Capturing and sharing photo-stories

Have you ever had to sit through someone’s slide night and feign interest in their last trip to wherever? Images one to 20 were great, 20 – 40 were getting a little tedious, and by number 50, someone was making noises about coffee?

In this wonderful digital age, when taking photos is so easy and cheap, it is also easy to snap away  and end up with thousands of photos from the last trip to wherever. I am particularly bad at this, and blogging does not help, because I see something and think that there may be story in that – click! I madly catalogue and tag, and also delete, but still, I have so many photos. And sometimes, I wonder why I keep so many, because it takes a lot of time to organise them.

Hand-built railway bridge

Hand-built railway bridge. England 2010

Yesterday, someone showed me a fascinating ebook. It held my attention to the last page and was chock full of stories of travel and adventure, mostly told with images, with very few words.

It is a cycling book, but for the non-cyclists amongst you, please do not let this put you off, because the story telling technique could be used by anyone! The authors have included only one or two photos from each country they have visited. Each photo has been carefully selected because it tells a story or gave some insight into the country. Because the authors were cycling, their bikes formed a common theme throughout both books. Having said that, not every photo had a bicycle featured, it was very well put together.

Tough climb with a loaded bike. England 2010

Tough ‘climb’ with a loaded bike. England 2010

We are going to attempt to select our most favourite two photos from each of our trips and compile them into a similar book. I have already looked at many of my photos and few tell a story – most are just images. So here is a challenge for anyone reading this post, who has also been somewhere or seen something special – why not compile your very, very best ‘photo-stories’ into a series of blog posts, or even an ebook?

The photos should ideally tell a story without needing any words other than a place, date and maybe a short paragraph. Perhaps you could post the best 5 or 6 for each topic and ask your readers which one(s) they think tell your story best. Maybe for your next trip, like me, you could look out for opportunities to take a photo-story, instead of just a photo!

If you would like to experience the book which I so enjoyed, you will be able to download it from Bicycling Around The World.

Posted in Favourite things, Odds & ends, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

Dancing on the wild side!

I recently read a beautiful post titled “Wanna dance?”

What followed was a wonderful recount of a pause in time – to simply soak up the present and enjoy the beauty that nature had on offer. Yet the main feature of the post was not a peaceful event at all! In a modern world where ‘busy’ reigns supreme, nature too, can be very busy!

Seldom stopping still for a second, changing shape, building up, scattering away to nothing, clouds are the epitome of busy-ness.

I wanted to respond to this post with a recount of something I had seen a few weeks ago, but could not capture on camera. We had an unexpected sudden summer storm. It forced its way along the landscape with a hint of anger, a promise of drama, and teased with an occasional large raindrop. The wind tore the clouds apart and forced them together again – big, dark and ominous. On the ground, the trees swayed furiously as they were blown about in the unpredictable winds. What a dance that was!

Clouds starting to build up

Clouds starting to build up

Then last week, we had a repeat performance! A bit further away, this time, so that I could get the photos I needed to respond to Peregrination‘s post! The clouds were amazing and as the storm got darker and the wind blew harder, it was stunning. There was so much lighting, which went on until well after it was dark. Each flash lit up the sky and the ground as if it was day. Incredible!

Flash of lightning in a brooding sky

Flash of lightning in a brooding sky

Nature dancing one of her unpredictable, wonderful, exhilarating, wild – flashdances!

Posted in Favourite things, Image Gallery | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

100-Word Challenge for Grownups – Week #166

Do you want to write too? Click below:

This week’s prompt is … checking in proved to be… +100 words


Night ride

She sighed.

It was hot and the platform was crowded – the last train to Lyon was delayed. The announcement in French had been too fast for her to understand.

At midnight, she pushed her bicycle back into the waiting room.

Apparently the service had been cancelled.

She approached the tired man dealing with annoyed travellers. He looked up and handed her a ticket.

“The train will stop for you. There are no seats, but you will manage”.

Lyon was deserted as she cycled to the hotel.

Unexpectedly, checking in at 3am proved to be the easiest part of the journey.


I promised a fellow blogger I would attempt this challenge. So here it is Tess!

For anyone who is interested in some beautifully written 100 word stories, check out Tess’ blog “How the cookie crumbles“.

Posted in France, Travel, Weekly challenges | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Do you need a gun for your mailbox?

Ned Kelly mailbox 1

Ned Kelly mailbox 1

Strange and bizarre it may seem, but two of our latest mailboxes have guns!

Not real guns of course, but if one is to have Ned Kelly standing at your gate, he would look a bit out of place without his gun!

Ned Kelly was an infamous bushranger who used to frequent the mountain ranges in northern Victoria in Australia. A much feared highwayman and murderer in his time, he was known to all by his rather bizarre armour.

Ned Kelly (image from Wikipedia)

Ned Kelly (image from Wikipedia)

Getting about with the equivalent of a tin can on his head, he managed to frighten a lot of people as he went about his life of crime.

Ultimately, the law caught up with him and he met his end while incarcerated in a gaol. For more information on Ned and his life of crime, Wikipedia has some interesting facts.

