Change the Face of Men’s Health

There is the Chevron a la Magnum, the Dali (don’t confuse it with the handle bar), the Walrus a la the guy from Myth Busters, the Painter’s Brush which is the thing Brad Pitt sprouted for a while and several others, in fact too many to remember.


You might gather from my tone I’m not a fan of facial hair and I have put a total ban on it in our house. The husband had one before my time and tried to re-create it some years later when I was already around. He tried it briefly. Very briefly.

But as the goal of Movember is to ‘change the face of men’s health’ and raise awareness for prostate and testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity (which are but some of the health issues faced by men), and with a husband and two sons, I feel it is triple important to spread the word.

What still gets me the most, and I think is the most unspoken fact, is that Suicide is still the most leading cause of deaths for Australians aged between 15 and 44, with three in five being male.

So who cares that the dog is a girl and I fail as a photographer because she hates the camera no matter how much I’ve tried to train her to be the perfect dog-model, and there’s no mo’s in our house.

There are plenty of ways to participate, check out the website, there is also an option to donate $50 or more using Visa Checkout and they’ll boost your donation by $25, for free, which is pretty cool.

Fact is, men are dying too young, spread the word, people.


Time Flies

So they say and it is true.

I am finding myself at the computer so many hours of every day yet I don’t seem to find the time to write much for my blog.

I’ll have to do better again.

On the up-side, being so very busy, and even busier in the weeks leading up to Christmas, is a good thing. It means my little one-woman business is establishing itself a little bit better all the time. Happy days.

Spending so much time at the computer editing and creating, I continue to find great joy in the ease of Instagram, which -for me- has nothing whatsoever to do with the computer, as I don’t use big camera photos on there, but only smart phone images, which I can edit sitting on the couch with my feet up.

I found myself a little group of pages that I follow and where I participate in their daily or weekly themes when I find the time. The good thing about Instagram is that the world won’t end if you didn’t manage to catch up for a couple of days, like it does on Facebook, where you’re seeing your statistics plummet into oblivion if you neglected your pages just for half a day. I have largely given up paying too much attention to the Insights, because it’s quite depressing sometimes to be honest, but Facebook tends to send those kind reminders ….

Anyhow, as Instagram makes my heart light and still feeds my creative eye and mind, I felt it was time to send some thanks to those that engage with me there, with a snippet of some of my posts that were featured on other sites, yay :)


Part of Our World

This post is totally unrelated to photography, but totally related to az pictured’s daily fairings during school holidays, which just finished for us.
You see, my young one is a great singer. Choir boy, soloist, rock-star in the shower. And he has this tendency to burst into song ….. constantly and always and everywhere. Sometimes with no break for hours. Of course, he doesn’t even realize, that he’s singing. I am used to be working largely in silence and solitude. So when he’s home, shut doors are just not enough in this blue board house of ours.
Naturally, I love him to bits, he’s my baby boy, my fairy child.
But at the end of those school holiday song days that feel like they are 20 hours long, my mind is going in circles with bits and pieces of a gazillion songs, all started or partially sung, and none finished.
Just for fun, I spent two days writing down his musical bursts. Read them and feel free to test your musical knowledge, figuring out song titles/band names/stage pieces/advertising slogans/snippets from movies ………
And then imagine hearing this list back and forth, with a plentyful of ooohoooo’s and aaah aaah, lalala’s inbetween.
You are welcome :)

