Petography Magazine Issue 2

The November 2017 issue of Petography magazine has now been published. It is available as an instantly downloadable electronic flip book, Buy Now, or as A printed magazine.

The magazine has grown in size since the first volume which had sixty-six pages. The November, 2017 issue has a total of eight-six pages, all in full colour. The download price has been kept at a low US$2.50, and it is intended to keep all future issues at this same low price. But, being in full colour and with the high price of quality printed magazines and books, there is a marginal increase in the cost of the printed version.

Since 2012, I have published numerous books on subjects ranging from Australian humour and slang, to giving personal presentations and photography albums. Work books on subjects such as setting and achieving goals have also been published. Most of these books are available as both published paperbacks with ISBN’s and instantly downloadable e-books using Amazon Kindle and other formats. Thirty-four of them are now also published in Flip Book format.

One advantage of the Flip Book format, is that I have set up all of these books on book shelves, and the first ten pages of any of them can be viewed before deciding to make a purchase. Once a purchase is made, the book becomes instantly available. The prices of all of my Flip Books is in the range of US$0.99 to US$4.95, with the majority being around US$2.45.

Chances are, if you have been to my photo shoots over the years, your photos may well be in one or more of my photo albums. If you have downloaded a Flip Book and you would like to see a printed copy of the same book, just let me know. I do have multiple copies of most of them, and can bring the one you want to the next shoot for you to take a look.

Petography magazine is a bi-monthly publication with stories of people and their pets. If you or members of your family have a pet, or pets, and would like to be featured in a future issue, then let me know. It can be easily arranged.

Ian McKenzie

Need a Unique Gift for Someone?

Whether it is for; a birthday, an anniversary, Christmas, a thank you, or for any other reason; finding an appropriate and unique present for someone can sometimes present as a problem for a potential purchaser.

Photographic prints are one option. But, there are many personalised and unique products that can be quickly made from the original images. These products include, but are not limited to the following: mouse pads, stubbie holders, jig-saw puzzles, slate products, coated glass and crystal, coated aluminium, coated plastics, ceramic tiles of various sizes, ceramic mugs, and on fabric for wearable products such as T-Shirts.

All of the above listed products, I am able to manufacture myself through a process known as sublimation printing. This process is explained in another posts on this site. Any photograph that I have taken can be made into a sublimation product, with or without added text and/or graphics.

In addition to photography, graphic design is another interest of mine, and I currently have hundreds of designs which I have published. Most have incorporated my photography as well as graphics and any of these is available for placement on products of your choice.

Personal manufacturing by me is one option for obtaining these products, but another is through third party web sites. One site which I have now been a member of for well over nine years is RED BUBBLE. Examples of some of my RED BUBBLE work and access to my profile on RED BUBBLE can be obtained by clicking the link.

Not all products listed on RED BUBBLE, am I able to manufacture myself, but many I can. You are of course very welcome to purchase directly from the RED BUBBLE site, but if you live locally in south-east Queensland, I suggest that you contact me first. If I am able to manufacture the same or a similar product, I can do it for a lower price than you will see on the RED BUBBLE web site.

A newer kid on the block which I have uploaded many of my designs to is a site called ZAZZLE. Some of my designs on ZAZZLE are also on RED BUBBLE, but there are also many additional designs there. Another difference with the ZAZZLE site is that all the designs that I have uploaded, I have made editable. You are able to enlarge or reduce the size of any of my graphics, and you are also able to add your own personalised text to any graphic, for any of the products listed. ZAZZLE has a Greater range of products than RED BUBBLE.

Currently I have three separate stores on ZAZZLE, and the products are listed in a total of twenty-four different categories. Links to my profile, stores and the categories are listed below. You are welcome to browse through any that you wish. As with RED BUBBLE, I own all the photographs and art work listed on any of my products. This I have stored on external hard drives for easy access, and any of the photos and graphics can be used for products which I personally manufacture.

ZAZZLE profile.

As I said, there are a heap of categories, (twenty-four of them), but feel free to browse through any that you wish.




Success Through Adversity









Flowers and Love

Team Work






Motivation and Inspiration

Good Ideas



Old English Sheepdog

Congratulations if you have gone through all of those. Another idea for a present is a copy of one of the books I have published. There are over thirty from which to choose. Over the last few years, they have been mainly photography albums, and chances are if you have been to one or more of one of my shoots your images will be in one or more of these albums. Almost all of my publications at available as both instant electronic downloads. The electronic downloads cost only a couple of dollars each, with a variety of electronic formats available for each. You may prefer to have a printed hard copy that you can leave on the coffee table for visitors to browse through. These publications are all registered with ISBN numbers and are available through all major international booksellers. I personally purchase several copies of each publication, and if you live locally to me, any of the publications I can bring along to our next photo shoot or somewhere else we may be meeting up for you to have a look at. A list of all of my books and some of the outlets they are available from are listed on my Ian’s Books Web Site.

Who or What is a Friend?

Social network sites such as Facebook and Instagram have created new meanings for the term “friend”.

In keeping with the contemporaneousness of many things in today’s throw away society, social network friendships can be made or lost as quickly and as simply as a single left click of the mouse.

