The blacks and whites in Paris

……. and all shades of grey in between ….

Paris and Provence  are a delight if you like black and white photography.  Any photography for that matter.  I resisted shooting plates of food – – – and stuck to eating it.

Below I share a selection of photos I took during a recent visit to Paris and Provence.

There is no rhyme or reason to the selection … more random than thoughtful. If you don’t like these I have LOTS more.

The first is a colour photo – just to let you know I did see lots of colour too – then a few with dashes of colour to ease you into the B&Ws that cover the full range from high to low contrast.

I hope you enjoy them.

VIEWING TIPS

1  if you received a copy of this post in the body of an email – don’t read the email version …. Unless you have no choice.  Click on the link to the blog website. Reason: see tip 2

2  when you view the blog on the website – double  click on the first photo and it will fill your page to full size.  The other photos should also automatically fill your page as you scroll through them.

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60 and counting. Counting down.


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When did you last have a night out that satisfied your every dream?

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I can’t remember either, but last night I came very close.

A celebration of our 60th birthdays – that is, my wife Margot’s and my birthdays.

Family, friends, good food, good wine, great dancing music and the perfect location – watching the sun set in the west across Sydney Harbour from the verandah of a community yacht club with the full moon rising over our shoulders to the east…the sound of bubbles escaping capture as they are fluted in well wishing salutes.

From each decade passed through, each stage of our life experienced, each challenge worked through, each success celebrated, each failure diluted, those present have contributed to making our lives special.  And they’re not all our vintage.  Children of friends, their partners and friends, all part of a circle that welcomes us, and shares.

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And the stories begin, individual discoveries ranging from God, travel, grandchildren and new loves through to a new golf handicap and commonly – the simplicity of de-cluttering…. garages, homes, work and minds. Expensive cars and other trappings giving way to a quest to achieve that rarest of commodities: more time.  Or rather, making the most of the time we have.

Loud conversation, louder music, food shared, the floor bouncing under the gyrations of discordant dance, stories abound and a few themes emerge… Universally, Health and friendships have become our most valued treasures.  Finding time for both our biggest challenge.

Actuaries predict our life expectancy increases by 20% if we reach the age of 60. I limped across the line and at midnight on the eve of my 60th I grasped the promise of extra time as if it where the winning ticket in a multi million dollar lottery.

10 years to do those physical things that I’ve planned for 60, thereafter a more restrictive diet of physical goals and a focus on the cerebral.

So I ask, what will I stop doing to make time for my priorities?

Good question.

When?

Another good one.

The shared camaraderie I experienced last night is a stark reminder of many shocking and comforting truths.  We are social beings.  We are capable of sharing and caring.

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We need to spend more time doing so and the time to start doing more is now, not tomorrow.

Professionally, I deal with preparation for death. Wills and estates.  Important stuff.  Not half as important however as living life while we still can as life will pass us by, whilst death will consume us forever.

Pregnant with ideas … it’s stocktake time …. or rather, spring cleaning time … It’s time to do a list of ‘will-do’s’ not a list of ‘like-to-do’s’.

For those interested, I’ll post all the photos from the evening on Instagram sometime in the next week.

Who am I ?

I’m a specialist estate planning lawyer + professional traveller + keen photographer + political observer. I like to share my experiences across all four devotions – often as a mixed lot. If you like this blog please subscribe for more.

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Disclaimer: this blog is of a general nature for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Readers should seek specific help for their specific circumstances.


A Rock Solid Legacy

Have you visited that little known, secret hide away modestly called the Garden of Stones?

With two profession photographers from Fairfax Media, Tia McIntrye (the Clique Event Organiser), and 14 other wannabe photographers I visited the Garden of Stones last weekend.  Just 2 1/2 hours from Sydney it’s a geological wonderland on the edge of Lithgow and is at the centre of a battle between the coal industry and local conservation groups.

Natural Pagodas

Natural Pagodas

According to those with the money it is an area of no historical, geographic or other important significance ….. not much good for anything except digging up.

I don’t judge, but invite you to have a think about it.

Below are a few snaps I took in my short visit.  If you haven’t been there…… do so …. but quickly.  I’d hate you to miss it.

Keep an eye open for a photo exhibition featuring the Garden of Stones in the next few months in Sydney’s CBD – not sure where yet, possible at Customs House.

If you want to know more contact the: Colong Foungation Website

…. and then there is the future of the mine workers … where is it?  It’s certainly not with their current industry which has a used by date that’s looming fast.  What are we doing for them?  Like the Gardens of Stone,  they too need some love and protection … perhaps,  alternate job opportunities.  The alternate energy sector  is a viable option for them … oops, I forgot our Prime Minister is sun struck and has layered the industry with a thick coat of greasy sunshine screen to shield it from growth.

We all have a role to play in protecting all from extinction: The Garden of Stones, mine workers and the alternate energy sector.

I ASK:

What legacy should we leave future generations ?

The Garden of Stones0876 The Garden of Stones0846 The Garden of Stones0807 The Garden of Stones0743 The Garden of Stones0737 The Garden of Stones0708 The Garden of Stones0416WHO AM I?

I’m a specialist estate planning lawyer + professional traveller + keen photographer + political observer. I like to share my experiences across all four devotions – often as a mixed lot. If you like this blog please subscribe for more.

