A trip to Swell2014

It’s Spring time, it’s September and on the Gold Coast that can only mean one thing, it’s Swell Festival time.

Swell Sculpture Festival is held along the Currumbin Beach Broadwalk and displays over 50 sculptures built by local, national and international artists.  The festival is in it’s 12th year and is a free event held over 10 days each September (see Swell website) I have been going to Swell for 4 years now and each year the creativity and talent of the artists simply stuns me.  It is amazing.  This year I would have to say has been my favourite so far, with varied and imaginative creations.

Thursday morning last week was a typical Gold Coast day, the sky is blue, the sun is shining and the temperature is perfect.  I decided to take the morning off and pack the camera bag and head down to Currumbin to check out and photograph Swell2014.  2 1/2 hours later I was exhausted, my calf muscles crying out in protest but totally exhilarated from a productive yet relaxing morning, I came home with over 200 photos and as they downloaded I did a quick happy dance at how wonderful they looked.  They tell the story of this truly amazing and wonderful event.

I promise I will not show you the 100+ that I have chosen but I would like to share with you my favourites as I relive my blissful morning on Currumbin Beach.

One of the first sculptures I came across was the Instagram frames.  I love my Instagram, actually my daughter jokes that she knows what I have done that day without seeing me just be looking at my Instagram at times 🙂 .  What could I frame with a photo? Will it work on an angle? Will it work while not in focus? Or is it better to show a wide angle of all the frames?  I tried them all and came up with a great little collection.

Instagram Frames - My Collection

Instagram Frames – My Collection

Walking down the beach I came across “Clouds”.  Cool!  I wondered how many clouds are in the sculpture, 2 or 3? Clearly 3.  Again so many choices, how many different ways can I photograph this?  What do I frame in the cloud?  I had so much fun experimenting.

"Clouds" at Currumbin

“Clouds” at Currumbin

OMG! the “Sea Ball”, I stayed at this sculpture for close on half an hour.  I think I looked at every piece of steel (maybe photographed them too), I really wanted to climb all over and into this, as I felt like a child again in the playground, in the end I just sat back and enjoyed the moment.

"Sea Ball" A Playground Memory

“Sea Ball” A Playground Memory

Just a little further down the beach is the horse (Correct nane – “Erebus”).  What a spectacular display, it is not every day you see a horse on the beach, such detail and made in a way that you thought you saw and felt the movement of this horse.  It also seems to be a crowd favourite, so patience was required to ensure I got the photos I wanted, but well worth the wait and I walked away with a smile.

"Erebus"

“Erebus”

Many sculpture’s later I’ve made my way off the beach and onto the park next to the beach, I am struck by the steel leaves of “Paradise – Girt by Sea” The sun is glinting off the steel and enhancing this metal archway in the most beautiful way.  I could imagine a wedding on the beach with the bride and groom making their way beneath it.  Wow – just imagine it.

"Paradise - Girt by Sea"

“Paradise – Girt by Sea”

I could go on and on about my morning and turn this into a guinness world record blog 🙂 but I promise I won’t.  Do yourself a favour if you are on the Gold Coast during September go down to Currumbin and experience Swell for yourself, it is open 24 hours a day.

Swell2014

Swell2014

Swell2014

Swell2014

Until next week.

Kassy

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Top 5 favourite Gold Coast Locations to shoot

Whether I am out photographing family portraits, women or just for fun I have some favourite and special places that I love to visit, with this in my I thought it would be a great idea to share with you my top 5 locations around the Gold Coast to photograph, besides my studio that is 🙂

Number 5 – The Spit

Just north of Main Beach, The Spit is a great location for all types of photography.  It has a huge rock wall, sandy dunes, open beach with surf, sandpumping jetty and is close to the Surfers skyline, making it a great location for sunrise or family photo shoots.

Some of my favourite photos taken at The Spit

Some of my favourite photos taken at The Spit

Number 4 – Benowa Botanical Gardens (Rossier Park)

Timber broadwalks, flourishing gardens, tall bamboo, masses of flowers, large lake, ducks, I could go on about all the exciting things at the Benowa Gardens.  There is something here for everyone, a fantastic location for those special family photographs or an afternoon of photography fun in the sun.

Showing off some of the beauty at Benowa Gardens

Showing off some of the beauty at Benowa Gardens

Number 3 – Currumbin Beach

My favourite of all the Gold Coast beaches and another great location for all types of photography.  Sunrise over the ocean, sunset over the rocks, great surfing, family photos high on the dunes and of course during September every year you have the Swell Festival, which is a photographer’s paradise in my opinion.