There are different criteria used by people to determine who their social media friends should be. One criterion is to obtain the maximum possible number. People using this criterion often use their large following as a money making exercise, making recommendations for products and services in their posts in exchange for recompense from the firms concerned.

Another criterion appears to be that people want their “friends” to be virtual clones of themselves. Numerous posts state that if you disagree with a certain idea or belief that someone has, you will be “unfriended”. Social media actively encourages this sort of attitude. Views held by someone are reinforced by Facebook by feeding more and more stories with the same or similar views.

This morning I read Facebook post with a photo of a completed Marriage equality survey form with the “no” box ticked. The person making the post felt the need to state that she was “sorry”, but was voting “no”. Why apologise? Well, she obviously realised that many of her Facebook “friends” would have a different viewpoint from hers. And, they surely did, and let the original poster know in a tirade of obnoxious and in some cases abusive comments in response to her post. The irony of one accusation of “intolerance” is apparently beyond the intelligence level of the accuser, who is indeed intolerant for not accepting that it is okay for others to have views different from theirs.

The world would be a boring place to be if we all thought and believed the same things. Diversity is good and should be embraced. Numerous studies have in fact shown that workplaces where diversity is encouraged are more innovative and successful, than workplaces in which things are always done the same way.

Back to the question, “who or what is a friend”? I accept that social media “friends” can be different from real friends. Even though real friends may also be social media friends. Also, I am quite comfortable for any friends of mine, regardless of how they are categorised, to have views on various subjects that are different from mine.

And, maximising the number of friends on social media. Well, to be honest I did try going down that path at one stage, particularly with my Instagram account. But, some of the practices that have been suggested to maximise numbers are to say the least unethical, and my foray into maximisation of friends and followers was short lived.

I have a smart phone, but usually use it only as a telephone and for sending and receiving SMS’s. I still have an Instagram account, but use it very infrequently. Facebook I usually check daily, some times twice daily, but I am never on it for more than about an hour at a time. It is important for us all to have a life beyond social media, and I plan on making mine that way. I will not respond to your emails straight away, because I now check them only infrequently. Facebook would like people to be available 24/7 to respond to messages. I am not going to be pressured by what I can only describe as their subtle bullying. So, if you have sent me a message on Facebook, Linkedin, Starnow or email; you can generally expect a response within forty-eight hours. If you don’t get one, and the matter to you is reasonably urgent, try sending me an SMS on 0403 543 827.

Tote Bags, T’s and Other Tops

Sublimation is the chemical process of a substance going from a solid state to a gaseous state without going through the normal intermediary liquid state. Dry ice which is frozen carbon dioxide gas is a well known example of this process.
What is the connection between this chemical process and “Tote Bags, T’s and Other Tops”? Well, sublimation is a printing process that can be used on certain types of fabric and other substrates. Powdered dyes are held in suspension in a liquid base, and specially modified bubble jet printers squirt a mirror image of the final print onto a transfer medium. After it has dried, the transfer medium is attached with heat resistant tape to the final product to be printed, both are then placed in a special heat press. Temperatures and pressures vary depending upon the substrate, but typical settings for “Tote Bags, T’s and Other Tops” is one hundred and ninety degrees Celsius for about three minutes and reasonably high pressure. The result is that the heat and pressure cause the powdered dyes to sublimate into gases which become incorporated as a part of the fabric. Sublimated prints require specialised equipment and are more labour intensive than regular printing like canvas prints, in which the ink is sprayed onto the surface of the fabric, but the result is more permanent with stronger colours.

The images in this post are among the many that I have designed and uploaded to my Red Bubble artists site. I have been a member of Red Bubble for well over nine years, but most of my activity on the site has been fairly recent. If you click on the link you will be taken to my profile page where you will see examples of my art work and photography, all of which can be incorporated into products that can be purchased. Clicking on any graphic in particular, will take you to a page showing all the products available with that graphic. Many of Red Bubble’s products are printed using the sublimation printing method, and of course you are welcome to purchase any of the products listed on the site. However, I do own my own sublimation printers and heat presses, and can therefore produce many of the products listed on the Red Bubble site, in addition to many others, but for a fraction of the cost.
The originals of all the graphics on the Red Bubble site I have on my own external hard drives and am able to access reasonably quickly. Also, I enjoy dabbling in graphic art and produce new examples each week. Any photograph I have taken as well as all the art I have produced can be sublimated printed onto, “Tote Bags, T’s and Other Tops”. And, of course many other products such as mugs, tiles, aluminium sheets, cross word puzzles. Below are prices listed for some products.

