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.

Graceful – Weekly Photo Challenge

It is only our belief that we are trapped that keeps us bound where we are….Livonne

As some of you will know I’ve spent the weeks over Christmas and the New Year moving into a new home.  After shifting comes the mammoth task of setting a new home up.  I gave myself all of January off so I could concentrate on getting it just as I wanted it and then come February, I was to hit the ground running with works for exhibition as well as a few new series I have planned. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Take a month off I said.  It’ll be good I said.. Wrong!

Yesterday,  I couldn’t take the lack of creativity another minute.  Yes, I should have been unpacking and setting up things how I want them.  Yes, I should have been doing some gardening.  Yes, I should have been working on other stuff but my brain was screaming at me to create something… anything.

Luckily I have some lovely friends who are happy to pose for me whenever I want to shoot something in particular.  I got in touch with Janet and she happily agreed to be my model.  I had planned to shoot outside, however the beautiful mountains mists came in which, while beautiful and inspiring,  played havoc with my plans.  So instead, I set up an area inside, cut heaps of ivy off my fence and set about quickly planning something different.

I was inspired by the restless, trapped feeling I had when I had this self imposed break from creating.  Even though it was me that set the rules, I felt bound by them.  I could have stuck to my plan of not shooting over January but sometimes we have to listen to that creative voice that says “just do it”.  So I cast off those shackles and lost myself in what I love doing.  Yes my lounge room was a mess but it was so worth it.

I still have some more images to be edited but these three are the first of them.  Oh it felt so good to be creating again.

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!

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Celebrating Life

It cannot shut out memories.  It cannot silence courage.  It cannot reduce eternal life.  It cannot quench the Spirit…….. Dr. Robert L. Lynn

I hate cancer.  I know I’m not alone but I hate it anyway.  It has taken too many beautiful souls away from this earth well before their time.  It is a bastard.

Yesterday was my friend Jennie’s 9th cancerversary.  Nine years cancer free.  She is living proof that the bastard can’t destroy a spirit, regardless of how it can ravage a body.  We did a photo shoot to celebrate another year of her living life to the fullest.  She has scars but didn’t want me to cover them up.  They are part of who she is.  They don’t define her.  Her positivity and humour does that.

When I was editing the photos, I found a poem that spoke volumes by Dr Robert L Lynn.  (excuse the lower case, I refuse to give cancer a capital letter… it doesn’t deserve it)

cancer is so limited…
It cannot cripple love
It cannot shatter hope
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot destroy peace
It cannot kill friendship
It cannot suppress memories
It cannot silence courage
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot steal eternal life
It cannot conquer the spirit

My favourite lines are that it cannot silence courage nor conquer the spirit.  I truly believe that the spirit lives on.  No matter what you’re facing right now, please remember those lines.

A huge shout out to Dean Barford who is an incredibly talented air brush artist. I gave him a vague idea of what I wanted and as usual, he created miracles.

It is Limited

It is Limited

Fluid Movement

Belief in yourself is like water.  It ebbs and flows.  It moves and changes.  It shifts it’s course with time.  It is, however,  essential for life……Livonne

I’ve been trying a few new techniques again lately.  I’ve found that the way to stay in love with what I do, is to constantly change things around a little bit.  I guess self belief is the same isn’t it?  You have to keep finding new and unique ways to keep it fresh.

Anyway, you may remember that a while ago, Kirsty from KLB Images and I took some photos of up and coming soccer star, Bailey, for a joint effort we were doing.  I saw this water technique and wanted to give it a go, but I just couldn’t seem to make it work the way I wanted it to, so today when Kirsty was here, we went through the steps again to see what we could do.

Kirsty is one of those people that can sit and just stare at something and you can almost see the cogs turning in her brain, trying to work out how it works.  Of course, she hit the nail on the head and got the steps that I was doing wrong.  So continuing on with the combined effort, we took another of the photos of Bailey to turn him into fluid movement.

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Let’s Make Some Memories

Let’s make some memories.  Laugh and cry and reach for the sky.  And if by chance we don’t touch the stars, we can say we tried.  Let’s make some memories…..Jane Olivor

I had a hair cut a few weeks ago.  Big deal you say?  I didn’t realise how big a deal it would end up being.  Sometimes the smallest thing can become a catalyst for seeing things differently.  I suddenly realised that, at 55, this is the youngest I’m going to be for the rest of my life.

I talk a lot about the glamour of old photography and how important it is to leave a lasting legacy for future generations but I’ve never really taken heed of my own advice.  Yesterday, I made the momentous decision to embrace the now and have some studio photos taken.  I wanted some unashamed glamour.  I wanted to celebrate who I am and where I’ve come from.  So I phoned the lovely Kirsty and told her I needed her help.  We set the lights and background up, I knew what I wanted and she clicked away.

I’ll happily admit to working on the photos in Photoshop.  I’m not into Photoshopping the everyday of myself but I’m a firm believer that everybody, man and woman, should have at least one photograph  that makes them feel good about themselves.  In fact, they should have an album full.  I kept thinking that before I had some really good photos taken, I should lose weight and go on an extensive skin routine, get more dental work done and……..you get the drift. Why wait?

Taking photos from a clever angle with the right lighting and a little bit of help from make up and Photoshop, regardless of what stage of life you’re in, will ensure you look the best you possible.  If you don’t like your smile, don’t smile.  Have a serious photo done.  If you feel self conscious about your body,  have head shots done.  Just stop making excuses.  Like me, you’re never going to be younger than you are right this moment, so celebrate every one of those moments and leave some memories behind.

It wasn’t an easy process for me yesterday, even though I’m on the other side of the camera all the time and knew how to pose to avoid double chins and deep wrinkles from showing up.  But I decided to play with the camera instead of fighting it. I pretended I was a model and pulled faces.  Some worked, some didn’t.   I’ve always disliked my hands and so hate them showing in photos but yesterday, I decided to embrace them, regardless how much they look like chubby sausages wrapped in chicken skin and made them a feature.  I love looking at photos of my mum’s hands. When I see them, I can feel them all over again so why not show mine?

I can promise you, future generations won’t remember your wrinkles or your weight when you’re gone.  They’ll remember the way your eyes shine when you talk about something that excites you.  They’ll remember the way it felt to dance, riding on your feet.  They won’t remember the liver spots or the chicken skin of your hands, but I promise they’ll remember the way those hands felt when you touched their face or cooled a fever.  In short, they’ll remember the way you made them feel.

Leave them with some beautiful images that match your beautiful soul.  It’s never too late to celebrate you.

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There You’ll Be

In my dreams I’ll always see you soar above the sky.  In my heart there’ll always be a place for you for all my life.  I’ll keep a part of you with me and everywhere I am, there you’ll be. …… Faith Hill

there-youll-be