Melbourne – How I Love Thee

This month I headed down to Melbourne for a few days with my wonderful husband to rest, I must admit, not much rest was done.  There is so much to do, it was hard to jam it all in but let me tell you we tried very hard.  In Melbourne, yes you can get all four seasons in one day but it is an amazing city full of history.

Our first day we arrived in the afternoon, it was overcast and raining by the time we got into the City.  Our hotel, Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne on Flinders Street was the perfect choice.  Centrally located, a Heritage Listed building which has been renovated beautifully keeping its feel and style of the 1913’s.  Our suite was grand to say the least, style historic and comfortable.

The weather did not stop us from hitting the street’s after check in, reacquainting ourselves with the CBD streets and where all the sights and streets are.   After wandering around until dark we decided to head back to the hotel and try out the in house restaurant for dinner.  Another great decision our meals were Devine accompanied by a great drop of white wine following with desert (Sorry no pictures, too busy eating and enjoying).

Our first full day in the City was massive – The skydeck, walk around Southbank, cafe lunch, National Gallery of Victoria for the Van Gogh exhibition and 2 floors of sculptures and photography exhibits, Graffiti lanes including the must see AC/DC Lane.  Phew, tired yet!

Not one that is a fan of heights, The Skydeck, is 88 floors up and on a clear day offers you spectacular views of Melbourne.   When you get up in the lift (44 odd seconds from ground up) you have 360 glass wall to wall viewing.  I won’t lie there were many anxious times and I had to stand back from the edges on several occasions.  For obvious reasons we decided not to go out in the “glass sky box”.

The highlight of the day hands down was our trip to the NGV and seeing the Van Gogh exhibition.  I can’t draw, let alone paint (that’s why I photograph), but I love and appreciate all types of art.  The theme of the exhibit was the seasons.  Honestly words cannot describe the absolute beauty and talent of this man.  The paintings are spectacular.  I personally was drawn more to the “darker” colours rather than the bold and bright, regardless of the colour I truly appreciated the raw talent, how he saw light, objects, scenes and the different techniques used in the paintings.

Van Gogh

NGV – Creative Overload

To finish the day we walked up to the “Graffiti Lanes” with one particular lane search in our minds … the AC/DC Lane.  As all good Australian rockers will know, AC/DC in 1975 filmed the classic tune “It’s a long way to the Top” on the back of a flatbed truck travelling down Swanston Street.  Previously known as Corporation Lane the Melbourne City Council honoured AC/DC and officially renamed it to AC/DC Lane on 1 October 2004.  The perfect end to our Day 1.

AC/DC Lane
For Those about to Rock we Salute You

Until next time.

Kassy.

R and R equals Retreat

At the end of last year it was time for some R and R and in my world R and R equals Retreat – a 3 day photography retreat with a couple of good friends and fellow photographers.

We decided that it would be a good idea to rent a cottage on acreage around the Boonah area.  We found the perfect place, Rose Cottage, Milford Country Cottages at Boonah.  A nice 2 bedroom spacious cottage set on acreage.  So much to do, photograph and see and that was just around the property, perfect for 3 budding photographers.

Our adventure started with lunch at the local pub before heading back to prepare for our first lesson, how to lift wine glass from table to lips (whoops sorry wrong retreat 😉 ).  Seriously thought after dark we were heading down to the dam on the property to learn about, live composite, a function on the EM1 Olympus.  Night and astro photography is the perfect subject to practise with.   As we got into the play we added some further interest and used our torch to “light paint” the old tools.  For my first time using this feature the results were pleasing and it was well after midnight before we finally hit the hay.

Olympus Live Composite at Work

After a “little” sleep and much coffee we packed our gear and headed out to see the “sights”.  Our first stop for the morning was a little off the beaten track at a place called The Gorge.  A stunning water hole that just appears almost out of nowhere.  After exploring the area until we could go no further on foot , any further we would need to swim, so it was back in the car.