You gotta put your hands in the air, yes your hands in the air, doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo
Somewhere beyond the sea, somewhere waiting for me, I’ll go sailing.
The pines were roaring on the height, the winds were moaning in the night,
We must away, ere break of day …
The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.
I think she’s got it, I think she’s got it
Hm hm the fresh food people, bringing fresh food to you
I need a dollar, dollar, a dollar is what I need, yeah yeah
And she will be loved, she will be loved.
Papa, paparazzi
Take on me, take me on, I’ll be gone in a day or twooooooooo
Doesn’t that sound familiar, doesn’t that feel close to home, doesn’t that make you shiver.
Settle in to play ‘do you remember so and so’,
Number three is never say her name
Hold on, if you feel like letting go. Hold on, it gets better than you know.
I’m gonna take you for a ride on a big yet plane, hey hey
Tonight we are young, let us set the world on fire, we can go higher aaaaahhh
Degrumph went the little green frog one day, and the frog went grumph grumph grumph,
But we all know frogs go ladidadida, ladidadida, ladidadida
You’re unpredictable
Hey Mr Tallyman, tally the banana, daylight cometh we wanna go home
I don’t care, I love it. I don’t care, I love it, I love it
We will, we will rock you, sing it, we will, we will rock you
I love rock and roll, put another dime in the juke box baby, I love rock and roll,
take your time and dance with me
My life is brilliant, my love is pure, I saw an angel, of that I’m sure,
Forever young, I wanna be forever young
I won’t hesitate no more, no more, it’s not ok, I’m yours
High and mighty alone we are kings, whirlwinds of fire we ride
Providence brought us the crown and the ring, covered with blood and our pride
I am a gummybear, a yummy gummybear. I am a yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy gummybear, oh yea
Who will buy my sweet red roses, two blooms for a penny,
Any milk today, mistress, any milk today mistress, two blooms for a penny
Who will buy this wonderful morning? Such a sky you never did see!
Who will tie it up with a ribbon and put it in a box for me?
I’m nothing special, in fact I’m a bit of a bore
If I tell a joke, you’ve probably heard it before
But I have a talent, a wonderful thing, ’cause everyone listens when I start to sing
I’m so grateful and proud, all I want is to sing it out loud
Red: the blood of angry men!
Black: the dark of ages past!
Red: a world about to dawn!
Black: the night that ends at last!
And this is what she had to say, a pearl necklace, she wants a pearl necklace,
she wants a pearl necklace
Do you hear the people sing? Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start when tomorrow comes!
Be a man, you must be swift as a coursing river, be a man, with all the force of a great typhoon, be a man, with all the strength of a raging fire, mysterious as the dark side of the moon, of the moon
Prince Ali – fabulous he – Ali Ababwa, genuflect, show some respect:
Down on one knee.
We go together like rama lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong
Remembered forever as shoobop sha wadda wadda yippity boom de boom
Chang chang changitty chang shoobop, that’s the way it should be, wha ooohhhh, yeah
And it’s not easy to be me. Up, up and away, away from here, well it’s allright
You can all sleep sound tonight, I’m not crazy, or anything
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave
With what you wanna say
Down, down, the prices are down. Down, down
You got the moves like Jagger, I got the moves like Jagger, I got the mooooooooves like Jagger.
Collecting your jar of hearts, tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
And she will be loved, and she will be loved
What do you want from me? What do you want from me?
Can’t read my, can’t read my, no-one can read my pokerface
Come on Barbie, let’s go party
In the circle,
I can go the distance,
Strangers like me,
Part of your world

PS For the record: the music taste in our house is eclectic at best. Nothing is off limits. It’s part of our world.

PPS When I say the ‘young one’, he’s not too far off being a teenager, and there is an every so slight change in his lower register already

PPPS If you’re puzzled by some of the song combinations you might want to check out this link and this one, they might explain a lot

Pink Me

Early paper and ink quality wasn’t all that great and, unfortunately, when you’re looking at your old colour photographs from long(er) ago you’ll notice they’ve mostly turned a weird mush of yellows or pinks. They are likely otherwise undamaged, but the discolouration is usually not very pretty.

Like in this photo from my collection from the early 80s.

As I’m in the process of resorting and reprinting and digitizing all of our private photo albums, every now and then I’m tackling a few photos in Photoshop and fix them up.

Now, it sounds a bit easier than it is. With this particular photo I have the great advantage that I have a memory of this day. I remember it was taken just after the summer holidays, when a small pop up studio set up in the local mall. My mother used to take me there almost every year to get my portrait done and have the prints go to the grandparents as Christmas presents. It was a good idea to do it well before the festive craze (I know now where I’ve got that from) plus having portrait photos taken just after summer, before the long winter pale sets in.

So, I remember my then favourite top as being very pink, I also remember that I would have been quite tanned from many weeks at the Italian Riviera, with my hair going very light.

All this helped a lot when I set out fixing the colours in this image. There was no other damage, no cracks or weirdness, so it was really just about getting the colours right.

Obviously, this process is much harder when I don’t have a memory about the occasion. When restorating the colours in clients’ images it requires sometimes a bit of emailing back and forth, to get the exact tinge of a dress, of a flower bouquet, of the hair.

But for now, this ‘pink me’ is all good again.


‘I could never resist the call of the trail’


So Buffalo Bill said. I can’t resist it either. Well, not quite the same trail, but a trail it is nonetheless.

For me, it’s the light trail. Chasing it with my camera has been something I wanted to do for ages. Since I finally have acquired a remote shutter release, this last Winter nothing stood in my way.

So I thought I’d share my first attempts and all the wisdom I have found whilst following ‘the call’ :)

Firstly, finding the right spot is not quite as easy as I thought it would be. Zebra Crossings are lit at night, so the reflections of the passing cars can be seen in the photos. More ghost trails than light trails maybe.

