Sunday, April 7, 2013

it’s bye from me and miaow from the vampire slayer…

It’s a glimpse of the bleeding obvious to say that I haven’t done a blog post for a looooong, long time. There are a lot of reasons for this, but the most honest is that I lost interest. Let’s face it, I have the attention span of a gnat, so I’m surprised I lasted this long. But before I hang up the tranquil townhouse blogging boots there are some things I need to say. Naturally! Buckle up for a longish read.
2012 was a very eventful year for me in both my personal and professional life. I made a bad decision in the former (which I was blessedly able to make right) and some good ones in the work context. One of those good work decisions means I’m now working four days a week and devoting my day off to an interest that I hope to build into some form of professional undertaking. It also means that I can devote a bit more time to doing some things for mum and dad, albeit remotely. Dad’s Alzheimer’s is progressing, but slowly, and mum’s doctor describes her as 'off with the pixies' so I have my work cut out!
If you’ve been with me for a while you’ll know that I can be a bit of a flibbertigibbet, or so it seems. I’ve tried my hand at writing, I’ve flirted with design, I’ve done any number of crafty things (and I don’t care what anyone says I still love my knitted dishcloths!!) but nothing has really stuck, and I’ve not had the drive to work at any of it hard enough to consider myself ‘successful’. Whatever that means. Until now.
Photography has grabbed me by the ….ahmm, whatevers; shown me a new way of looking at the world, inspired me to get back into learning and study, and given me a glimpse of another way to perhaps one day earn some money. A way that is very different to the way I’ve been doing it all my life.
I need to challenge myself, and while I’ve had a wonderful career in the HR field and continue to work happily in it (there are after all still bills to pay), I want and need a change. I want to see where I can take this interest in photography. I know it won’t be easy, but I’m going to give it a red hot go. The Diploma of Photography is underway, I’m practising new techniques, trying to get a handle on my style (if indeed there is a need to have just one), taking instruction and getting ‘assignments’, or as some may put it ‘suggestions’ from the man in my life who is a visual artist and photography teacher…and quite honestly, I’m just having a lot of fun.
I started this blog for the simple reason of practising my writing…a suggestion from the first born and a very good one at that….at the time. But it has surprised me that writing is not what I want to do. I’ll leave that to Jess…who has just been very brave, left CLEO and is starting to freelance (so if you’re looking for a great me)! My son Ben has grown with this blog as well, got a degree, moved house a gazillion times, has started a new job in a place that will feed his soul, and been a wonderful creative support to me. I have truly awesome kids.
So possums, it’s time for me to concentrate on other things. But my we’ve had a good time together haven’t we? We’ve shared our ups and downs, been supportive of each other (your concern when I was diagnosed with depression brought me to tears on more than one occasion…in a good way), laughed…a lot, looked at pretty pictures, done a bit of soul searching…all of that stuff that friends do. You have brought a great deal of joy to my life with your humour and care, the occasional well intentioned and witty jibe and the sincerity of your good wishes. You might like to know that I woke up one morning a few weeks ago and thought to myself, wow, I’m really happy :)
I have built a website for my photography and I've also started a photography blog.  I’m on facebook (as me) and on instagram (as kerry_j_martin). I’d love to see you any of those places. There is a trip to Paris, Arles, Venice and Florence coming up in July to tempt you to follow along!
The vampire slayer is not well, in fact she has cancer and the vet says she probably only has a few months left. Ever annoying to the last, here she is lying on my black velvet photo backdrop shedding fur and dribbling as I type! But I will miss her hugely.
If she could talk I’m sure she’d say thank you as well. You’ve been a great Buffy fan club so I guess it’s fitting she have the last word.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

a little bit of garden DIY...

I spent hours in the courtyard last weekend. Hours. This appears to be a necessary evil when you have neglected it for the entire winter!  There's still quite a bit to go but I managed to do some rearranging, put in some new sprinkler thingies, pull out a mass of weeds (don't talk to me about honeysuckle!), toss some very large concrete pavers over the wall (don't ask, you don't want to know!) and plant some flowers and veggies.
I also did a very simple little DIY involving a mirror, a pot and a new little space in the courtyard where the rickety old bench used to be...voila!
This little spot under the growing maple tree lets me see the sky (reflected in the mirror) while reading a book, having a drink and without straining my neck!
and as a bonus...the pot is a place to put a bit of gardening paraphernalia...just whip off the mirror and put it back on when done. Clever huh!
As as for that bench where Buffy used to sit...
...I'm using it to grow a herb garden! 
Poor vampire slayer...

all photos by me taken on the iPhone 4S

Sunday, October 21, 2012

to the sea...

I love Canberra. I have a very happy life here. But then I go to the sea and wonder why I'm not living somewhere by the water.
With a job like mine there are times when (with the wonders of the interweb) I can work from pretty well anywhere.  Last week I was lucky enough to be able to work by the sea. Firstly with a colleague who has relocated to Nelson Bay (sea change or what!) and then for a few more days with my parents in Newcastle.
No-one believes me when I say I got a whole heap of work done...but it's true. Yes, really. Having said that, there were coastal compensations.
Here's a lovely picture of mum and dad at the Newcastle Ocean Baths. 
They're doing ok but frailer each time I see them; and let's not talk about the memory loss!! But no matter what, school prawns with my dad is a long, long tradition...I'm a much speedier peeler than him these days though :)
How about you? Do you prefer coast or country? Or if you're really lucky, do you have both?
all images: kerry martin flickr

Saturday, October 13, 2012

way out west...

