Aside

Becoming The Ripples – Terry Pratchett

RIP Terry PratchettToday we mark the passing of the forever honourable and awesome Sir Terry Pratchett. Many words will be written about him, his influences in literature and popular culture by people much more versed in the art of word smithing than myself. I will not attempt to describe the man who has been such an icon of our times but merely remember what I learnt from his words and actions.

No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away – Reaper Man

My first exposure to Pratchett’s work was when I was 15 and a friend loaned me Guards! Guards! which introduced my to Samuel Vimes who has remained my favourite Discworld character ever since. Vimes isn’t strong, smart or powerful. Hell when we first meet him he is a drunken wreck of a man and yet he grows. He has a sense of right, a burning cynicism and at times barely contained rage which power him through life. This spoke and continues to speak to me. The man has style, a dark and cynical style but style none the less.

Sometimes it would be nice to be wrong about people.” -Commander Samuel Vimes

Pratchett also managed to humanise death. When I was a kid I had become terrified of death. I would have nightmares and wake up in horror that’d I’d be dead. The Discworld had Death as a character right from the very first book and as they series ran on he grew and “experimented” with being human as we do every day. Don’t ask me how but this helped quell the fear and while the concept of dying isn’t exciting I no longer fear it, merely accept that it will happen and hopefully on my own terms, Terry Pratchett’s experiences in this and his championing of peoples right to die with dignity have been a great inspiration.

What can the harvest hope for, if not for the care of the Reaper Man? – Death

Far be it from me to link him only to the Discworld series. Nation is an fascinating book, written amazingly well and should be on everyone’s bucket list of books. I can not begin to describe just how well written and engaging it is. His collaboration with Neil Gaiman on Good Omens pays off well too.

“DON’T THINK OF IT AS DYING, said Death. JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH.” – Good Omens

My favourite thing about Pratchett’s work is that every time I re-read them I find something new. As a grow up and learn new things I start to spot more references I missed the first time around. It took me over a decade before I spotted the Dr Strangelove reference in Jingo (I won’t spoil it for you).

Taxation, gentlemen, is very much like dairy farming. The task is to extract the maximum amount of milk with the minimum amount of moo – Vetinari

If Pratchett is right, and I’m damn sure he is, and a person never really dies until the ripples they create in the world fade away then we will never truly lose him. He has become the ripples, part of the story of the human universe and will go on for as long as we do. Vale the honourable Sir Terry Pratchett, adventurer into the unknown country.

That was the thing about death. When it happened to you, you were among the first to know – Men at Arms

 

Gallery

Best Photos Of 2014

Golden Stag Beetle

Another year done and alas not one as full of photography as I would have liked. However Jim Goldstein is once again running his “Your Best Photos” blog project and I do have a few I’m happy with.

The one above is a Golden Stag Beetle that flew onto our balcony just a few days before the end of the year. Was very co-operative with the camera although the iridescence turned out to be trickier to capture than I thought it would be.

Blue Bauble

New year, new lens. In 2014 I decided to get myself a circular fisheye lens as I’ve always wanted one. The Sigma 8mm fisheye lens was reasonably cheap and has been a steep learning curve. This shot was an early one of a domed walkway area in the Block Arcade, Melbourne.

The next three shots were from a failed attempt at a photo365 in 2014. I just didn’t have it in me to do it and will be looking for some other challenge this year which I can hopefully work around my life which is some flux at present.

ARRRRRRRRRFun little shot with some LEGO bits and pieces that turned out better than I expected.
Wool ButterflyA yarn bombed set of iron rods I found in one the many alley ways in the Melbourne CBD.

Shiny blurA macro shot of a masquerade mask with narrow depth of field that bokeh’d rather nicely.

Towards the end of the year I was fortunate enough to get enough time and spare cash together to head to Queenstown, New Zealand for Scott Kelby’s World Wide Photo Walk which was a fair bit of fun. The first of my two favourite from that trip was surprisingly not from my DSLR but rather my phone:

Hellllllo QueenstownAnd the other was of a plant making its way through the pebble beach on the lakes edge.

All Things StriveA few other shots from the year. First up a wasp resting on a leaf.

WaspA shot using a ring flash from my last photowalk of the year. I’m very pleased with how the detail of the insect came out.

Just restingAnd finally a shot from a lucky little walk I took on a whim where I happened to arrive in the gardens with frost still on the ground allowing for a really fun series of shots.

Frost flower found

Gallery

Taking A Little Walk

Traipsing through the frost

After a long hiatus from taking photo walks I finally got my gear together over the last weekend and set off on a nice frosty morning to the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens with a little visitor.

The visitor was unplanned and part of a small group of LEGO minifigs I grabbed as I left for the morning. This little hooded figure was among them and by chance happened to work very well for the day, so I decided to do a little shoot throughout the gardens.

The two frost covered ones I really like and unfortunately as the minifig was travelling in my pocket throughout the day it got progressively more covered in dust and lint. Note to self for next time – bring supplies to clean up the minifig before each shot.

Best part of frosty morning...

Across the grassy plains...

Reached the snow line?

Flowers taller than me!

These plants aren't friendly...

Climb the mighty flower spire!

Through the brush

Lost in the forest

So pretty!

Climb the cliffs back to home