I INVITE YOUR COMMENTS

If you have any comments about this blog or tips to add to this blog please do so – your comments and tips will help all of us in our travels.

Use the ‘leave a comment’ link at the top right hand side of the blog (above my photo) to send a message to me.

Use the “Follow” link at the bottom of the column on the right to subscribe to this blog.

PLEASE SHARE THIS BLOG WITH PEOPLE YOU BELIEVE MAY BE INTERESTED

VISIT OTHER BLOGS 

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Disclaimer: this blog is of a general nature for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Readers should seek specific help for their specific circumstances.


a WOW factor Photo

Do some photographs catch your breath …. so outstanding, you wish it was yours?

 

I saw a performance by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Group in Sydney about 30 years ago…. to this day it remains one of my fondest memories.  Seeing them again is reason enough to visit New York.

 

I began following the dance troop on Facebook a few years ago.   Why ?

 

Their photographer captures their spirit of dance in a away that amazes me ….. it makes visiting Facebook a treat…. every day.

 

Kirven Douthit and Rachael McLaren.  Photo by Andrew Eccles.

Kirven Douthit and Rachael McLaren.
Photo by Andrew Eccles

Give your eyes a treat and visit Andrew Eccle’s site: Click Here

Visit the Alvin Ailey website at:  Click Link Here – Alvin Ailey

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Disclaimer:  this blog is of a general nature for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Readers should seek specific help for their specific circumstances.


While Marriage Kills Wills – Separation Doesn’t – EP Tip 4

 

Just separated, looking forward to a fresh new start.  Life beyond divorce…

 

Its greener and brighter on the other side.  Don't trip over the gate.

Its greener and brighter on the other side.  Don’t trip over the gate.  (A canola field in NSW)

Die before a divorce is finalised – chances are your Ex will inherit everything you own pursuant to your Will.

If you don’t have a Will  –  chances are your Ex will still get most …perhaps all… of your assets under the intestacy laws.  It varies a little depending on the jurisdiction you live in.  Just accept that the story doesn’t end happily for you….

Big concern, simple solution.  Do a new Will when you separate.

What happens when I get a formal divorce?

If you survive the separation period – then divorce will automatically alter your existing Will.   At least in many jurisdictions  –  but not all.  You need to check if you live in a lucky country.

Even is a lucky country the impact varies between the different States and Territories.  In some jurisdictions, divorce automatically revokes (cancels) the entire Will.  In others, divorce simply revokes any appointment of your former spouse as your executor and any gift you left your Ex unless:

• a court is satisfied that was not your intention;  or

• you re-do your Will or do a Codicil to the Will after the divorce without changing the appointment of your Ex as executor and/or a gift to him/her.

Rather than leave these matters open to dispute in the courts, it is much better for you to do a

new Will immediately after separation and then again (if necessary) once a property settlement is in place.

EP Tip 4:

Reviewing and updating your Will is just as important as creating one.   Separation from a partner is just one event that should jolt you into action.

 

Bigfoot-2

Don’t get stepped on

 

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What Gobi Desert Nomads know about Estate Planning that you don’t: EP Tip 1

Have you visited the Gobi desert?  If not, place it on your ‘to do’ list.  

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Goats get a rare treat – water

WHY ?

The Mongolian Nomads live a simple – but hard hard life – in a terrain that is unforgiving….marvel at how they survive.

They have little – of a material nature  – to offer  –  just their hospitality – but its worth the trip just to experience their love of life and their welcoming smiles …and if you are a photographer….its paradise.

This blog includes a few photos I snapped when I was there.

The Gobi is home to about 600,000 Mongolian Nomads – almost half of Mongolia’s population.  

They roam in perpetual search for meager pickings to sustain their livestock stock and themselves.

They roam across vast expanses of gravelly plains sparsely dotted with a short tough grass.

Remote, with long, hard winters at minus 40 C  and short, sizzling summers at +30 C  –  it’s not an easy life.

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Inbound dust storm – 10 minutes later – zero visability

While weathered parents and grandparents follow a path that their forbears and nature has laid out for them, they plan the future of their children and children’s children with certainty – direction – determination.

Mother & Child

Mother & Child

I met Bet, a mother, the eldest of 5 children.  Her destiny  – assisting her parents manage their nomadic existence AND facilitating her parents to fund the education of her 4 younger siblings.  Now all professionals.

THEIR PLAN – one day the younger children will provide for her parents in their dotage.   Perhaps a small home on the edge of a town with water, electricity and a plot to keep a few goats.  Their nomadic life a memory.

Bet and babe

Bet and babe

And Bet’s own children – the same long-term plan – one remains on the desert plains to help her and her husband while the others are given the opportunity to be nomads no-more.

The lesson: no matter what our stage in life or our wealth (or lack of it) the time to start planning – our future – our kids’ future – and future generations is NOW.  It’s never too late to start but many things take time to implement so the earlier you start the better the chances of success.

For many people Estate Planning can seem hard – and it can be.  But nowhere as hard as life in the Gobi.

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The nomadic people of the Gobi manage to improve the lives of themselves and their future generations – through perseverance and planning.

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A lonely camel

A lonely camel_RGC0736-2

Sand Dunes
Sand Dunes