Dreams of Being a Cinematographer

I have always loved movies.  I think the first one I ever saw at the cinemas was either Star Wars or Every Which Way But Loose (I still consider Clint a bit of a honey!).  One of the things I love about my 7D is the movie mode.  to be able to flip over and turn my stills camera into a HD video camera is just awesome.  When I was about 7 or 8 an older cousin of mine (Chris) had a huge film camera.  We planned to make the next blockbuster, Academy Award winning masterpiece, complete with special effects.  Obviously we didn’t, but the feeling and excitement of making a movie has never left me.  Now, when I watch a movie, I look for how they light the scenes, the colours, contrast and transitions they use.  Undaunted by the steep learning curve involved in capturing the video, editing and publishing a watchable movie, I do admit I still have a little dream of creating a few mini masterpieces as personal projects.  I will publish them to the net as I make them.  I don’t imagine I will be making many due to the time factor, but you never know.  Here is the one I made of the kids on their bikes entitled “I Wanna Ride”.  See it here.


My Cousin Tahlia Married Neil

I’ve been looking forward to doing this blog post.  My cousin Tahlia and Neil got hitched!

I was so excited about going to this wedding on the weekend.  Firstly, because it would be a great chance to catch up with family that is scattered all over Victoria and Australia.  Secondly, because it was a wedding.  Obviously.  I love weddings.  I hadn’t seen my cousins for about 2 years and I reckon it’s been about 25 years since I last saw my Uncle, the bride’s Dad.  Tahlia and Neil and my Aunt live in Darwin.

It was a very hot Saturday with a good chance of rain.  A bit of a worry for a garden wedding.  The ceremony took place at the JFK Memorial at Treasury Gardens in Melbourne.  The area was beautifully set up with details like little antique bird cages, flowers and large umbrellas and a carpet laid down the aisle.  The groom was incredibly nervous and his nervousness just made him all the more adorable.  He didn’t have to wait long for his future bride.  Tahlia was accompanied by her two bridesmaids and a flower girl.  My auntie Michelle walked her down the aisle.  They say brides glow on their wedding day, but Tahlia was absolutely radiantly beautiful.   The word “stunning” was said a few times.

The ceremony was fun and, at the same time, moving.  It was officiated by a very lovely lady, who’s name escapes me.  She had the groom relatively relaxed by the time Tahlia met him.

Had to include this one. She was so cute.

Uncle Max. I will say hi to my Mum and Dad for you xx

The Blending of the Sands Ritual. This part of the ceremony involved blending of three different sands to represent the blending of the families, performed by the mothers and the couple.

Neil has a wacky sense of humour.

He actually danced down the aisle after the ceremony.

The immaculate bridal cars.

The rain threatened to come down, but we only got a few drops.

After the ceremony the group photos were taken and then the newly married couple were swept off in the gorgeous black convertible Mustang with their bridal party for photographs around Melbourne.  I was so excited to meet George Fragapolous who runs XSiGHT Photography in Darwin.  He did an amazing job.  At the end of the reception he put on a huge slide show display of the images from the day.  I mean massive.  He set the projector up on the mezzanine floor and project onto a huge wall on the other side of the room.  The guests at the reception were in awe of his work, and the applause after it was finished was very loud and enthusiastic.

The reception was held at Sumac in Shed 14 at the Docklands.  Great venue and fantastic food.  The band was entertaining, but not as much as the speeches of the best man, father of the bride, mother of the bride, best man and the MC.  Not to mention on of the brothers of the bride.  Hilarious night.  I met some awesome friends and family of the bride and groom that made the night even more enjoyable.

The entire wedding was co-ordinated by the wonderful Valerie De Silva of Together Forever Weddings.  This woman is so passionate and driven and absolutely untiring.  How she pulled the whole event together with the bride and groom in Darwin was amazing.  I would not hesitate in recommending her to any bride and groom planning a wedding.  She is a gem.  And so nice too.

It was a great day and night.  Thank you Tahlia and Neil.  It was a pleasure to share your love.  And I look forward to the arrival of little Fuji, Nikon, Canon or Olympus down the track. (Neil is so in love with photography he is likely to name his first born after one of the big camera brands, according to his best man.)


V8 Supercars and a Celebrity Crushes

I don’t know where my love of V8 motorsport came from.  My parents certainly are not petrol heads.  Possibly one or two boyfriends have had an influence.  I remember sitting in a neighbour’s ute when I was about 5 or 6 years old, wishing I was big enough to drive.

