Monday, October 27, 2008

" This Is The World Service Of The BBC "

Single Side Band Radio Transceiver on yacht 'Mariner'

If the two chaps who were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics a few decades ago for their work on background cosmic radiation want to listen again to the background radiation left over from the big bang then all they need to do is give me a ring and I will repeat the experiment for them.
All I would need to do would be to turn this radio on and let them listen to the background hissing and crackling and anyone looking at them would be able to tell from the smiles on their faces that they were in familiar territory. This radio hisses, warbles, whistles, crackles and hums to its hearts content.

Now I am not a physicist but I am pretty certain that the hissing (similar in nature to the 'snow' on a non receiving TV channel) is evidence of background radiation left over from the 'big bang'.

This is the ship to shore radio on my yacht 'Mariner'. It is over thirty years old. It works just fine and dandy and provides a link to civilisation if required when I go cruising. I can get detailed short and long term marine radio weather forecasts when required and in an emergency I would be able to send out a Mayday message.

I could buy a new radio which would have all sorts of modern triple gripple back shackles and widgets in it that will suppress background interference, but I can't afford to do that and also there is the question here of nostalgia. The interference when receiving messages makes the transmitter of the message sound a long way away. It reminds me of my childhood when I would hear the time pips on our old valve radio and hear a distant disembodied voice intoning the queen's english in a deep rich voice as he declared..... "This is the world service of the BBC. Here is the news".

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ah, There Is Something About My Old Stamping Ground That Just Keeps Drawing Me Back

Lake Pukaki South Island NZ - Spring 2008 - Photo by Tillerman

This was Lake Pukaki about three weeks ago. We had just driven down out of the mist from Aoraki Mount Cook on the left hand side of the lake. I didn't care that it was windy, cold, misty and rainy, in fact I don't mind this sort of weather, it has a passion all of its own - it was just so good to be back in my old stomping ground of the South Island. I love both the North Island and the South Island. I think they complement each other - but the South wins out by a hairs breadth for me, mainly because it is where I grew up and where I spent my formative years - its where not only the landscape, but a multitude of first experiences became etched on my soul - so in a way it is a matter of the heart I guess.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Note About My Prize Winning Blogspot And A Totally Unrelated Rave!!!!

Well it had to happen, not an Academy Award, no something much better. This Blogspot has been awarded the 'I LOVE YOUR BLOGSPOT' citation from Katherine of "The Last Visible Dog" Blogspot fame.

Of course I am honoured indeed, overwhelmed even, by such an award. I am also a bit apologetic that it has taken me a bit of time to honour the honour with a posting. It has been one of those months really. I arrived back at school and hit the classroom running after the school holidays, to be confronted with the demands of the up coming Calf Club / Flower Show day, which is a bit of an institution in many rural New Zealand schools. Spending the time with the children preparing the 'in class' exhibits has been keeping me very busy indeed and I have not had the energy to post online at all.

Next Thursday and Friday will be ground Zero at my school as tons of flowers, exhibits, calves, lambs and other pets arrive for two days of fun and exhaustion.

I hope to post some photos if I remember and get the chance to point the camera amongst the hurley burly of the event.

Now what was that I was collecting together .... camera, art gear, table throws, blood pressure pills, whisky laden hip flask (medicinal purposes only, yeah right)................. What the hell are you moaning about Tillerman ? you only have: athletics day, school reports, WaterWise training, staff appraisals, planning checks, next years planning overviews, budgets, full time teaching responsibilities, and the end of year concert to go! and all those HOLIDAYS and you only WORK NINE TO THREE, and you are PAID HUGE SUMS OF MONEY; why, you don't even WORK IN THE REAL WORLD.

Oh happy days.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Seeing As Opposed To Just Looking

The Southern End Of Lake Pukaki - South Island NZ (last week)

Kelvin is a good friend of mine who takes good photographs; in fact very good photographs ('Available Light' BlogSpot on my Blog list). He wrote on his blog a number of postings ago about how some people have consulted him about what type of camera to purchase with the view to improving their photography. He made the point that in many ways it doesn't matter how expensive the camera or lens is, the quality of the photo is about "seeing" rather than just looking, pointing and clicking. This "seeing" is something that comes with practise I guess, and the practise being something that involves a deeper level of awareness.

In technical terms the ability to paint or draw or take photographs is about seeing the connections and relationships of line juxtaposed with line, space with negative space. Its about positive and negative form, symmetry, colour, tone and hue. It's about these fundamental basic skills developed and built up over time to a greater level of sophistication. But there is something else that is important; a certain context within which all this resides which in a sense is spiritual.

The approach to art is a process of spiritual discovery requiring the engagement of all the faculties: the eye that sees, the mind that conceives, the heart that feels and the hand that wields the brush, camera or pencil to create something of beauty and value.

Amongst a whole lot of other thoughts, I also thought about all this as we left by car to travel to Aoraki Mount Cook after a few days of visiting Kelvin and Clemency in Dunedin. While visiting I had asked Kelvin about various cameras and thought about what he had said on his blog. I left with a determination to improve my photography.

After taking a few photos on the way back north I came to three conclusions.

First, I need a camera with a view finder. I found it impossible to see the images on the little screen on my borrowed digital camera outside in the sunlight.

Second, but just as important - I feel the need to take time to relax and really 'look' at what is being photographed - not to be impulsive and just click away enthusiastically as if I have to record everything - relax, absorb the essence of a place first and then try and take a photo that captures that essence.

The third conclusion is a remembering of something my brother Chris saw recently - Don't let the photography dominant the experience. Chris told me of a Japanese tourist he saw in Auckland festooned with cameras who was so intent on recording every piece of the experience that he walked off the tourist bus as he was filming, missed the entrance steps and fell out onto the road. - The tourist was missing real personal engagement with the experience itself in his haste to record what was happening. You can't capture the essence if you aren't immersed in the experience.

Time will tell whether my new resolve and approach will be reflected in my photographs.

Meme - With Thanks To Katherine From The Blogspot "The Last Visible Dog"

Above is a picture I am sharing ... Taken last week within the Church of The Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo, South Island .

Outside my window... is a Kowhai tree with its yellow candles still burning. I hope the Tuis keep coming.

I am thinking... about how much I enjoyed our visit to Dunedin and Christchurch last week and the special friends and relatives that we were able to catch up with.

I am thankful for... My wife, my children, my friends, this wonderful planet, many things.

From the kitchen... I know I will smell scrambled eggs cooking when I get around to it tomorrow morning.

I am wearing... jeans, denim shirt and a new jersey I bought in Christchurch a few days ago.

I am creating... generally my individuated self bit by bit and specifically this week a new environment in my classroom for term four – it will incorporate the things the children have already created for our calf club / show day in 3 weeks time.

I am hearing... the hum of the computer, a good sound as it helps distract me from the tinnitus ringing in my ears!!!.

I am reading... mainly “In Search of Schrodingers Cat – Quantum Physics And Reality” by John Cribbin, plus a varied assortment of books beside my bed.

I am hoping... (and praying)... That the people that are very dear to me who have health problems at the moment will get well soon.

Around the house... I want to complete the building of the last fence on one side of the house.

One of my favourite things... is to lie in and read in the morning in the holidays but I have to go back to work next week - bugger.

A few plans for the rest of the week... 1. Complete classroom teaching planning for term four. 2. Run the engine on the boat to top up the battery. 3. Convince my wife that the next lot of boxes from Amazon Dot Com that will arrive next week really are the last for the year. 4. Clean the mould off the bathroom ceiling 5. Fix the CD player in my car. 5. Smile, be happy and count my blessings.