Gregory Maguire

Shadows lurk around the edges of our consciousnesses, intensifying our feelings, darkening our thoughts and making us question things. But without shadows, we wouldn’t be able to see anything at all! Your challenge is to capture an image of a shadow.

These can be real shadows or imaginary ones. They can be images representing the shadows which hold you back or make you doubt yourself, or the shadows that dance under the kitchen light when you make a midnight snack. I can’t wait to see what you can come up with!

My photo is of the shadows that formed beneath a staircase in Seoul, South Korea, at twilight. I love the way these shadows seem to show the spiral isn’t at the same angle across the three turns of the stairway. At the top was a beautiful flower-filled bridge with trees planted in containers that seemed to be floating in the half-light.

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!

Gift: Come join the Thursday photo challenge!

Welcome to the Thursday Photo Challenge, a weekly photography challenge for everyone who likes to take photos! You don’t have to be an expert artistic photographer (I’m not), just someone with a passion for pictures!

This week’s Thursday photo challenge theme is gift. Share a photo you have taken of a gift. It doesn’t have to be a present, it could be a gift like a talent, or a gift of kindness toward someone, or any other way you choose to interpret it! I love the things people come up with for photo challenges!

“The past is history. The future is a mystery. But today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.”

Oogway, Kung Fu Panda

My photo of a gift is from Seoul, South Korea, where we found vending machines selling bunches of mixed flowers and beautiful arrangements of roses and greenery for people who needed a gift for their loved ones on the way home from a long day at the office. I thought it was such a beautiful idea. A gift vending machine brings joy to people and reminds us to think of others amidst the daily hustle.

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 Thursday, I will post the next challenge!

Resolution: Join The Thursday Weekly Photo Challenge!

This week’s challenge, then, is resolution. Take a photo or find one that represents a resolution you are making… or one you’re not making! What does this resolution mean to you? How will it change your life?

The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.

Chinese proverb

My resolution is to get out and run more. I started during lockdown and I want to take it forward into the coming year and keep trying to improve.

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 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!

Thailand: The best holiday destination in the world?

Thailand for Christmas… when my husband suggested it a couple of years ago, I looked up from my work in confusion. What’s there? I always hear of people going, but what do they do when they get there?

For such a big holiday destination, Thailand is very quiet about what it actually has to offer. I looked up “where to go in Thailand” and got very little in the way of useful answers. I looked up “things to see in Thailand” and the articles about that were equally nebulous. Everyone we knew had been, and thought it was great, but no one could tell us what they’d done while they were there.

Basically, it seemed that people went to see elephants and… wear baggy trousers?

Being quite partial to wearing skirts, and not liking the idea of riding a captive elephant, I wasn’t convinced this would be our greatest holiday ever, but I went along with it because my husband seemed pretty excited about the whole thing.

I left it to him to book the plane tickets and accommodation and I worked on figuring out what we would do when we got there. He picked Bangkok as our initial destination, which at least I’d heard of, and I looked around for things to do.

We didn’t realize just how ENORMOUS a city Bangkok is. It’s huge. We were living in China in a city of 10 million when we went on holiday to Thailand and we were still amazed by how big Bangkok is. We were staying quite far out, so we only went into the city centre once, and the rest of the time, we stayed in our district.

After a few days of working during the day and enjoying excellent food at night, we moved on to Pattaya. I don’t see Pattaya really mentioned as a destination by any travel bloggers, so I’ll do a thorough rundown of the city in a separate article.

This was the view from our first Bangkok hotel (we had a great view of another hotel’s pool):

And this was the actual pool at our hotel. It was great for my husband who is a strong swimmer, as it was set up for swimming lengths. I didn’t go in because I’m not a great swimmer and it takes me a while to get water-confident:

This pool’s shape did inspire me though that when we finally bought our next home, we could maybe have a pool in a much smaller space than I imagined. I think this was about two metres wide.

The time in Bangkok was largely R and R, and we didn’t really make it a priority to see or do anything, instead, we enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere and tasting the delicious food.

When it was time to move on, we got from Bangkok to Pattaya on a bus. We took a taxi to the bus station, got a bus to Pattaya, then got in this weird transport vehicle that was like being in the back of one of those army jeeps with the sideways benches and an open back (no seatbelts haha). I was super-dubious about the safety of this vehicle but it got us to our hotel just fine, so I think I was worrying over nothing.

Overall, Thailand does a pretty good job of Christmastime. They decorate trees, put up lights, and it’s generally an uplifting place to be. Definitely a top spot for winter sun.

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!