Lately I have been challenged to keep exploring, to get out there and just enjoy creation. Its so easy now to sit down in front of Netflix or Facebook and waste hours and hours. Trust me I am just as guilty of doing this but its just not that satisfying.
I get to the end of a couple of episodes on Netflix and feel disappointed that I just managed to waste several hours sitting on my bum.
So I have decided to try get out and about. Spontaneous trips in the Subaru with Rach and with mates or even just jumping on the bike for a pedal.
There is so much out there and so much beauty to be discovered that we can so easily ignore or pass by while spending time on our screens. I challenge you to get out this week. Go to your favourite look out, for a bush walk or just take the time to take in a sunset.
It'll be worth it. Trust me.
I have been a bit quiet at the start of this year. But here I am now making up for it!
I got married at the end of last year and so decided to take a couple months off from weddings at the start of this year to settle into married life and the new year.
Have no fear, I have been shooting. I was lucky enough to second shoot with one of my all time favourite photographers and also have been shooting some of my own weddings and personal projects!
Below are some photos from my wedding.
All credit to Tim Coulson for the shots!
Stay tuned as I have some weddings lined up for the blog and the website and will hopefully be doing a bit of travel in the middle of the year and photos from that will definately make their way onto the inetrwebs.
Twenty fifteen has taken me all over NSW shooting weddings, engagements, fashion and landscapes. It's taken me to South Africa to explore, experience and see more of this incredible world.
I am so blessed to be able to live a full and creative life. To be able to express the creativity that I have been given, to capture life, love and the world the way my eyes see it.
I am so thankful for all my awesome clients who have trusted me to capture some of the biggest days of their lives. I have been able to share with people in one of the most joyous days and it is seriously such a fun and rewarding experience.
I was also lucky enough to have some of my work featured on Hello Mays Bridal Blog. A personal highlight of the year!
For those that didnt get the memo, 2015 also saw me jump in front of the camera for my own wedding. I could not have done all the things that I have done without my beautiful Rachel beside me. She has pushed me to do more and be better and loves me even when I spend too much money on camera gear. We started the year as a couple and will end it as Husband and Wife. I can't imagine a better partner in crime to start 2016 with.
(I'll add one shot from my wedding at the end, but only one because thats all I have at the moment, it was only a couple of weeks ago so we haven't got the shots back yet!)
2015 has seen me have more fun, learn more things, meet more people and see more than I had expected. So cheers to 2015, and bring on 2016!
So below, you will find a random assortment of some of my favourite moments of the year.
To all who where a part of my 2015. Thank you.
If you don't like reading (like me), just keep scrolling and look through the photos - like those books that have the pictures in the middle, where you can ignore the words and go straight for the pretty pictures... But if you enjoy a bit of a read, then sit back and relax. I have taken some time to tell some stories and share some of my adventures while travelling in South Africa.
-Oh and here is some nice music to accompany you on the journey-
I have spent the last 3 weeks of my life travelling the amazing landscape that is South Africa. Over that time I took my first helicopter ride, met friends who became an extended family, saw a lion tear flesh for its dinner, climbed a mountain, watched the sun setting over oceans, photographed the worlds best surfers (and held my breath as one survived a shark attack), wandered in fields of gold and stood in gale force winds to view a glowing city.
And yet, South Africa has left me wanting more.
Day One saw us driving down winding roads following the coast and chasing the mountains. Every twist and turn in the road revealed more of the incredible view. Every lookout was out- done by the next. Within a couple of hours of landing we found ourselves in a beautiful town complete with sand dunes, art galleries and a whole lotta boats… oh, and Brownie the trained seal. He would jump up and eat a fish out of his trainer's mouth. Quite impressive really, however at the end of the performance when we realised it was part of a street act and they asked for money, we awkwardly had to explain that we had only been in the country for a couple of hours and didnt have any! Brownie's trainer was a little unimpressed.
After a day or two of exploring we headed down to the waterfront. We were on a mission. A chopper flight. Doors off. As cheap as we could get it (we were budget holidaying here people!)
We wheeled and dealed and managed to secure a chopper all to ourselves - with windows so we could stick the cameras out. On arrival at the airfield, they directed us to a smaller helicopter...
No windows. This posed a minor issue...
So after a quick chat explaining the situation, they wheeled out a larger chopper, then fuelled and prepared it just for us, and we were in the air! The pilot was stoked, as he preferred flying the larger chopper and thanked us for requesting it. As far as a first chopper ride goes, I was pretty speechless.
Take a minute to take a tour of Cape Town and surrounds from the air.
I admit, the first week I didn't get the camera out that much. I was too busy taking in the city!
As a photographer, my job is to constantly view the world through my lens - to stop time and make memories for people.