Now I am big enough to go to raceways by myself.  That is what I did last Saturday.  My dear husband was happy to stay at home and watch the Supercars on TV with the kids.  I was so excited about going, I watched the weather forecast of heavy rain on Saturday and clearing showers on Sunday.  A sensible person would have chosen Sunday.  Nuh!  I didn’t care whether it was wet or not – I couldn’t wait to go to Sandown Raceway, and maybe even meet my celebrity crush.

I set myself a few goals for the day.  I have friends into the V8’s too, so I had to get shots of their favourite cars.  I also wanted to get into the pits area and take some behind the scenes shots, and maybe some of the drivers, if I was lucky enough.  It started raining as soon as I arrived and I stupidly parked right near the back straight.  I had forgotten how far it was to walk around to the pits and grandstand.  By the time I got there, I and my cameras, were already unhealthily rained upon.

And I could already feel blisters forming on the balls and heels of my feet.  But I was determined to fulfill my goals for the day and eventually made it to the pits.   I was wondering if people were thinking I was weird as I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face.  I was taking photos of the drivers!!.   All of them.  They were signing posters for kids at the back of their garages.  You have no idea how exciting this was for me!!  I met the nicest security bloke (wish I could remember his name) who talked about the drivers and got me a poster signed by Allan Moffat’s son, James and Dick Johnson’s son, Steven.  Which leads me to my celebrity crush – Mark Winterbottom, aka Frosty.  I thought, since I had autographs of Moffat and Johnson, how could I leave without one of Frosty’s?  So I stood in line with the parents and their kids to meet the man and get a signed poster.  I was a little embarrassed and, when it came to actually speaking to him – it went like this;

Mark:  “Hi, are you having a good time?”

Me:  “Yes.  Better for meeting you.”

Then silence.  I swear he must have thought I was a stalker, with my cameras with big lenses attached, hanging off my shoulder.  I walked away happy I had met him, but kicking myself that I couldn’t have an intelligent conversation with him.  I did feel like a teenager wanting to talk to the object of my admiration, but too shy to say something witty or intelligent.  Aaahh.  Next time.

I had a fantastic day shooting for the absolute love of it and doing it just for me.  I could keep writing heaps more about the day, but I do realise not everyone has this obsession with motorsport and V8 drivers.  I do recommend everyone go to a race, just once, and feel, smell, touch and taste the motoracing culture.


Mark Winterbottom - Ford Performance Racing Team.

The Friendly Security Guy


My personal favourite. The Orrcon FPR Falcon


Classic. SS Torana Hatch.



These are the sorts of shots I was hoping to get.

Across the Straight

Matt and I had our first trip away without the kids last weekend.  And we had a ball.  It was for Robyn’s 40th birthday.  She and her husband are very good friends of ours from Matt’s home state, Tasmania.  We travelled over Bass Straight with very long time friends, Scott and Mandy.  The whole trip was a continuous laugh.  Great food at a restaurant called Wild, in Penguin, and we met people that were so down to earth and simply brilliant.  We missed the kids and the dog, of course, but it was so nice to relax in such good company.  Cannot wait to return to this wonderful little part of the world.

The Rockstars have touched down in Launceston.

I thought this candle summed it up beautifully.

It's Robyn's 40th. Good excuse for a party.

Wine glasses - check.

Got the nibblies - check

Birthday bling - check. Only thing left to do is enjoy the party.


Got everything ready, now to enjoy the night.


The Specials

Birthday girl ordering from the menu.We met this fantastic couple.


Great food and great company. What more could you want?


We met this fantastic couple.


Photo of me by Mandy.


Matt and Jonesie sharing a joke.


Some of the local talent we saw at the pub after dinner. Mandy very covertly took this shot. Love it.Waiting for the limo.


Waiting for the limo. Yes, we had limousines to pick us up 🙂

Dogs Bring Neighbours Together

Our neighbours, Fabian and Clare, moved into their place about 2 years ago.  We waved to them, had a quick chat about storm damage after the massive hail storm in March last year and generally were just distantly friendly with them.  We didn’t know their names, they didn’t know ours.  We were quite content to keep to ourselves and wave when we were putting the bins out or checking the letter box.

That all changed when they brought Khloe home.  Khloe is a French Bulldog girl and one of the cutest pups.   They started walking her and the inevitable happened.  We met properly.  We exchanged names and news about our respective dogs.  What has happened since meeting Khloe is Clare and I have become friends.  Even Matt (my husband) who is a bit on the shy side, has enjoyed getting together with our “new” neighbours.