Currumbin Beach, pure beauty

Currumbin Beach, pure beauty

Number 2 – Emerald Lakes

A beautiful location where the central village has been inspired by the timeless buildings of Paris and architecturally evocative of Portofino in Italy, this combination makes for interesting architectural photo opportunities as well as the perfect location for fashion or portrait shoots, especially from the massive sandstone staircase.

Emerald Lakes

Emerald Lakes

Number 1 – Couran Cove Island Resort

Just a short ferry ride from Hope Island (for those of us that don’t own a boat), Couran Cove Island Resort is an amazing, fun and relaxing place for a quick getaway.   This location also boasts a vast variety of photographic opportunities, you have the sand dunes down at the beach, Heritage listed forests including a rainforest walk along the timber deck, the broadwater, the native Australian animals and lots more that you will find to satisfy your photography eye and creative side.

My Number 1 fav location Couran Cove

My Number 1 fav location
Couran Cove

So there you have it my personal top 5 favourite places, did any of your favourites make my list?  Please feel free to leave me a comment and tell me about your favourite place on the Gold Coast.

Until next week.

Kassy.

A Different Perspective

This month the AIPP (for those non photography blog followers, this stands for Australian Institute of Professional Photographers) held their annual Event, this is a photography conference that runs for 3 days and is packaged with guest speakers, workshops and of course some social and networking opportunities.

This year was my first time attending The Event and wow what a jam packed 3 days it was. Each day had a keynote speaker and then you had choice for either workshops or seminars to attend for the rest of the day.   For me there were many light bulb moments, absolute heart pulling, tear creating seminars and also some totally inspiring and thought provoking moments over the 3 day period.  Each speaker I saw deserves a blog on its own as I took different things away for each person, too much to summarise today.

This blog I wanted to focus on the seminar I attended by Tony Hewitt, Tony specialises in Fine Art Landscapes.  Tony has a very creative mind and can see magic in the plainest of subjects.  Tony has vision and can recite poetry on what he sees within his own mind and transforms into his fine art image.  Tony spoke about finding inspiration and creativity in your photography.   Tony said some key things during his talk “keep looking for your own style, it hides beneath you, allow your own style to come through, don’t be afraid to bring your vision to life as your mind saw it, don’t be afraid to try, give yourself permission to fail, this is how we grow.” All of this gave me plenty to think about.

After The Event was over I was keen to put what Tony said into practise, I am stuck in a rut and need to allow my creativity freedom to flow, it has been squashed by desk and paperwork for too long.  This is my chance to look for and find my own style.  Time for another road trip out west, this time we decided to head out to Warwick.  I didn’t want to just take my normal lens and camera and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to test out the Lens Baby Composer Pro, this is a manual focus lens that you drop in a specific aperture disk and use the swivel of the lens to find your focus area and allow some creative movement or blur effects in other areas of the photo – it’s pretty cool but needs some getting used to, some, well I should say a lot.  I was excited to get out for the day and “play” and see what I could create with this little “fun” lens.

I found the Lens Baby a little hit and miss, something you need to practise and need time to master but keeping Tony’s voice in my head each time we stopped I would take in the scene and let my mind decide what my photo was to be.  This is a great technique if you are struggling to find that creative edge or just need a push – again with Tony in mind, “allowing yourself to fail, to grow, that way if you are prepared to do the things that don’t really work, you will find out what does work”

As you will see by my photos, some ideas worked and some didn’t – some things that were in my head didn’t quite get the message across and some did.

The movement in the trees and earth yet a silent and still clear reflection of our beautiful earth

The movement in the trees and earth yet a silent and still has a part of a clear reflection of our beautiful earth, a metaphor for life (perhaps?)

The darkness of the forest trees from a new perspective

The darkness of the forest trees from a new perspective

Chaos on a clear winters day

Chaos on a clear winters day – did it work??? I’m not sure

So much more in my head.  I saw mist, light, trees, separation - all of which doesn't quite come through on this photo

So much more in my head.
I saw mist, light, trees, separation – all of which doesn’t quite come through on this photo

A different perspective.  Isolate, use lines and patterns. Don't be afraid to only show a part not the whole.  It might tell your story better

A different perspective.
Isolate, use lines and patterns.
Don’t be afraid to only show a part not the whole. It might tell your story better

So what did I learn and take away from this experience, new techniques – take time and practise to master.  It also takes time to allow your mind to open and visualise and let creativity flow, so spend time getting to know your location and play with the angles and above all else listen to that inner voice and allow the magic to happen, above all else don’t stop clicking and trying new things.

