Friday, 24 October 2014

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother

July 2002
I remember when my pregnant bestie rang me in 1997 to tell me she was having twin boys. I'd just bought one gigantic and expensive Garfield stuffed toy dressed as a Chinese Emperor for what I imagined was her solo baby. According to the shop attendant it was the last one in the shop, probably the universe, so the twins would have to share. From that moment on I thought of them as a pair and bought them things in twos, including their first film cameras when they were four years old, and their first digital cameras when they were seven.
April 2003
April 2003
March 2004
They were fraternal twins, but when they were little they were so very alike, especially from the back as they ran away. For me it was only as they got older, well past the toddler stage, that their differences became more apparent both in appearance and personality. They were the same but different and we spoke of them together in the same breath; calling them both by the same strange hyphenated combination of their names.
August 2005
March 2007
I did a birthday portrait of the boys when they turned ten. I had of course taken many photos of them over the years (as you can see) but ten seemed such a milestone that something more formal was called for. I put them on two Bali-style chairs in front of a wall at the farm and shot away until I got this:
October 2007
It became the iconic shot of these brothers, to be replicated each birthday. Don't worry, the rest of the family never ever missed out. By now the family home was looking a little like the Louvre.
October 2007
In March of 2010 I shot the whole family together and it included this photo of the boys. They were twelve, on the verge of an age where they would begin to compete for space in the world and the attention of their family and peers as true individuals. What I see when I look at this photo is a shared moment of closeness such as can only be between siblings that shared a womb. I hear their mother's heart beating while they wait to be born.
March 2010
And then suddenly they were thirteen; scary, hairy teenagers growing up way too fast (for their parents and me anyway) and ready to launch on an unsuspecting world. My bestie and I drank a lot of red wine that year. We still do.
October 2010
July 2011
October 2011
October 2012
October 2012
When the boys turned sixteen in October of 2013 the Brashness and I were in Hawaii so we missed the annual birthday shot. We returned to bad news about my mother so everything in my life was put on hold, including my photography. A few days after mum's death I took my bestie and her family out on the beach near my family home for a portrait to remind myself of all the reasons that I had to keep on living. 
April 2014
April 2014
So for the first time in an 'official' family portrait session, I shots the boys on their own.
April 2014
April 2014
This year has been a really special one for the boys. They are in senior school and turning seventeen; definitely individuals, almost independent, about to get their licenses to drive (aarrgh!) and choosing what steps they will take next to decide their futures. I'm not sure if their mother and I are relieved or have more reasons than ever to ring our hands and open another bottle of Jacob's Creek. So for their portraits this year, I asked the boys to help style their own individual shots, so we could see how their paths had diverged. It was a bit like herding cats but we got there in the end.
October 2014
October 2014
October 2014 (image by Danny)
October 2014
I still broke out the Bali chairs and took these shots.
October 2014
October 2014
I'd like to say it was just for their mother, or for the sake of comparison over the years. But secretly, it was for me. That shot has always been for me. Happy Birthday brothers, you make me as proud as if you were my own.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

All The Small Things

So this week neither myself nor the Brashness felt much like trekking anywhere, so we challenged ourselves to see what we could find right in our own backyard. Actually IN our own backyard. 

To make it more fun we found a couple of old manual macro lenses and set out with them. It was close to the golden hour and we focused on finding hidden secrets in our pretty ordinary Australian mostly unkempt garden.

I didn't even see these eggshells fastened precariously to the render until Brash showed me this photo. I wonder if the EggMama was hiding somewhere watching us.

Lichen always makes for interesting closeups.

The steps leading down to the back corner of our sloping block.

Azaleas. Not the Iggy variety either.

Our charms, one each at the front and back doors, are supposed to ward off trouble. They're not working too well at the moment.

A Sword Fern catching the last rays of the sun.

Closeup of a Dracena leaf. These things are impossible to kill. This one has been cut off at the knees about six times. We have given up and now just chop it off when it gets above gutter height. Again.

Pine needles.

An interesting growth on the underside of a giant cement slab that the plumber cut out of our BBQ area when he was fixing our leak recently. Don't ask.

Oranges and lemons, the bells of... yes they are lemons. Really. Ok the other shot is mandarins but that doesn't fit the song.

We smelt this little one before we saw him. Stink bugs see you coming and let out a pungent, musky stench that is impossible to get off your skin or clothes. Like the insect version of a skunk. Danny was pretty brave getting this close for a buggy portrait.

I chose to stand back somewhat.

This bug was only about a centimetre long, or less than half an inch for my Northern Hemispherian readers.

