A Day in the Countryside

The last month of Autumn traditionally has the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets, due mainly I think to the crisp clear skies at this time of year.  The month of May in Queensland did not disappoint, the clouds and sunset colours lined up and set the sky on fire.  Just check out a wide variety of social media posts, (not now, whilst reading my blog 😉 ), you will find some breathtaking photos, some of which I watched in envy for 3 days straight whilst I was busy with yearly budgets at my desk.  As I had holidays booked for the following week I decided a day in the countryside was in order to try to capture a breathtaking sunset photo in the county.

It was a clear sunny day as we set out west.  As we had the whole day ahead firstly we headed up the range to Toowoomba, pay a visit to the Japanese Gardens.  The Japanese Gardens are jointly owned by University of Southern Queensland and Toowoomba City Council and is one of Australia’s largest and most traditionally designed Japanese Gardens (for more information check out http://www.usq.edu.au/campus-services/garden

SIP Toowoomba Area 2

On entering the gardens, for lack of a better word, you feel the Zen feeling take over your body, from the moment you step through the red archway and gate you are greeted with an abundance of colour, especially in Autumn, from the deep blue sky to the vibrant reds and the different shades of yellow and green.  As you walk around the gardens you hear the sounds of the ducks, birds and the trickling of water down the rocks.

SIP Toowoomba Area

You are transported to Japan with the subtle placement of statues, paths of stepping stones and of course the red bridges connecting the different parts of the garden and in essence blending everything together.   Take the time to not only walk the gardens but sit and watch the turtles and ducks swim around.  Or maybe just sit in the one of the gazebos and experience yourself in the moment.  It is worth the visit and a couple of hours of your time.

SIP Japanese Gardens

It was now that time of day to find that perfect spot for my Autumn breathtaking sunset, no pressure – right.  We decide to head out from Toowoomba on the road to Warwick and see what we find of interest to be the backdrop to the sunset.  I can’t tell you the roads we travelled, there were a few including some back roads, in the end we ended up on a main road overlooking the country hilltops and trees.  As the clouds were not looking that interesting, I knew in my heart, that breathtaking sunset was not going to be today.  Still you never let an opportunity go by so we chose a location to set up the tripod to see what transpired.

SIP Sunset West

As I said in my heart I knew it wasn’t that wow photo I dream about getting but the sunset was still something nice.  To stand there in the moment, no noises except for the occasion truck, it was worth the time and effort to complete the day.

SIP Sunset West 1

Until next week.


Life Lessons

2016 is flying by, hard to believe we are almost half way, in just a few days we are officially in winter,   2016 has been just a little crazy, on a personal point I decided to make my health a priority in my life and took steps to get myself well, fit and healthy.  I am pleased that 3 months later I have lost over 10kg and on the road to a much healthy longer life, a life without depending on medications and sugar.  It’s a long hard road but I have decided, I am worth it.

Many have said that the universe will not give you anything that you can’t handle.  The universe gives you want you need, not necessarily what you want.  More than likely it will be a life lesson and believe me, like ground hog day, if you don’t learn the right one, it will keep giving you life lessons until you get it right and the light bulb goes off (or on, if you know what I mean).

This year the universe has yet again challenged me and my patience, when my NAS data backup system blew up … in english this means that all my photo catalogs, documents and other special items went with it.  After exploring many avenues my drives went to forensic recovery and unfortunately the discs are scorched beyond repair.   Thankfully I had alot of data backed up elsewhere, what I did lose, due to thinking things were backed up and too busy to double check, was more personal – road trips, other creative photos taken mainly between 2014 to present.

After “melting down” over what was lost, I had time to reflect on the situation and look at the bigger picture and hopefully find the right lesson in the experience.  I am grateful that most of my photo adventures since 2014 had been blogged and documented, at least I can look back over the photo collages and stories to relive those memories.It’s now time to move on, get back out there, go on adventures and share new stories. After all I can go back to many places and photograph from a difference perspective, a different mindset.

I now value and understand the importance of my writing and my blogs, if not for anyone else, at least for me.   Writing as a teen came easy, I used to write down everything in diaries and journals.  As an adult, for reasons that escape me, I stopped writing, I didn’t honor that part of me.  Believe me these days the writing doesn’t come as easy, but I now understand why I was pushed and for such a long time continued to get out a blog weekly, trust me some weeks were not as easy as others.

The life lesson is clear, it is time to pick up that pen and paper (or fingers onto the keyboard) and write, I have a gift and the universe tells me it is one that I need to share.   I hope that even though my regular blogs have not been so regular since February you will still join me and share my journey through my eyes and my blogs.

Until next week.


The Year of the Cat

2016 may be the Year of the Monkey in the Chinese Zodiac but in my world it’s the Year of the Cat.  My mascot, Missy, to be exact.

After completing the Photo A Day project in 2015 in the theme of my daily life, I ended up with 365 photos and a photo album with a snap shot and memories of my 2015 year.  It’s magical and so amazing to put together a photo album and click send to have my book printed so I can treasure and leave as a gift for my children when I am not longer in this world.

It was with those feelings that this year, in 2016, I decided to do a daily photo journal of my Cat, Missy.  Not all people are cat people and many people prefer or relate more with dogs, however I have found that I am a cat person.  Missy is a very important “Fur Kid” in my life, she has a calming influence on me and showers a positive energy within my life.

Now this project does not come without a challenge, the challenge to keep the photos creative and not too much of the same thing, after all I must admit, cats don’t do much, they have the same routine day in and day out.  Sleep, Eat, play, get human to wait on them 🙂 .

So far this project has been fun, exciting and interesting.  It has me thinking on a daily basis to capture something different and when I do it puts a major smile on my dial.  Of course Missy is smart and starting to realise that when the camera is stuck in her face she will tend to move on or turn away from me.  We then have to play “cat and mouse” to get that days journal entry.





I hope you enjoy my favourite Missy photos from January.

Until next time.


Road Trip

What happens when three friends who also happen to be photographers decide it’s time to go looking for Sunflowers …. ROAD TRIP!!!!

Over the Christmas/New Year holiday break very early one morning I set off to meet up with my photobuddy and great friend, Karen, to head out west to see if we could find and photograph the sunflower fields.  For those that recall we headed out about 12 months ago but most of the sunflowers had been damaged with storms and as I say “At first if you don’t succeed try and try again”, or it’s a great excuse for a day in the county in the company of friends.

After about a 2 hour road trip in the west direction (I think) and over the range we arrived at our first destination to meet up with our other friend and photobuddy, Glenda.  Glenda is much of a local to these areas and was willing (does she know what she is in for 😉 ) and able to take us on a tour of back roads, interesting sites and various destinations.

Our first stop was close in town at the old Good Year store, Glenda had been wanting to photo this piece of history for awhile, when we first arrived we were disappointed to see a car right in the way however just as we were voicing our disappointment and wished that the car would move, within a minute, the car owner came and drove away.  The power of positive thoughts, right!   Out we hopped and had a great time photographing, one ticked off Glenda’s list.


During our day together we found many treasures, old churches, cemeteries and trees (lots and lots of tress) to photograph but unfortunately not many sunflowers, most of the large fields had been harvested early leaving behind just acres and acres of bare land.  I am unable to recall the actual names of the places we visited, there was just too many – loads of back streets and dirt roads travelled.


Of course with 3 photographers in the car there was the more than occasional –  “stop here, now” moment when something special was found and had to be photographed, thankfully we were not on any time constraints.  Truth be told when one of us couldn’t be bothered saying stop, and to the dismay of the other 2 of us, hung her camera out the sunroof, as the wind was howling, and just took photos that way.


Our last stop for the day was to enjoy a drink and late lunch at the Bar before we heading off for the 2 hour odd journey back home.  By the time I got home that evening I was very tired but so elated.  There is something about a day in the country that just calms the soul, maybe it was the great company, the many many laughs we had or the raw nature that we are blessed with – I think it is a combination of all these.


Thanks ladies, can’t wait to do it again.

Until next week.


What does 2016 have in store for you?

Once the Christmas/New Year celebrations are over, the first few weeks of the new year involves goal setting, forward planning and updating my vision board.  This process involves reflection, time and diving deep within myself to see what I really want and need for the coming year.

This is different from just setting New Year’s Resolutions as most of those don’t last the distance.  All thoughts and ideas are written down and then put into list of priority then each task is broken down into a planning time frame in order to keep myself accountable and ticking off the goals by the end of the year.  By doing this I find that it makes those goals not so daunting and there is a plan to ensure that you achieve and succeed.

2016 will hopefully take me into a new direction whilst still perusing my photography I have some goals that will allow me to expand and grow – new ventures and challenges.  Let us see where the universe takes me on this year on my life journey.   So my question to you, do you plan ahead or do you just make some New Year Resolutions?  Are you a person who makes a vision board?  Do you believe that if you put positive thoughts and ideas to the universe, it will deliver what you need back to you?

Trust me and embrace the power of the universe and positive energy around you, it’s a powerful thing and very rewarding.  Do yourself that favour, you DESERVE it.   Start planning now for the life ahead that you love and live not just exist in.  I look forward to sharing 2016 with you.

Until next week.


Reliving the Highlights of 2015

Oh my goodness, Christmas has come and gone and we are officially almost one month into summer in Queensland.  Where has this year gone?  Each year flyers by so fast that we need to make the most of our life and be grateful for something each and every day.  For me, It’s time to look back over my year and remember some of the highlights that I am grateful for.

Counting them down, Highlight Number 5 – I was contacted by a lady who wanted to do something extra special for her sister for her 50th Birthday, she had planned the whole day out and wanted to surprise her with a You are Beautiful photo shoot.   The day was very special for both sisters and I.  We enjoyed barrels of laughs, magical moments and they walked away with some special photographic memories from the day.  I was honored to be able to make this gift come to life, thus making it a defiant highlight of my year.

Highlight Number 4 – In July this year I was approached by RAW Natural Born Artists to showcase at their local Gold Coast event in September.  Raw is an international organisation that provides independent artists within the first 10 years of their creative career with the tools, resources and exposure needed to inspire and cultivate creativity.    The event was held at Currumbin RSL  and showcased some of my favourite work to date.  My showcase was supported by many friends and fellow photographers and the feedback and exposure continues to this day.  It was a memorable night and something that I am very proud of, being a part of the RAW family.


AIPP Professional Photographer

Highlight Number 3 – Since starting my photography journey it has always been a goal to achieve AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photographers) accreditation.  I am proud to say this goal was reached in the latter part of this year.  I am a strong believer in the long term survival of the photography industry.  I have watched this industry grow since a teenager and appreciate the need for photos and albums within our life, the lives of our children and grandchildren.   With the introduction of the digital age, technology and social media we sometimes forgetting the fundamentals of preserving the moments, trusting in the professionals to achieve this and not just relying on our phones and selfies (Don’t send me hate mail just yet – there is still lots of fun to be had with having fun moments on our phones, I am talking of the bigger picture here).   Being a part of the AIPP and an accredited member is just one step in keeping the art alive and educating those around us about the true profession that is photography.

Highlight Number 2 – Not all my top 5 highlights involve my photograph or my work, as we get closer to number 1 they become more personal which to me is a good way to keep life balanced.  This year my girlfriend turned 40 and she wanted to do something “big” “memorable” and “special”  with those close to her.   Couran Cove was the venue for a 3 day getaway to celebrate life, love and friendship.  Though I can’t reveal the actual of the antics of this trip (what happens on CC stays on CC) that makes it such a highlight and memorable, I can say it was an amazing 3 days filled with lots of fun, laughter and one very confused bus driver 😉 .  It was truly a special celebration that bought together friends and family in the best way possible.  I am grateful to be surrounded by friends who make you laugh until you almost pee and to share their special life moments with.  It’s truly a blessing.


Number 1 – My highlight is self growth, I found my “WHY”.  I have commenced some personal projects that are at the core of my destiny.  Keeping it real, not every day of 2015 was a step forward but life never is truthfully like that, you need setbacks to learn from and grow.   I have many “I wish” moments and some “challenges” this year but I grow, grateful for the life I have each day and continue to work towards the positives and my long term life goals.  I am fortunate to have a loving supportive family and an equally supportive group of friends around me who believe I am destined for greatness, whatever that is.  So this is my number one highlight as without gratitude, love and support within my life I would not be here.


Continuing on from number one – Thank You.  I am forever grateful for those who support my talent, who read my blogs, who find inspiration in anything I do and allow me to share with you a little part of me through my writing and photography.  I wish you all the inspiration, drive and energy to succeed in your life, what every that maybe.

Until next year.


Crazy Cat Lady

After adding Cats of Instagram and Grumpy Cat to my Instagram last week as well as buying cat shaped paperclips someone made a comment to me that they would be concerned if I wasn’t married – I would be the crazy cat lady (or something to that effect).  This got me thinking, crazy cat lady – I really don’t think it matters whether I am married or not, I do believe that maybe I am the crazy cat lady, actually I am very happy and proud to own this title.

I may only have one cat at home, given the opportunity I would have many, many more.  Missy (my cat) owns this house and I know she would not share.  She has many quirks – will sit on you only if you have a doona over you, doesn’t like some rugs, only drinks her water out of a glass or shower floor, won’t eat fresh cooked chicken or tuna, didn’t like the old lounge.  I could go on and on, there are too many to list.

So you may ask then, with so many quirks, why I love her.  It’s simple she gives me unconditional love and she puts a smile on my face. At the end of each day, laying in bed having Missy come and curl up on my chest happy, content and purring.  Actually I find it a form of meditation, as I lie there with eyes closed, tuned into the sounds of her purring at the same time feeling the subtle rumble from her purrs right through my chest.   It is soothing and hypnotic.

Of course the other thing I adore about my cat is photographing her (which I do every chance I get).  I think Missy has learnt to dislike the camera and lens.  The countless times I have brought out my camera and asked her to pose for me, turn this way, or that way – smile with her eyes and so on.  She doesn’t co-oeprate much now, more often than not she gives me a look that says “oh no, not again”.


I recall reading in a recent blog that we are like our animals, the traits we find in them we also find in ourselves.  If this is true I have some real weird quirks of my own (time to investigate those I think 😉 ).  Truth be told I might be that crazy cat lady that some joke about, I see her quirks as her personality, her traits as her individuality –  Yes, a lot of the things about her resinate in myself. Is that so bad?   She is my 18% grey that I chose not to live without.


Do yourself a favour go and find your “crazy” animal to love, it is so worth it.  Until next week.