Wedding Wonderland

Beaming with excitement to be able to finally share this wedding.  Meet Tina and Brad, a couple very happy and giddy with love.  Brad adores and showers Tina with love and affection each and every day, I have never seen my dear friend so happy, she often tells me just how blessed she feels every day.

This is why I was honoured to be asked to photograph their wedding. Tina and Brad had planned a small intimate wedding at their beautiful home on the Gold Coast in mid December last year.

Tina known for her artistic talents did most of the planning for the wedding and celebration including designing and making the invitations.

On the day, I arrived and was quickly ushered into the “make up” room where the bride remained hidden from her nervous but excited groom.  After Tina’s daughter completed her Mum’s make up, we did a quick “switch-a-roo” into the main bedroom for the final preparations before the ceremony.

Tina’s son walked his Mum up the aisle (which as a friend, was such a moving and special moment to witness).  Tina & Brad stood in front of family and close friends whilst Gwen Inglis, Marriage Celebrant, guided them through the formal ceremony.   Apart from exchanging vows and rings, A special moment came from Brad’s Mum who recited a poem, it was an emotional moment for all and something very much from her heart to them.

After the ceremony, it was time to let their hair down and party, celebrating this special day with those close to them, the first day of their lives as Mr & Mrs Brad Norton.

Congratulations to you both I was blessed and privileged to be invited to share your day and create some everlasting printed memories to keep.

Until next time.

Kassy

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

You are Beautiful – A Special Gift

July last year I received a call from a very sweet man, Paul, a husband looking for the perfect gift to give his wife.   Paul told me his wife had done a glamour shoot for her 40th.  He thought it was a great idea to gift her another glamour shoot for her 60th, a personalised gift voucher for our You are Beautiful photoshoot experience.

As time went by in July I kept on waiting for the call from her to book in, nothing happened.  Month after month went by and still no call.  Fast forward to January this year, the phone rang … Hi it’s Cheryl here ….  Woo Hoo, finally the call I was waiting for.  Cheryl was excited and was ringing to book in for the shoot.  She was sorry it couldn’t have been earlier.   She had been so busy travelling after her birthday that time had slipped away.  We settled on a date and confirmed with my trusted and preferred Make up Artist (Morgan from Morgan Leigh Makeup Artistry) that she was available.

On meeting Cheryl in person I quickly discovered what a wonderful and bubbly lady she is.  Cheryl has a laugh that is infectious.  Her stories about her life, family, travel and girlfriends are captivating.  This is a true lady who lives life to the fullest and makes every day count.

On her 60th Birthday they had a party with a dress up theme of “Bollywood”.  Let me share with you it’s not the first dress up party she has attended.  It seems to be a normal occurrence in her life (and Im not just talking about finding something ok from the wardrobe that will do, Im talking full 100% commitment).   She had bought in the outfit that she wore to the party and asked if this could be one of the looks for the day, of course I said yes … let’s do that one last.

Cheryl loves her scarves and I think she has over 100 different ones in her wardrobe. Cheryl bought a small selection to our shoot, all colourful and co-ordinated with her outfits.  Although taking Beautiful photos of Cheryl is my job, it didn’t feel like it, we were laughing often and during make up “touch ups” listening to her travel and learning about her life, it was an absolute joy, I honestly feel that the universe had given me this gift and not the other way around.

Bollywood – Cheryl Style

After a couple of weeks, we met again so I could present her photos, let me tell you it was hard to narrow down just to the favourites.  Cheryl was beyond delighted with the results and chose 7 must have photos for printing.   Our time together went so quickly, I am grateful to leave her with beautiful photos of a beautiful lady and more great memories for her to cherish.

Until next week.

Kassy.

Wildlife. Tigers and Cubs

In the last week, I have been to fortunate to see two amazing and talented photographers and listen to their life and journey’s so far. The first was an Evening with Chris Bray presented by the Australian Photographic Society. Chris is an adventurer/wildlife and travel photographer who has been and done some incredible things and achieved what some would consider impossible. Chris also runs photography tours around the world to some of the most sought after bucket list places.

Chris during his talk certainly can keeps you entertained with his stories, adventures and encounters. His sense of humour is totally infectious, a true story teller you almost feel like you were there too. Trust me it blows your mind to watch footage of a wild elephant be so curious at a go pro on a remote car then next minute that same elephants foot totally destroy that same car and go-pro (it sends chills through me). More bone chilling and maybe a little amusing is to watch beautiful large majestic tigers sniff around a camera, then take off a lens hood with their teeth just before snacking on the camera and lens (thankfully it was a canon so my heart didn’t sink too much 😉 and yet there is a part of me, a big part of me that wants to do that, be there, take that photo (ok maybe not have my camera snacked on … but you get the picture).

Until we either win lotto or sell up and just decide to travel the world, I have to make do with seeing and photographing the animals in zoo’s or parks and the wildlife encounters that some offer. Now I know that not all my readers like to see animals kept captive or encourage participation in encounters offered by many parks out there, I understand and respect that decision. I always try to only support places that dedicate some funds to be used for the good of animal care in general.

In Feb 2016 my brilliant wonderful daughter surprised me with a “meet the tiger cubs” experience at Dreamworld. Our group was taken into a special behind the scenes area where we got to meet the sisters, Akasha and Adira, 2 rowdy playful cute tiger cubs. Not only did I get to spend about ½ hour with them I got to take in my camera and get a few photos as well. Ok so it’s not quite the same as sitting out in the African jungle on safari waiting for the wildlife, camera in hand, I guess at least items experience was up close and somewhat personal.  I came away with some great photos and lasting memories. I am truly blessed to have a daughter so thoughtful.

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Tiger Cubs at Play

Tiger Cubs at Play

When it was over (all too quick for my liking) it was time to head back out in the park, stopping to watch the big cats at play. With a change to a big lens I positioned myself along the fence line with a pole to steady my hand to both watch and photograph the big cats. I tried hard to only take photos as though I was watching them in the wild, observing their natural behaviours rather than any forced or tricks. At the end of the day I am happy with what I could capture given the environment.

I Smell Food ....

I Smell Food ….

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Until next week.

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

Life Lessons

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next week.

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.

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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

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