In the middle of last month the fella and I went on a four day road trip to Walgett. Where you ask?? Walgett. No, I didn't know where it was either. But it's the place where Richard was born. And as far as I could tell that's its only attraction! I shouldn't be rude, but I have to confess it's not a place I could ever live.  Still, we had a great time at his Year 10 school reunion and it was lovely to see people who hadn't seen each other for 35 years having a fine old time :)
I took the opportunity to put the trip to another purpose, taking photos for the latest assignment on the photography course I'm doing. We had to choose a theme: so mine was rural NSW | people, places and things!  Here's a selection of my favourites...
There's been a squillion canola field pics on instagram in the last month or so, but gee...I never tire of them.  And I can't tell you how chuffed I was to work out how to do the slow moving water thing too...although I won't tell you how many attempts I had before it worked!
When we were in Walgett there was an aboriginal rugby competition on with teams from all over the place. I am pleased to report (as a born and bred Novacastrian) that the Newcastle team won! There were kids galore having a fabulous time...
And on our way back to Canberra we just had to stop in and stay with Julienne...I was allowed to take photos of her stuff...and what a rich source of stuff there was!
Coat stand in the longest hallway in the world! And here's the woman herself giving Richard a tour of the homestead :)
Had the best time, loved experimenting with the camera and even better, got to meet new people as well as see dear friends.
I had been scheduled to go to Shanghai with work but my participation got cancelled at the last I got to go to Walgett instead...
...the Shanghai of the west!! Oh well, there's always next year.
If you would like to see a few more images head on over to my Flickr account.
all images by Kerry Martin

Saturday, September 22, 2012

fun in the studio...

Did I tell you I'm doing a photography course at the Canberra Institute of Technology? I probably did! Sixteen weeks every wednesday night for three hours. I am loving it.

Much excitement for me this week when for the first time in my life I got to shoot in a real, live studio.  It was such a wonderful learning experience, and now I have a bit more of an idea how the professionals do it! 
This week it was portraits and a very kind colleague agreed to come and be my model...I'm so pleased with how they turned out...this is just a small sample.

And yes, having a beautiful face to photograph makes it SO much easier.
Next week....back in the studio for still life photography. Can't wait!

images: kerry martin

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I did a very foolish update

Well it's certainly been a while since I've posted hasn't it! But that's not the foolish thing I did. In fact, taking a break was probably a very wise idea.
Alas, the same can't be said for my failure to save 99% of the photos I took on the weekend when the kids and I drove to Newcastle to surprise my dad for fathers' day.

 If you haven't caught up with the news (and let's face it why would you when I've been so slack, idle and absent) I've taken up photography. I'm doing a course at the Canberra Institute of Technology and I'm loving it.
But I probably should have paid more attention last week when part of the lesson was about file management. Hmmm...some lessons we have to learn the hard way I guess.
Still, I managed to play around with a few pics before I formatted the memory card (which if you don't know wipes all the images ready for the new batch). I actually did that deliberately, and didn't I think I was clever! Unfortunately I thought that the special file I'd created for my Newcastle portfolio was saved on the hard drive. Instead, it was on the memory card!! Which of course is now blank. I'm blaming the new Mac. I couldn't possibly be that silly : )
What's that you say? You need rain to make rainbows. Hmmph.
Update: I went to my photography class tonight and thankfully there are people there who know so much more than me. I downloaded some software and I've got my pictures back. Thank goodness...there were quite a lot of mum, dad and the kids. We don't get together very often so it was wonderful to be able to recover them. I love the Mac again :)
image 1 and 3: kerry martin; image 2: ben martin

Friday, June 22, 2012

A change of direction...

It’s been a while since I've done a blog post (crumbs I just checked, it's over a month) and almost as long since I've read anyone else’s. I'm sorry about that... I'm sure I've been missing out on wonderful things while I’ve been missing in action. And no, the change of direction does not involve me becoming a vegetarian!
I've been struggling with what to do about the blog.  To be honest, I've lost a bit of interest.  Perhaps it’s because I've lost interest in some of the related things...if you’d told me six months ago that I would have so many not just unread magazines, but actually unopened ones I would have thought you were the one who was bonkers, not me!
(and that's only a few of them!)
I don’t want to give blogging up, but nor do I want it to be a pressure, or heaven forbid a burden. So I've decided to give it another direction.  I want to focus (no pun intended, or maybe just a little one) on photography. I've been taking lots of photos. I have a new DSLR, I’m also a bit addicted to using the iPhone and posting pictures on Instagram and Streamzoo, and I'm studying.
I’ve tried a lot of things in my life. I'm a "let’s give it a whirl" kind of girl, but the truth is I don’t often stick to anything. Let me see...there have been courses in painting, sewing, writing, styling...although to be fair I did pick up fairly quickly that schlepping around the place with a bunch of props wasn't for me! 
I’ve knitted, crocheted, sewed, glued, drilled. I lose interest quickly I'm afraid.
I’ve been working with a life coach on this...why it is I don’t pursue anything to its proper conclusion, why I don’t persevere. But with photography I’ve finally found something that I want to become really good at, earn some money from sometime down the track, and continue to be thrilled by. And as I heard someone say on the radio the other day "if you don't know where you're going, where you end up is exactly the right place". I like that. It sits well with me.
(my fabulous table tonic it to bits)
So my dear friends, the blog is likely to turn into a place where I can post my own images, not shots that other people take. This seems to be to be a sensible combination of keeping the blog going, keeping my interest going, as well as forcing me to do my assignments in the photography course I'm currently studying.  And I promise I will do some interiors down the track! I have just the house in mind.
I hope you stay along for the ride and see where it takes me. Game on!
all images: a tranquil townhouse/Kerry Martin (some using the Canon, some the iPhone)
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