Every Leaf

Autumn is a second Spring, when every leaf is a flower……Albert Camus

Autumn in the Blue Mountains of Australia is one of the most beautiful times of the year.  The trees are ablaze with the most magnificent colours and the streets are carpeted with the falling leaves.  It looks, smells and sounds wonderful.  As you walk through the leaves you can hear them crunching underfoot.  It truly is a feast for the senses.

I love Autumn.  So of course, this time of year brings out the need to do lots of photoshoots.  In a previous post,  I had my beautiful model in a bath full of Autumn Leaves.  Loving those colours so much, I ventured a little further afield to Mount Wilson.

Mount Wilson is a delightful surprise.  The drive out there is a bit scrubbier than most of our local landscape and suddenly it starts to turn into a bit of a rainforest type of environment.  Just when you think that’s what you should be expecting, a quaint little English style village emerges out of nowhere, a little like Brigadoon.  It is always beautiful but in Autumn, it looks like a painting you would find on the lid of a chocolate box.  Don’t expect to be able to buy a lot out there.  There’s a little cafe but I think that’s about it.  Who cares?  You go there to soak in the beauty.

I had an idea which needed lots of autumn leaves, so I ordered some silk ones in from China.  Very cheap but very effective. I thought 400 would be heaps but when I started pinning them to the dress I chose there were nowhere near as many as I thought there’d be but I didn’t want to cover the dress, so it was enough.  I packed my lovely model Kirsty in the car and off we went.

Unfortunately I didn’t check the calendar to see what would be happening out there and it was open garden day on a public holiday, so it was packed and trying to get a clear spot to do a photo was almost impossible.  We didn’t let it stop us, we found a few spots that were almost clear and we did our stuff.

I was working on another image last night and had extended the canvas from 9 photos, recoloured, made adjustments and was just ready to add textures when Photoshop crashed.  Silly me hadn’t saved it as a PSD before I started, so I lost the lot..  Ahh well.  Lesson learned. Back to the drawing board.

These are a few of the (saved) images  we created.

The First Leaves of Autumn

We shared the brief but magic sun.  By the first leaves of autumn you were gone… Not until the rain has touched my face. Not until the first leaves fell from space.  Not until that moment did I see.  I never realised what you meant to me…..The Fureys

I’ve had a plan for a while now that I wanted to do the four seasons in a series of images.  I’d already done a spring setting which showed the lovely Kirsty sitting in a bath full of spring flowers with a corrugated iron backdrop called Wash Away the Day.  Where I live in the Blue Mountains, the trees are starting to produce the most magnificent colours with the beginning of Autumn so I was inspired to do the next image in the series which is Autumn.

So on Tuesday, I went out to the beautiful Collit’s Inn with my gorgeous model Rachael and my assistant extraordinaire, Kirsty.  The back of my little car was filled with camera equipment, candles, candle holders, ivy vines which had been painted gold and a myriad of other Autumn foliage.  We stopped at Blackheath on the way and gathered a few garbage bags full of fallen autumn leaves along the side of the road.  As I mentioned, the Blue Mountains is turning the most amazing colours at the moment.  The trees are a kaleidoscope of colour and the paths are carpeted in fallen leaves, so it was easy to pick up huge amounts of leaves without even being able to see where they were taken from.

Arriving at Collit’s Inn, we set about using the beautiful rustic bathtub that sits in their garden as a bench.  With Rachael sitting in the bath, we proceeded to cover her in the leaves and other foliage.  My mystical creative muse must also have been happy with the process as in the midst of a miserable day, the sun came out just as we started to set up which meant my lovely model wasn’t a mass of goosebumps from the cold.

After taking the necessary photos, everyone was still happy to keep going so I handed Rachael a red lace dress that I had put in the car, just in case.  I mean, why just do one theme when you have a model there and ready to go?  The red dress fitted beautifully so we went out in search of the local cemetery.

There was someone there when we arrived, so instead of disturbing someone visiting their loved ones, we moved on to another nearby cemetery.  I have the utmost respect for cemeteries and understand what special places they are, not just to the family and friends of those who had passed but also as a source of history.

We ended up at  Hartley Cemetery which is a lovely peaceful resting place and has many very old graves.  I’ve often called in there and taken a walk around the graves, reading about the people buried there.   We did a few photos there, one of which I posted yesterday, called Earthbound.   Just as we were heading to the car, the skies opened and the rain started.  We were definitely looked after by the weather Gods.

So here is the second in the Seasons in the Bath series, The First Leaves of Autumn.  I was a bit worried about trying to do something that could happily stand next to Wash Away the Day, as that image is one that I am the proudest of.  I have to say, I’m pretty chuffed with the way this has turned out.  It was definitely what I had in mind.  Now to start preparing for Winter..

The First Leaves of Autumn

 

Maelstrom

Survival was more than the preservation of life.  It was tenacity in the face of ruin, an unbroken resolve in the midst of defeat, a glimmer of hope in the maelstrom….. and peace despite the wreckage…..Jocelyn Murray

Well, I’m back.  I’ve finished the shift finally and am (almost) settled in the new place.  I have shifted many times in my life and I felt this harder than I have before.  I guess I must be starting to feel my age.  Everything seems heavier than it has before but regardless, it’s done and I’m finding the new place slowly but surely.