Tote Bag (small) – $10.00 or $8.00
Tote Bag (large) – $12.50 or $10.00
Tote Bag (extra large) – $15.00 or $12.00
Draw String Bag – $15.00 or $12.00
T-Shirts (white) all sizes for ladies, men and kids $25.00 or $20.00
Ladies Tank Tops (white) all sizes – $25.00 or $20.00
Ladies Crop Tops (white) all sizes – $25.00 or $20.00

If you compare these prices with those on Red Bubble, you will find that they are about one third of the cost or even better in some cases. Why the two prices for each product? Well, the first price is the cost of any product for which the art work has not been done already. This includes any photograph not already published, with or without words. For these products, if five or more are ordered, then the second listed prices will apply. The second price also applies to all products for which the art work has already been completed. So, all of the graphics on the Red Bubble site will of course fall into this category.
All these products are white. If you want coloured tops you will need to purchase them from the Red Bubble site. For high definition sublimation prints, the best fabric is 100% polyester. I need to pre-purchase the blanks before I can produce any final products. So, you have the choice of white or white. Most of the graphics on the Red Bubble site I have already printed onto small and large sized Tote Bags. If you are interested in seeing any of these and we are likely to be meeting up for a photo shoot for example, remind me to put them in my vehicle before we meet.


The September 2017 edition of Petography Magazine has just been published. You will notice that a couple of the graphics I have placed in this posting mention the magazine. The cost of promoting anything can be expensive; but I consider Tote Bags, T-Shirts, Tank Tops and Crop Tops with a mention of Petography Magazine and its web site being seen in public as walking promotions. I am therefore willing to drastically cut the price on these products to half of the first mentioned price for each product in the list above. This deal extends to all of the Petography products which have already been produced or any photograph taken for the Petography Magazine with the added wording “featured in Petography Magazine” and “”.

That makes Tote Bags for as little as $5.00 and all tops for only $12.50.

For all orders, 50% payment is required with the order, with the balance being paid upon delivery.

If you have not already downloaded a copy of the September issue of Petography Magazine, it is available now for immediate download for only US$2.50. Click on the link to get your copy.

I have several hard copies which are perfect bound. You can save on the shipping cost and US exchange rate by getting one directly from me at a cost of AU$20.00.

Photographers and others with original art work, if you would like any of the above listed products, I would be happy to organise them for you. The second listed price would apply, but there would need to be a minimum order of five products, (can be assorted), for each piece of art work. The art work can be either PNG or JPEG, but must have a resolution of 300dpi or better. The art work and order can be emailed to

Petography magazine

It has arrived early.

The first issue of Petography magazine is the September and October 2017 edition. It has just been published and is available right now for immediate download.

Buy Now
Only US$2.50 a copy

The magazine has sixty-seven pages, and if you would prefer a printed perfect bound copy to an electronic copy, then that is available also. The emphasis in the magazine is on photographs and short stories of people and their pets. If you have already been photographed for the magazine and your photos and story are not in the first issue, they will be in a subsequent issue. Most of the content for the second issue is already available, and now the first issue has been published, I can now start on formatting and editing the second volume.

All photographs in the first issue were taken by me. And although I intend to continue taking photographs of people and their pets, I also welcome submissions from other photographers for future publications. Of course a short story or stories must accompany the photographs. Because the magazine is being produced as a web magazine in addition to a printed version, only high resolution photographs, watermark free will be accepted. They will need to have a resolution of 300dpi for the size being printed. Credit will of course be given to photographers and others involved in submitting material. If you would like to prepare suitable material, it can be sent to

Copies of the first issue can be downloaded from the Petography magazine web site. Or can be purchased right here:

Buy Now
US$2.50 a copy

Feedback on the magazine is of course always welcome. I have already planned a few additional features for the next issue.

The cost of the electronic version I am keeping at a low US$2.50. For a magazine with over sixty pages of full colour, I am sure you will agree that for less than the cost of a cup of coffee per issue, it is great value. The perfect bound printed version is selling for US$14.95. If you are purchasing the printed version online, there will also be a shipping cost involved. Alternatively, if there is an opportunity for us to meet personally, I will have copies of the perfect bound paperback edition for AU$20.00 each, (as soon as my stock arrives).

South East Queensland Living

“Beautiful one day, perfect the next” is a well known promotion for the Sunshine State of Queensland. Most of us who live here and many who visit would agree that it certainly is a great part of the world in which to live or visit.

It is a state with a large geographic area. You could for example, fit Great Britain into the area about eight times. But the population of the state is no where near the population of England’s capital London. Most of the population of Queensland is in its south east corner. In fact, the capital Brisbane, and its near neighbour Gold Coast city are Australia’s third and sixth largest cities respectively. But, neighbouring these cities are other cities and shires such as Logan, Ipswich, Redcliffe, Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast, Scenic Rim which all merge into each other. Driving from my home in Jimboomba to Brisbane city can take me through three different cities; Logan, Ipswich and Brisbane. Someone who didn’t keep an eye on the place names as they were driving through probably would not be aware of just where they were on the journey.

There are many interesting stories that can be told about buildings, architecture and land marks, and people living and working in this part of the world. But, south east Queensland is not just about cities and people. We have National Parks with spectacular scenery, beautiful beaches and much more.

In fact, there is so much of interest that can be photographed and talked about I think it should all go into a regular magazine. And, one is about to be published. It will be called South East Queensland Living.

This is one of two projects that I am setting for myself. The other I shall mention shortly. It will be a large undertaking which will not work unless I get help from you and others. How can you help?

Well, in many ways.

All of us know interesting people. Let’s tell some stories about some of them. The stories could be concerning their work, perhaps some unusual trade, or perhaps a hobby or an interest with a difference. You can write the story and take photographs yourself if you wish, but there is no need to do so. I would be happy to take on that role. You would just need to discuss it with me and maybe assist in arranging times for an interview and photographs.

Perhaps you have some beaut photographs of whale watching off the coast, or of Natural Bridge or Queen Mary Falls in Lamington National Park. The ones published will certainly have credit given to the photographers involved.

Is there an interesting event or marketplace that you know about? Share it with us.

The magazine will be published using the latest technology and software HTML5 and Flash. It is planned that the magazine will be on-line only, at least in the early stages. A Print version could be organised at a later date if there is sufficient interest. In addition to photographs and stories, the magazine can contain videos, Utube or Vimeo, and other media. If you have any thoughts or ideas, I would be happy to discuss them with you.

I would like to get the first edition published before the end of this year, and future editions could be quarterly or bi-monthly. But, this can only happen if I get ideas, stories, photos and support from you and others.

Earlier I mentioned that there were two projects which I had in mind. The first is South East Queensland Living and the second is Models Actors Performers.

You guessed it. It is another magazine. Much of what I have said about South East Queensland Living also applies to Models Actors Performers.

It will have a focus on people in or associated with those three areas of interest in south east Queensland. But, there will probably be stories about happenings in other parts of Australia and even internationally. A detailed story with photographs on someone from each of the three areas mentioned will probably be included in each edition.

As with South East Queensland Living, I am looking for submissions of stories, photographs and other relevant material of interest. Web sites have been set up for both magazines. Each web site has an upload page where you can easily upload files straight from your computer to me without having to be a member of Dropbox, or some other file sharing web site. Take a look at the two magazine web sites and let me know what you think.

South East Queensland Living
Models Actors Performers

Mothers’ Day Classic

The Mothers’ Day Classic in on this coming Sunday, Mothers’ Day, at Southbank Parklands. In addition to me, there are currently forty-two other participants in the Passionate About Photography team.

All participants have no doubt been sent a website “Everyday Hero” link on which they can keep a record of their fund raising and also write any relevant news. Apart from my entry fee for the Mothers’ Day Classic, I don’t plan to get actively involved in fund raising for breast cancer research at this time. It is however a very worthwhile cause and I decided that I could help in other ways.

I plan on supporting all of you other good people who are going to be there to participate.

Already I have told Passionate About Photography participants that, I plan on being at the venue for most of the day. I should be there by 7.30m and will stay as long as needed, at least until mid-afternoon. My plans were to get heaps of photographs of our participants at the event. But, I want to do more, and I am going to.

The offer of photos is extended to all other groups or individual participants who would like to be involved. In addition to photos, I want stories . . . photos and stories that I can publish.

As many of you know over the last few years I have published several books and photography albums. These have been published as paperbacks and also digitally.

I plan on making an album from the photos and “stories” that I get from the event on Sunday. However, I plan on making the digital version of this album completely free to all participants, and to any others who would like to download it. If I produce a paperback version, and you want a copy of it, there will of course be a charge, because I am sure you will realise there are significant costs in producing full colour books in print. The content of all editions will be identical.

The “stories” will be the editorial content of the book, which of course I will reserve the right to edit. I may even need your help in ensuring I place the correct photos with the correct editorial. To ensure this I shall upload thumbnails of all the shots taken soon after the event, so the correct photos can go with the correct captions and/or stories.

Your help in letting relevant people know about this would be appreciated. Stories can be sent to me, or if you like bring along a typed sheet to the event on Sunday. Messenger is also another easy way to contact me. My mobile is 0403 543 827 if you need to contact me on the day. There will be crowds at the event, but I plan on spending a lot of time loitering around in front of the Nepal Pagoda, if you are trying to find me.

File copies of all edited photographs will be available at no charge.

Love Learning & Lose Lousy Literacy Levels

An apology regarding that title is probably needed. Okay, I am sorry. I could not help myself . . . , I love the English language, including alliteration and other rhetorical devices. What I do not like is our language being slaughtered. Now, I am not referring to people who have English as their second, or even third language. Those people have an excuse. If English is your second language and you can be understood, then that is good enough. And, most people I have worked with who have had English as their second language are on a sharp learning curve to get better and better at it. All of you are far more proficient at English than I am at any other languages except for English. No, when I make accusations about our language being slaughtered, I am referring to adult native born Aussies who have not made the effort to learn the language they have lived with their entire life.

Spoken language can be more casual than the written word. And, those who are only semi-literate can usually get by if all they do is speak. Isn’t it true that before you can do something you need to learn to do it first? So, if you are planning on writing, you really should learn how to write first. And, learning to write does involves having at least a basic knowledge of vocabulary, grammar and spelling. I think our problems started about twenty-five years ago. That’s about the time the World Wide Web was invented. Prior to that, most people who wrote were reasonably well educated and they knew how to write. But now, everyone writes and publishes.

Oh! I see, you did not finish high school.

Sorry, that is not an acceptable excuse. You don’t need a degree in linguistics in order to write basic English. We can all learn through the process of osmosis. Read, then read some more. No, not that ungrammatical, poorly punctuated, wrongly spelt nonsense on Facebook or Twitter. That is just reinforcing your mistakes and bad habits. Read stuff that has been written by people who know how to write. Start with some newspapers, or magazines. You may even progress to some novels.

All of us are entitled to make mistakes. Frequently I type “form” when what I want is “from”. If what we are typing is an important document for business or otherwise, then it is important we take extra care with our proof reading of it. A second set of eyes perusing the document could also be advisable. But for regular writing, the occasional mistake is okay. Making a so called “typo” though, is very different from someone who does not understand basic rules of punctuation such as the use of an apostrophe.

Are there any others out there who cringe when they read “your” when the writer really should have used “you’re”? Then there is “their”, “there” and “they’re”. There are many people out there with their limited knowledge of the English language who don’t seem to know their there, from their they’re.

One of the business cards I was given from a photographer has printed on it that he is the “Principle Photographer” with his firm. I wonder what principles he follows! Perhaps he is referring to the rule of thirds or some other photographic rules. It would seem that neither the photographer nor the firm that printed his business cards knew the difference between “principle” and “principal”.

There is a book I have in the planning stage. Its title is “Write Right”. I wanted to keep the book and the title very simple. I even have an ISBN allocated to it. That was about three years ago. Very little progress has been made on the book. In fact I have published several other books since starting that one. It was to have been a book explaining the difference in meaning and spelling between some words, and some simple punctuation and grammar rules. The target market was to have been adults who use “your” when they really mean “you are” or “you’re”. And, if the posts I have read on Facebook are any indication, if this book was purchased by those who needed it, it would be a best seller. “Need” however, is very different from “want”.

But, I don’t think I will ever finish this book. Because, if I did, I doubt that I would sell many copies at all. The problem as I see it is that people don’t know what they don’t know! Those who don’t know, seem to be happy remaining ignorant.

Most books I have published are related to photography, but other publications of mine have included; “Understanding Australian English”, “Aussie Humour and Slang”, “Powerful, Professional, Personal Presentations”, “Rhetorical Devices” and “A to Zed of Aussie Slang”. None of these have been best sellers, but sales are steady and continuing. This would not be the case I believe if I completed and published “Write Right”. The book is aimed at an entirely different market. If I was to publish something I would probably assign the ISBN I already have to a different title. I think the title for this blog, “Love Learning & Lose Lousy Literacy Levels”, has a better ring to it than “Write Right”. What do you think?

Back to that title I chose for this blog, “Love Learning & Lose Lousy Literacy Levels”. Yes, it is time for a second apology from me. I am guilty of breaking one of my own rules. For the last twenty-five or so years, most of my work has been in the tertiary education sector. Participants in my classes on communication were always told to never use the ampersand in written English. And, here I am using it in the title of this blog. Those alliterative L’s would have lost something with an “and” instead of the ampersand, so, I have taken some author’s license.

At the age of almost seventy-one, I retired from pursuits in pedagogy in December last year. My career in education has spanned approximately half a century. A major component of that work in the first half of that half century was working in the Primary, Secondary and Special education sectors. As I have mentioned already, the second half of the half century was working mainly with adults.

Ages of participants with whom I have been involved have ranged from preschoolers in early intervention classes to elderly adults. Intelligence has ranged from students who were profoundly disabled to those who were gifted and talented. Many adults in my classes in the last few years for example, have held multiple degrees, including degrees at Master and Doctorate levels. Diversity in culture, age, intelligence and other attributes has been a feature of the thousands of participants with whom I have had the pleasure of working throughout my career.

One common factor with many of those different people that I have really appreciated was a love of learning. Not all had it, but many did. When I had success in helping to engender it in some participants, it gave me a real buzz.

My many different roles throughout my career were all enjoyable. There are tasks and some aspects of the work involved that are disliked in all jobs, but I don’t think I ever had a job that I really didn’t like. Having said that though, I have never really wanted to return to a previous role that I had. Always, I was happy to move onto something new.

My last role in the Special Education sector was Senior Teacher-in-charge of Special Education in the Southern Darling Downs district. I was based at Warwick East State School, which of course is in Warwick. Here is a bit of information you can store away in your grey matter just in case you ever get asked the trivial pursuit question, “What was the first public school to be built and operate in Queensland”? The answer is Warwick East State School.

I remember well the class of teenagers I worked with at that school. They ranged in age from thirteen to eighteen, and they all loved stories. Their favourite was, “The Bunyip in the Billycan” a children’s story written by Mavis Scott. None of the kids could read the text, but they could certainly read the colourful illustrations. Some could even open each page and tell the story. Well, not word for word for what was written in the text, but they knew the gist of the story. Whenever asked if they wanted a story, the answer was always “yes”. And when asked, “What story would you like”? The answer invariably was, “Bunyip”.

The school had its own pottery room and kiln. Over a period of almost a year, the class and I made a large ceramic mural, with permission of the book’s author and illustrator, of one of the illustrations in “The Bunyip and the Billycan”. It consisted of tiles which were first bisque fired and then glazed and bolted individually onto a large sheet of five-ply with a solid wood border around the outside. At one stage it was hung in the school library. I wonder if it is still there.

