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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Until next week.

Kassy

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.

Kassy

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Kassy.

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”.

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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.

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

Kassy.

The Magic of the Ocean

There is something extra special about the ocean, it is the salt air, the sound of the waves crashing against the shore, the feeling of sand in your toes, the clear blue water or a combination of these things?

It’s a place that is good for your soul, it’s where your spirits fly.  You can chose to walk along the waters edge collecting shells as you go or just find a warm place to sit down and just watch the world go by.  It’s a place to find inspiration, to escape, to run and play, it’s the perfect quick getaway.

Normally when I want to take time out I head to Currumbin, which is my favourite Gold Coast beach location.  Not this time, today I decide to stop at Burleigh.  Heading up to the point with camera in hand (yes, my camera is never far from me) I take the pathway along the National Park down to the beach break where the surfers navigate over the rocks to paddle out.

It’s the perfect time of day, late afternoon and the tide is coming in.  I position my tripod at the start of the rocks.  Using my 9 stop ND filter on my camera lens I set up to do some long exposures.  I’m in that kind of mood, I want to capture the surface of the ocean looking as smooth as silk.  Photos that emote calm and peaceful thoughts whilst your eye focus’s on the mist rising as the waves cascades over the rocks.  It is the right kind of photo to relax the body, mind and soul.

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For the next hour and a half I just sit back on the rocks holding my shutter cable experimenting with different settings and scene’s all the while enjoying the serene atmosphere around me.   Each time the waves crash around me I unwind and let go of the negative (or my worries) until I am feeling free and revitalised.  Life at the beach, it’s the best therapy.

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Day is turning to dusk and it’s time to pack up and head back to the car.   Just as I take my camera off the tripod I catch the afternoon light over the high-rise buildings and can’t resist but to grab a few more images before I go.

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Is the beach your special place, the place you know is good for your soul?  If there is a more special place for you please share with me I would love your thoughts.

Until next week,

Kassy.

Smoke and Mirrors

It’s Sunday morning as I look out the window I discover it’s overcast, humid and storms are forecast to roll in within the hour – Another typical weekend during spring storm season.  There go the plans to get out into the sunshine and enjoy a walk in nature with my camera.

I have two choices in front of me, I can curl up in my favourite chair in the family room with a good book, a cup of tea and a tim tam or I could head into the studio for a little rainy day fun play.

As enticing as curling up with a book is I am itching for a little camera time.  So heading into the studio wins, time to have some fun with smoke photography.  You don’t need much equipment to play with this type of photography, all you need is incense burner tray, some incense, lighter, camera, macro lens, 1 or 2 flash units and some triggers.

In the studio I set up a black table with a black fabric backdrop behind the table.  Placing the incense in the burner tray and setting 2 flashes with their triggers (one on each side of the burner) making sure they are close but far enough away so the flash won’t be in the frame within the photo.

Now let’s have some fun – I grab my camera, light the incense and start taking some photos.  (Photo Tip – Make sure that you focus on the tip of the stick of incense as the camera will not focus on the smoke.)   With smoke photography, in my opinion, there is no right or wrong photos – each photo is unique is dependent how the smoke reacts.   You will see so many patterns form depending on what you do.

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To add some variety and to see what happens with the smoke, I added a fan on the floor to create a wind effect, I also tried the “whack it” approach (I was taught this special technique from some very experienced tutors).  For clarification and a safety warning – you whack the table whilst at the same time being careful not to knock anything over or send your flash flying, it really is an art form you need to master.

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At the end of the day it is amazing what you capture just by the movement of smoke.  Why don’t you give it a go yourself this weekend.  (Another quick tip – I have found it much more fun to have a couple of friends around whilst playing, you may end up laughing more than taking photos – a great way to spend a rainy day  🙂 )

Until next week.

Kassy

We are all Gifted

A couple of weeks ago my close friend and mentor, Sheryn, invited me to an event called Gifted.   The event was created and hosted by Heart Centred Money Makers and held in their Tweed Heads headquarters.  The tag line was “Unpack your gifts & share them with the world”.  The event was especially for women and with 10 very amazing and inspirational speakers, it was a life changing day for me.