Until next week.
Kassy

Weekend Photography Retreat on South Stradbroke Island

I believe it’s extremely important, as a photographer, to continually learn and develop (pardon the pun) my photography skills. I attend various courses each year for this sole purpose. Recently I went on a photography retreat hosted by Live in Love Photography and Splash Photography over on South Stradbroke Island staying at the fantastic Ramada Couran Cove resort.

I was super excited about spending the weekend with a group of girlfriends who also happen to be a ‘bunch of photographers’ (I wonder if there’s a name for that?!) guaranteeing it was going to be a weekend jam packed with fun, food & photography skills.

After we had settled into our gorgeous accommodation we headed to Spa Island for sustenance and a brief run-through about the weekend ahead.

We grabbed our gear and headed off on an orientation walk around the resort. Wandering through the rainforest and ending up on the beach. The first ‘brief’ I received was to ‘see’ everyday objects and look for a new angle or way to photograph them. Sounds easy, right? They tell you it’s a ‘brief’ but then giggle that they renamed it from ‘challenge’ so we wouldn’t think it was too hard to achieve!

Rainforest and Surrounds

Rainforest and Surrounds

We were treated with a stunning sunset that afternoon as the sun set over the water. Our photography ‘brief’ (aka challenge) was to capture a silhouette.

Of course with a retreat, it can’t all be about the craft. Food, fun and fantastic company is also hard to beat. We all met up for dinner, in what is aptly named The Restaurant, to enjoy some fine wine, fabulous food and great company.

After dinner we had a tutorial on smoke photography. I can assure you there was more fits of laughter than photos taken and although I’m sworn to secrecy about what had us giggling like school girls, let me just say I’ll never be able to ‘bang’ into a table again without laughing out loud… Our smoke photography session went into the early hours of the morning but eventually we all crawled into bed dreading the alarms that would wake us for sunrise in just a few short hours.

Sunset & Smoke Photography Challenge

Sunset & Smoke Photography Challenge

I think I managed about 3 hours of sleep before I was tapped on the shoulder and woken up for our scheduled sunrise photo shoot – for those that know me, you’ll know that I don’t wake up before coffee and given coffee was not on offer (that would have required waking up even earlier), I was pretty hard to drag out of bed. While travelling to the eastern side of the island in the dark with the moon still visible all I could think was ‘this better be worth it…’ I am happy to say it was well and truly worth it – the predawn was glorious and the sunrise displayed intense purples, pinks and oranges. Even while my eyes felt like they were half closed, I was thankful for getting up to witness this scene.

After sunrise we went back to the resort to download images and enjoy some breakfast. After a delicious and filling breakfast and my much needed coffee, we returned to the beach exploring the water’s edge and into the sand dunes.

Look the Moon Oh wait ... Here comes the Sun

Look the Moon
Oh wait … Here comes the Sun

I’m happy to say the weekend continued like this; more food, photography ‘briefs’, fun, laughter and at the end of it all a sense of achievement and images I’m proud of.

I highly recommend the Live In Love Photography and Splash Photography Weekend Retreat, it delivers amazing food and photography tutorials at a perfect pace – time for looking, shooting, improving, processing. Sheryn and Anita were constantly on hand to assist, guide and introduce new techniques both in camera and during our post processing sessions.

To finish off a perfect weekend we all sat around enjoying the outlook from the deck and sharing our photo adventures (and maybe we had a cocktail or two just to celebrate such a lovely weekend away).

Our last hour ... Farewell for now

Our last hour … Farewell for now

This retreat certainly delivers on food, fun & photography and with their next photography retreat scheduled for Friday 25th – Sunday 27th July 2014 you’d be mad to miss it. To enquire or book into the retreat contact the girls: Sheryn@liveinlovephotography.com.au or anita@splashphotography.com.au

Tell them I sent you along 🙂

Until next week,

Kassy.

Abstract Landscape Photography

On a recent outing scouting for new shoot locations I stumbled across a great area – semi industrial, semi rural.

After taking photos of the industrial side including some awesome graffiti walls I turned around and saw this rural field and immediately had a vision in my head for a abstract art photo.

To show you what I did firstly I need to show you a photo of the landscape as is

This is what you see in real life

This is what you see in real life

To create the type of abstract I had in mind in camera you need to move the camera up or down during exposure.  Shooting in manual mode and using a circular polarizer filter over the lens to help reduce glare and light I dialed in an aperture of f22, the smallest I can go on this lens (remember small hole = big number) set the iso at 200 and shutter speed at 1/10th second to have time to move the camera during exposure. I shoot in raw mode and my results have only had the basic processing, here is my result

This is first attempt. Settings f.22 1/10th ISO 200

This is first attempt.
Settings f.22 1/10th ISO 200

Looks interesting but no quite what I had in my head, a little to dark, I want more pastel effect so changing nothing but my ISO to 640 I achieved what I set out.

