Category Archives: Photography

Top 10: GIF resources, obstacle racing, home-cooked food and more

I’ve been doing a bunch of ‘Top 5’ posts recently to practice more gratitude and appreciation of cool/exciting/nice things. I’ve not posted in July so I’ve now acquired TEN awesome things that I want to share.

1) GIF Search and Reaction GIFs
Are you looking for that perfect GIF to express yourself? Check out the Giphy search site and the Reaction GIFs site for ideas!
Happy Dance
GIF taken from Reaction GIFs

2) The Futility of Comparing Yourself to Others
Just an all-round, excellent post by Leo Babauta. He gives the example of running in a park, and comparing yourself to another, obviously better, runner. BUT, when we compare ourselves to others, we don’t have all the information, so making comparisons is useless.

3) Sunrise clouds
If you aren’t a fan of clouds and you don’t follow me on Instagram, consider yourself lucky. Coz I adore ’em.
Sunrise clouds

4) Warrior Dash & Urbanathlon
If a year ago you’d told me that in a year I’d be doing things like the Warrior Dash or running for 12kms without stopping, I would have said, “YES, DAMMIT I WILL BE!”

It’s an incredible feeling to achieve goals that once seemed unattainable or scary. I was nervous putting myself up for a 5km trawl through mud and obstacles, but it was fine. I was nervous about 12kms and 10 obstacles through the city, but with some focus, training and team support, I can tick it off the list.

Shoes after Warrior Dash
There are many others to add to the ‘to-do’ list, including:

Or check out the Obstacle Racers calendar for a list of upcoming events.

5) Quinoa porridge
Quinoa Porridge
This is a bit of a treat breakfast, but healthy enough to not be too naughty! Perfect for Winter and tastes like it should be sinful. I make mine in coconut milk and a bit of water, by bringing the quinoa to the boil then simmering gently. I add raw cacao and some honey and serve with banana and cinnamon. Variations: cooking in almond milk, serving with berries. Delicious.

6) Rarotonga
In early June I visited Rarotonga for the third time. The first time was in November 2008, the second time was November last year, and this time was for a dear friend’s 30th with a great bunch of friends.
Rarotonga is in my Top 5 favourite places in the world. Check out my November post to get a better idea of why this is.
Rarotonga

7) There are so many paradises, you just have to pick one
I really enjoyed this lovely little post by Paola Parsons. Beautiful in its simplicity, it address the fact that life is never perfect, and often things can be in a state of disarray. But amongst the chaos, there is calm.

Paradise and happiness are what we make it. I choose my current paradise, it’s quite nice.

8) Sydney home-cooked food companies
I’ve already harped on about Hungry Mondays, but they’re not the only ones providing delicious, home-cooked goodness to Sydneysiders. Check out Arthur Street Kitchen and The Soup Stone for more!

Honourable mention: Auckland’s Jess’ Underground Kitchen
The Soup Stone
Harriet from The Soup Stone

9) The Ricky Gervais Guide to a Successful Career
Ricky Gervais – funny, opinionated and now, career advisor (not that he knows it!). In this post by Louise Fletcher we’re alerted to Ricky’s career/life tips, including:

  • Be true to yourself in order to achieve great work
  • You can’t please everyone, so please the right people
  • Worrying about how you’re perceived doesn’t get you anywhere, but worrying about how much value you add does

Check out the post for the full article.

10) Mark Grist on Girls Who Read
A man who speaks admirably about girls who read. In prose. #saynomore

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Instagram hashtag tips for Sydney, Australia photos

Some of the most popular Sydney, Australia related tags to use for your photos are:

#Australia
#Sydney
#nsw
#SurryHills, #Darlinghurst, #Glebe, etc
#SydneyOperaHouse, #SydneyHarbourBridge, etc
#aussiegram
#travel
#sydneysider
#seeAustralia
#beautiful
#amazing
#summer (or appropriate season)
#sun, #moon, #sunrise, #sunset #sky, #night, etc
#nature, #wildlife, #animal, #mountain, #waterfall, etc

Tags that are super popular and can still be applied to Sydney/Australia scenery photos include:

#love
#instagood
#instamood
#iphoneonly
#photooftheday, #picoftheday and #bestoftheday (if it’s a super good photo!)
#instagramhub
#instahub
#igers
#awesome
#smile

You can also follow these Sydney accounts and use their hashtags:

@CityofSydney – #CityofSydney
@SeeAustralia – #SeeAustralia
@Australiagram – #Australiagram
@BestofAustralia – #BestofAustralia
@Instralia – #Instralia
@iPhoneographyOz – #iOz

Tagged , , , ,

Time travel to Rarotonga, Cook Islands

The Cook Islands, named after Captain James Cook, is a group of 15 islands in the south-western Pacific Ocean between Tonga and French Polynesia. The capital is Avarua in Rarotonga.  

The peaks of the mountains are reminiscent of the mountains in Jurassic Park. Their jagged, primitive edges seem misplaced in 2012. They appear imposing, prehistoric and untouched.

Mountain peaksRoad
Travelling from Sydney, Australia to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands is like travelling through time in more ways than just crossing over the International Date Line. Here, the birds look and sound wilder, the elongated leaves of the plants appear primal and the sultry climate behaves like an adolescent – unrestrained, heated and tempestuous. The climate in Rarotonga is how one would imagine the climate was at the beginning of time, when nature was only concerned with feeding and watering the earth instead of rebelling against the geological fluctuations introduced by humans.

