Monday, 28 July 2014

Beside The Seaside, Beside The Sea

Australia is the smallest continent and the largest island. If you live here, chances are you don't live far from water as over ninety percent of the population lives within a quarter hour drive of the coastline. This is mainly because there is nothing much in the centre of Australia except sand. And kangaroos. Ok maybe not that extreme but you're getting it. 

For those of us that live close to the ocean it is more than a way of life. The coastline is a familiar icon, a rudder, a marker to orient yourself and a compass to point the way home. On my first visit to the west coast of the USA, after living on the east coast of Australia for thirty years, it was very disconcerting to be travelling NORTH up the coast but have the water on my left. Watching the sun set over the water was almost a complete reset for my brain.
Sunset in San Diego, November 2001
I lived close enough to the surf in my hometown to have the low and constant murmur of the crashing waves as my lullaby at night and the tang of ozone on the morning breeze. Everything rusted from the salt air. When I first moved away from home I could not get to sleep for months because I did not have the gentle white noise of the sea to lull me to sleep. 

I did not realise how prominently the ocean and the surf had featured in my work until I went looking for photos of sand for my last blog entry. I've always tried to use the ocean and the surf as more than just a backdrop and make it a real part of the story. Here's a few of those stories.

This friend was about to set out on a solo year-long trip walking through Japan. It was April 2007 and we were on Fraser Island shooting an event. I wanted to capture the intense loneliness of his mental preparation.
Fraser Island, April 2007
This lovely family came to the beach at Point Danger right on the NSW/Queensland border for a portrait. It was blowing a gale and spitting with rain but their lively spirit shone through.
Duranbah beach, November 2008
I was stunned by the almost perfect mirror in this image. This family wanted shots here because it was their local beach, close to their home where they spent a lot of time.
Miami beach, Queensland, March 2011
Every year my bestie and her family camp at Hastings Point over Easter. This year I took her four almost grown children to the surf beach to reprise a shoot I did with them ten years ago before her youngest was even thought of.
Hastings Point, NSW Australia, April 2014
This of course is the delightful Darcy about whom I have blogged before.
Darcy at Kirra, November 2005
And here is Darcy again 4 years later with his family and new baby brother, a little more grown up and back at Kirra on familiar sand.
Kirra beach, November 2009
Kirra beach, November 2009
This couple got married before lunch in the middle of January and we did photos on the beach at 10.45 am when the sun was blistering and almost directly overhead. A challenge for a photographer involving a deal of good posing to avoid shadows, a blast of flash and taking advantage of the nature of sand to reflect sunlight. It was so hot we were almost hopping across the sand; I got my shots done in nine minutes.
Mark and Sue, January 2010
My mum on Pottsville Beach not long after my father passed away in 2000. This was taken on film with my first SLR camera, a Pentax MZ5 that was a gift from my brother.
Diana walking her dogs, 2001
I've featured this wedding before in the blog. The groom once lived not far from here and this beach featured heavily in his younger life and development into adulthood. I wanted to use the beach as an Australian iconic symbol - the groom here is Australian and the bride British, and they had already had a very British wedding in England the December before so I was looking for a contrast.
Currumbin beach near Elephant Rock, April 2012
This lovely couple honeymooned on the Gold Coast and I shot them in three different locations as part of a special portrait package. They were from Western Australia so wanted something distinctively 'Gold Coast' in their photos.
Hayley and Emmit at Currumbin, July 2006

When a photographer has an ideas blank or just wants a break in a shoot, they get their clients to run around, or run up and down for a while so they can think for a bit. Beaches are perfect for that stuff. This is my favourite Fraser Island wedding again, a place very dear to this couple's heart so of course where better to get married.
Fun on Fraser Island, April 2005
While I was looking through these wedding images searching for the above series of shots, I found this delightful shot of me at this wedding taken by my assistant. This was my first wedding shooting digital, and I spent a good deal of time fiddling with settings. Here the light in the day was almost gone and I was pushing the limits of the camera to see  to see what I might end up with.
It was actually almost dark looking back this way up the beach.
I pushed this shot to get a little detail back in the shadows.
And this is what I ended up with.
At last light, Fraser Island, April 2005

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