Engendering a love of reading is important for all kids of all ages, if we are to help optimise their educational development. It is a great pity that so many kids these days spend so much of their time playing games on smart phones and other electronic gadgets. Books are not as popular as they once were as there are so many other things to occupy young and not so young minds. Occasionally I catch public transport, and I never ceased to be amazed at the number of thumbs tapping away on smart phones. In years gone by many passengers would instead be reading newspapers and magazines.

So, anyone who encourages kids to read more needs to be commended.

Photography is one of my passions. On last Saturday I had the opportunity of photographing a group of young kids with children’s story books. The author of the books wanted photographs for her new web site. Before the shoot I knew that the lady involved was a children’s book author, but I had no idea at all what her books were about.

Janine Thomas is a children’s book author with a difference. She has a series of templates with well illustrated full colour graphics. When she receives an order from someone wanting a book for a particular child, Janine inserts that child’s name into the story. The child in effect becomes the hero of the story, and a book is printed and published specifically for that child.

What a fantastic way to get children to read, having them in a story which is all about them.

Janine calls her business, It’s All About Me Kids. Clicking on that link will take you to her web site. To see her Facebook page, click on It’s All About Me Kids Facebook page.

From the shoot I obtained several hundred quality photos of the kids. Some on their own, some interacting with others, and some reading their books. I decided to put all of these photographs together into a book of my own. Oops! I should have said several books. Because there are several different editions. One is a paperback edition which contains seventy-six pages measuring eight and a half inches by eleven inches, in full colour. The other editions are E-Books which are inexpensive and available for instant download. You have the choice of Amazon Kindle, EPUB or PDF for these instant downloads. Although there are different editions with different covers, the contents in each of these books is identical. I have links to them all on a new page I have included on one of my web sites. The page is called Kids Love Books.

Time, Schedules and Some Random Thoughts

Is it being pretentious to classify the contemplation of the vicissitudes of life as philosophy?

Well, none of the existing headings I had for the limited number of blogs so far on this page seemed appropriate, so philosophy it is.

One of the advantages of retirement is the additional time to reflect. And, that I was doing both yesterday and again today.

A sign at the Sherwood Arboretum, I was there yesterday for a photography shoot, claims it to be one of only four arboreta in Queensland. Who cares? You may say. And, why my interest in trees and shrubs?

For years, many years ago, I was a member of the Society for Growing Australian Plants (SGAP). I even did trips out into the bush collecting seeds to do my own propagation of plants. It was never really a business, more of a passion or hobby, but I did sell some plants in addition to giving heaps away. One of my clients for sales was Griffith University in Brisbane. That university only planted native plants on their campus which were endemic to the area. The landscape architect at the time was a mate of mine, and he gave me permission to collect seeds and other propagating material from the site to grow on in my own mini-nursery. Once the plants I had propagated were well established, I would sell them back to the university. This was in the 1970’s. My day job at the time was with the Brisbane YMCA, and if you visit the Acacia Ridge YMCA or the Jamboree Heights Y-West you can still see some of the results, forty years on, of some of my plants. No, I was not the YMCA’s gardener, I was actually their Associate Executive Director at the time, later becoming the organisation’s Executive Director.

In the past I have been guilty of boring others by giving the Latin botanical names of plants when they have given a common name. Many years after working at the Y, I had lecturing and other roles in TAFE. Although working at the time as the head of the Education Department in the TAFE, one of the TAFE lecturers in horticulture would on occasions bring along plant specimens to discuss with me, and for me to help identify. Sometimes I could help and I got it right. I reckon that if I had not chosen a career in Education, I could very easily have had a satisfying career in the Forestry Department, or in the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Knowing that others may find it annoying, I do try to refrain from giving botanical names of plants to people who could not really care at all if the plants had a name, and what it was. Yesterday however, I found myself inadvertently doing it. It was at a photography shoot I had organised at the Sherwood Aboretum. Two other photographers and my model friend Dallas and I were walking along one of the pathways in the arboretum, and, I happened to make the comment, “that pathway up ahead with the Lomandra Longifolia growing either side would be a good spot for a couple of shots”. I remember receiving a few questioning stares, but nothing was actually said. I shall post one of the shots I took below. It may help break the monotony of the written text.

Mad Hatter on Stilts

Dallas is a talented performer who lives in Mackay in north Queensland. Every few months she comes down to Brisbane for a few days to perform. When she does come down, we usually catch up at least once for a photo shoot. As you can see, on this occasion, Dallas was dressed as the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. And, not just any old Mad Hatter, but one walking on stilts a few metres high.

Now is probably the time for me to refocus and get back to the topic of this blog, “Time, Schedules and Some Random Thoughts”.

Now, I have been giving you lots of random stuff, so I can’t really be accused of straying from the topic given. But, what about the first two parts, “time” and “Schedules”?

Let me discuss schedules first. Most people keep a calendar or some sort of diary or things to be done list, don’t they? Otherwise, how do they know what to do and when to do it? Appointments and other things I have scheduled for myself need to be written down. Otherwise, they will not happen. I certainly could not rely on memory alone.

Look out, I am about to go random again. Talking about not relying on memory brought it on.

I was actually taught by a psychologist not to rely on my memory and to write stuff down.