BirdScenery
The concept of time in Rarotonga is not what time is in Sydney or other busy cities. The people here are not governed by a ticking hands or clocks on mobile phones. The compendium in my room explains: ‘Rarotonga is renowned for being stress-free and relaxed. Please be aware that timing and some services may be slower and more approximate than you are probably used to in the faster pace of your daily life.’ The locals walk slower, looking at the world instead of their smartphones and the speed limit on the main road that circles the island is a leisurely 50 kilometres per hour. There are two bus routes: Clockwise and Anticlockwise.

Papa Nga, the local handyman who comes over to help me operate the safe, asks me how I slept the night before. “Not bad,” I say, “but I woke up a few times.” I full well know that it’s not because of the soothing, calm air being circulated by the fan, and it’s not because of the gentle sound of the ocean outside. It’s because I’m still connected to the concrete jungle and all its concerns. “I must have a couple of things on the mind.” Papa Nga smiles and says, “Well, no time for that now, you’re on holiday and you’re on island time.”

Coco at sunset
In fact, I don’t even know what time it is.  I’m pretty certain that I’m three hours ahead, but the day before. I look outside at the sudden, torrential rain which will give way to blue skies before long, and I know that time doesn’t matter, anyway. There’s nowhere I need to be in a hurry.

Sitting on a deck chair on the veranda, three-quarters of the way through my first book I feel something soft and warm at my feet. Squeaky, the local ginger tabby starts mouthing, eyes pleading. “I have no food for cats here, sorry little one.” Squeaky insists, and makes his way through the doors, into the kitchen and stops at the fridge. “I don’t think you’ll like limes or lettuce.” I fail to mention the chicken breast that I plan to cook that night. Squeaky accepts the situation and goes back outside with me, content for now with a neck rub instead of a feast.

Reading is easy here. Back home it can be a challenge to find the opportunity to read because there’s always so much going on. At home one can often glance at a few pages in a zombie-like state and in the morning already forgotten what was read. Not here.

Sunrise
When the rain clears and the sky explodes with blueness, I pass by reception and borrow a snorkel and fins. Coco the dog meets me at the driveway and decides to come along. The beach is pristine and the water inexplicably clear. It is easy to just float, breathing through the tube and looking down at the multitudes of colours and life that thrive in this other realm.  Approaching a large cluster of coral, a sound travels through the water and the ‘chomp, chomp’ sound of fish teeth gnawing at it can be heard. I wonder if they can hear my muffled sounds of admiration and wonder.

BeachUnderwater
In the evening, instead of switching on a television, I cook to the sound of music. There are no TVs in the rooms. The compendium says, ‘There is a TV in the Breakfast Café for guest use. There is only one TV channel in the Cook Islands. New Zealand’s TV One News screens every night at approximately 8.30pm. Cook Islands local news screens at 7pm Monday to Friday.’ I love this. I love that instead of having their consciousness interrupted by ridiculous plotlines and shouty ads encouraging them to buy things they don’t need, guests can daydream, make up their own stories and remind themselves of what matters most.

Sunset
Sunsets are not merely a reminder of the world’s beauty. They tell us much more than that. Sunsets show us that a day has passed and that the world is huge. When our sun disappears for us, it rises for many others. A Rarotongan sunset is an unhurried, spectacular blaze of colour and when the orange sphere finally falls past the horizon, one knows that it is now time to rest and prepare for another beautiful day.

When all is quiet, the pool beckons at night. It is like an ancient, welcoming family, where The Cool Water introduces its wife, Clear Night Sky and their children, Warm Air and Sound of Stillness. They all embrace me at once, my mind clears and I melt into a blanket of tranquillity.

See you again soon, Rarotonga.

Swimmers at sunrise

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Instagram hashtag tips for food photos

One of my girlfriends is a complete foodie and she recently got into Instagram. I sent her some tips on how to tag her food photos to help increase her follower base, so I thought I’d share them here, too.

Some of the most popular food-related tags to use for your photos are:

#food
#foodporn
#yum
#yummy
#sharefood
#breakfast
#brunch
#dinner
#lunch
#dessert
#recipe

Tags that are super popular and can still be applied to food include:

#love
#instagood
#iphoneonly
#photooftheday, #picoftheday and #bestoftheday (if it’s a super good photo!)
#beautiful
#awesome
#amazing
#smile
#summer
#winter

You can also tag specific ingredients or the type of food, for example:

#bacon
#eggs
#chocolate
#pasta
#icecream
#pie
#sandwich
#salad

Lastly, follow your favourite chefs and some popular foodie accounts and learn from the experts:

@food
@foodrepublic
@thebestfood
@foodzie
@jamieoliver
@marte_marie_forsberg
@piarieu

Now, I don’t believe in Instagramming everything you eat, but some dishes are too good not to share!

Tagged ,

Photos: The Blue Mountains

Last weekend we went with friends to the Blue Mountains. It was cold, but it was beautiful. We took a walk, we got the fire roaring, and had a delicious lamb dinner. We’ll be back for many more walks soon!

Click on the photo below to view the gallery.

Tagged ,
%d bloggers like this: