Weekend Adventures

I always look forward to a visit from my photographer girlfriend from Cocos (Keeling) Island, not only for the fact that she is an amazing person and very good friend but also that we end up planning photo adventures that keep me blogging about the funny stories that happen on our travels, the great locations we find and the amazing photos captured along the way.

This particular weekend we arranged to meet up mid afternoon for coffee and a chat before heading out to a secret location in Brisbane and meet up with other photo friend to capture tonight’s sunset.  Karen is lucky to live near a wetland reserve so after our hello, coffee and chat whilst looking through Karen’s latest photo book we headed out for a walk through nature.   On our walk we found alot of interesting things including lots and lots of butterflies, dancing in the sunlight.

Things you see in the Wetlands

Things you see in the Wetlands

Heading along the river we came across a man fishing, he has Parkinson’s but is such a friendly gentleman who loves to take photos.  He took alot of pleasure in showing us a few of the swans he saw at this location a few days ago.  He also was kind enough to warn us of a snake up ahead, so change of direction and we are back on our walk heading up the river.  We came to an opening where the trees are coming out of the water and I see reflection, colours and ripples, all the elements to create a magnificent abstract photo in camera.  It was a picture in my head, I knew exactly what I wanted to achieve. Now I know abstract is not everyone’s cup of tea and very subjective but I will show my before and after photos so maybe you can see what I saw.

My Abstract - Vision  Left Image - Real Right Image - Abstract taken in Camera

My Abstract – Vision
Left Image – Real
Right Image – Abstract taken in Camera

Time was getting away from us and we hurried back to the car to head into Brisbane to our sunset location and meet up with Vikki, another good friend, who also shares the love of photography.   We are somewhere on the Brisbane River right under the Gateway Bridge.  From underneath you look up at the Bridge and appreciate the enormity of this structure.  So many interesting lines and curves combined with the calm waterway and a stunning sunset, it’s a photographer’s dream.

"Secret Location" Sunset

“Secret Location”
Sunset

We spent a good couple of hours at our location, talking, laughing and of course taking photos whilst waiting for the sun to set on the horizon.  Tonight’s sunset was another Autumn delight, the warm orange rays from the sun danced and reflected on the water surface.  However the best was yet to come, after the sun went down the twlight colours lit up the sky.

Twlight

Twlight

Another perfect day in Paradise, thanks to Karen, Vikki and Kire for a wonderful afternoon.

Until next week.

Kassy

Life and Gerbera’s

Over the past 4 weeks my life has been turned upside down and inside out (don’t worry it has a very happy ending).  As most of my regular readers know I have an office job that supports me and allows me the funds to fulfill my passion of photography.  I made a decision a few weeks ago to accept a new opportunity and challenge and leave my job that I had for 14 years.

I am a person who is stable and love security in my world, so this decision has totally taken me outside my comfort zone and pushed myself out there to find the next phase of my life, whilst sometimes scary I know that in life you have to always look forward, not back and shine.

I am totally blessed, this week especially, as events and gestures by these wonderful people have left me speechless (that in itself is a miracle).  You may ask what this has to do with photography, well one of my gifts was beautiful pink gerberas.  The pink in each flower has many tones, ranging from the lightest of pink to the darkest almost red pink.

As you have probably guessed by now, Yes – I had to get out my camera and photograph them.  My trusty Nikon in hand with my 105mm macro lens on board I headed into the kitchen, grabbed the vase of flowers and a little water ready to spend the next half an hour photographing this gift from every angle.  It is amazing just how many different photos you can take from one flower and have it look totally different.  I was always taught to “shot it until it is dead” 🙂 .

Oh of course once you go to process the photos you can add much more character and create art.  The beauty of the Gerbera in my opinion is that whether you choose photos in colour or black and white they look amazing and can be totally unique.

Here are some of my favourite Black and White photos from my half hour of play.  I choose to process these photos in 3 different ways, natural black and white, highkey and very contrasting.

