Thursday, June 19, 2014

Nilmini De Silva Photography – LIKE My Page

I recently created a FB LIKE Page for my photography so if you are interested in photography please LIKE my page.

I love the idea of a like page. It is a way for someone to give positive feedback as well as connect with things they care about.  I can also tailor my posts to those friends who chose to connect with my photography.  I can share posts about my photography with the general public and keep more personal posts for my friends and family.

I think it is a great idea to promote yourself and your creative arts to the world.  So if you agree...Please LIKE my page! 

Embrace the Untamed: Published by National Geographic Your Shot

Today I heard that my photo of the Adelie Penguins (mother and chick) was selected for publication for the National Geographic Assignment on Your Shot.  The assignment titled ‘Embrace the Untamed’ asked for the wildest animal and nature photos we had.  It was looking for nature at its least domesticated – nature displaying its untamed majesty. 

I can hardly believe the email announcing that mine is one of the 32 images selected out of 18,000!  I am ecstatic.  The curator Evelyn Hockstein says “its been a wild and exciting journey—editing the 18,000 images of fantastic photographs of this diverse planet, from the tiniest insects to great mammals to our oceans, weather, and majestic landscapes all across the globe”.

It is exciting to get an email from National Geographic informing me that my photo is trending on National Geographic.  At last count I had more than 225 Likes!  I am not sure where it will end up as the likes are still coming.

Probably my most exciting photographic moment yet.

Read the full story here:

Friday, May 30, 2014

Circular Economies, Photography and Water

We have come to Bondi to meet with Candice Quartermain.   Steve met her husband at a Planning Conference in the City and learnt of her passion to promote the ideas of a Circular Economy.  The Circular Economy website explain that our current model of dig, process, use, and chuck is by definition

unsustainable.  Candice has a commitment to promote and inspire this change.  As explained on the website:
“A Circular Economy is an alternative model that anticipates and designs for biological and technical 'nutrients' to be continuously re-used at the same quality, dramatically reducing our dependency on sourcing new materials.”

Read all about it:

We catch up over lunch at the Queen Victoria Building and Candice is excited to see me as she has gleaned from our website that I am a photographer.  I am equally excited to learn about our shared passion and before long our conversation moves from circular economies to collaboration in photography.
 As I share thoughts about my technical interest in water and my desire to document some of the environmental issues associated with this precious resource, Candice suggests we collaborate on this idea.  I have always wanted to combine my creative passion for photography with my professional passion for water so I feel excited by this idea.  We’ve started sharing ideas and soon we will firm up a plan to begin shooting.
It is also exciting to hear how Candice is slowly turning her passion for photography into a source of income.  Her website Canter Creative showcases her down to earth photography practice.  Check it out if you are interested in engaging her for a family portrait shoot or for your wedding photography.

I love the spontaneity she captures in her photography.  It is so different to the posed photography you usually see at weddings that convey little of the joy experienced on these occasions.  Her website explains that she founded Canter Creative because she wanted to move away from creating for consumption and toward creating for contribution.  It is obvious from her photography that she is achieving her passion for visual story telling through photography.  I am excited to be collaborating with another person who shares my passion for documenting stories through the medium of photography and I am looking forward to this collaboration. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Buildings & Monuments

I’ve signed up for the Sydney Morning Herald Clique Photographer’s challenge.   Members of Clique receive a monthly photographic assignment from Fairfax Media photo editors, designed around different topics.  The winning photos will be published by the SMH on the last Friday of every month in print and online.  Even if your photograph does not make the list of finalists, you can still get feedback form the photo editors.  It’s a great opportunity but I am struggling with deciding which photography to enter for the March challenge – Building and Monuments! 

The challenged of course is to photograph the building or monument in a way that reflects its personality.  The judges want to see the character of the building but often photographing the obvious landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House is best avoided since so many amazing photographs have already been taken of such places   

In the end I choose a photograph taken when storm clouds seemed to envelop this western Sydney suburb that I happened to be passing through.  We pulled off the main road to be storm chasers for a few hours.  I love the way the couple is busy cleaning their driveway seemingly oblivious to the approaching storm. 

I don’t win the challenge or even make the list of finalists but I am pleased with the comments I received. 

A strong image with good use of colour, composition and lines.