But sometimes its really nice to put the camera down and take in things through your own eyes. To not feel like you are working and to appreciate the people and the places around you. To enjoy a view without fiddling with settings or making sure your subject is in the right spot for the shot...
We ventured to incredible eaterys with hidden skate parks in the back room. Watched sunsets from hills above the city, we dined on burgers and beers, found buildings painted with the most incredible colours and sipped on coffee in one of the best cafes in Cape Town. It was Incredible. Memories I won't forget any time soon.
One of the gems we found along the way was Llandudno Beach.
The camera made its way out of the bag for this.
We owe most of the credit for these adventures to our Cape Town crew. We flew in knowing no-one. A friend of a friend greeted us with keys to the place where we were staying, and that afternoon offered to take us to their favourite 'Sundowner' (Sunset spot). Before we knew it we were on a rock above the city, watching the sun disappear on our first day in Cape Town with a whole bunch of awesome people. Their hospitality and generosity was amazing.
Of course, no trip to Cape Town would be complete with out heading up Table Mountain.
To hike or not to hike... That was the question.
Being indecisive young adults we spent the morning wondering whether we could be bothered taking a backpack loaded with all our camera gear for a hike up the mountain that could take several hours.
So at about 3 in the afternoon - and with the last cable car leaving down the mountain at 6pm, we drove to the lower cable car station and walked up to a man who looked official, and asked: "How long does it take to walk, and will we make it before the last cable car?" He told us it should take 2.5 hours, but that we should be able to knock it over in 2. We realised that we had no water, so we bought a bottle each from the kiosk and started walking. Decision made.
Apparently there are over 600 ways to get to the top of the mountain...so we felt confident that our minimal knowledge and 1 water bottle each would be enough for us to make it.
1 hour and 45 minutes later we made it to the top! Panting a little. Okay, maybe a lot...
But oh, it was worth it!
The view was breathtaking. Standing on the edge of a mountain overlooking Cape Town. A city that at first was so overwhelming, now could be taken in with one glance. We watched the sun's last light hit the city before it disappeared and then made our way down in the cable car.
Feeling like we had only just begun our trip, our first week in Cape Town was almost up. But not before a Thursday night Silent Disco at the Beer House (where we danced the night away), and in conversation with our new friends we were offered a weekend away on the west coast - a difficult offer to pass up!
So we didn't.
Friday saw us packing our bags and heading up the highway to Paternoster.
Kinda like a mini Santorini. The houses are white... just a few less cliffs... (and less Greek people).
We only planned on spending one night on the West Coast but the open fire, the beach, the house and the company were too good and so we delayed our journey to Mossel Bay by one more night. Enough to enjoy a South African Braai and a G&T in the sun.
We felt pretty darn lucky to be experiencing this little pocket of paradise.
More tunes, just in case you need them.
And with a couple of sundowners and a couple of incredible home cooked meals, a toe dip in the freezing cold water and a stroll along the beach, we were on the road again.
And off to JBAY!
We stopped in Mossel Bay on the way through. Some amazing countryside and many hours later, we arrived in Jefferys Bay. We were there to shoot the JBay Open surf competition. One of the stops on the WSL World Tour... The first day we were there we were greeted with some pretty amazing free surfing. We had high hopes of the week to come.
During the week spent at JBay we made friends with the local waiters at our favourite spot to grab breaky... and lunch… everyday.... We witnessed incredible sunrises, made friends with the seemingly hundreds of pooches that lined the beach and watched wave after wave roll into Supertubes in Jefferys Bay. Unfortunately the surf wasn't at its peak, but that didn't stop the worlds best from ripping it up!
One of the highlights was watching the final game of State of Origin Rugby League on the big screen sitting with mates (and Mick Fanning, and yes I had a little Fan Boy moment...). There was a lay day (a day with no surf), so what else were we meant to do but get a feed straight from Channel 9 to the big screen at JBay, open up some Coronas, order a pie and sit back in the sun. The South Africans didnt really understand why it was such a big thing, but in the end they were cheering along.
At the Backpackers, we met amazing people from all over the world, laid in hammocks for hours on end, watched some incredible live music and by the end of it, kinda wished we were staying for just a little bit longer.
On one of the lay days we ventured out with about 20 others from the JBay Open to Schotia Safari's. It is about an hour drive from the competition site. We were able to witness some of the most incredible animals this earth has to offer, close up!
One female white Rhino decided to get a little to close for comfort to some friends in the other vehicle, taking a minute to scratch her nose on the side of the truck. With seemingly no effort, she managed to rock the whole vehicle! It really gives you an idea of scale, seeing her up next to a full size safari modified Range Rover. Unfortunately poachers had removed her horn but none the less it was an incredible animal and an incredible sight.