The better spots are where you have a fixed subject, building, bench or the like, and the traffic goes past parallel, between you and said subject. You don’t have to worry about headlights.
If I say ‘worry’ I mean that headlights are just too bright and if you’re too close they brighten just about anything and everything and ruin the trail. Aim to get more breaklights than headlights.
If you thought your spot is awesome and only cars drove past: it may be a totally different story if you have only 4x4s drive past, as their breaklights are so much higher, it makes the whole photo look different.
That being said: Try to utilize the lights of a bus. I was lucky, getting a bit of an ambulance in one shot, too.

LightTrails2 LightTrails5
Avoid roundabouts. They’re like the Wild West, too many comings, too many goings, really hard to anticipate anything.

Unless you have the eyes of an owl at night, I highly recommend a miner’s light of some sort. I got myself a $5 one from the Dollarshop. If you don’t want to wear it on your head, you can wear it on your wrist. Much better than having to take out the phone and shine it’s light around.
Needless to say to wear appropriate clothing. An hour goes by in no time, and many nights I was glad for my gloves and thermal underwear, thank you very much.
Good shoes protect your feet and ankles, as you might stumble around in areas that are a bit difficult to access, especially in the dark.
Make sure you’re safe, especially as a woman. I always tell my husband where I’m going, and I am most aware of my surroundings and very, very distrusting. Late passers by trying to start a conversation with me ‘what you’re doing’ sort of way could attest to that. But hey, the trail has to be safe, sorry guys.
With daylight savings coming soon, light trail time is over for this year, but I’m sure I’ll be hearing the call again next Winter.


The Most Important Rule for Food Photography

During our Open Day visit at The Little Black Cow Farmstay a few months ago, we got to see, amongst many other wonderful things, an old butter churner. It was a funny coincidence, as I had already planned of making our own butter at home.
Every school holidays there are a few new recipes being tried out. Some stick with us forever and become family favourites, some remain a one off.
Ages ago I watched Matt Preston doing one of his cheat recipes on MasterChef and printed myself that recipe from their website: No Prove Bread with Butter and Raspberry Jam.
Well, jam is not exactly difficult and I make it regularly, I was more after the bread and the butter.
Bread making is lovely and a journey. For years and years I used to make our own baguette and it was just to die for. But bread making takes time and one cannot rush the proofing, and the kneading is a labour of love. I cannot do it when pressed for time or feeling hectic …. therefore it hasn’t happened in a long time.
This No Prove Bread was too easy, and absolutely wonderful. Not really a dense type of bread, more a Ciabatta, but oh so yum.
And we made our own butter. I don’t have one of those fancy kitchen machines, I still have a handheld mixer which has done me great service and I would never want to exchange it for anything else. Let’s just say it has personality.
Gotta love it when recipes are vague. Looking easy peasy in the video, the words only read ‘Mix until mixture splits’, and I think we almost got to the end of my poor handheld mixer. After looking at lovely thick, creamy, swirly waves of thickened cream and sourcream mixture for what seemed like ages, within half a second the whole gorgeousness turned into watery slush with bits in it, which was of course the butter.
We made garlic & herb butter out of it, that was to accompany our freshly made bread and the barbecued steaks that were sitting in their marinade.
It would have to be a strange person who can resist the smell of freshly baked bread, so we tested it with Nutella. Yum.
As it was evening and neither the right time nor the right light for an elaborate photo shoot, I had great plans of doing that the next day. Half a loaf of bread was meant to be left for that.
Unfortunately it grew legs. The teenager and the husband confessed. My apologies for their greed :)
And so I have discovered the most important rule for Food Photography: make sure there is enough food to take photos of

So all I can present you with are some measely shots from my phone. I was requested to make the bread again for a Sunday morning, so I have two more photos, minus the yummy butter.




Lots of Love

Lots of love in this engagement shoot.

Very gorgeous couple, and very eager to try to achieve this photo collage. I had suggested it and they had a much better plan than I did because with very little thinking time and no practice they jumped right into it and I just had to keep up snapping  :)

If I had to instruct them I think I might have gotten myself confused with all the arms and hands and right and left ….

It was great shoot, lots of laughter, and very relaxed. Loved it :)


Our take on String Art

The boys always had their name on their doors in one form or another. The old name signs were, well, old. So last school holidays we agreed to tackle making some new ones.

Being a house with lots of photography, I suggested including some photos. And the young one had found some pictures with big string art and wanted to somehow incorporate that idea as well. We had done some little card string art ages ago, so they are well familiar with the concept.

As with most creative things the most time is spent on planning and thinking and measuring. To fit the door, we were pretty much set in terms of size, so that was easy for a change. At the local hardware store we got some lovely thick, but light wood panels, and had them cut to the correct sizes. As we needed the initial M and the initial J, one wood panel had to be longer on the vertical side, the other on the horizontal side.