Ned Kelly mailbox 2

Ned Kelly mailbox 2

Ned Kelly mailbox 3

Ned Kelly mailbox 3

A rather odd person to have as a national ‘hero’, Kelly was famous well before he died and his fame has not diminished over time. The fascination with this man and his amazing life is evident in these photos – some of his more modern fans have their own Ned Kelly mailboxes! These three different versions were spotted in the same district (nowhere near where he lived!), all on the same trip.

Would you create a mailbox which celebrated a villain or do you think it would be rather bad taste?

The makers of these mailboxes have done a great job. There is no doubt that they are all outstanding Ned Kelly tributes!

Do you know of any unusual or quirky mailboxes? How about posting an article about them and adding them to our collection. You will find all the others listed on the Amazing Mailbox Quest main page and some instructions on how to link your post to the collection.

Posted in Amazing Mailbox Quest, Travel | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Laughing at ourselves!

My Dad is awesome. And he has the most amazing sense of humour!

Just a Scottish laddie!

Just a Scottish laddie!

I was recently sorting out some old photos for him and came across this little gem. It was so perfect for Ailsa’s travel challenge: Laughter!

And it seems that he is not the only one who gets up to these silly antics :-) 
This photo was taken before the age of digital photos, on my first trip to England. I can still remember this lovely pub in Shere.

Now I'm in trouble!

Now I’m in trouble!

They tell us that laughter is the best medicine for all ailments. What makes you REALLY laugh? Have you laughed like that lately?
Perhaps it should be on everyone’s New Year’s resolution list – I resolve to have one really good laugh each week!!! :lol:

Posted in Weekly challenges | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Have you ever…. had issues with photo sizes?

I live in an area on the edge of a medium sized city, where many ‘in town’ inhabitants have good access to the internet. However, despite many political promises, it seems that our district is stuck with inadequate online capability and will be for some time.

Those of you who have ‘unlimited’ internet upload and download access – and more critically, have FAST internet, please know that I am extremely jealous :-)

Which brings me to the subject of this post. I am interested to know how many bloggers cut down the size of their photos before uploading them to their blog? I have just tried to upload a 3.5MB image to my WordPress site and it uploaded with no problems, however, it took a long time. Most of the images I use on my blogs are approximately 100kb in size, which seems to be quite suitable for internet viewing. Has anyone had any issues with the quality of the images on my posts?

98 kB image (500 x 375 pixels)

98 kB image (500 x 375 pixels)

228 kB image (800 x 600 pixels)

228 kB image (800 x 600 pixels)

If I had to upload all my photos at full size, it would take forever and I am sure I would be cursed by readers who similarly, have slow download rates. I have frequently found wonderful blog sites which I would love to follow, but due to the size and quantity of the photos on each post, I simply gave up.

I have recently found some software which watermarks and downsizes (to a user defined size) images rather nicely (“Photosizer”, by Giant Moose). This will save me quite a bit of time, as I previously had to do each step individually.

What does everyone else do/use? And if you don’t downsize your images, do you limit the quantity, bearing in mind that some of us internet users have issues with large downloads and you may be turning away potential followers? Do you post images directly from your phone or tablet without resizing?

I have never used a poll before, but it would be fun and interesting to see how everyone approaches their image management.

Posted in Have you ever..., Musings | Tagged , , , , , , | 13 Comments

“Beestekraal” Station Restaurant

That lovely garden scene from the station platform

That lovely garden scene from the station platform

My last post showed a lady in pink tending her garden. I indicated that this photo was taken at a restaurant which used to be a station.

But this is no ordinary restaurant. While you wait for your food to be prepared, there are plenty of things to keep you busy and entertained (and then there is also the occasional train which goes by!).

The station restaurant from over the rail tracks

The station restaurant from over the rail tracks

There is a shop/museum which is filled with memorabilia from yesteryear – mostly to do with railways and trains. But I am sure you would find some of those old teapots and spoons that your grannie used to have, if you just looked hard enough!

If the museum and touristy items are of no interest, then there is the outside of the building to enjoy. On the front and side walls, lovely, life sized images have been painted showing scenes of station life from another time.

Ticket office surrounded by graffiti

Ticket office surrounded by graffiti

Visitors to the restaurant have added their own mark to the establishment, with each brick in the wall having been annotated with a “graffiti” message. Wherever the viewer looked, there was another detail, message or mark – some romantic and some humorous. The result is very busy, intriguing, interesting and certainly unique.

Graffiti left on the walls by visitors

“Do not spit here” = graffiti left on the walls by visitors

Baggage pickup that way! More messages from restaurant patrons

Baggage pickup that way! More messages from restaurant patrons

As I have already indicated in the previous post, we stopped at this unusual establishment for lunch. Not only was the food delicious, but the quirkiness of the place was also fascinating.

Me being silly and annoying the donkey!

Me being silly and annoying the donkey!

More detail on the side wall

More detail on the side wall

Even visiting the “Happy House” was unusual. One had to cross the main railway lines to a small building on the far side to find the inside of the toilet block had also been decorated – with old sewing pattern envelopes!

Posted in Image Gallery, South Africa, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments