Thursday, April 30, 2009

Argenteuil sur Seine

1 May near Paris, along the Seine, people dressed like a hundred or more years ago: always fun!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

First Raw image: as seen by the camera

Direct with Raw setting of Canon, this is without cropping
Not transoformed: then, of course, I have to make it as I remember having seen it, as much as possible. Lots to learn!

Not yet, when I'll have the time, after Paris, after York. Sooooon. Not soon, but in a few days or weeks.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dorking ToastMaster's Contest speaker: A story to tell.

Gavin Meikle, gave us a speech at the Dorking contest "A Story Worth Telling": it was my personal favorite. I did not vote, and he did not even got to be between the firsts three.

Of course, each speech was wonderful. I did learn a lot from all six speeches, five to compete and the sixth one to be evaluated. The messages remain in my mind but also, or even more, the masterful delivery of each.

The winner was Ade Adeyemi, a doctor now, having arrived to London with almost no money and, as he said in his an empty baggage. But willing to do what it took, even work as transporting bikes for very little money, to gather the fee for giving the exam. He failed, then crushed wanted to give up, but did not. His message 'there are more doors" and the way he delivered it got him the first place.

Gavin's message is more general and more simple but as important: we all have a story in us, our story. We are all individuals and no one can tell the same thing the same way. "You have a personal story to tell which will interest the others. Yours. Tell it. Do not hesitate."

I felt with each of them. As someone who arrived in France as him in England, as a storyteller believing I have a story to tell too.

I may be not the only elder woman arriving in London at almost 75 but for sure no one has my mixed European background, and experience, sorrows and joys, and has been a Toastmaster thirty year ago. So, yes, I have also stories to tell.

Story, that no one can tell exactly like me.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Saturday in Dorking

I went for assisting in the Toastmaster's contest, but finally there was no need for me, but I got a lot as viewer of the Competition of Division H, as well as walking and discovering about Dorking.

Alas, during the wonderful speeches I was forbidden to take pictures, they just remain in my mind's eyes, so I can not show them but at the end I did take a few and in the pause also.

This was the winner of the Evaluation Contest, Lesley Wells, I think I got well her name.

Before the Toastmasters Meeting I went in the St Martin's Church open door event and even up the tower to participate to the Bell Ringing.

After the bell ringing, nature and some great sides with the sun shining through, the menacing clouds of the morning disappeared. And at the pub, for a coffee, met a birthday party for a 70 year old gentleman: too young for me! When I told them, they laughed, him, his wife and children, and the age felt less heavy on his shoulders.

At least, what I can give to people I photograph, some compliments in which I do believe, as long ago Dale Carnegie has advised me through his book. Thanks, Daniels, for having reminded me about him and his advices that yes, I still use. Yes, they are still effective, as the Toastmasters Manuals are too, all over the years.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Greenwich Deptford with Rachel

From Painted Hall to the Greenwich Market, and then Deptford High street, we spend a few great hours together.

We met this lady in red, who come to London from America, USA, but is of diverse, interesting origin, and had a few nice minutes speaking with her. Then went to the train café who does great black café and also discovered a real fleet market behind the Hight Street.

Nevertheless, the best portraits I took at the market which was just preparing at the time, before ten o'clock, we arrived.

This is an assertive lady and when I told her I do love assertive women (yes, she was assertive and not aggressive) we become pals, and chatted for a while, and finally she let me take photos of her, not only her greatly arranged stand. With the presence of Rachel, she made my day by this fast photo:
Greenwich market with Rachel-5

Friday, April 24, 2009

Photographing each other

Colleague photographers between each other, the Earth day, near the Royal Observatory of Greenwich, and the age difference was forgotten as well the country of origin.

Those girls arrived from Germany, I arrived from... where? Hungary, Romania, France or England?

I live now in London, I did live in Paris, and in different places before. They were also very happy at the end, when I told them "Gute Tage", that much 'Good day' I know in German.

Earth day in Greenwich parc B-45The contact with the boys was more difficult at the beginning, at the end even, but in the middle they wanted to pose and they even wanted to pose with me. Why not?

Today, I met Rachel and we went together to Greenwich market, the Painted Hall and Deptford High Street. I discovered some things I have seen but not looked enough the other times, and we even had a "real" fleet market there today and great café with scone at the Train Café place on Hight Street.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Earth day : Sony then Canon

I went out to celebrate nature at Earth day, and thinking at the special place I live, near the Royal Observatory of Greenwich, from wich it was decided once that the time ZERO will be measured.

Paris, is +1 and Bucarest +2, Washington -5, they all have the hours relative to the Greenwich time!

I went out with two cameras: my tiny old Sony that I did like a lot, and this image was taken by it, I have shoot 300 yesterday with the Sony. First, because I am used to it and I know it well, even if I do not use all that it could give, and then, at the end, because the Canon had no more memory left in the card I found home, an old, small card.

After the discovery of a great tulip's bed, where I tried but could not really show its magnificence as I have sensed it, to red, to bright, too... but I did try, and that is also why I shoot so many of them.

Then I went to the Royal observatory and took the building shining in the sun falling on it, before beginning to socialize with German young girls, taking photos of each other, and of them in group, or alone. Toward the end, even the boys asked me to take them and even, pose with them.

After a familly from India, a lady from China, a worker in the park, I arrived to an alley that hold my breath.

Old trees, one after the other at left, bizarre arms in every direction showing the age, no leafs at all on them. Yet or forever? On the right, all the trees spoke of renewal and early spring, closed in magnificent leaves shining in the morning sun.

I tried with my Sony and then remembered the Canon, took it out. Here are some of the images I took there. They tell a story, I think. At least to me, they did and still do.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Slide show of some from Deptford with LIP

Challenging week ahead

Today I'll receive, probably, my first more complicated digital camera, I only hope it will be not too heavy and I'll be able to learn how to use it.

Probably the images would come out different, better or not is another issue, but for sure different. i'll try for example to take this building with it and see what it can do.

To make the white pearls be seen, on the rose wall, I had to darken the sky, that in fact was not so strongly blue but in real life the design can be seen better.

The same building looking down: inversed chimneys! I did not realise until I got home!
LIP challenge walk_0115d
There is often a difference between we see, or better told, perceive and what the camera does. In fact, the digital our not digital camera also "interprets" what we see!

Monday, April 20, 2009

London Independent Photographers Greenwich

LIP in short, the group from Greenwich is expertedly lead by John Levitt who gave us yesterday a great challenge: go from Greenwich cross the Creek to Deptford and look for contrasts, old and new and hope.

For once, I'll try to make the same note here as in my French one, using the same images and telling the same stories.

Let's try.

John Levitt has also offered me the first time for me to speak in English in public in London.

Yesterday, we met at the Viewfinder Gallery, center Greenwich, for a challenge photo walk, here he is showing us the proposed trail and inspiring us.

How differently I felt after yesterday's great walk then the one the day before when I had come home so sad.

I had a great day, first discovering and meeting places and people, and then, after I arrived home after more then two hudred images, working on them in my digital dark room and this morning writing about them, thinking it over again.

But one has to choose, so difficult for me, but here are only thirty of them.

Greenwich has its magnificent Painted Hall, near the Pier, painted walls from another century. After I crossed the creek, I discovered Deptford's new painted art!

But before I started, I went through a small fleet market, in Greenwich, and met this young woman choosing hats of 5 pounds.

"Are you an artist?" she asked me.
'Yes, I am!" did I answer for the first time in my life.

The smile you see in this picture is the result "being photographed by an artist!".

Which new hat to buy

Before and after crossing the Creek. This old man, at least ten years older then me, had difficulty to ride again his bike, finally using the boards he did succeed: happy went away again.

Deptford has no rich Painted Hall, but I found magnificant wall art by small or grown ups, here you may see details: 40 images.

Two examples of the wall by children:

Deptford Hight street, with market Wednesday and Saturday, was relatively quiet Sunday, with a mixture of feeling I have fallen in the very old London, that of modest people's place and at the same time people from all around the world combined with fresh new life and a lot of kindness.

Children, adults, young and old, happy with the bright warm Sunday. I love the mood I find every time I come here, and yesterday was even better without the busy market.

Old walls and houses, new life and energy.

On the trail, I met a few times with my collegue photographers from LIP Greenwich and after a few smiles and words, each continued its own discoveries.

I met towards the end with a man in wheelchair asking me to approach and telling me:"people do not take time nowdays to live, to discuss, even not in the pub!"

After we chattet for a time, and I took some photos of him, his face bright up:
"I'll finish in a Gallérie!"

Alas, the place he choose for the images was not good enough for the Gallery, but at least here they are in a blog.

Soon, I'll have to choose an image for the Viewfinder Gallery where each of us can show one of our photos. Perhaps I could choose the woman with the violet hat, what do you think?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

At Aldgate Est studio

I went finally to a studio Meetup, but did not fare too well with my tiny simple camera, but I met great people, and here is the photographer who did look with a lot of sympathie to me;

From the others, mostly the models, and there were plenty, I got mostly "I do not like to smile" and curious way of looking that they did believe will be good on a shot.

I felt afwull with my tiny camera that did not triger the light like those of the serious others did, put asside somehow, but finally, as you may see from the slide-show below, I had good time. Even if the best portrait I obtained going towards the underground, taking picture of a servor before a restaurant with beautiful blue eyes.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Too much choice!

Too much is as difficult to handle as not enough.

As I arrived to London in July, I discovered the thousands of different Meetup groups, and attended the Artists Way and Photo Groups; then the ToastMasters International that gives me possibility to refresh my public speaking skills and tell my stories in public, then the London Independent Photographers and the University of Third Age.

And it keeps coming!

All are interesting and have lots of possibilities of meeting and action, but how to choose?

The Artists Way Mondays at the Royal Festival Hall finished after six interesting month, today I will go to take photos in a studio near Algate East with models, a new experience. Last week I did speak in Greenwich and tomorrow we go to a photo walk towards Dartmoth. 

The weather will be, I hope, with us.

This morning finally I found how to combine all my activities and experience for a new activity in the U3A: make a group that is learning through doing. Making a blog, taking photos for it, writing a story about a walk or another group, putting it all together and in the blog we create for it. Try each day add to it, perhaps each doing it in some specific day of the week but also together using each others strength to create an interesting blog journal.

The idea is there, it took some time to grow and emerge, but I think it will work out. It is not sitting all near a computer and learning how to upload or access, it is doing each a part of the job and later each on different days perhaps.

Instead of choosing photo walks or creative writing or teaching blog publishing on web, one can  indeed combine all in one general and, I think useful activity!

Thinking about too much choice helped me to find an issue.

Friday, April 17, 2009

An old photo a new group

In fact the LIP (London Independent Photographers) group is not "new" to me even if I did register only this morning, and I am preparing to show them, perhaps, this photo as example of what I do.

It does not really show my usual style, even if portraits are what I do most, but those are girls I knew and usually I take images of people just met.

Plus, I already go to the Greenwich LIP's meetings, they admit photographers even if they are not "registered" members, and have very interesting meetings once a month. Also, this Sunday, for the first time we'll also go to a photo walk together.

So much to do and so many places to go, I adore London!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lost in Lewisham

A very long street, but nowhere did I find the place for the Lewisham Toast master's meeting.

Going out of my door at six I arrived finally home after eight, after walking and walking and not finding the usual street and building. Finally, through a park, which I did believe at the beginning to lead me near there, I found myself in Lewisham center!

Is that a sign that it is better to let that group be and not let myself be put aside at the same time as others rise with speed and are allowed to speak three times probably before I could even do it for the first time?

I was never someone jealous, so I wish all the good to those rising, but nor do I like to be put apart "no place to speak" and then see there is space, repeatedly, but not for me.

Yesterday, I did want to participate, I did spend two hours looking, try to find. As I was sure I'll find, it was a big surprise to have lost my way, because of the bus put me down, probably too late. I would have a car in working order, it would have been different, would it?

At least I have seen towards the end a small park with a huge tree in the middle and then, in the street, a weeping willow. I do love those, they bring me great memories of my youth.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Same but different

One flower is not more beautiful then the other: just different. Each one, as every one of our dreams has its own charm.

After delivering my speech at the Meridian Speakers in Greenwich, about 30 people attending, and having enjoyed my story of the years between 25 and 45 of my life, I realized the most important was that after 20 years I got what was taken from me when young;

I got a diploma, I got to work at a research Institute and men liked me.

After having achieved it, somehow it lost its power on me and from then on, I could change my life again. In the years after I returned to France, opened a new company, forget my diploma, begin to be a distributor of microcomputer products, adds-on to Apple and Macinstosh, the firsts PC's. Lived an interesting and different life that I could not have dreamed, nor guessed before.

Speaking about some of my former ups and down yesterday, was enjoyable, I got the audience, I made them wonder and laugh too, but even more, let me understand more about my own life and motivations.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Eggs for Easter

Knock knock! with my son yesterday noon, and later, of the remaining hard eggs I eat one, then a second.

Not colored ones, just plain, the colored eggs were in my mind and memory though, and also on flickr, where more then one parent showed how their children colored or painted the eggs.
I did not go out yesterday, but had a guest: my son. He helped me a lot to better structure my speech for tonight, and add more context and better translations.
What you think about the new look of my blog?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Westminster Bridge

This lion is on the other side of the bridge, as I got down Friday from the bus there, just for the pleasure to traverse that bridge.

Alas, it begun to rain as I was in the middle.

Still, I got to take some shots of the panorama around and of the river. As the sky was closed, it could have given me an excellent shot without too much contrasts but the rain did act as it was mist.

Finally, cutting out just part of a picture, I think I did get some of what I have seen and admired, even if the reality is a lot more impressive and interesting.
Panorama urbaine Londres v toile
It comes out as a panorama, and it is better in bigger size, but at least it gives here even like this the impression of the view.

Tomorrow an interesting and difficult day: my first speech of ToastMaster at the Meridian Speakers club of Greenwich: about my nose. I hope, it will sound funny and it will help people realize that we are ok as we are, all of us.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My Eastern eggs

I did not colors my eggs for Eastern and did not hide them: my grand-children went to the other grand-mother and they go find eggs in her garden.

And this photo does not dates for this year either, but two years back.

Eastern eggs in Bucarest
I love it more then the multicolored eggs from Romania, and the great chocolat displays in London. Or the lamb eaten in Transylvania.

Perhaps even here.

I found funny that the UK Premier Minister's wife did not eat veal in France as guest, does she eat lamb in London? When I was child day by day I went through the market to school, trying not to look at the bodies of the lambs with their bloody heads down.

I do not like lamb:

But I do not refuse to eat it when someone invites me to her table.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

When you got a lemon

When you got a lemon, make a lemonade! The best from a situation you got.

Yesterday's rain got me this image with shining humid feeling. I love it! Beside that was the street signaling me "the river is not far from here, and leading me slowly towards the people making canoes.

In all weather, almost all, one can use it and show it or do the most possible with what one has. Most of the time, even if not for this image, I went a bit under a door so my camera not gets wet, as I did not bring my umbrella, too optimist, hoping the sun will come out.

Worst was that I did not get dressed warm enough and as the hours got farther, I begun to feel the cold. That is a difficult time of the year to decide what to take when one goes to "faraway places" like was Richmond, all West London from my all East place. But I got home, determined to take at least a pullover with me next time, and with hundred images!

Here are 30 of them in a slide-show: "Richmond impressions" I could have called them also Richmand in rain...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Richemond in rain

I wanted to go to Kew Gardens but it was raining, if not pouring, so finally I got down only in Richmond.

Even with the rain, that started, then stopped, then started again, Richmond was interesting to visit.

At the beginning, I was not convinced that I should have gone one and half hour to go so far away, but when I arrived to the Thames and the people working to make canoes, that proved exciting!

And as usual, I also met nice, interesting people, between others an artiste painter near the river and the canoes. Great colors, and very warm welcome. Her name Jan Steele, and she also has a website at

A bit tired, so i'll not put all the pictures on today, but some come out interesting, the trip was really worth the time!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I did not go to Paris

A tree in the heath-13 A tree in the heath-14
Two images, almost the same, but for the second one, I waited for the bus to arrive, I feel it is better image and one remains more into it. I am right? I do not know.

Both were taken not in Paris or its suroundings as you may guess from the red bus from London, but in Blackheath were I finally remained. I could go for free to Paris, but the cost of coming back Easter time was prohibitive. I'll go a bit later, after the vacations finish here and there.

First day, I was sorry for myself.

But yesterday it felt as it was suddenly a vacation for me. A great free day! Funny, is not it? Like it have been a present I have been offered by destiny.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Still working!

I met her at the Salisbury supermarket working as cashier, and admired her to be still working and with a great smile too.

"Me old? No! I am only 70." she told me. "How old are you? When you stopped working?"

I will be soon 75, but in real, I do not "work" for someone else from age sixty. I never stopped working, doing, being active. First, by writing and taking care of my husband, just out of hospital then, later copying my diaries from ten to 60 into computer, translating, correcting, making them known. Later photographing, blogging. Day by day. Being there.

Of course, one is not old at 70, all is what one feels and shows to others too. The wrinkles do not make someone old, but the comportment may.

Here is what another nice lady wrote under this image at flickr:
"She is as courageous as you are Julie! Because you both decided to continuing exploring life... every day at every age! I admire you two a lot!

She is soo right, "continuing exploring life" that it is that one should never stop if we want to remain "young".

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Easter bunnies in the Mall

Last day in London, going tomorrow to Paris.

Just a few days: I will be back, home soon.

Only 9 month passed that I arrived here, but already HOME is here, in London, and for the moment in Blackheath.

After taking a few pictures of Easter decorations around here, I'll take some in Paris, and then, after my return tell stories about my different Easter memories.

Important events arrived in my life - for example 50 years ago! But of that another time.

Monday, April 6, 2009

My nose?

When I was 42 years OLD, my husband, from whom I was divorcing, said to me:: 'your life as woman is finished, not one would have you any more.' To old? Of course, he was in love with a 17 year old, more then half our age.

A little later, I looked at the last photo he made of me, in profile, 'is this me? This long nose?' I was always aware of my freckled skin, but it was the first time I noticed my nose!

Going to visit my father and friends, to another country, I told of my sorrow to my step mother: 'no one wants and will want me any more!'

'No problem, she replied, I know a doctor who can arrange your nose for you and shortly you'll have a nice one!' Of course, she knew that would make my father angry at me and that is what she wanted.

Exactly as she expected my father told me.
'No way you touch your nose! '
' I am adult now, more then 42 years old, I do not need someone else to tell me now what to do or not do.'
' I disherit you if you go!'

I went away from their house, crying, deciding to sleep at my aount's. He had an older friend, a charming, 80 years old man, loving my 75 years old aount dearly and making even dinner for her, for us, that evening.

'So what is the problem?' he asked me at dessert.
I told hime my sorrow and about my nose and my father.
'Your nose is part of your personality, you'd not like to loose it, it is great, makes you charming and interesting,' he said.

'But the men...'
'Do you look at them?'
'Choose the one you want, look at him, then look away and let him come after you, fight for you.'
'You'll have as many as you want!' he told me. 'And leave your interesting face as it is!'

I kept my nose, my stepmother lost her battle.

And when a few month later I went to the US, yes, many men looked at me, and I did not feel OLD any more.

My nose did not bother me ever since.
I am preparing this story loosely translated English, for my next ToastMaster's meeting.

Red nose? Funny story or sad?I did give a lecture of it in the French countryside ten years ago and it was accompagned with lots of laughs from the audience. A year ago, as I played it in a small café in Paris, no one found it funny.

When I wrote it the first time, real story fragment from my life, I thought it was full of tragedy, but uplifting at the end. I am waiting to see the response to it next week.

At Flickr, where I published it under my photo, I did have already feedback, one as I hoped, expected! People telling what they were bothered about on themselves, others telling about the character counting and not the appearance, and yet others encouraging. Of course, on the Flickr the images got the attention, then, some of them read the text too.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Flowers along the street

The Magnolia tree was beautiful, and I went back again with my camera, as I have never seen one where some of the flowers got so near the earth.

And then suddenly taking photo after photo of them, like this one for example, I see a tiny blue iris, almost hidden under the tree.

Why not take it too?

Less impressive, near all those huge flowers, but still smiling to me, modestly. I had to go nearer, so small relative to the others!

Got home, looked through my pictures: it is almost my favorite now from the dozens different flowers I took yesterday morning!
Flowers along the street_0015