Beautiful pastel colours and you still see the line of the hill, perfect!

Beautiful pastel colours and you still see the line of the hill, perfect!

Just because I have been taught to shoot it until it is dead – I tried moving the camera to the side, this is what I got.

Camera moved during exposure sideways

Camera moved during exposure sideways

As you see these photos are in my opinion art and very subjective.  The sideways photos is not quite what I had in my head so in the end I prefer the other photo. I would love your opinions on this subject.

Until next Friday, have a great week.

Kassy.

Having a Swell Time

The Swell Sculpture Festival at Currumbin Beach began in 2003 however I only discovered this Festival in 2011 and was delighted and amazed at the sculptures, the artists are just so talented and each year it is a must see event on my calendar.

The festival is held on both the beach and broadwalk area of Currumbin during September each year and from a photography point of view each piece can be very challenging to capture with the combination of the elements and amount of people around.

Even knowing this upfront I still wanted to challenge myself this year photographically, to look at the sculptures from all angles and aspects and find the best way to showcase each sculpture using natural light.

Using Natural Light to enhance this cool Sculpture

Using Natural Light to enhance this cool Sculpture

I headed down last Saturday morning around 7.30 thinking that the sun would be in a good position and not too bright or encompassing, I was wrong.  However I was pleased to discover that I could still create some magic shots with the elements I had to work with.

Harsh lighting and People on the Beach made it challenging to capture each ball.

Harsh lighting and People on the Beach made it challenging to capture each ball.

 

A pair of Pear's in the harsh Sunlight

A pair of Pear’s in the harsh Sunlight

Here are some more of my favourite photos from this year.

A cool thing to have on the Beach

A cool thing to have on the Beach

 

High Five - The light created some beautiful pattern inside this Sculpture

High Five – The light created some beautiful pattern inside this Sculpture

 

"Turtle Ball"

“Turtle Ball”

Lastly to finish out this weeks blog my personal favourite was the Blue surfing girl on the Beach.  Here is one of the many angles I photographed her this day.

Surfer Girl

Surfer Girl

Until next week.

Kassy.

Travelling around the Countryside

Last month I caught up with a wonderful friend and photographer buddy while she was visiting Australia from her island home, Cocos (Keeling) Island.

After a coffee we decided to grab our camera’s and head west into the country and to look for interesting and/or historic things to photograph. Our first pit stop was at the town of Canungra, as we wandered through town we found a small quaint historic church. On closer investigation it was disappointing, photographically, the stained glass windows of the church has been altered and now have perspex secured to the outside of each of the windows – a sad sign of the times we now live in.

A Sign a the times Perspex over the window

A Sign a the times
Perspex over the window

A little deflated this early in our adventure with nothing else catching our eye and with the weather threatening rain, we decided to grab some lunch at the Canungra Pub.

The clouds cleared and we decided to keep heading west towards Beaudesert. We are looking, searching, wanting to capture the afternoon light streaming through the dark clouds.

Driving along, my job is to be the lookout, after all Karen is driving and needs to watch the road so it is up to me to find what we are looking for as we drive along the windy roads through all these wonderful country scenes. I see a beautiful patch of light and we stop on the side of the road in order to capture the streams of light across the country landscape.

See the Light

See the Light

At this stop we take the opportunity to look around, check the scene from all perspectives and photograph many things that catch our eye.

There is always something to photograph

There is always something to photograph

 

Finding the light even though barb wire

Finding the light even though barb wire

Back in the car continuing our adventure we have times where the gray clouds are working against us but other times where the light is just right. During the month of July I was doing a photo a day project (APAD) and I had a preconceived idea for today’s photo, I needed to find a bare boned, dead tree. I didn’t think it would be too difficult to find the type of tree I was after out here but it still has to be that perfect tree to fulfill the brief.

Of course it’s while we’re travelling around 80k per hour with cars and trucks behind us that I shout to Karen “oh my goodness there is my tree, quick stop!”. Karen laughs, it was simply not possible to stop at that moment. We find a place to turn not to far up the road and back we come parking the car in a safe spot on this busy country highway and walk the rest of the way down to the tree.

My Tree - Quick Stop!

My Tree – Quick Stop!

The gods were on our side and by the time we got down there the light was just perfect and that shot that was in my head become a reality.

My tree shot comes to life

My tree shot comes to life

What a perfect end to our adventure. Great photos, great company and learning that if patient the light will shine and so will your photos.

Patience rewards you with light

Patience rewards you with light

 

A great end to a great day

A great end to a great day

Enjoy your week.

Kassy