The friendship has stepped up a notch with us looking after Khloe for a week while Clare and Fabian are in Noosa. 

Khloe’s first night at our place was a challenge.  I love dogs more than any other animal and I had (past tense) prided myself on my abilities to bring up well behaved dogs.  Boy, did this little pup knock my confidence!!  I forgot what it was like to have a puppy around the place.  They run!!  They scratch doors, they poop and wee, they get into places they shouldn’t, they dig garden beds and they chew just about anything.  And this little critter has the most offensive farts you have ever smelt!!  And she snores – LOUDLY.   One of the funniest little dogs ever.

It only took her a night to settle and she has been an absolute angel since.  My confidence is restored.  Diesel is not just tolerating her, but playing with her.  And my 4 year old daughter has discovered that little dogs are fun to walk on the leash.

I know her mummy is missing her terribly and she will be missed by my family once her people come home.  What she doesn’t realise is that her dogginess has helped create a true friendship.   Thank you Khloe xx

Khloe feeling very snoozy after playing with Diesel and the kids


Love those wrinkles

Sofie enjoys attaching the leads and leading the dogs around. And tying them up. She pretends they are horses. The look on Diesel's face says it all. And that's Matt's temporary fence to keep dogs and kids off the new lawn.

What I Get Up to When the Kids Take a Nap

I consider myself extremely lucky to have two wonderful kids.  Every day they are showing more and more of their personalities and their knowledge knows no bounds.   I find I am always saying things like, “How did you know that?” and “How do you know how to do that?”  But I am also lucky they are at an age they are still having naps.  This gives me about an hour to play.  One valuable piece of advice (amongst many gems) from an esteemed photographer I found on the web was to practice, practice, practice.  Any chance you get!!!

So when I get a chance I have a play with different lenses, lighting conditions, off-camera flash and then have some fun editing.  Sometimes I just shoot inanimate objects, like coffee cups, the kid’s toys, the chair leg.  Boring!  My favourite subjects are my kids and my dog.  Duh!  Animal photographer.  Here is what I got up to this week:

My dog, Deez,  has been my constant companion since late 2002.  I have absolutely no idea what breeds have mixed to make him who he is.  But that doesn’t matter, because he has a personality that is unmatched.  I am head-over-heels in love with this guy.  He has seen my attention switch from him to a new love, then to two tiny little human kids and through it all, he has taken it in his stride.  Even though I definitely belong to him, he loves the additions to our little family over the past 5 years.  And I love trying to capture new images of him.

Winner of Best Dog Eyes Category

The Best Nose in the World

Study of a Boot

And what about the boots?  Over the last 3 years I have been drawn back into the Western horse scene.  My first horse was a first-cross Quarter Horse who adopted me when I was about 13.  Since photographing for the West Gippsland Quarter Horse Association, the Yarra Valley Quarter Horse Association and the Victorian Paint Horse Association I have had the pleasure of seeing, and photographing, some of the most beautiful pieces of western wear and equipment.  Although I wouldn’t call myself a cowgirl as such, I have always had a thing for Western boots.  About 15 years ago I was given a pair by one of my former bosses.  I was a PA for the Deputy Commisioner of the Dandenong ATO for a short time.  I don’t know why she gave them to me, but I could never quite visualise this rather intimidating female head of a branch of the Tax Office wearing Cowboy Boots.  They never fit me well and were extremely uncomfortable.  Don’t know whatever happened to those boots.  I got a pair for my birthday this year and they are perfect!!!  I love photographing them.  I don’t consider them inanimate.

And then there is self-portraiture.  A frightening area because I hate seeing myself in photographs.  But that is a topic for another post.

My New Puppy – Scarlet

Scarlet – Born 6 March 2011

I have been dying to share with you my new puppy.  She is a 5 month old black Labrador girl named Scarlet.  She is being trained to become a Seeing Eye Dog for Seeing Eye Dogs Australia.  Well, she’s not my new dog for real.  Nicole Martin Photography is sponsoring her training over the next 12 months and I am really excited that I can follow her progress with regular updates.  She sent me this photograph and a letter telling me all about her Mum, Lou Lou and Dad, Harvey and how she will be wearing her blue coate with “L” plates on to let everyone know she’s learning to be a Seeing Eye Dog.

And at the end of her training she will give someone who is blind or has low vision the wonderful independence and freedom we all take for granted.  I can’t wait to meet her.  And of course I will take my camera.

Good luck with your training spunky little Scarlet xx