Both decided on the photos they would like to have included. It was my task to fit these photos on a sheet of paper that would fit their respective wood panel. I did this in Photoshop, naturally.  I desaturated the photos a lot, left only a hint of colour, I wanted the look quite graffic.

One’s favourite colour is blue, the other one’s is red, so the colours of string were easily decided on, too.

I found nails with a nice head and the appropriate length. The idea was to have the nails very sparingly around the board, it was merely to outline the initial, and gaps were meant to remain. The nails also were meant to avoid people’s heads and faces. I cut out the initials on large sheets of white paper, to use as a guide.

The photo collages were printed on normal paper, and simply pasted onto the wood panels with Mod Podge, being very careful to smooth the Mod Podge with a sponge, rather than a brush. After several layers of Mod Podge (and a lot of drying in between) I applied a couple of layers of glossy sealer.

Once that was dry, we placed the cut out paper initials on each wood panel and strategically hammered the nails (avoiding heads) gently in regular intervals. This was fun, but one has to be careful because missing the nail means hitting the photo collage :)

Last step was wrap the string around the nails. It took a few attempts to get it all around and fill the gaps, without filling them too much.

And there you have it: our take on string art  :)


Clean-up Art

The recent clean-up of my studio let me `find` a great many things for which I had great craft and art ideas. One thing I found was the large and sturdy shoe box of my husband’s work boots, which was filled with seashells, rocks, beach glass.

When we moved to the coast the kids were very little. And as all little (and possibly very many big) kids they LOVED collecting seashells. It was a new thing and exciting and one way to spend time at the beach, especially in the beginning when they needed to be eased into this new thing, the ocean, which was loud and wild and a bit scary at times.

As this shoe box naturally contained the best and most beautiful shells, sea glass and rock pieces and pebbles ever collected, something had to be done with them.

With the help of a plain old lattice piece from the hardware store and a lot of Liquid Nails, all these special beauties found their place on our new garden artwork.
Once the Liquid Nails were dry and our fingers cleaned from this extraordinary sticky stuff, a coat of outdoor suitable clear sealer was applied.
Now it decorates the most boring side of our garden and makes us happy every time we look at it.

Note: This post is not a call to action for depleting coastal shorelines of seashells and/or rocks. All these shells were collected in a space of about eight years, which puts it in perspective. If you intend to collect seashells from a beach, you should check with local council, as it is illegal to remove ‘anything’ from very many beaches in Australia.



Location Barriers

Photography is about so much, equipment, practice, post-production, did I mention practice? One thing not mentioned a lot is location.
Location is everything. For portrait outdoor sessions I have my few favourite spots around town. Depending on what the clients wish for we can meet in the park, the beach, at the lake, each place in its own right special and different. It doesn’t need a sprawling meadow or towering mountains in the back to make a family photo look great. Sometimes a small patch of grass, some wild flowers, foliage from low hanging branches, rocks or pebbles and a gentle slope into the water are all that is needed.

In the end it’s all about the light, and when the light is beautiful, the photo will be, too.

That’s it for booked sessions. If I’m going on my own, to capture sunsets and stunning landscapes or cityscapes, it’s a whole lot of a different story.

Seriously, I admire fellow photographers who are able to show off their photos of a different location on every different day of the year. No idea how they are doing it.

Many are a one-person business, too, maybe it’s me … and I always thought I’m so organized ….

Anyway, many times all plans fail because there is some extra driving to be done, a re-scheduled soccer game, a lift to a party or to work, extra homework and the printer is acting up …. and the one night of the week with a beautiful sunset goes by without me and my camera.

Some locations have been on my mind for a while, but they are in ‘iffy’ places, dark, out of the way, secluded. The older I get the less I like the idea of being alone with my gear in an area where shouting might not help.

That’s when husband comes in. Very often he’s the savior, because when I say ‘oh I always wondered how it will be like on that cliff at sunset, we might have to crawl through some shrubbery’ or ‘remember that dark alley with the awesome neon sign’, he’s the one getting me to that location. And staying with me, while I take my photos. And getting me there a second, and a third time, so that I really get the most out of the place.
That includes road trips. So when I said last year ‘I really would like to go to Vivid’, he made it happen this year.

And while not in any way ‘iffy’, I was glad he was there to shield me and my camera from the masses, because even for a Tuesday night it was ridiculously full. I have to add getting hit over the head by a tripod, carried by a very eager fellow photographer, to my danger list.

So we went to Vivid, the light festival in Sydney. I am quite happy how things went for the first time. Now for a second, and third time …



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