Those of you from Brisbane who were around at the time may recall that we had The World Expo here in 1988. The area directly south of the city across the Brisbane River prior to Expo had been a bit of a slum area, with grotty, sleazy old buildings and hotels. It was an area most reputable people did not go to. Most of the buildings were bulldozed and the area we now know as Southbank was the World Expo site.

I had taken leave without pay from teaching in the second semester of 1988 to complete the requirements of a Bachelor of Arts degree. In August of that year I was riding my motor cycle out to the University of Queensland to attend a special lecture in one of my subjects. It was actually on Exhibition Wednesday which is always a public holiday in Brisbane. The special lecture was to cover a few topics the lecturer wanted to cover with us as she was about to head off overseas. The roads were quiet and there was very little traffic.

I never got to that lecture, and I eventually completed the remainder of my Arts degree a few years later, the same way I had finished the first two and a half years of it, studying in a part-time capacity. Whilst my classmates from uni were at the lecture, I was lying on a bed in the Intensive Care Ward of the Mater Public Hospital, unconscious with life threatening injuries. Apparently I had been hit at speed by a panel van which had driven through a stop sign on my left hand side.

Luckily, if you can call any aspects of a serious accident lucky, the accident occurred at south Brisbane close to the Mater with an ambulance being quickly on the scene. If the same accident happened further away, I possibly would not be here telling this story now.

My injuries included a left femur with its neck totally shattered, my left hip apparently received the direct blow from the van. My left clavicle and scapula were both fractured as were my top three ribs. There were smashed teeth and closed head injuries and fractured right carpal bones. The life threatening injuries were caused by my broken ribs collapsing my lungs.

I will not go into details of my recovery time and the demoralising affect having to rely on others for everything; including washing, eating and toileting has on you. I shall leave that for another occasion.

But, I was about to talk about my need to write things down. Serious trauma can have an adverse affect on short term memory. And, after the accident my short term memory was totally shot. After discharge from hospital I had regular physiotherapy visits to learn to stand and walk again, and visits to psychologists to develop strategies to cope, especially when I returned to full time work again.

Twenty-nine years after my accident, I retain the habit of writing things down. After years of using a pen and actually writing in the pages of a diary, in recent years I have adapted to technology and now use my ipad. The only problem I now have occasionally is forgetting to check my ipad calendar some mornings.

My ipad lets me know what I have scheduled for today, or next week, or whenever. If it is scheduled, I will do it unless there is some compelling reason not to. And if, for whatever reason, I have changed my mind, I will certainly ensure that any others who may be affected by my decision will be informed of it.

What I find curious is the number of people who claim to be going to a certain event or activity, and then don’t go without giving any apology or excuse to others who may be expecting their attendance.

Here are a couple of examples.

Under the banner of “Passionate About Photography”, I organise regular photo shoots. These are held anywhere in south-east Queensland. Many of them have themes and they are available to anyone who would like to attend. However, people attending are required to indicate that they plan to attend. No money changes hands at these shoots, neither the models nor the photographers being paid. The numbers attending these shoots have varied from zero to well over thirty people. In addition to models, I used to allow any photographer who wanted to attend to come along also. I now limit the number of photographers to a maximum of two others apart from me. And, they need to apply in advance and agree to certain protocols I have set.

The most recent Passionate About Photography shoot was yesterday, Sunday 23 April. The theme for the shoot was “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” and the venue for the shoot was the Sherwood Arboretum. This was going to be a big one. I had been in correspondence with several people over several weeks regarding aspects of the shoot. The relevant Facebook page shows that one hundred and thirty people had expressed an interest in attending, and there were a definite twenty-two who were going to attend. Of those twenty-two, two had sent me messages the day before the shoot that they were not able to make it, and on the day of the shoot, one other got lost.

Colin, Christine and I, the three photographers for this shoot, were all there before the scheduled starting time of ten o’clock. One model, Dallas, was also there. We waited until a quarter past ten for the others to turn up, but no one else arrived. We still had a great shoot. Dallas is a talented performer who had gone to considerable trouble with her outfit. She even brought along her stilts for us to get some amazing Mad Hatter shots. Not only that, Dallas is a visitor to Brisbane. She lives in Mackay in north Queensland and had come to the venue in her hire car.

I still have not heard from the other eighteen people who had said they would be there. I hope at least some of them, especially the kids amongst them, will be disappointed after seeing the photos of Dallas that they were not there to be photographed with her.

I use a Facebook page for the Passionate About Photography Shoots. If someone said they were coming along and then was not able to make it, how difficult would it be to send a message or to place a posting saying so? And, if perhaps there was a last minute problem, a text message is fairly simple to send. As with most people, I generally take my mobile phone with me wherever I go, and my mobile number is on the Facebook page.

