Christmas in Photos

15 Frederick Street

Christmas light panorama from Frederick Street, Randwick

These are some of the other photos I took over the Christmas period. I had meant to post them before Christmas but didn’t get a chance to sort through them all in time, so I thought I’d post them now instead.

Most of the photos are from around Sydney, except for the first few which I took during my trip to Melbourne last month. The Christmas lights are all from houses in Frederick Street in Randwick, near where we live.

My favourites are the ones from around the Queen Victoria Building in the Sydney CBD, which was beautifully decorated this year. I had coffee there with my mother on Christmas Eve and was spoilt for choice, walking around, trying to work out what to photograph.

There are quite a few photos so I’ve split them after a page break to make it load faster and you can click on any of them to make them larger as well. I hope you enjoy them and that you had a wonderful festive break. ~ CJ.

Melbourne at Christmas

The Melbourne CBD, decorated for Christmas. I wish I’d spent more time wandering around as there was a lot I didn’t get a chance to photograph and the decorations were beautiful. Next year, I guess.

Melbourne Christmas Windows

Myer’s Christmas windows in Melbourne. This year’s window displays were based on Rob Scotton’s “Russell’s Christmas Magic” and there was also a separate window with a nativity scene.

Melbourne Christmas Windows

“Russell’s Christmas Magic” is about Russell the Sheep, who comes to the rescue when Santa and his broken sleigh are left stranded in Firefly Wood. It really felt like the book was coming to life.

Myer Melbourne Christmas windows

The sheep, Santa and reindeer were fabulous and most were fully articulating. The frogs were my favourite though – very cute.

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Have Yourself An Aussie Kind of Christmas

Christmas Salad

Merry Christmas to everyone celebrating in their part of the world today. I hope you are having a wonderful day with your family and friends.

We did things a little bit differently this year. We can’t cook much in our kitchen at the moment as our stove has pretty much had it, so we had our main Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve instead and went out for a meal at a local restaurant which was lovely. A work-friend of my father’s joined us as well and it was nice sharing the Christmas cheer. We had a quiet day today, opening a few presents and then had a light Christmas salad for dinner. It was simple and all we really wanted to do this year. I don’t think any of us wanted to make much fuss after an eventful year.

We visited my uncle, his partner and my cousins last Saturday as well, which was a lovely trip. They spoilt us rotten and it was fun being around children and a young family at Christmas again. I got some great photos of the surrounding bushland while we were there as well which I’m looking forward to posting at some stage.

In any case, as has become something of a tradition on my blog now, to celebrate Christmas I’ve written another one of my Aussie Christmas songs. Last year I wrote Deck the Ute, an Aussie version of Deck the Halls, and this year I settled on Have Yourself An Aussie Kind of Christmas, an Aussie version of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.

I’ve written five of these Aussie Christmas songs now and this was by far the hardest one. It took me a long time to choose a song and I think I’m starting to run out of well-known songs as most of the best known ones don’t really suit an Australian translation (Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! for instance), so I’ll have to think carefully about which one to do next year. In the end I chose Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas because it’s one of my favourite Christmas songs and also because I wanted to do something a little different this year and try to show what it feels like for Australians spending Christmas overseas, longing to be home with their families and friends. Given the number of Australians who have to leave home for work every year and also our soldiers currently deployed overseas, I thought it suited the rather melancholic feel of the original song.

The two best-known versions are probably by Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra; Garland’s is personally my favourite as it’s more serious and sombre in tone (although nowhere near as depressing as the original lyrics written for the song in Meet Me in St. Louis, which Garland had changed), which often reflects my mood at Christmas, but I like Sinatra’s version as well and so decided to combine the two to reflect both versions and make it a bit longer as well.

I hope you enjoy it. And Merry Christmas. 😉

Aussie Santa Xmas Train

Have Yourself An Aussie Kind of Christmas

Summer sunshine is far away
This cold winter has set in to last
I’m dreaming of a place I loved but could not stay
And warm Christmases of the past…

Have yourself an Aussie kind of Christmas
May your winter days be bright
Some day soon this longing will be set right
And you’ll be home

Have yourself an Aussie kind of Christmas
Tell Santa Claus g’day
One day you’ll see him fly over Sydney in his sleigh
Once again

Here we are in this new century
These happy years of promise and awe
I long to see my loved ones once again
And to hold them close once more

In my heart I know they won’t forget me
And one day I’ll be home if funds allow
Until then I’ll just have to save up somehow
And try to have myself an Aussie kind of Christmas now

So have yourself an Aussie kind of Christmas
Throw a shrimp on the barbeque
One day soon you won’t feel so blue
Anymore

Have yourself an Aussie kind of Christmas
Grab a beer and watch the kids play
They’ll be all grown up one day
As life moves on

Here we are in happier times
These memories we cherish and adore
I find myself thinking of old friends
And wishing I was near them once more

Over the years good mates always stick together
So even when distance won’t allow
We’ll still find a way to celebrate somehow
And try to have ourselves an Aussie kind of Christmas now

Christmas Light Painting

Christmas Light Painting

Lights shine brightly
Under the moon’s
Silent gaze:
Christmas is here again

This photo is from Frederick Street, about fifteen minutes away from where we live in Randwick. The houses in Frederick Street are well known locally for their Christmas displays; almost every house in the street gets into the festive spirit at this time of year, decorating their houses and gardens with amazing Christmas displays, and it’s something I enjoy seeing every year.