The Safari continued with camera shy Elephants, grazing Zebras, hiding Hippos and many more including my favourite, the Lions. Only a short while after they made a kill we came across the Lion and his lady chowing down on their evening meal.
To be perfectly honest, I'm glad that they ate before we got there...
Back down to Cape Town
On the way to JBay, we were so excited to get there we didn't really stop along the way to take photos. Sure, some 'passenger on the drive' photography occurred but no stopping and really taking time to shoot. We decided that this would have to change on the way back. So whenever we saw something that caught our eye we would pull over and take some time out.
We had some pretty good reasons to pull over.
One of the favourites was the canola fields. They were incredible. They literally looked like someone had gotten a yellow highlighter and coloured patches of the fields in, then once you got closer, you just wanted to get out and run around in them (well, I did anyway...).
The Home Stretch
The drive was beautiful, but it was also nice to be heading back to Cape Town for our final week. It really felt like home base.
With many more K's clocked up on our rental car, we made it back to the city. We checked into our hotel and headed out that night for dinner with friends. But this wasn't just any dinner - Matt and I were finally seeing a great friend (who will also be one of my groomsmen later this year). Guy had grown up in South Africa, moved to Australia where we had gone through High School with him, then he had moved back to SA to further his studies. He was away for our first week in Cape Town, so the reunion had been an even longer wait... We became nicknamed 'The Rowdy Aussies' at dinner because it was just too much fun catching up, reminiscing about school days and filling in Guy's South African friends on all the antics we used to get up to... It was a great night and we couldn't believe that we were hanging out in SA, of all places!
The following week was filled with days of adventures and nights with friends.
We made our way to fresh food markets and drove along scenic roads to small towns for breakfast. I saw my first squirrel (I love squirrels)! We watched Australia take a win against South Africa in the Rugby Union in a small Portuguese restaurant filled with South Africans (needless to say we were the ONLY ones cheering at the end). We visited memorials and lookouts and found caves where we could watch the sunset. One local wasn't too happy that we climbed down a hill to get into the cave... Apparently it was 'forbidden' and we were breaking all the rules, although the parking attendant/National Parks man at the car park on the top of the hill was more than happy to direct us down to where the cave was! We thought that was permission enough.
One of our adventure days took us to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope.
The drive saw us headed south to Chapmans Peak, one of my favourite driving roads. We continued through Hout Bay and a couple of other little towns and kept on until we couldn't drive any further. We ventured up to the lighthouse on top of Cape Point to enjoy an incredible view over the ocean. We snapped a few shots and saw a seal playing down in the waves, then we headed down and round to the Cape of Good Hope.
The Cape of Good Hope is the most south-western point on the African continent. We had a quick walk around and up the hill before getting swamped with tourist buses. The weather was also starting to turn, so we thought it best to be on our way.
A Tune for the home stretch.
The wind was howling, but nothing was going to stop us from having our final Sundowners. Guy and Dave came straight from work and we met them at the entrance to one of their (and now one of our) favourite sunset spots, and the place we watched our first sunset in South Africa. The sun was dipping rapidly and we were getting blown over by the wind but we made it in time to crack our final sunset beer, huddling like penguins to keep warm! It felt like ages since we had been here on our first day. but then again at the same time it felt like the whole trip had gone a little too quickly. We had just started to really get a feel for South Africa, and really get to love it.
When we first imagined our arrival, we expected to be greeted through the airport gates by lions and rhinos and to walk out into the African desert, and to be watching our backs at all times - we had heard about the crime and the craziness of the city. But we were met in Cape Town by awesome and hospitable friends, we kept our wits about us (as you would in any new city) but we always felt safe. We were blown away by the fact that at every corner you were met with another view of the Mountain, watching over the city, that within 10 minutes of jumping in the car you could be cruising along the sides of cliff faces, and that in a place so big and busy you could find so much beauty. We had moments as we travelled where we had no words, passing whole communities living in the most makeshift of housing. Kids having their soccer training on a patch of grass between freeway roads because that was all they had access to. A way of life about which we had no idea. Images that will stick with us forever and, I hope, will keep us remembering how blessed we are to be where we are, never forgetting that there are brothers and sisters that don't have it quite as easy as us.
South Africa was amazing. It was an eye opener and a chance to unwind. A chance to get away from the day to day. I loved it and I would be back in a heartbeat.
Thanks for having us, South Africa.
Thanks Guy for letting us crash your place and having us in your country.
Thanks for the drives in the BMW with the roof down even when it was freezing outside, the local knowledge and the good times.
And to the "A Team"... Thanks for the memories; The beers on the rock, the countless meals shared, the unending laughter and for being the tour guides we so desperately needed.
You made SA something special and we appreciate that immensely.
South Africa. You were amazing.
I really hope I get to come back again one day.