Gerbera - In Black and White

Gerbera – In Black and White

Now looking at my favourite colour photos I chose to process two of the photos showing off the water droplets and the lovely changes of the pink colouring on the petals, another photo as soft and faded and the last photo bright, vibrant and a little darker.

Pink Gerbera in all it's colour glory

Pink Gerbera in all it’s colour glory

I hope you have enjoyed seeing a few photos from my half hour play and agree with me just how different one flower can look.   I forgot to add above that this play session was carried out around 6.30pm.  Just goes to show that you can always make a little time for photography, especially when you have such a gorgeous subject to work will.

Until next week.

Kassy

Man on the Bike

Last weekend I needed to clear out the cobwebs and escape from reality for an hour or two, you know what I mean leave my brain at the door, grab a camera, lens, phone and keys and just drive.   Where to go, I don’t know.  I start driving south and decide to go off the beaten track so to speak and take the back road.  I find myself heading towards Tallebudgera.

Due to all the recent rain, the paddocks are lush and the grass very green as I drive along the road.  As I come up to a roundabout on Tree’s Road where I see the famous “Man on the Bike” statue, for those that don’t live near, the “Man on the Bike” statue has a very interesting history within the quiet town.

The original Man on the Bike was erected at the front of the Tallebudgera Village Shopping Centre back in the early 1970’s and has been subject to a couple of arsonist attacks over the years, the most recent in 2014 completely burnt the statue right down to the frame.  Tallebudgera resident Warrick Lawson lead the campaign to restore and rebuild the iconic statue and was pictured next to the burnt status with an actual Penny Farthing bike ready to lead the fundraising bike ride to raise the funds required for the restoration.

Man on the Bike Fully Restored

Man on the Bike
Fully Restored

This statue is very hard to photograph.  If you are looking for a full photo, you have to work with the bike spokes, plants, cars, roundabout and electricity poles.  If you get up close you run the risk of flattening the Man.  Very challenging situation. Hopefully after the hour I spent walking around and admiring this statue from all angles I got some photos that does it justice.

SoloImages_ManBike-2

With thanks to the local community, I escaped reality and found the beautifully restored Man on the Bike sitting proudly in his rightful position, one he will be at for many more years to come.

Until next week.

Kassy.

Guest Blog – Tangalooma Island Resort

This week I am taking a little break, life events have been circling around me, which has left me very short on time this week, so with a little tongue in cheek I sent out an SOS to my wonderful small network of fantastic friends, who also happen to be photographers to write a blog for me and of course they came through, so this weeks blog is from the very talented Vikki Siliato from LaDeeDah Portraits, sharing her recent experience with aerial photography, sit back and enjoy.
Until Next week, Kassy

A camera, a helicopter, an island and a very excited photographer…

Last month I was asked to do some aerial photography for Tangalooma Island Resort. They needed photos of a lake at the north end of Moreton Island that is shaped like a dolphin for their marketing department. Yes, that’s right ‘shaped like a dolphin’ and its aptly named Dolphin Lake.

Dolphin Lake

Dolphin Lake

Now I’ve got to say that this was the dream job… I was sent to a beautiful resort to hop in a chopper and then fly above the amazing Moreton Island landscape and beautiful blue waters of Moreton Bay. At the time the shoot was organised the weather wasn’t the typical ‘beautiful one day, perfect the next’ that we normally enjoy in Queensland. No, it had been raining on and off for weeks, heavy cloud and a fair bit of wind around. I was on call, waiting on weather reports…. and yeehah on the morning of the shoot we got the thumbs up it was going to happen.

Off I go, across the bay to somewhere that I see as a hidden gem and never tire of visiting. After a little wait it was time to climb aboard the chopper for my flight – doors off – over the island. This was only the second time I’ve flown in a chopper and it was also the second time I’ve flown with the doors off, how spoilt is that.

