Photo Inspiration – Southern Highlands Photographic Society!

Back in 2004, I was one of 9 founding members for what became known as the Southern Highlands Photographic Society Inc. SHPS (as it has become affectionately known as) continues to be a thriving Photographic Society at East Bowral in the Southern Highlands region in NSW, Australia. Currently, they have approx. 50 members.

I moved further away in 2013 and in 2016 sadly relinquished my membership due to an inability to get to any meetings due to business and other reasons.

Last weekend, we ventured down to Bowral to see (not only the Tulip Time Festival) but SHPS’ Annual Tulip Time Photographic Exhibition which is held in the Old Bowral Town Hall, Bowral. It was finishing that day.

Put simply, the Exhibition, in terms of quality gets better and better each year. There was a stunning array of subject-matter and treatments in the 3 sections, Monochrome, Colour Print and Projected Digital. There were 120 images on display.

One of the great things about the Exhibition was that 83 of the images were mounted prints in frames. In these days of imagery, where most of what we see is on the Internet, it was so refreshing to see images hanging on a wall.

I can see SHPS being around for many, many years to come. There is such a wealth of photographic and artistic experience there and it is certainly a place where one can be inspired and educated to improve their Art and Craft.

If you are looking for a progressive Photographic Society to visit and/or join, may I wholeheartedly recommend visiting SHPS.

Please visit the website below for more information on SHPS, including their newsletter, ‘On Photography’, Galleries and Programme details.

Southern Highlands Photographic Society – Dedicated To The Art Of Photography

Venue: East Bowral Community Centre, East Bowral
Days: 3rd & 5th Tuesday each month
Time: 7.30pm
Website: www.shps.org.au

Written by David Johnson
6 October 2018
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Tiptoeing Through The Tulips!

Yesterday, my wife Susan and I ventured down to the Annual Bowral Tulip Time Festival which has been running since 1960.

The centrepiece of the Festival is Corbett Gardens, where they plant up to 100,000 Tulips and 15,000 Annuals each year. Across the Shire, they plant another 40,000 Tulips.

Apart from the Floral attractions, there are Brass Bands, Choirs and an array of garden-related sculptures and other forms of Art as well as market/food stalls.

If there is one sticking point, judging by the reviews on various sites, it is the $12.00 entry fee as it is a relatively small area.

When compared to the Floriade Festival in the Nation’s Capital, Canberra which is many, many times larger in area, the $12.00 fee becomes questionable as entry into the Floriade Festival is free. Some activities inside Floriade do cost, but that is up to the individual.

The Bowral Tulip Time Festival has more of a ‘village-feel’ to it. I think $5.00 would be plenty if they had to charge at all. It seems to have become a real money-making exercise.

I have been to the Festival many times before and thinking back, I remember a time back in the 1980s when there was no entry fee and I arrived there just after Sunrise. The gardeners allowed me in (prior to the opening) so I could take some photographs and I spent 1 1/2 hours doing just that. Bliss! It wouldn’t happen these days, though.

Still, it was great to go and visit after several years absence. I made the choice to leave my DSLR at home and just shoot with a camera phone. I was glad I did this as there were just so many people there. The colours (as always) were so vibrant and the background sound of the Brass Band and then the Choir created such a wonderful atmosphere on a  glistening Spring day!

Written by David Johnson
1 October 2018

Cacti and Succulents – A Love That Blossomed!

It suddenly occurred to me this weekend whilst visiting the Succulent Garden at the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens again, that I had never written any articles on this Blog in relation to my interests in Succulents.

My interest in Succulents blossomed out of a gift from my Aunt Beryl when I was 14, back in 1977. It was a Euphorbia, which sadly passed on some time ago, not being as hardy as Aunt Beryl who is still going at 92 years of age.

From then on, Succulents were around in one form or another at home. I started to group them together in large, flat pots when I was in my late teens and imagined one day of having a sprawling Cacti and Succulent Garden.

It would be a good time to point out that Cacti are Succulents, but not all Succulents are Cacti – but that is another article for another time. I particular favour Cacti but love all Succulents.

When I married in 1997, we bought a property that was 5,609 square metres (1 1/4 acres) about 100km (62 miles)  South West of Sydney, Australia.

I ended up with a 35 square metre (42 square yard) Cacti & Succulent Garden with up to 120 plants in it. It was a labour of love to construct and I tinkered with it over the 16 years we lived there.

Currently, I have approx. 80-100 plants which are currently in pots, where we currently reside. When we buy our next place, I feel sure that David’s Cacti and Succulent Garden 2.0 will become a reality and I am surely looking forward to that!

Written by David Johnson
16 September 2018

Sydney Pen Show – The First Ever!

Last week, I attended the very First, Sydney Pen Show and indeed it was my First ever Pen Show as well.

I have owned a Calligraphy Pen set since the 1980s which I use from time-to-time and I had purchased a Lamy Safari Fountain Pen in July 2017.

I use the Fountain Pen to write Poetry and do my daily journaling, mainly, though I can see that list growing as, in my opinion, there is no better feeling than writing with a Fountain Pen (as far as writing is concerned).

Having put up with the humorous comments from friends in the lead up to the Show, i.e. ‘ You’re going to a what, Show’, ‘Are you serious?’ ’They have them’, I was indeed hoping that it would live up to my expectations.

It was held at the Australian Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour on a sparkling, beautiful Winter’s day in Sydney.

In terms of Show’s that I have attended before, it wasn’t a huge Show. They were just over 30 tables, consisting of Pens, Journals, Ink, Watercolour and other assorted accessories.