Incorporating a human element in a small way may have helped make your photo be even stronger. Loved to have seen a kid on a bike for example, closer to the camera and in the middle of the road to give this image an added dimension. Very nice though.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Photo Books and Photographs

The idea of self publishing my own coffee table book has been lying dormant in the recesses of my brain ever since I came back from my solo trip around the world in 2010. At the end of that journey, I designed and printed my first coffee table book using Blurb and the thrill of seeing something I created was always revived every time I turned the pages of that book.  Since then, I have created two more books and with my second photo exhibition fast approaching made a commitment to myself to realise that dream of self publishing.  The fact that Steven my partner also had a similar dream to self publish a nonfiction book makes this even more special. 

His book called Rethinking the City and my exhibition and book titled Fate or Destiny are wonderful complements to each other.  The fact we will be launching in August to celebrate his 50th birthday is especially meaningful. 

Photo from HeadOn Website
We had only just got home from our road trip to the conference when we heard there was a Photo Book Day as part of the HeadOn 2014 Festival events.  I believe that when you put ideas out to the Universe that align with your Destiny, the Universe conspires to help you realise those dreams.  You pick up a book or you meet a stranger who validates for you the thoughts you have been mulling over.  The chance to actually mingle with like-minded souls with similar passions was too good to be missed so we decided to head out to the city. 

A number of leading photo book editors and publishers have come to Sydney for this event.  Many of the people I speak to have come down from Melbourne.  I am pleased to see that the online coffee table book publishers such as Blurb and Momento are also here.

We learn a lot about the process from chatting to people but also from sitting in on the free seminar at the end of the day.  I had been grappling with the fact that printing a coffee table book is incredibly expensive and learn that this is the balancing act that all artists are struggling with.  The unit cost of offset printing becomes more cost effective, the more books you can afford to print. However, if you don’t have an audience to which you can market your book, then the exercise becomes meaningless as you are left with a large consignment of books which must be stored!

The idea of printing a coffee table book is to have a portfolio of work that you can show to people.   It can reach a much wider audience than an exhibition of your photos ever will.  It is also a chance for you to share deeper ideas if you chose to include more text and writing than is possible in an exhibition.  I come away feeling inspired, motivated and more determined to make this happen. 

I know there are many avenues out there today for people who are keen to give it a go.  Crowd Funding is one of these avenues and Pubslush another.  Pubslush ( is a new publishing company that uses crowdsourcing to select books for publication. Authors submit their manuscripts via the website and visitors vote on which ones they like the most. 

Most people have a desire to be heard.  I think this is a natural human condition.  When you discover the medium where you can express yourself the best, I think you come close to realising the reason for your existence.  I am lucky I have two.  Writing and Photography – they are both my babies and I love them equally. 

“Being heard is so close to being loved 
that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.”  ~ David Augsburger

Vivid Sydney

The first time we had been to Vivid I had been amazed at how the lights and music transformed many of this city’s iconic buildings.  This time I knew what to expect so the impact was less but it was still an enjoyable experience.  Word must have got around because the crowds had definitely increased. 

 I was however thankful that unlike the last time we were here where we huddled under an umbrella to shield ourselves from the beating rain, this time we were wondering why we had worn so many layers, it was so warm and barmy even late at night.  We did the walk from the Opera House to the Terminal building and took loads of photos.  It was a good night and I was glad we had made it to Vivid once again.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

FMA Conference & Deniliquin

We reach Deniliquin on Tuesday, in time for the welcome reception.  Once we got out of the Snowy region, we drove through quite bare countryside which has its own stark beauty.   Most people would find it hard to connect with this kind of landscape but wide open spaces have a certain appeal to me although they would not be the landscape I choose to live in. 

Deni as the place is referred to locally has become quite renowned for the ‘Play on the Plains’ festival.  This festival includes the famous Ute Muster which attracts utes from all over Australia creating world records.  In 2010 for example, the Ute Muster attracted more than 10,000 utes to the festival and set an even stranger record for the most people wearing blue singlets.  In case you were wondering – there were 3,500 of them.  Perhaps I need to come back during the time of the festival.

The FMA conference attracted more than 250 delegates even though Deni is not the easiest place to get to.  Many like us, decided to do the drive from Sydney.  Others flew in to Albury and did a lesser 2 hour drive instead.

We start the conference with a welcome reception where we catch up with colleagues from around the country.  I really enjoy this conference.  The papers are always interesting to listen to and the networking opportunity over the course of the week is hard to beat.  We were approached by a number of consultants regarding the opportunity to collaborate on Flood Risk Management projects so from a work perspective it was a great week. 

We leave for home on Friday, breaking journey in Gundagai for a night.  There’s a long list of things to follow up but that’s why we make the effort to attend conferences such as this.