I will be posting some photos from Frederick Street tomorrow but I found this photo rather interesting as it’s a bit different. It’s of a small bush decorated with colourful lights outside one of the houses. When I took it, all the lights blended together, creating a colourful mosaic that reminded me a little of a painting. I then edited it to remove more of the detail and this was the final result. I quite like it – it’s familiar but not immediately obvious what it actually is and I like that effect.

The original photo is here as well if you want to compare them.

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2012

O Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree 2012

Lights and carols
Smiles everywhere
But my heart misses you
This Christmas

Our Christmas tree for this year. We were going to buy a new tree as our old tree broke last year and this spare one is really a bit too small for all our ornaments but as we’re going to be moving soon, we thought it was better to wait. We still managed to get everything on it in the end, more or less.

Putting the ornaments up I found several my grandmother had given us, as well as some beautiful embroidered Christmas pictures she had made for us that I’d forgotten about. I was thinking of her and everything else that’s happened this year when I wrote the haiqua.

With the photo I wanted to try to make it look a little like a Christmas card, so I edited the photo to remove a lot of the detail and make it look more like a painting. I like how it turned out and think I’ll get it printed on canvas at some stage for next Christmas.

The collage below shows a few other angles of the tree as well. I used the Diptic app to create the collage. It’s one of my favourite apps and well worth checking out if you haven’t tried it – would make a good Christmas gift for someone if you’ve run out of ideas too.

Christmas Tree Diptic

Photos and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2012

Sleepless Night

Crescent Moon

A long, sleepless night:
My mind wanders far away
In search of answers

Another shooting
More death, violence,
And tears:
Will it ever end?

Life, love, death,
A never-ending cycle –
Is this truly
All there is?

Good and evil
There is no such thing:
We all hide monsters
In our hearts

The clock strikes midnight
Shadows spread across the walls:
Time waits for no one

Silence surrounds me,
An ocean of
Nothingness
I cannot escape

My heart aches –
I loved her more
Than words can say
But it was not enough

Moving on
Is a long and winding road:
I must find
My own way home

A warm summer breeze
Whispering through the treetops
Like a lover’s sigh

Another Christmas
Bright lights shining
On the tree:
It is not the same

Morning:
Haze hangs in the air
While music drifts
From somewhere far away

In the distance
A yellow sun
Begins to rise:
At last I find rest

Birds sing in the trees
Children laugh and play outside:
Life goes on once more


I’ve been working on this poem for a few days and finished it while I was still awake early this morning. I’ve been feeling quite down the closer it’s got to Christmas; I guess I’ve had a lot on my mind after an eventful year and writing this poem has helped me to sort through a lot of what I’ve been feeling, as well as trying to make sense of the terrible events in Connecticut from earlier this week as well.

The poem is inspired by a lot of things – the shooting in Connecticut, the end of a recent relationship, my grandmother dying – but it’s primarily meant as a collection of thoughts and feelings, the kind of thoughts that enter your mind in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep and your mind just wanders. In that way it’s also a bit of a companion piece to another poem I wrote, The Sound of Midnight, which explored the same idea at a different point in my life.

The photo is a photo I took of a crescent moon last year. I haven’t taken many photos of the moon as it’s one of the more difficult subjects to capture as it’s so bright and you need a very long lens to capture it properly. This was actually the first shot I took… not too bad for a first try. I’ll have to take some more at some stage now that I know what to do!


Photo © CJ Levinson 2011-12
Poem licenced under Creative Commons

Looking Down Union Lane

Down Union Lane

A thousand pictures
Across two walls,
Telling the stories
Of our lives

This is another photo I took while in Melbourne last month. It’s of Union Lane, a small lane off Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne. The location is well known for its street art and graffiti murals, the main bulk of which was approved by the City of Melbourne in 2010 and consists of art by dozens of artists painted over 5 months. You need a legal permit to officially paint here but unfortunately it’s also a prime target for unauthorised graffiti, as you can see in the photo.

Standing at one end and looking down these long walls of graffiti is quite a sight, a feeling I was trying to recreate with the photo. I didn’t get a chance to see Hosier Lane, which is even more well known for its street art, but hopefully will get to do that the next time I’m in Melbourne.

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2012

Union Lane 2

Update: A version I edited in black and white as well.

Flinders Street Station

Flinders Street Station

I am like
A train leaving its station:
My journey goes
Ever on

Flinders Street Station, at the corner of Flinders and Swanston streets in Melbourne. This was one of the photos I really wanted to get while I was in Melbourne last week as it’s such a beautiful and iconic building. I think it came out quite well in the end and doesn’t look too touristy, which was something I was trying to avoid.

The station is the oldest train station in Australia and was originally designed by James Fawcett and H.P.C. Ashworth in 1899 as part of a design competition, with construction on the main building completed in 1909. Sadly Ashworth didn’t live to see the completion of his design as he died from illness in 1903 at the age of 32.

Over 110,000 commuters and 1,500 trains pass through the station every weekday; during the mid to late 1920s the station was the world’s busiest passenger station, with over 290,000 passengers and 200 trains passing through the station daily.

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2012
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