In speaking with those presenting their tables, I admired the passion with which they spoke about their trade. Some were second generation owners.

There were also Calligraphy, Writing and Drawing workshops, some inside, some outside.

I didn’t attend any of the workshops this year, but will certainly think about doing them next time. No new pen purchases but I did buy a set of Sennelier 12 Half-Pan Watercolour paints (which are being delivered).

Am I a pen collector? No, I don’t see myself as one, however, I would like in time, to pick up a couple of more pens. In particular, I would like to buy a more stylish-looking Fountain Pen.

I have already marked the date, 17 August 2019 in my calendar for next year and am looking forward to a bigger and better Show!

Written by David Johnson
26 August 2018

Wollondilly Arts Group Inc Revisted

A little over 5 years ago, I was a member of Wollondilly Arts Group Inc. I moved away from the area but not far enough away that I couldn’t have stayed a member. Life sometimes happens, however, and at the time I had to let my membership lapse due to other commitments.
WAG started in 2004 and they are a creative group of Amateur and Professional Artists who get together on a monthly basis to create, share ideas and generally help and inspire each other in their artistic journeys.
There are a mixture of mediums being worked by WAG members e.g. Acrylic, Oil and Watercolour, Drawing, Paper-Making, Textile, Drawing, Sketching, Photography to name some.
Yesterday, I went back for the long-awaited visit to the monthly Creative Workshop I used to enjoy going to so much and wasn’t disappointed.
Although our artistic journeys are of an individual nature, many benefits can be gained from regularly mixing with other artists, and this is what I believe I have been missing out on over the past 5 years.
I have been slowly increasing the amount of time allocated to drawing and painting over those years but have been feeling something was missing.
Yesterday proved to me how much I need to be a member of WAG again. They are a friendly bunch of down-to-Earth creatives who are there to share their thoughts, tips and encourage each other.
In just being there I felt inspired. It also felt like I had come ‘home.’
In the next 2-3 years, we do intend to move back into the area/further away from Sydney as well.
I am excited to be rejoining Wollondilly Arts Group Inc and look forward to the many years of friendship, encouragement and inspiration that lie ahead.

 

Written by David Johnson
15 July 2018

Fun At The Time Travellers World Fare!

A couple of weekends ago my wife, Susan and I attended the inaugural Time Travellers World Fair at Menangle Park, NSW Australia. Menangle Park is only about 20 mins drive away from where we live so it was a real treat to have something like this so close.
 
The Time Travellers World Fair brought together, steampunk, medieval and past, present and future time travelling cosplayers.
 
There were time travel-themed market stalls which were selling everything from new gadgets, clothing, equipment and novelty items as well as more traditional market stalls.
 
An additional treat for me on the day was running into Steve Cilia. Steve and I had not seen each other since school, back in 1978.
 
What a blast from the past!
 
Steve has worked for the Railway in various roles for most of his life and has built scaleable/rideable trains and travelled from 140 kilometres away to not only see the Fare but also because he saw (on Facebook) that I was going to the event as well and thought there might be a chance we would run into each other.
 
We all very much enjoyed the Fare and are looking forward to its return in 2019.
Written by David Johnson
5 July 2018

Journey Of A Lifetime!

Now that I have been a member of Toastmasters International for 10 years, it’s a goodToastmastersLogo-Color time to reflect on the experience.

It has been a life-changer for me.

As a born introvert I know only too well the ‘apparent fear’ one experiences when one stands up before a group of people to speak, whether it is in a work or business meeting, or if you are asked to give a speech somewhere.

After 10 years of ‘investing myself’ in the programme, here’s what I have learned:

* The old adage ‘you only get out what you put in’ is totally true.

Out here in Australia, Clubs meet twice a month and I’ve missed perhaps 15 – 20 meetings in those 10 years. I would say that I’ve been to at least 240 Toastmaster meetings if you count the other Toastmaster clubs that I have visited in that time.

* The benefits I have gained/positive impact on my life are immense.

I wrote an article back in 2015 for this blog and will post the link at the bottom for I identified 18 ways my life has benefitted from being involved in Toastmasters.

I’ve even managed to progress from Introvert to Ambivert as well!

* I sometimes get asked, ‘Why do you keep going?’

Simply put, Education, Motivation, Friendship & Fun!

I can’t remember how many times that I felt like just going home and vegetating because I had a hard day at work or whatever. Whenever I went to the Toastmasters meeting, I always came out at the end, revitalised and re-energised.

Every meeting you learning something new, either about yourself or about public speaking/leadership and with each time you do a role and/or speak you grow that little more in confidence.

I’ve made so many great friends who are so supportive, and we have loads of fun.

* It gives you a chance to have a positive impact on other people’s lives

I can easily relate to how other people (especially Introverts) feel and can help them through my experiences. The membership individually and as a whole want people to succeed. We support them through their mistakes, want them to progress and use their skills out in the World at large.

Toastmasters Clubs also run Youth Leadership courses in schools and Speechcraft courses for adults.

I’m really looking forward to the next 10 years and beyond in Toastmasters. Here in Australia, we’ve just taken delivery of the new PATHWAYS Education programme. 10 Paths to transverse. I’ve selected, ‘Presentation Mastery’ as the one I’d like to begin with.

There is another old saying that says, ‘It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey…’, well this journey is one that I am ever so grateful for!
David Johnson
17 March 2018

To find out the way 18 ways being involved in Toastmasters has helped me, click on
https://communicatingcreatively.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/why-toastmasters/

If you would like to find out more, click on https://www.toastmasters.org/