Saturday, June 29, 2013

That's The Moon My Son!

According to something I read on the Internet (so it must be true!!),the moon and the earth have lately been in closer company than they often are. Evidently the moon does not stay at the same distance from the earth all the time, but the gap constantly varies. Whilst the variation probably makes very little perceptible difference to our view of the moon, our clear winter nights in this part of the world, have added to the impression of the moon being close.

I have mostly had terrible results when I have tried to photograph the moon with my camera. The auto focus seems unable to understand that the bright point in the sky is something that I would like it to make sharp, so, usually, I have a nasty battle that ends with rude words being said, and the camera spitefully recording a succession of furry bright blobs.

I have never tried to focus on the moon before with the camera lens at its maximum zoom. I assumed, that, as it was doing terribly at more modest settings, it would be even worse at 15 x magnification.  I was wrong. Much to my surprise, when I magnified the blob until it filled my viewfinder, it suddenly resolved itself into a delightful moonscape of mountains, shadowy "seas, and acne-like craters! Oh, Joy! So what you are seeing here on this page is the moon as I saw it a few nights ago from our little home in the South Island of New Zealand.

I wonder if the moon looks different from where you are in your part of the world? When the moon is crescent shaped, I know that it points the other way to how you see it in the Northern Hemisphere, but I wonder if we see the main surface features of the moon from a different angle too, so that they are shifted over somewhat? Or is the difference mostly to do with which side of the moon is in shadow? Maybe someone in the Northern hemisphere would like to post a photo on their blog, and let me know!

The title for this post, "That's The Moon My Son!" is from a song that the Andrews Sisters. Oh, why not... I'll link to it here!

I managed a walk to the beach yesterday morning, which was lovely, as it was a beautiful day, and my back did not hinder my progress.

On the way there I walked beside the lagoon. There was a chilly breeze blowing that rippled the water, but the sun was just warm enough to neutralise its effects if you kept moving.

I saw some ducks marching up and down.

I saw a black swan grooming itself.

 The path took me past New Zealand flax bushes, phormium tenax, (no relation to the lovely low growing flax with the blue flowers, linseed of the Linaceae family). The strong fibres of New Zealand flax were used by Maori for weaving into garments, bags, and rope. The fibre can also make paper. New Zealand artist, Mark Lander, has used flax paper to make huge sculptural works and installations that are really beautiful.

Following the creek that connects the lagoon to the sea, I arrived at the beach.

I enjoy watching waves, and trying to understand how they work.

As a painter I did many "live" studies of them. It is actually amazing what you can capture by observation alone, if you are stubborn enough!

Making studies of waves directly, without use of photography, helps give understanding of the way certain forms are repeated. Waves move so rapidly that you cannot hope to "capture" just one of them the way that a camera does, you have to understand them as a sequence of action, and think about cause and effect.

Here is one that I did directly from nature (no photos used), painted in the winter of 2003.

I have had two battles with two government departments this week, and may post about that at a later date to help others who could be in a similar position to me, but I need to do some homework first!

Lovely day again today, so I will sign off for now. Thank you to all of you who have left me thoughtful and encouraging comments on the previous post, you are a real blessing to me, and I am very thankful for you.


Melissa Rohrer said...

The painting is NICE. Would your back allow you to paint?

Peter said...

Hi Melissa,
Painting is certainly a temptation, and I think I will be able to do some. I really haven't done any painting for about 8 years, so there will be some relearning to do!

Michèle Hastings said...

Your seascape is beautiful. I hope that you will be able to get back into painting, while waiting for your back to heal.
Interesting thought on viewing the moon from different parts of the world. It had never occurred to me that we see the sliver of the moon in a different direction.

Arkansas Patti said...

Oh Peter, how terrific that your back is finally giving you some relief. What a beautiful walk you took. Wonderful painting. The moon here was huge, orange and breathtaking.

Sue said...