So not much substance today bloggers, just a lot of pretty pictures and perhaps some inspiration for you all to go out into your own backyards and find the devil in the details. Those of you living in apartments - as you were..

Monday, 13 October 2014

Blue Skies Smilin' At Me

Here on the gorgeous east coast of Australia we are rapidly launching into summer. Summer doesn't officially start until the 1st of December but Mother Nature is slipping in a few beautiful humid and sun-soaked days to give us a taste of what is to come. I sometimes get up at 4am for my Other Job and the birds are already tweeting; the first streaks of morning are present in the sky by the time I leave at 4.30am.

Our place, 4.40pm very late September.
I was out in my yard the other afternoon hanging out the washing looking at the clear blue sky and I realised what beautiful weather we have here almost year round. There are not many days or weeks in the year when the sky is not blue. 

Late April, 4.40 pm.
Australia; you're standing in it! 1.30pm, mid-October.
A beautiful backdrop of course makes a photographer's job so much easier.

Burleigh Rock Pools on a picture perfect summer afternoon.
5.30pm, mid-December.
Fraser Island, early afternoon, time/date unknown.
If you've been following the blog you've already had the lesson on why the sky is blue. So today I'm simply going to present a few beautiful images taken both here and overseas, including some personal and some client work, but all using the wonderful backdrop of a bright blue sky. Enjoy, and start counting down to summer Australia!

This panorama was taken in the Anza Borrego Desert in California. It was the middle of the Northern Hemisphere summer and 1.15pm, about 46 degrees Celsius. To be far I had a polarising filter on the camera lens here that increases contrast.

This next shot is actually indoors, part of a set of underground tunnels connecting a lot of the casinos in Las Vegas. This is in the tunnels underneath Caesar's Palace; the effect is quite discomforting to start with.

Somewhere in Brisbane on a very bright afternoon.

In Cairns with the lovely Cath and Doug for their elopement. It was 11am on a mid-July day and putridly hot and humid. July is supposed to be winter in Australia except someone forgot to cc the email to Cairns.

Taken from a sailboat somewhere off the west coast of Oahu in Hawaii. Late October about 10 am.

The Gold Coast Broadwater shot from Labrador. Taken about 9.30am in mid-August.

Somewhere in the Anza Borrego Desert. 

The delightful and brave Mark and Sue who decided to get married in the morning then have wedding photos on the beach at 11am in January, the middle of the Australian summer. Wait? What? It was so hot I had to hop from foot to foot on the sand.

In March of this year Skoda Australia gave us an Octavia wagon to test drive for a week. We took her out the back of Beaudesert for a run and the scenery did not disappoint.

Christmas morning 2013 and the birds were providing the decorations. This shot was taken about 6am and the sun was already well up in the sky.

Shot on film in Balboa Park in San Diego.

This beautiful family had a perfect day at Kurrawa Park on the Gold Coast for their portraits. This shot taken at 4pm in mid-December with the sun still fairly high but down enough to give some nice long shadows.

Mid-afternoon on a perfect October day in West End in Brisbane.

Mid-December and mid-morning in San Diego's Gaslight District. The light still had a filtered feel to it at this time of the day given the low winter sun.

This could be anywhere in Southern California. 

This client had very impressive weather for their session with a spotless sky providing the perfect backdrop. 3pm on a mid-July afternoon so the sun has dropped enough to take the sting out of the rays and soften the shadows a little.

4pm on a late June afternoon. Again the dropping sun softens the shot.

This ridiculous colour is as shot. Taken at Mt Coo-tha Botanical Gardens in Brisbane, mid-July and 1.30pm, the hottest and brightest part of the day.

On the beach at Currumbin, early October just after 5pm.

This is the lighthouse at Byron Bay on the far north coast of the state of New South Wales, Australia. I paid a hundred bucks for a commercial license to shoot here this day and until now I've never used one shot from the series. Late afternoon, and I'm guessing mid to late winter as there were whales jumping offshore while I was shooting. Very distracting.

The beach at Kirra on the Gold Coast, one of my favourite spots to shoot. This was taken after I'd finished up a family portrait session, about 5.30pm in mid-November.

Taken on the Jetty at Murwillumbah in NSW Australia. The day itself was gray and sunless at this point so I was glad of a little colour in the sky. 2.30pm in late June.

A clear autumn afternoon in early April, about 4.45pm. Taken at the Currumbin Surf Club before a wedding.

5.30pm in early December.

3.40pm in late March at Miami Beach here on the Gold Coast. This was a bleary day so a little pop of colour in the sky was appreciated to lift the image.