Hidden off the Track – The Gorge

Onto our next destination, Moggerah Dam.  The dam was near full and as we walked the road around the dam wall, the sound of the water was deafening, mountains of water was flowing over the wall, just our luck making it easier to get captivating images and great water effects.

Moogerah Dam

Our last stop over for the morning was the lavender farm and winery, honestly can’t tell you exactly where, all I know it was somewhere out in the country on a road.  Unfortunately the lavender was not blooming however the kangaroo’s were a plenty and so was the wine.  Perfect to end our morning outing, being late December, temps were around 40 and too hot to stay out all day.  Time to download our photos, process and have a learning session back at our accommodation.

Lavender Farm and Winery

There is so much more to our Retreat but best to leave you wanting more (and gives me another future blog post). Before I sign off tonight, need to shout out a plug to Karen Willshaw, our trusty Tour Guide, Karen is running a Photography tour to Vietnam in October this year, highly recommended, and for further information on the tour or to book please visit her Facebook Page

Until next time.

Kassy

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.

Kassy

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.

SoloImages_Roadtrip-1

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.

SoloImages_Roadtrip-2

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.

SoloImages_Roadtrip-3

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.

SoloImages_Roadtrip-4

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

Until next week.

Kassy

Toowoomba – Full of Colour and Beautiful things

Stepping back in time this week to re-live a great day trip.   It’s 8am on a Saturday morning and out of the blue I get a text to ask if I would like to grab my camera and head on a day trip west to Toowoomba, my girlfriend wants some company on a day trip to check out a fellow photographers exhibit.  I can’t help it, I jump at the opportunity to not only spend the day with a great friend but to take some photos and check out this amazing women’s work.

With 3 kids in tow we head out on our road trip.  After just over 2 hours on the road our first stop is the local art district, the gallery is down a side street a little out of the main town – it seems very industrial, such a great location to showcase the talented work of Hannah Roche.  After a good hour of wandering around and appreciating her work we headed off for some lunch before checking out a couple of Toowoomba’s best sights.

We decided as it was the middle of summer to check out Toowoomba’s botanical gardens, we should see lots of flowers and thousands of bright colours.   A short drive later and help from google maps we find the gardens and start to explore.   Walking through the garden one of the first things I see is the sunflower garden.  I love sunflowers they really do brighten your day and put a smile on your face.   After getting lost in the moment and spending time exploring sunflowers we move along to the gardens full of colour – there is red, pink, purple, white and a little green as far as the eye can see.

Toowoomba Botanical Gardens

Toowoomba Botanical Gardens

After walking around for awhile we realised that the other “must see” feature, The Japanese Gardens, was actually not here but another location all together.  We pack up and go to head out from the gardens, on our way out we come across a garden bed full of yellow, orange and red flowers.  With such amazing colours together it was a excellent opportunity to try out some abstracts in camera, so here we all are – moving our cameras up, down, sideways and trying a few round and round.  We were having so much fun that time almost got away from us.

Fun Creating Abstract "whatever" with colourful flowers

Fun Creating Abstract “whatever” with colourful flowers

Back on the road we had a small window of time to see if we could find the Japanese Gardens and explore.  I am so glad we did as the gardens are just stunning with so much to see and photograph.  The contrast of colour, between the bright red rails of the bridges, the green trees and add in the timber structures – it’s a photographers delight.  We don’t have enough time to explore everything and having the afternoon bright sunlight made things challenging with the photo gear I had with me, I did still manage a few images I feel were keepers.  On the positive side this location is on the must visit again list.

Toowoomba Japanese Gardens

Toowoomba Japanese Gardens

Other interesting aspects of the Gardens

Other interesting aspects of the Gardens

It was getting late and we still have a couple of hours drive home, so reluctantly we head off for home.  A great day out with fantastic company.  If you ever get the opportunity to visit Toowoomba please add these 2 locations on your must see list.  It is truly worth the time.