It was mentioned earlier that I would give you a couple of examples of people being unreliable and not doing what they said they were going to do. The previous Passionate About Photography shoot, prior to the shoot at Sherwood, was at Wilson’s Outlook at New Farm. A great little park with fantastic views of the Brisbane’s river and the Story bridge with the city skyscrapers behind. Ten people had indicated that they were going to this shoot, and an additional twenty-seven people had indicated that they were interested. The scheduled shoot start time was ten o’clock, and as with all of my appointments, whether they be shoots or otherwise, I made a point of being there early. At ten-fifteen after no-one had arrived, and with no apologies from those who had said they were coming along, I got back in my vehicle and headed for home. A couple of minutes later my phone rang when I was half way across the Story Bridge. Even although I own a hands free device, I don’t use it. I think it is important when driving to give driving your full attention. But, as soon as I could pull over to the side of the road safely on the south side of the river I returned the call. The call had been from one of the models who had indicated that they were going to the shoot and was wondering where everyone was. I explained that I had been there and had given fifteen minutes grace beyond the planned starting time, and was now heading back home.

My home at Jimboomba, is about an hours drive from this park at New Farm. I had arrived at the park soon after nine in the morning. Taking into account the preparation time for the shoot, I had effectively wasted four hours of my time because nine of the ten people who said that they were coming to a shoot didn’t bother to come or to apologise in advance for not coming. One other did not make the effort to be there on time. Obviously, if I knew people were not going to be there I would have found more constructive things to do with my time.

I stopped doing individual shoots for models I had not previously met several years ago, because so many of them were unreliable, and often just did not show up. Organising group shoots I thought would solve that problem. And, generally it has worked. My evidence in only anecdotal, but there does seem to be an increasing trend of people not caring about others, and only thinking about themselves.

Why are so many people so inconsiderate and unreliable?

You may well ask, why do I bother continuing with these shoots? Well, the examples I have given are exceptions. The vast majority of people I have photographed over the years have been reliable and appreciative of my efforts, and the results of the photographs I had taken of them. The majority have profiles on the Starnow, which is a web site specifically for actors, models and performers. Dallas, who I have already talked about, I had made first contact with through the Starnow site. I have just checked and there are over ninety recommendations for me as a photographer from actors and models on the site. These guys help compensate for the others.

Gees! I still have not talked about all the things I had planned to, especially regarding “time”, but this post is getting far too long, so I shall leave the rest for another occasion.

Book Order Arrived Yesterday

I may be getting on in years, but there still are some things which excite me. Yesterday, it was the beep of a horn!

Yeah! I know, “small things amuse small minds”, but this was the horn of the courier’s van. And, that courier was delivering my latest order of books. Now, these were not just any old books! They were books that were fairly special to me. They were books that I had authored, been the photographer and graphic designer for, and had also been their publisher.

Not a great deal of work was required for the authoring component of these four particular books, as three of them are basically photography albums without much text. The fourth is one with which I am really pleased. I have illustrated with colour photos and graphics a heap of my favourite quotations. I have not counted the number of quotes, but the book is over one hundred pages in length. It is American Letter size, 8.5 inches X 11 inches, and each page in full colour with one or two quotations.

Below is part of the blurb I have placed on the back cover of, “Staying Positive During 2017 and Beyond – Inspirational and Other Quotes”.

“Philosophers, politicians, actors, authors and many others throughout history have said or written things that are memorable for us. Perhaps it is the clever use of word combination, or something meaningful, expressed succinctly.

In this publication I have compiled a list of some of my favourite quotations. These quotes cover many different genres including; motivation, love, family, and of course fun.

Each of these quotations I have endeavoured to make more interesting through the addition of colour graphics and/or colour photographs. All models appearing in this publication have been photographed be me, and I have also organised the layout of each page.

To my American friends reading this, I am an Aussie, and I have used Australian English throughout.”

One of my favourites in the book from Woody Allen

Below is the cover of this book.

If you would like to purchase a copy of this paperback, it would be great. It has an ISBN and will be available through all major international book sellers. It is currently listed on each of Amazon’s sites. Or, you can use this site. Here is a link from where you can make a purchase.

As you can see it has a price tag of US$25.00. If you live in Australia however, it will cost you more than that. Apart from the conversion into Aussie dollars, you will have the shipping cost from the USA. This will cost close to the same cost of the book, which may make the transaction a bit expensive.

As the author, obviously I can get copies for a bit less than the retail listed price. In addition I save on the shipping cost of each individual book by ordering several at the same time. I do have multiple copies of this publication and the other three which came in the same order. If you would like a copy of the paperback from me, I normally carry a few with me in my vehicle and can let you have a copy for $30.00 Australian.

Perhaps you would like a less expensive e-book version of, “Staying Positive During 2017 and Beyond – Inspirational and Other Quotes”.

A Kindle version is already available.

And, as of this morning there is an EPUB version which can be read on any e-reader.

I have priced the Kindle edition as low as I possibly could. It is less than US$2.00. Success through Amazon relies a lot on positive reviews. If you purchase the Kindle e-book through Amazon, I would really appreciate a review on Amazon from you. It will take only a few minutes of your time, but would be of great value to me.

The EPUB file is a bit dearer than the Kindle version, but not everyone has a Kindle reader. (They are available for free if you want one.) The EPUB version can be read with any EPUB reader. I use the Adobe EPUB Reader. You can download your free copy by clicking on the link.

How would you like both the e-book version and the paperback version for less than the price of the paperback? Well you can!

Purchase the Kindle, write a positive review, let me know, and a copy of the paperback is yours for $25.00 Aussie.

I did mention that multiple copies of four books arrived yesterday. Below are the covers of the other three.