Blog – words & images

Cameras for rambling greenies

The DSLR camera I have been using quite happily for five years was beginning to show its age before I visited Tasmania last November, miscommunicating with its lenses, failing to pop up its built-in flash on request, or under-exposing a series of shots, so I spent some time looking at replacements for it. That survey came to include most segments of the camera market, not just direct replacements, so I thought I might share its results here. I hope it will be useful but please bear in mind that it’s a personal perspective.

My needs are, as my title implies, off the beaten track. I want gear that I can carry easily enough while hiking and I want to take photos of birds (small and distant), bugs (smaller still but usually very close) and landscapes. People portraits? Rarely. Buildings? Sometimes.    Continue reading “Cameras for rambling greenies”

Madness Lies Waiting

Madness Lies Waiting was conceived, many years ago, as a piece of performance art for a dozen speaking voices, preferably live performers on stage.

At the time (1970s)  I was dabbling in poetry (including graphic poetry) and graphic art while studying music composition, particularly the (then) avant-garde represented by Cage, Cardew, and the (then) new resources of electronic music.

Madness Lies Waiting drew on all of these influences. I stopped developing it when I was satisfied with it, which is the only way a creative person will acknowledge a work as ‘finished’, but its anomalous nature condemned it to remain unperformed.

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Key classics of fantasy and science fiction

Once upon a time, no-one was considered truly educated unless they knew Shakespeare’s plays. More recently, but still not recently, an influential critic published a really big list of books which he thought were necessary for an understanding of western culture – sorry: Western Culture.

My ambitions are much smaller. All I claim is that anyone who doesn’t know the books on my list has missed key works of fantasy and science fiction, so they have missed some great books and will miss innumerable cultural references.

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Littoral not literal

Most of my photography is documentary, expressly intended to show its subject as clearly and literally as possible. Occasionally, as here, I’m tempted into altering a shot for expressive effect. I saw these trees on the Strahan beachfront early one evening, when the light was already fading to mistiness and ethereality…

For a more mundane view of Strahan, try my other blog, Green Path.

Favourite Fantasy

In the last few weeks I’ve been asked by a couple of lovely people for recommended reading in fantasy and science fiction. My only qualification is that I have read so much in these genres over the last [redacted] decades that I have opinions based on vast experience, but here goes.

A few general points first …

I’m not going to mention a book or series by name unless it’s one I recommend. That saves me from saying “this is a good book” every time and it saves you from even hearing about bad books.

Inline links are (unless otherwise noted) to my own reviews, most of them very short, on this blog or on Green Path.

There’s nothing wrong with escapism but I do prefer fiction which provides insights into ourselves or the way we live. I’ve said elsewhere that SF is brilliant for thought-experiments, but so is fantasy.

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