Until next week.

Kassy.

Melaleuca Wetlands

It is 6.15am on a Saturday morning and I am waking up to the sun shining in our resort unit at Ramada Couran Cove Island Resort, I only need to move about 15 steps from the bed to the balcony in my pj’s to capture this morning sunrise complete with reflections off the water.  It is so still and peaceful and quick, after 5 minutes the sun disappears into the clouds.

After a coffee I decide it is too nice a day to not head out and explore.  Whilst walking I come across the Melaleuca Wetlands nature section and take a detour to explore the area.  The timber broadwalk winds around the trees and the wetlands as you move along on the walk.  At this hour of the day it is so quiet, you are alone, there is such a stillness in the air that I cannot describe it.  I get feelings rushing over me that are calming, uplifting and relaxing as I become one with nature.

Allowing the body and mind to be Zen – this is the place to be, there is so much to look at and appreciate.  The many Melaleuca trees appearing out of the water form interesting lines, shapes and reflections.  Coming around to the section that is “most wet” I am greeted with “green carpet floating on the water” it is breathtaking, I can hardly contain my excitement whilst at the same time appreciating the Australian nature at its very best.

Melaleuca Wetlands

Melaleuca Wetlands

Being so early in the day the sun is yet to rise much above the tall trees so the lighting conditions are just about perfect before the “dappled” light gets too harsh for the elements.  Photographically it is a dream, there is so much opportunity to capture the scene from every angle, close ups, wide shots and of course for me perfect for abstract photos and just when you think you are done you take another 10 steps and can start again using similar elements but I can assure you that each photo has something unique and different.

SoloImages_Wetlands-3

After an hour or so my battery is dying and it is time to leave.  I am completed relaxed and ready for what the day has in store, after all tonight is set to be a big night with a huge birthday gathering for a very dear and special friend who is responsible for getting us all together at this fantastic location this weekend.

Here are some of my photographic abstracts from my walk that I am most proud of, now I just have to narrow it down to the best to print and hang on the wall.

Abstract Heaven

Abstract Heaven

Until next week.

Kassy

A trip in the Country

When I find myself getting burnt out or just need to grab a fresh perspective on something, I grab my camera, phone and car keys and just head out for a drive, Destination unknown, time is not an issue, just me, my camera and my thoughts.

Sometime back when feeling this way, I took a drive into the country, in the North Coast of NSW I came across this small village not too far away from Lismore called “Bexhill”, this small village has a population of less than 500 people.  It might be small but is home to something very special.

When driving through the town I saw a sign directing me to Inspiration Point and the Open Air Cathedral, just perfect for a day like today when needing a place to be still.  I had to go and check it out.

On entering and walking up the pathway I was greeted with signs that told me a little of the history and purpose, they confirm this is a place of worship and is to be respected.  At the top of the archway mounted on some timber is a beautiful verse that I just had to stop and read, it certainly set the tone.

You are warmly greeted when you enter

You are warmly greeted when you enter

Walking further through the path I felt warm, comfortable and welcome to this area, the benches invite you to sit down, whether for a minute or an hour, you sit and take in the incredible view.  I am surrounded by nature, love and peace.  When ready to leave I feel the weight of the world off my shoulders, it is certainly an experience to remember.

Open Air Cathedral and View at Bexhill

Open Air Cathedral and View at Bexhill

Open Air Cathedral at Bexhill

Open Air Cathedral at Bexhill

When I arrived home feeling refreshed I had to jump onto google and find out more.  “The Open Air Cathedral has been maintained by the Christian Church for over 50 years and is a perfect place for either an outdoor wedding or a quiet spot to sit and reflect.” “The Cathedral overlooks the Corndale Valley with views of the Nightcap National Park in the distance.” Yes I was right, a great find and a very special place.  If you are interested in more details please check out their website.

Until next week.

Kassy