Splashing through Summer

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The hot night shadows speak to each other. Everything seems noisier when it’s 34C at 11.30 at night. The heat sits there like a uncomfortable blanket you can’t pull off.

A fan overhead spins relentlessly. Cooling you it isn’t. Just moving the hot funk of night time round a bit.

Thoughts wonder. Back to the early morning swims of today, the late afternoon swims followed by hot chips of the day before and then all the swims in the middle. This is what this summer has been made of, salty sea water dips that do far more than just cool you off. This is soul building time. It’s memory making and it’s person defining. What that even means at 11.30 at night when you brain has been reduced to hot mush, you’re not sure. But water, it’s an important part of our life, that much is certain.

This summer there is no emptying of removal boxes and no building raised garden beds. No this summer is a little different. A slower pace, a sandy barefoot pace.

Sand has snuck into small people’s beds, swimmers dry on the line in perpetual rotation.

They’ll go swimming again in the morning. Before it gets too hot, well hotter. The laughs, the jumps, the squeals of delight. Splash…

A child’s cry cuts through the salt water thoughts of tomorrow. Listening intently, for the signal to commando roll out of bed and reassure as needed. I’m not though. Not needed. Just a dream, just hot night fuelled dream.

Back to the ambitious fan overhead, and thoughts of tomorrow. Splashing through summer that’s what we are doing.

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Along with countless swimming time, this summer period I’ve been given a beautiful reminder to have fun. Don’t ever forget the fun. This is truly the good stuff of life, and just because you are an ‘adult’ doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. Sometimes I do forget though and this year I’m going to make damn sure that this doesn’t happen often. 

If you look for us by the sea. We’re the ones, skimming rocks, playing tips and holding handstand competitions.

* If you are looking for an easy Summer dessert, I still love this one. Summer Berry Tart. An easy one to prep ahead of time.

Melbourne’s song

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Last weekend was a big one…a very BIG ONE.

My nerves had been slowly building for weeks before hand, so the cumulation of the weekend finally arriving? Well let’s just say my heart wasn’t sitting where it should have been and had instead taken up residence in my mouth.

With organs not where they should be, what was I getting all sweaty palmed about? Well it was the Kidspot Voices of 2014 Gala, which meant all the winners would be announced including the Olympus “My Family Lens” challenge winner….Which *ahem* I won!!

Flying down to Melbourne was always going to be short and sweet. A first weekend away by myself since my girl was born, with the added bonus of getting to hang out with my brother for part of the time, (this is where a fair amount of camera geek talk and great food happened- two excellent combinations. )

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I feel really lucky to have been a part of Voices of 2014. It was something that surprised the hell out of me earlier in the year, and then with the added fun of being able to join in with the Olympus challenge a few months back.

Doing this challenge pushed me, got me doing things I hadn’t done before, introduced me to a bunch of really super duper lovely Olympians (surely that’s what the Olympus crew are called??) And getting to play with a different camera that I now absolutely love. It’s all been pretty amazing.

One of my posts within this time was this one. One of the hardest post I’ve written within these blog pages. Every time I would sit down to write the words of that post, I would do so with tears in my eyes and a sob sitting at my throat.

To be included in the amazing blogging round up this year was an honour and a humbling privilege; something I will value for many years to come.

A special thanks to all the people that I was completely incapable of saying a proper thank you to on the night, (remember I had a vital organ in my mouth Saturday.) The Kidspot crew, Olympus, Pip Lincolne and with hearts in my eyes, my husband, (who is always supportive of whatever pursuit I’m trying to jump on and wrangle.)

Thank you. xx

voices of 2014 || cityhippyfarmgirl

PS. If you are looking for eats in central Melbourne, Gill’s Diner off Little Collins St was tip top. Doughnuts with custard…say no more people. 

Gill's Diner || cityhippyfarmgirl

 

where food and photography meet

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An invitation from Olympus for an afternoon of food and photography….it could never ever (ever ever) go wrong now could it.

Where…The School

Who… Megan Morton, Delicious Magazine, Olympus

Food… Kitchen by Mike

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cityhippyfarmgirl.com …and now I get to practise all that I learnt. cityhippyfarmgirl.com

 What have you been up to lately?

celebrate

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This is a post that celebrates…colour.

This is a post that celebrates, macarons, puddles, sunsets, pink skirts, cumquats and shadows.

You see, this is a post that is wholeheartedly celebrating those teeny tiny everyday moments,

that so many of our lives are made up of.

Celebrating those moments, and sharing the every day…

in a photo kind of way.

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Partying dinosaurs that can’t help but bring a little celebration to the table,

and weekend muddy puddle seeking, because…well they can.

 A celebration of tea- that first sip of tea while it’s still hot, utter bliss, (tepid tea just doesn’t compare.)

And invitations to constant tiny tea parties.

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The magic of a flower that holds all the colours of a winter sunset.

Followed by a real sunset… and that will never get old.

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Celebrating small hands that still slip easily into our own.

cityhippyfarmgirl.comFor the desire to run and the freedom felt that goes along with it. He doesn’t have to explain it to me, I can see it.

cumquats || cityhippyfarmgirl Celebrating foraged cumquats in a country valley, that turn into delicious marmalade, on home made sourdough, on a sunny Saturday morning.

cumquat marmalade || cityhippyfarmgirl

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 For winter days when I get to wear knitted socks that were made with love by my nana. Celebrating afternoon light that barely looks real, and that brings on all kinds of games purely because of the shadows and highlights it creates.

These are not big, large, life changing things. But they are some of our simple happy moments in what are often chaotic and seemingly far too busy days.

These are some tiny snapshots of life, that I am wholeheartedly celebrating.

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This is the last of my posts using the loaned Olympus camera- I had borrowed an OM-D E-M10  as part of the Voices of 2014 competition. As I’ve mentioned in my last couple of posts (here and here) it’s a rather nifty little camera that as a keen taker of pictures I’ve been really happy to have had the chance to play with.

As a last hoorah, I’m going to mention some of the bits I really liked. (See my previous two posts for some of the other trickster bits I might have mentioned before.) 

colour || cityhippyfarmgirl

Bits of the camera that I whole heartedly celebrated

Compact- weighing in at about 400g, it’s a camera that isn’t going to drag your neck or shoulder down carrying it about. I’ve done it for hours on end and haven’t even noticed it, except to take photos of course.

Post picture taking and one of the stand out things is the wifi. I do use instagram, FB and email. The wifi is pretty much gold for switching photos from your camera to your phone. Effortless I tell you. No adaptors, no bluetooth, no cords, no dropbox, no emailing yourself a picture. It’s all there in your phone and I still say it’s a magical Wifi-the-Fairy type kinda way.

You can also use your phone as a live camera remote, which is how I took the knitted socks shot- camera in position, adjust ALL camera settings via phone (that still blows my mind a little) and snap, picture taken.

The Art Filters and different Scenes you can choose from are all there to create photo master pieces from too. Either within the camera or afterwards in the phone app. You can also use the Art Filters when shooting video, (yep, that’s a bit cool I know.)

Quality- For a little camera I was really surprised. Lots of oooh kind of moments after I’d taken a pic. I’d love to play with some of their other lens but the kit lens the camera comes with (14-42mm) it does the job, yes it does. None of these photos were edited, not even a whisker, (except the coffee pictures above which were done using the Pin Hole Filter as mentioned) I actually really enjoyed the challenge of finding the camera’s happy spots*, (turns out it as lots.)

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* I also celebrated the fact that I had a different camera at my disposal with lots of different buttons. So ahem… I set out to fiddle with every little button and see what they all did- this photo and the earlier five shot colourful umbrella picture uses the template function, where you can join photos together in various ways.

Photo Geek Talk

All photos in this post were unedited using the 14-42mm lens, (except for the above shots in this section as mentioned.) ISO I used varied a little, but generally was set at 400 for most of these shots. I find shooting in manual gives me more scope to play with the effects of the picture but if I’m having trouble getting it all, the auto option is pretty damn easy along with the Scenes settings, (depending on what I’m taking the picture of.)

Thank you Olympus. For the return of your gear, you may now try and pry my fingers from the camera. 

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Tell me, what are you celebrating at the moment?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

memory

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This is a post that I seem to have written countless times in my head. One line here, another line there. At times bursts of whole paragraphs.

Sometimes though, it’s not a post at all, sometimes it’s simply a letter. A letter to be written, reflected on, and then gently folded away. After a time, brought out again once more.

These words that I stick together in fits and bursts are words that are accompanied by so much more. There are vivid pictures, and strong seductive smells, intense inner feelings and deep hidden emotions. In there is also probably more than my fair share of nostalgia. It’s my precious memories I’m talking about, and if I stored them in suitcases I think I would have a whole mountain of them.

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I’m not the first in my family to hold on to memories like a sacred gate keeper. My grandma before me is also one too. I held her hand recently to take a picture of it. Somehow I wanted to capture a tiny portion of her own memories that she held, before I no longer could.

These hands that had lived through a depression era, a world war. Hands that had held three children as they had traipsed their way to school. For eleven grandchildren, these hands had lovingly waved and told stories of the “olden days”. Hands that had now been lucky enough, as she says, to stroke the soft cheeks of five great grandchildren.

As a woman now in her 80’s, there’s a new found fragility to those hands, which is something that I have never known before.

Something that isn’t in my memory.

In the afternoon I took the photo, holding my Grandma’s soft skinned palm, and cool fingers in my mine- I felt her memories. Every single one of them.

In that moment I wanted to say a thousand things, but I didn’t. As the memories they got stuck, and they wouldn’t, couldn’t get out of my throat. Making a jumble of my words, my grandmother, I think she knew. As she held back her own choked words. Instead, I felt the soft, delicate skin of her hand and I was simply there.

As one day, I knew she wouldn’t be… but then, neither would I.

As I type this I can hear my boys muffled giggles. Through a closed door they are trying to be quiet while their little sister sleeps the afternoon in. My small sleeping girl’s memories are just emerging, and I wonder what it will be that both her and her brothers will choose to record for their own childhood memories. Will they carry them around in the suitcases that my Grandma and I seem to do, or simply leave them to the whirl of the winds? Something to be caught, held and then thrown free again at a moments notice.