During the day we were challenged to discover the feminine energy within our body and our life.   Embrace the real you, find your inner calling and your life purpose.   This day was designed to enlighten, open up the body and mind to the vast possibilities available to us all.

Each speaker was empowering however from my personal view 2 women stood out to me, chilling me to my core, taking me deeper than I have looked in a long time.   The first was Michelle, The High Class Hippie – Michelle asked the question that made me freeze in my steps (well as we were sitting – in my chair), tears welled up and a lump formed in my throat – you may ask what question could do this? – The question is “Why” – everyone on this planet is here for a reason, Michelle asked a simple question, What is your “Why”, then she asked us to write it down.   I couldn’t, I really didn’t know – heartbreaking right? Wrong, I needed to look alot deeper, connect within myself, find love and believe I am enough.   During a 30 minute call with Michelle I was able to unravel the “maze” and start to put the pieces together.  There is always a positive from a negative – remember that in life.

The second speaker was Emily – Emily is an Author, Speaker and Entrepreneur.  Emily is a truly inspiring woman, full of life, love and enlightenment.  She shared her story with us, her journey so far, how she found her inspiration in life.   At this moment in time it is hard to put into words how Emily has begun to change my life, I felt an instant connection and hung onto to her every word.  Within her message the universe was pulling me, telling me – this is part of your path, your destiny.  Emily gave me a further gift that day, asking for those who felt they needed help with inspiration, Emily gifted me with one of her books,  Inspiration Bible.  Another 365 stories to inspire me further.  I hold this book very close and dear and read a little each day.

There is a plan coming together for the next “big” thing, well maybe not, but that’s how I describe it for now.  It’s time for growth, new projects and new experiences.  It is an exciting time to be alive.  A final thought – Everyone that is in your life, your inner circle, your network, is there for a reason – you need each and every one of them, so be kind, grateful and support those in your life, discover your feminine energy and live your life as the Gift it is.

Until next week.

Kassy

PS If you feel you need a helping hand or would like more inspiration in your life – here are a few links to some of those that are helping me and of course I am available as well.

My Photography Mentor and Friend – Sheryn Ellis  (photography mentoring and workshops)

Michelle Slayter  – The high class hippie (helps to design you)

Emily Gowor – Author and Inspiration (inspiration)

Heart Centred Money Makers  (caring business makers)

My web guy and friend – Steve O’Brien Get IT Happening  (IT and web specialist for your websites and blogs)

AIPP Accredited

This week having looked back over the past couple of years worth of blogs I realise that I have not updated my story since my very first blog back in January 2013. That blog gave my readers a background into where my passion began.

Since 2010 my dream has been to inspire others through my stories and photography and at the same time to become a recognised photographer and business women.   Each day since then I have pushed my boundaries and strived to achieve the goals I have set for myself.   I became an emerging member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography AIPP and in 2013 I was accepted into their mentoring program, which I completed at the end of that year.

At the start of 2014 I had all the business areas in place but deep down I felt there was something missing from my  images.  Not one to rest and with the dream and goal in mind I continued to push forward with my photography.  I am fortunate enough to have a few very close people in my life who understand my dreams and they are ready to cheer and push me.  This includes my wonderful amazing friend/photographer mentor Sheryn Ellis who is someone I aspire to and she trains and guides me.

In 2015 I committed to A Photo A Day project, that’s 365 photos, one each day of the year, showing a moment from my day.   As this year has gone by, photo after photo I grew more and last month felt it was the right time to go ahead with the application for full professional accreditation from the AIPP.  I am now very proud to announce that late last Friday the AIPP approved my accreditation and I am now Kassy Solomon Accredited Professional Photographer (APP) of the AIPP.

You may ask why this is so important.  Not only do I feel that a goal has been reached more importantly as of the 18th September 2015 the ACCC certified the AIPP as meeting the requirements to be a professional body and in turn all members of the AIPP can be considered true business professionals.

In short if a photographer is displaying the AIPP Professional Logo AIPP Professional Photographer you can be assured you have hired a professional that has proven they provide a professional level of service, product quality, business ethics and upholds all the standards set for professional photographers by the AIPP.