Hi Peter,
I've often watched the waves and wished I could put paint to canvas with a similar result as yours.
I still wish I could. There's something amazing about capturing water in movement. I congratulate you.
The moon is awesome!
I'm glad you got to go walking.

Rhonda said...

Stunning photos Peter, As I live in the same area as you, I very much enjoy your photos.We are very fortunate indeed to have all of this around us. Rhonda.

cookingwithgas said...

I always saw a rabbit in the moon.
The moon picture reminds of a cantaloupe.
What a grand walk to the beach.
I hope your back gets to a better place for you.

Teresa Evangeline/Bayou Summer said...

I spent a few weeks on the Atlantic Ocean three years ago, and loved watching the waves. How wonderful that you can simply walk down to the ocean and there they are!
I didn't realize you also paint. A man of many talents! lovely painting... and a great shot of the moon!

Peter said...

Hi Michèle,
I will try to post a photo of our moon on my blog later in the month when it is at its crescent phase, this should show the moon pointing the other way to how it is seen in the Northern Hemisphere. Hopefully my camera will manage something that is not like a fuzzy blob now that it has learned new skills! It is kind of fun that so many things are upside down here... including the seasons!

Hello Patti,
It was a happy time being able to get to the sea again. There is something very timeless about it that is good to "soak up" (even if you don't get wet!).
Sometimes we get a large orange moon when it is low down near the horizon, but most of the time it is very bright and cold looking. The sort of place where it would be a good idea to wear two pairs of socks and thermal underwear!

Hi Sue,
I will have to dust down my old box of paints and try some more..., maybe you should try some painting too!

Hellooo Rhonda,
We are rather lucky to be where we are, with sea, sky, hills, and a lagoon to reflect the sky above!

Hi Meredith,
Good to hear from you. Rabbits and Cantaloupes! I thought that the moon was made of cheese! A good English Stilton, or something like that! I will look hard to see if the cantaloups on our side of the moon grow any larger, or if your rabbits tunnel through!

Hi Teresa,
Three years away from the sea is a long time not to be able to twiddle the toes in the water! Waves are endlessly fascinating. I think that clouds, and their shadows, can also give a similar pleasure and sense of awe.., especially if you are lucky enough to have a few hills as a back drop to a big sky, and some fields full of long grass to ripple and undulate as the wind traces its fingers across it.

Angie said...

Thankyou for dropping by and your kind words about China cat lovers understand each other.
Your photos are fantastic but your painting seems to capture so much more. I wish I could paint ...just so I could capture clouds and the lighting around them.
Hope you back keeps slowly improving. xx

Linda Starr said...

I think the surface of the moon is different from our direction of looking but I must look again to be sure. Lovely photos and your painting captures the ocean well and the clouds in the painting really drew me in. Hope your back keeps improving.

Amy said...

Seems like your back is healing... I so hope it's getting better. I find myself mindful more and more of how I sit, etc...
And painting. had forgotten that you're a painter too! I hardly have the time I want for pottery; that seems like a way different world of learning! all the best.

Sue said...

Haha! I do a bit of painting, but my skills are very basic.
Will look forward to seeing some fresh paintings next time I'm down your way.

Armelle Léon said...

Quelle belle aquarelle, Peter, your place in NZ is really stunning, wild and beautiful !!!

Peter said...

Hello Angie, Linda, Amy, Sue, and Armelle,
Thank you very much for your comments, it is lovely to hear from you. Sorry to be slow with this reply things have been a bit "up and down" over the last few days, and I have not been attending to the blog as well as I should be. The back continues to dominate life more than it should, however, I did manage a few more photos recently and I will post soon. We are so lucky to be surrounded by nature here, and it continues to bring joy as I discover new things to photograph.
Thank you for your care and concern, Kind thoughts to you. P

Sue said...

So sorry your back is still painful.
You're in my prayers. Sue

Peter said...

Hello Sue,
Thank you for that. Back is starting to behave a bit better over the last couple of days. Yay! P xx