Will they have memories of being carried high on strong shoulders? Will they remember those late afternoons at the beach and the salty smell of the sea as they ran towards it?

Maybe they’ll have a very small memory of their mother quietly holding their great grandmother’s hand in a sunny room, late one morning.

Or maybe, they’ll simply look at some of my old photographs.

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If I’m lucky enough to get to my 80’s, I don’t think I would ever have too many photo’s. As we are living in such a digital age, my collection of photographs continues to get bigger and bigger. How could it not though? For nostalgic kind of people like me, well photos are a pretty wonderful tool. 

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been lucky enough to be loaned an Olympus OM-D E-M10 for a trial period of a couple of months, and I’ve loved seeing some of the things I can do with it, capturing some of those moments that I want to remember.

There’s an always growing collection of many photograph piles and files, along with my instagram account. So many of those little seemingly small insta squares have now got a little memory attached to it like a post it note on a fridge. My kids flick through them, making comment, like the way I used to do to our family photo albums when I was their age. (With this camera there is a nifty wifi function that can switch your pics to any social media or email to doting grandparents as well.)

Being a compact little camera it’s an easy one to carry around in my regular every day bag, rather than carry around something bigger and separate. And, if you like to edit your photos a bit, there are also Art Filter options- which can be done easily either in camera, or afterwards via the Olympus app on your phone.

Sometimes I use this function, and other times I just leave it as it is. As a raw moment.

A captured memory. 

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Favourite

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(For this post I am lucky enough to be playing with a different little camera that has been loaned to me from Olympus.)

I never had a favourite toy when I was growing up. I liked some over others sure, but a favourite? Not really. I had books instead, and they were all my favourites- Every. Single. One. Of those pages.

One of my kids so far is taking after me in that regard. Reading all of those delicious pages. At each turn, a new story, a different tale, another adventure…a new favourite. I love the fact that this unlocks so much of his imagination.

While books are also firm favourites for my other boy child. I can see that he’s drawn in a different way. An energy, a call, a different direction. This is the boy who loves running, and drawing and jumping, (with more running.)

Then there is this one. The smallest of the pack. The feisty, wild cub, where everything is a favourite. A favourite with an intensity that only a two year old can show.

favourites || cityhippyfarmgirl

shaping the dough || cityhippyfarmgirl

On instagram recently there was talk of favourite cameras and favourite lens. Alas, as a blogger and keen taker of pictures- this really is one of my favourite topics. (Along with the topics of real food, homebirth, sourdough baking and why I really would like to have some Scandinavian heritage.)

I still feel like I’m on the outer edge of the photography pool, I keep splashing on the edge but it’s the deep end I’m really after. Slinging metaphors aside, and it was back to the instagram conversation of lenses. From another blogger or instagrammers perspective this is fascinating stuff as this is how so many of us are telling our day to day digital stories and sharing it with the world. A camera of some sort is a necessary tool.

For me the dslr world opened nearly two years ago and I’ve loved every second within it. Then there is instagram and within that it feels like another whole world of picture-taking…. so many apps, so little time. (And then in walked the Olympus, and ooh aah indeed. This little camera seems to marry photography and social media platforms ridiculously easily with built in wifi…it still bends my mind a little.)

One of my favourite photography things to look at it is when people, give the photo specs of what they did in a particular shot. f stop, ISO, and whether they pressed the button with their nose or not. I love knowing it all, every little bit of it. ( And *ahem* yes, occasionally the nose is needed.)

photography favourites || cityhippyfarmgirl

14mm- 42mm ISO 400 f3.5 1/250

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THE GEEKY BITS

I have been loaned the Olympus OM-D E-M10 for a couple of months. It’s a rather nifty little camera that I’m just a little bit excited to be playing with. Below I’m going to add some of those nifty things that it does- As there is going to be at least one person out there reading who wants to invest in a camera, doesn’t know what to buy, and is slowly going cross eyed with reading online reviews.* While this is by no means a review, for this post and a further two more I’ll mention a few of the features.

Wifi- No adaptors, no cords, no dropbox, no emailing yourself a picture. It’s there to your phone. In a magical Wifi-the-Fairy type kinda way.

It’s little- Cute, petite, tiny and tres chic. Call it what you will, it’s not going to be breaking your back or neck like some hefty DSLR’s do.

Little means discreet- Street photography is something I’m slowly developing a bigger interest in. It scares the hell out of me, but I’m ok with that- It’s kind of good to do something that pushes me. Using a smaller camera but not compromising on the quality of the shots makes getting shots like these ones, a whole lot easier for me, (and a huge thank you to the kind young men for happily saying, yes.)

street photography || cityhippyfarmgirl

* And you should research these kind of things. That way you know what exactly you are getting and what you can do with it before you hand over your hard earned coins.

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Now indulge me in the comments… What lenses, apps or photography tricks do you use? What are your favourites? Go on, lets geek talk.