We took off from the Resort and circled back north over the Tangalooma Wrecks and up the west coast of Moreton Island, over Cowan Cowan, Bulwer and around Comboyuro Point and bam there she is – Dolphin Lake… Amazing… and it really did look like a dolphin. We circle a few times to make sure we have all the shots required and I’m snapping away at all the rest of the majestic scenery that surrounds me. Job done we head back to the resort spotting manta rays, turtles and even a shark as we go.

Tangalooma from the Air

Tangalooma wrecks from the Air

Vikki_WebSet1

A brilliant day and one I will remember for a long time. Thank you Tangalooma Island Resort and Tangalooma Helicopter Service for a magical experience.

Vikki.

Life and Mojo

Life can be a challenge, to succeed in anything with life, you need to take risks, believe in yourself and your talent.  If everything in life was safe, life would be very boring and uninspiring.  A good friend told me you need to surround yourself with nice people who can and will stimulate and inspire you.  Reward your efforts and learn and grow from your mistakes.  Don’t just sit back and let your life and the time tick by.

I am lucky enough in my life to have such people who do stimulate and inspire me, however I do sometimes forget to believe in myself and trust in what other’s see.  I bet we all go through times when the safe is just that, safe.  Life is about living everyday, taking chances, growing, learning, inspiring and loving.  Don’t just settle for safe, find your passion and never settle.  Live, Laugh, Love.

Let the universe help guide the way in life Live, Laugh, Love

Let the universe help guide the way in life
Live, Laugh, Love

I guess it sounds like a broken record but it is true and I want you to believe it too.  I know some of my readers have told me they are missing their mojo and questioning their path.  Our path in life is subject to change, after all I don’t know of one road that doesn’t end with a right or left turn or if a dead end you sometimes need to do a U turn and take another route.  Same in life – sometimes you need to go right then if it doesn’t work and you come to the end you U turn and turn left instead.  As long as you are happy, laughing, living and loving you are ok and most of the time you are surrounded by like minded people who will pick you up when down, support you no matter what and laugh and drink with you as well.

Don't be frightened to follow your current path, or take a right turn.  Sometimes you have to climb but it's worth it at the top.  Don't just go around in circles you don't move forward.

Don’t be frightened to follow your current path, or take a right turn. Sometimes you have to climb but it’s worth it at the top. Don’t just go around in circles you don’t move forward.

I hope that today’s blog (as jumbled as it is) has a clear message in there for you, maybe you just need to head out to your favourite place and go for a walk or just sit quietly and let the cobwebs out to allow life to guide and direct you to the right path, that is just right for you, in this moment in time.

Until next week.

Kassy.

Model Shoot – David on Location

Since rebranding to “You are Beautiful” and devoting my time to my calling, photographing women, I have had very limited opportunities to work with male models.  That was until I had the opportunity to photograph David from Mystique Model Management at the location photoshoot recently held in Brisbane.

As we were getting to the hottest part of the day we started this shoot in casual clothing and found another cafe location within the grounds of QUT that had mix of glass, stark white and bold colours with a twist of a vintage industrial look.  Once behind the camera I have to stop myself from saying to David “chin out and down”, “push out that hip” or “give me a nice curve” and remember that I am photographing a man today.  Men are strong, muscular, fit and tall and need to be photographed in that way to best enhance their assets.  I was pleased to find that in front of the camera David oozes confidence and charm, making my job very easy.

David at QUT

David at QUT

Even in this heat I was able to convince David to change into his second look for the day, a business suit.  For our next location we move to the back steel stairwell area where there is a mix of glass, benches and stairs and this is where I start to push my boundaries and have a play with some mood lighting with a vision to convert to black and white images on processing.

David on Location at QUT

David on Location at QUT

More about David:  David is actually part of the marketing division of Mystique Model Management and is currently studying medicine at Uni to become Doctor so is waiting to see how that goes before signing a modelling contract.  You never know Australia, we may have our first Dr McDreamy right here 😉

David is a very easy going, smart, lovely person who impressed me greatly.  David is also well on his way to achieving his goals and has a clear future path in mind.  David was a pleasure to work with and I wish him all the success in the world and anytime he wants to model I will always be available.

