Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Vivid Sydney

Vivid Sydney is a fabulous festival of lights, music and ideas guaranteed to blow away those winter blues!  Having been out of the country for a year, I had never been to this festival previously and was really excited when I discovered it.  In fact I stumbled across it as I was looking for options to spend a red balloon voucher my friends gave me for my 50th birthday.  I was quite excited when I found the perfect experience to spend it on – a night photography class at Vivid Sydney.

Vivid Sydney 10 June 12-003

Vivid Sydney is the ultimate celebration of creativity, when light projections illuminate icons such as the Opera House, Customs House and the Museum of Contemporary Art and smaller installations dot the area around Circular Quay. 

It is the biggest festival of its kind in the IMG_8392.CR2Southern Hemisphere, attracting hundreds of thousands of people to the City. I had booked my class on a Friday night, so I rushed to the City from work, to be there in time for the 6pm start.  It has been a beautiful warm sunny day but while the weather was perfect it had also brought the crowds to the city and manoeuvring tripods and camera gear amongst the throngs was quite a challenge.

I learnt a few new tricks in my class including shooting the light trails of cars, panning to create some movement and composition at night, but I think I need to practice these techniques in a less busy space.



Vivid Sydney 10 June 12-019

Vivid Sydney Web

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Head On Photo Competition

We had planned to spend Sunday at Crosslands catching up with our neighbourhood friends but it has turned out to be an incredibly wet weekend so we postpone the plans for a picnic and head out to Paddington to the Australian Centre for Photography and visit the exhibition highlighting  the winners of the Head On Portrait Prize.  I have had my eye on this exhibition for a couple of years but never really got my act together to submit one of my own portraits – the genre that is probably my favourite.   I have copied the images that won from the website but there were many others that caught our fancy.

(Photos copied from website - http://headon.com.au/)

Chris Budgeon

David Mmanley







Louise Whelan

Tracey Nearmy






I think my favourite was the image of the man in the top right photo – a photo capturing the starkness of a boarding house in Surry House that he calls home.

I also loved the exhibition by David Alan Harvey, an internationally renowned photographer presenting a collection of work capturing the vibrancy and cultural energy of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  The photos, shot over a two year period are meant to show the raw, real and passionate side of Rio.  I am quite excited to learn he has been documenting cultural storied around the world for a living and feel inspired by his work.

We have a late lunch and spend the afternoon at a Paddington Cafe, sipping hot chocolates and reading up on our respective interests.  I am inspired to capture my own portraits of Steve in the interesting light of the cafe as I dream about my own future as a portrait photographer…

Steve & Nil 20121

“A man finds room in the few square inches of his face for the traits of all his ancestors; for the expression of all his history, and his wants”. ~Ralph Waldo

Cumberland State Nursery

We are in the process of turning our home in Hornsby in to a completely sustainable house….or at least as sustainable as we can afford given the expense of retrofitting a place built more than 35 years ago.  We have installed some solar panels for hot water but today we are at the Cumberland State Nursery in search of some native grasses to stabilise a bit of unstable hillside on the bottom of our property.


Our friends, Helen and James have come along to help us with their advice on what native grasses will do well given the climate of the area we live in.  James is a perma culture specialist and Helen an environmental educator so their advice is valued greatly!  The Lomandras we choose will grow in to lovely clumps with little blooms that will add a bit of colour occasionally.  But mostly, the purpose of this exercise is to slow down the erosion of the steep slope at the bottom of our block.


After we choose our plants, we indulge in hot chocolates and raspberry bread before working off the calories in the adjacent bush land.  A great day which we ended by coming home and planting our new grasses.

Cumberland State Forest

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we have been waiting for.  We are the change that we seek”  Barack Obama

Photographing Brooklyn for a Photo Rally

I have a new challenge to meet at my photography club – taking photos from a disposable camera for the competition we refer to as a photo rally.  Those of us who had expressed a desire to be part of the photo rally have each been given a disposable camera and asked to take photos of a number of scenarios at Brooklyn.  The scenarios include the people of Brooklyn, Parsely Bay, the fish cleaning area and the general life around this very picturesque spot just north of Sydney.

Brooklyn & Parsley Bay

We have arrived on a Saturday morning on what has turned out to be a beautiful day.  I feel quite challenged by the little camera I am holding in my hands.  I can’t adjust anything – it is just a little point and shoot but the intent of the competition is to level the playing field for everyone.  Our first stop is for fish and chips (surprise, surprise – we have arrived at lunch time) and then we venture on a little walk along the foreshore and I start my shoot.  It is a gorgeous day and I get some great photos..but there is no camera display to see what I’ve got.  No chance to take a hundred shots and choose the best ones.   Before I know it, the 27 shots are taken and so I have some fun with my digital SLR as well.  I have now turned in the camera at my club and in a few weeks we will get our prints returned to us.  After that, I get to choose the best and enter them in to the club competition for the photo rally.  I can’t wait…but in the meantime, I have posted a few shots that I took on the day with my regular 500D Canon so you get an idea of what I was working with, including a beautiful sunset on the way home.


“Ships in harbour are safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.”  John Shield

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mind, Body and Spirit

We had never been to the Mind Body and Spirit festival before so when we heard it was on in Sydney we decided to spend a day there.  The festival is held at the Exhibition Centre in Darling Harbour and it was throbbing with a certain excitement when we arrived at midday.

Once again it was lunch time…and I needed to find food before we got down to business.  There were ideas and products for your health, physical and mental wellbeing.
You could try anything from yoga to Reiki, find the latest herbal supplements, have a psychic reading, receive a massage or foot detox or simply just wander and let your curiosity wander.  There were over With 200 exciting exhibitors crammed in and I think it was perhaps a little too much energy all swirling around under the roof of the Exhibition Centre. 

We tried a few things but the experience that blew us away was our first experience of having our faces read.  They say a picture paints a thousands words but until now I hadn’t realised just how much of a open book my face was. 

Face reading is all about reading the features of the face, not in isolation but in clusters, creating an an overall understanding of how a person communicates.  It is an age old custom and we learnt that each feature on our faces i.e. the eyes, eyebrows, nose, mouth and ears reveals something about us.  The overall shape of our faces, forehead, jaw and chin also influence the total story and once you have learned to identify and know what you are looking for, it all becomes a  piece of cake!

I was the first to have a go.  Steve was sitting on the floor beside me and was so amazed at the accuracy of the reading that he decided to have a go himself.  I don’t remember everything she said but Marie took one look at me and said you are a girl who is extremely goal oriented.  She explained that I often had lots of goals in my life and that I was quite focussed on achieving them often juggling a number of things at the same time.  She went on to add that once I had achieved the goals on my current list, I was off chasing a new set of goals hardly stopping to evaluate what I had already achieved. Marie explained that the people around me would often be quite exhausted observing my life which made us  both burst out laughing as Steve would often ask me if I would just slow down…Smile

It was then Steve’s turn.  Marie looked at him and said if Nil’s goal are big yours are huge..!!  She explained a number of things which in turn made us think about Steve’s dream to build eco-villages around the world and soon our face reading session turned into a discussion about our life goals..so much so that she didn’t realise she had a long line of customers waiting for their turn.  We left having got her details and promising ourselves we would explore this further..