I haven’t started really started shooting yet this year which is not like me at all but soon I’ll be making up for that. I have many, many shoots planned and images dreamed up.  It was important to be settled first though as this year is looking like being huge.  I have travel plans and exhibitions happening so it will be all go.  I am planning my first solo exhibition this year too and there are lots of exciting things happening with that.

I’ve been planning it since last year and have actually shot a few pictures for the images I have in mind. One of the models involved was the lovely Ramana and whilst this is not the image which will be part of the exhibition, it was a favourite that screamed to be edited.  I guess it’s how I’m feeling a little bit too at the moment.. Finally feeling a little bit of peace after the storm.

maelstrom

Home is Where the Heart is

Home is where the heart is… even if you can’t remember which box you packed it in…..

I know I’ve been conspicuously absent of late.  I’ve been shifting house and right on Christmas/New Year to boot.  It’s been a really crazy few weeks, but as soon as my new place resembles a house rather than a cardboard box storage centre, I’ll be back with my camera and my imagination.  2017 is set to be a really special year.. Bring it on I say!

a-new-beginning

What’s Your Story?

That’s what storytellers do.  We restore order with imagination.  We instil hope again and again….Walt Disney in Saving Mr Banks

I watched Saving Mr Banks again the other night.  I just love the movie.  Yes I’m sure it’s not a completely factual representation of how Walt Disney got PL Travers to sign over the Mary Poppins books to him, but I do know it’s based heavily on fact as the tapes made on her insistence during production meetings are still available and are a big part of what the movie was based on. And it means the world to me as Mary Poppins was the first book I ever read, albeit the read along with the record version.

As most of you will know, I am definitely a Disney tragic.  I love all things Disney.  I guess I instilled that same love into my children.  Before she died, my daughter Aimee’s dream was to become an animator with the Disney corporation.  Both my sons are as obsessed by Disney movies as I am and we often watch the classics over and over again.  Most of my favourite quotes are straight from Disney’s mouth.  And of course, like most kids born in the 50’s and 60’s, I longed to be adopted by Walt himself.  Not that I didn’t love my own parents but he was Walt Disney and his whole persona screamed gentle to me.

I suppose it’s not a great surprise that I like to consider myself a storyteller, as was my Grandmother before me.  Gargie would tell us stories of the old country and those stories made me feel that when I finally went to Ireland, I was coming home.  There is something special about a storyteller.  We all have it in us to tell the stories but some do more than tell the story, they add the romance and mystery that pulls us into it and makes us want to stay there.

Storytelling is as old as man himself.  The cavemen drew their stories in picture form on the walls of caves.  Each culture has passed it’s stories on to generation after generation to ensure it’s history is never forgotten.  Fairytales are part of our psyche.  Not every storyteller writes.  They may tell their story with words or in song or dance.  They may paint it or create it in some other form.  They may even act it out.  Storytelling is not just about writing a book.  I love writing.  I love creating.  I love photographing. I love singing.  I love acting.  These are all part of my love of storytelling.

I like to think that my gift in life… that thing that makes me unique, is the way I tell stories both in words and in pictures.  Others tell stories too. Wonderful inspiring stories,  but they are different to mine.  Not necessarily worse, not necessarily better, just different.  Their experiences are different so of course their stories and the way they tell them will be different.

2017 is going to be very much a year of storytelling.  New stories, old stories, real stories, imaginative stories.   I have so many exciting things happening and I intend documenting all the new and exciting things as well as continuing to tell the stories of old.  Bring it on I say.

To celebrate the new year, I’ve put together a bit of a presentation on what I believe storytelling to be and why it’s so important to us as a society.  We all have a story to tell.  What’s yours?

 

 

 

In This Life, I Dance

In my last life, I had wings and could soar above the earth… In this life I have no wings, so I   dance…..Livonne

Last night I had the great pleasure of doing some event photography for  Blue Mountains Cancer Help who hosted a Celebration of Dance.  The beautiful and talented Kirsty from KLB Images happily volunteered as well and joined me for the night to ensure we captured as much as possible.  The dancers were swept up amid a swirl of music and colour and the audience were mesmerised.  Some amazing lighting & effects were provided on the night by Purple Sky Productions. There was line dancing, belly dancing, tap, highland, zumba and so many other styles of movement all being undertaken by people of all ages. It was fantastic.

At one stage, I went behind the stage to capture the beautiful Porcelain Rose and company in an absolutely breathtaking Vintage Fan Dance.  Fate was smiling on me as unbeknownst to me, Kirsty had the same idea on the other side of the stage. As it was dark, we couldn’t see each other but we must have been working in sync (as we often do) as we took a picture at exactly the same time.  Imagine my delight when I looked at the screen and realise her flash had flooded my photo with amazing backlight,  resulting in a beautiful, ethereal image.

I was so excited by it, that I couldn’t resist playing with it a bit more.  I love that sometimes, things work in such synchronicity and the results are always amazing.  So while I should have continued editing the other photos of the night (which you can find on my Facebook page ), I got carried away and waved my Photoshop wand, and voila… suddenly I’m in my safe place, amongst feathers, fairy dust and angel rays.  Life is wonderful!

in-this-life-i-dance