Until next week,

Kassy

 

Model – Location Shoot continued

In early February I blogged a very hot day in Brisbane shooting models represented by Mystique Model Management on location at the Brisbane Botantical Gardens and QUT and introduced you to one of the models, Holly, with a promise to introduce you to more of the other models from the day in the near future.

This week I continue with my second model shoot from the day with the all so fabulous and stunning, Kris Louise.  Now I am not a stranger to Kris as we have worked together before with a more casual photoshoot in my studio back in 2013.  This time I get to shoot Kris in Couture fashion supplied by Niki Teljega – Fashion Label and hair and makeup by Amy Cannon.

The first outfit is a floor length black gown with sheer openings that from the waist down has an abundance of flowing fabric that is to die for.  For this outfit I decided to take Kris over to into the QUT building area.  Using a mixture of the sandstone pillars and the buildings as our backdrop we went to work.

SoloImages_KristenSet1-1

I had the added bonus that Kris had a very close male friend along for the day who was dressed in a suit and happy to step in and complete the picture (pun intended 😉 ) I mean, who doesn’t want a hansome man to hold when dressed to kill.

SoloImages_KristenSet2-2

Kris second outfit was a figure hugging jumpsuit with a plunging neckline.  This jumpsuit looked like is was made just for Kris, the fit was perfect, showing off her killer body in all the right places.  With the permission of the cafe within the QUT campus we used the tables and chairs as our backdrop.  After all a jumpsuit is a perfect outfit for coffee with the girls or a lunch date with your man.

SoloImages_KristenSet3-3

A little more about Kris: When I first met Kris she was knee deep in studying her Bachelor of Nursing and since then as at the end of 2014 completed that and a Bachelor of Paramedic Science as well and has now secured a dream job in her chosen field on the Gold Coast.

It’s great to have Kris back home on the Gold Coast allowing me more opportunities to shoot with Kris in the future.

Stay tuned next time I will introduce you to one of the male models from the day, David.

Until next week.

Kassy

365 Project – 2015

Only 2 days left of summer (that’s if you count today) then we move into my favorite season, Autumn, the year is flying by right in front of our eyes.

A couple of years ago I started a project called the 365 Project, for those not familiar – this is a photo project where you take a photo a day, everyday, during the year.  I didn’t last long with that project and well I guess life and feelings got in the way of fulfilling the commitment I made.

Last year my girlfriend from Cocos did the 365 Project and to me it seems she did it with ease (she may not agree).  Another friend did the same project via instagram.  For both of them it was a small piece of their daily life documented forever with a photo.  I know that after the year ended they made and printed photo albums that holds all 365 photos.   They say a picture says a thousand words, it is so true – what better way to leave a piece of you behind for your children, grandchilden etc than to undertake a project like this.

It was this revelation that changed my thinking, it wasn’t how amazing or wow each photo was, it is a little insight into my life, one I should embrace and be proud of.   I decided along with many others to make 2015 the start of my 365 Project.  We are currently at Day 58 and so far I have managed to take a photo every day which is in some way or another meaningful to me and my life.

In line with this 365 Project and the revelations I have had time to reminisce, think and evaluate my life and myself.  Each day of each year I hope that I grow, mend and become a better person.  Sometimes this is the case but sometimes you do something that you instantly regret and know that you moved back a few steps from the person you strive to be.  You can realise this all too late.  People can get hurt by your actions and/or words and sometimes it just doesn’t matter what you say after the damage is done.

In life you are lucky to find true friendship that lasts, if you are lucky you will find more true friends than you can fit on one hand, actually truth be told you are lucky to even have a couple.  So let me say that when you do, you don’t want to do something so terrible that it breaks that bond beyond repair.  Before you act think of how you would feel if it is done to you.  People are not throw away things and should not be treated that way.  Mistakes can be very costly so weight it up first.  Hopefully the steps that you take backwards can teach you a lesson so that you move forward, learn and cherish in the future.  I know I did, I just hope it is not too late.

It is my hope that this year along with my 365 Project will be another year of growth, learning and light bulb moments that once I am gone I can leave those left behind with memories and thoughts that they will be proud to share.

I am posted all photos in a separate album on my facebook page for those wanting to follow along.  There are too many to share in this blog however I have picked some of my favourites to date.  Please enjoy.

365 Project January Favourites

365 Project
January Favourites

365 Project February Favourites

365 Project
February Favourites

Until next week.

Kassy.

A different type of Blog

Each week early on a Friday morning alot of people wake up to an email from us linking them to the weekly blog.  Some weeks the blogs are pre-planned days or even weeks ahead, some are written under the pump on Thursday to be ready for early Friday morning and occasionally they are not planned like this one.  This weeks blog was to be about the wonderful celebrations of this week however that changed this morning when having my morning coffee and reading both the paper and facebook on my Ipad.  Firstly before I get into it fully let me send out my thoughts and prayers to those above us in Queensland who are facing a category 5 cyclone any minute.  I pray that you all stay safe and well.

Last year through a couple of close photography friends I was introduced to a wonderful couple, Matt and Katie Ebenezer, 2 photographers who also run workshops to teach as well as photography adventures as well as helping those greatly in need, let me be clear I have actually never met them in person, however through my friends and the wonderful world of facebook I have followed them and heard about the adventures they had in Cambodia November 2013.   The following year, something unthinkable and terrible happened in their life (the following story I share from Matt’s facebook post this morning, these are not my words but his)

This is simply the most personal – and hardest – post I’ve ever had to make. Katie and I are in real trouble and we need help. Our friend Jamie has started a fundraiser because, in short, we’re broke due to the freak accident in which Katie was a pedestrian crushed between two cars. She sustained severe nerve damage and has been in chronic pain every day, unable to shoot or work since the accident (14 months ago).

I’m not used to needing help, let alone asking for it. For those who know me, I’m the go-to guy who helps others, especially photographers, with their business and life. My Dad is a pastor, my Mum is a teacher. They were missionaries before I was born. We don’t put our hands up lightly, if ever, to ask for help.

I have to remind myself that to raise your hand isn’t a sign of weakness. It actually takes strength and effort.  In many ways I’m not asking for myself.  I’m asking for Katie. If there was ever a person who didn’t deserve something like this, it was her. The daily physical pain she’s in is constant. The emotional anguish of seeing everything she’s worked towards her entire career just fall apart. To not be able to even take photos anymore. Such a stark contrast from what her normal life was- traveling to Nepal to document sex-trafficking, photographing weddings, to running our work-shops … to now only being able to do the washing or some light cleaning around the house which leaves her exhausted and in even more pain.

And, to then watch her husband and her rock completely unravel.  And being so helpless in the face of it all. In October/November last year the strain of the situation led to me having a complete breakdown and being admitted to a mental health facility for severe depression. For nearly 5 days I refused food and slept around the clock in an effort to make it all go away … that’s when I was admitted.

I spent a month and a half in that hospital as they slowly and gently drew me out of the darkest place I’ve ever been in my life. Then a month ago in January I had to be admitted for another few weeks. For everyone who knows me, they’d possibly think that I’m the last person this could happen to. But it has. And I’m not one bit ashamed of it anymore. Every time I talk about what’s happened to me it opens the door for someone else to say, “me too”.

Our world has completely crumbled physically, emotionally, mentally and financially. At the time of the accident we had a year’s worth of savings in the bank. And our business was making great money. Both have dried up. Our savings are gone. Katie and I are at about 5% of our usual capacity and as a result our productivity is close to zero. It could be years before Katie is even partly recovered, let alone back to 100%.  We’re currently selling our car. Soon we’ll be selling most of our camera gear and computers. Next we’ll probably rent out our home, and then sell it if we have to 😦

I ask myself everyday, “What could I have done differently?” and I come up empty.  It was a random act of the universe. An inattentive driver plus a few seconds in a parking lot has turned our lives completely upside down. So here I am. Humbled in every possible way. With my hand up.  Thank you for listening, sharing our story and helping if you can.

The facebook post is already being shared widely within the photography community and wider between friends.  You don’t have to met someone to be touched by their story, these people deserve our help – when times are this tough it can be the little things that help to get you through.  I am today asking my network of subscribers, photographers and friends to please give, even if a little to help these 2 people get through these tough times.  Please click on the link below to donate if you can.

http://www.gofundme.com/mattkatie

Photo of Matt and Katie – taken from Matt’s post on Facebook.
Until next week.
Kassy

 

50 and Fabulous Photoshoot

Recently I received a call from a lady enquiring about my You are Beautiful package.  Kaye was looking for an extra special surprise gift for her sister’s 50th Birthday.  The idea of giving her sister a gift that her and her family would treasure forever sealed the deal.  An afternoon, You are Beautiful photography session, was arranged so that as after the fun and pampering of a photography session Kaye would deliver the Piece de resistance of the day – a surprise birthday party that same night.  I was so excited to be a key part of this special day.

Jeannie and Kaye arrived at the studio last Saturday.  Greeting them both at the door Jeannie had absolutely no idea who I was and why she was here.  I welcomed them and asked Kaye if she would like to “reveal” the surprise, Kaye suggested I tell Jeannie what was install for her.  I explained that Kaye had organised a very special day for her, they were there for pampering followed by a You are Beautiful photography session.  Jeannie was thrilled.

I could not let a special birthday go ahead without putting the finishing touches on their day –  I had arranged a surprise of my own, a bottle of bubbles and a wine/cheese and fruit platter.  They were to sit back, relax and enjoy the entire experience, starting with make up done by the talented Morgan Leigh Makeup Artistry.

Let me tell you a little more about these wonderful women.  I have never met 2 more amazing and lovely ladies, Kaye is 51 and of course Jeannie was celebrating her 50th.  They exude happiness and warmth and it is clear to see the loving bond they share as sisters.   They are both full of life and enjoying the journey.  They are truly 50 and fabulous.

As Jeannie was the Birthday girl her hair and make up was applied first, nothing too over the top, just enhancing her natural beauty and then it was into the studio to create some memories she will treasure.  Jeannie had never had a photography session before however, she was a natural, her smile was so inviting, genuine and she glowed with happiness.

After Kaye was all “done up” we swapped over and I had some time photographing Kaye alone.  Again similar to her sister, her eyes and smile just brightened up the whole room.

To finish off the session I wanted to capture the sisters together, both serious and fun shots, I don’t think I have laughed that hard in a session and at one stage even had to put the camera down to wipe the tears from my eyes to be able to see them again.   Truthfully it wasn’t until I photographed the ladies together than I found out Jeannie was the “naughty” (aka cheeky) one.  That sisterly love, something so precious, was easily captured in the images.

These ladies are just perfect to spend time with and to photograph, they have a personality that is infectious and it shows in their photographs.  To watch these two sisters  you would not believe they were 50 and fabulous, you would think they are more like teenagers giggling and having fun.

Even though I don’t have a sister I have some very good friends and can only hope when we are all over 50 (some of us maybe already but shhhh that’s their secret) that we are just like these ladies – silly, fun, crazy (the good kind), 50 and Fabulous.

Here are a couple of sneak peaks from the session as they are still to see some of the final images.  I will add and share more from this session soon.

50 and Fabulous Jeannie and Kaye

50 and Fabulous
Jeannie and Kaye

Until next week.

Kassy