I am very proud to have achieved this level as a professional photographer and can’t wait for the continuing journey ahead.

Until next week.

Kassy.

Having a Swell time

You always know when it’s September on the Gold Coast.  No, I am not talking about the change in the weather from Winter to Spring, I am talking about the interesting and amazing sculptures that appear on and around the Currumbin Beachfront.  It must be the annual Swell Festival (now in it’s 14th year).

Heading down late on Saturday afternoon, I grab my camera bag, packed with filters and lens as well as my tripod.  The weather is perfect; it’s warm, the sun is shining and the festival is sure to be busy.   Arriving at Currumbin, I start my exploration of Swell down at southern end, near the Surf Club.

With my Nikon in hand I start to wander and check out this years 50 plus sculptures that are on display built by local, national and international artists.   There are so many innovative, artistically challenging  pieces on display that it is so easy to get caught up at each piece for hours, taking pictures and admiring the talent of each artist.

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Like each year before, I try to get unique and interesting perspective shots of the sculptures I love the most.  Walking along at this time of day I am blessed with a little colour starting to show up in the sky as the day turns to dusk.  These colours just enhance the sculptures and in some cases add that wow factor.

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By the time I reach Currumbin Rock, day has turned into night and now the sculptures are lit up and take on a life of their own as I make my way back down the beach towards the surf club, and the car. I am still trying to take photos of the sculptures, even in the dark.  As I am walking the music fills the air and I come across what has to be my favourite sculpture of this year’s Swell Festival, John Cox’s See Life.  I settle down in the sand with camera on tripod as this sculpture lights up in set sequences and colour combinations. I am swept away by the beauty of the sculpture before me and at that moment I am at peace with the universe.

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At the end of the night I am relaxed and fulfilled as I pack up the car and head home, closing the door on another year of Swell.

Until next week.

Kassy

A Model Story

Recently I was contacted by an up and coming model to shoot her portfolio.  The lovely Breannen had made it through the internet submission for Australia’s Next Top Model and was due to submit a portfolio for the face to face interview.  We chose to do this shoot on location at Mt Tamborine Botanical Gardens.  The Botanical Gardens are such a beautiful place with loads of different scenic areas at your figure tips, it is the perfect place for a shoot like this.

On meeting Brea (as she prefers to be known) I was struck by her warm and inviting smile, she looks and acts a little bit of a tomboy but it didn’t take me long to discover her “girly” side.  The day was overcast and the light was just magic for these photos.  As we start Brea has a fresh face (little to no makeup) for her profile pics needed for her upcoming submission.     The green garden backdrop at the front of the Gardens was just perfect against her white tshirt and jeans.

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After a clothing change and make up (applied by Ebony),  Brea was set to go to our next location within the Botanical Gardens, we wandered down the garden path with the lakefront gazebo in our sights.   The aqua dress Brea is wearing compliments perfectly her lovely skin and long dark hair, which is apparent in the photos I am capturing.

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Our last outfit for the morning was a striking red gown with a red beaded headpiece, she looked like Xena, a warrior princess, naturally we found a location to bring out the best in Brea and the dress.

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As I am photographing I am getting to know a little about Brea.  Brea had a difficult childhood, coming from a broke home, a father who was interested in things other than Brea.  Brea was lucky enough she had a mum who was always there for her and loved her greatly.   Brea’s difficulties didn’t stop there, unfortunately she was also bullied at School, for being one of the boys.  Brea dreamed of being a model, she had a passion for being in front of the camera, with all the troubles within her life it was hard for her to believe that she could achieve her goals.

When watching the last season of Australia’s Next Top Model Brea found herself relating to one contestant, she was one of the boys, lacked social skills and confidence in herself.  Brea saw so much of herself in this person and watched as she grew and succeeded, Brea knew deep down it was the right time to follow her dream.

Since our shoot Brea has heard back from the selection team at Australia’s Next Top Model, unfortunately due to her height she hasn’t made it to the next step.   Irrespective of the decision of the selection team Brea will continue to push forward and pursue her dream into the modelling industry.  I wish her all the best, I know my camera and I love her and I see big things in her future.

Until next week.

Kassy