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

 

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 Dreams of Lilac

O were my love yon lilac fair, wi’ purple blossoms to the spring.  And I a bird to shelter there, when wearied on my little wing……Robert Burns

As most of you regular readers will know, I shop a lot at Op shops (goodwill).  I find some of the best stuff there in the way of props and costumes for photo shoots.  I went a few weeks ago to my favourite one here in Katoomba and found this glorious lilac coloured dress.  Long, with beautiful lace around the waist and sleeves and a magnificent sunray pleated skirt, I fell in love with it immediately.  Imagine my surprise when I asked the price and got told $4.00.  I paid for it and ran away before they changed their mind or realised that I was committing highway robbery.

I came straight home and put my lilac beauty on a mannequin to admire and imagine what I was going to do with  her (yes I had given her a name & personality already).  I had been to an awards dinner with my son a few weeks previously and met a lovely young lady called Alexis,  who I knew would be great for an image, so showed her my work and she jumped at the opportunity to be a model for me.  Suddenly, looking at the dress, I knew that she would look gorgeous in it, and when I imagined my dress on my model, the theme came easily to mind.

All tee’d up for the photoshoot, I asked my trusty Kirsty from KLB Images to be my assistant and of course she said yes.  I knew of an old shed right near my place and it all lined up perfectly.  I had a spare dress on hand in case my lilac beauty didn’t fit but I needn’t have worried about it.  Not only did it fit, but the model and dress were made for each other.  At the location, we took lots of different photos but as per usual, the shoot took on a life of it’s own.  Both Kirsty and Alexis had ideas as well which I loved and the position of the sun added an extra dimension that I hadn’t really considered.

Thankfully, I always tell my models that what I plan and the finished product are not necessarily going to be one and the same because what I had planned just didn’t work for me. I always have a basic concept but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is set in stone.  My work isn’t planned to an inch of it’s life.  It’s not how my brain works.  Instead, I allow it to take shape organically and I just follow along.   One of the photos I took, the flash didn’t fire and it was all dark except for a rim of light around her face when she looked out of the window.  It turns out that was one of the best shots of the day.  Not that the others were bad…. not at all.  But that one had a mystery and screamed to come to life so I let it.  I named it Until Forever Ends. I have another photo from this shoot that is being used for an exhibition next year which I’m completely in love with but I won’t show it until it is on the wall of the exhibition.

Kirsty and I loved working with Alexis so much that we have some more shoots planned now with her.  Some for me and some for Kirsty.  Yes, I love it when a plan doesn’t come together but takes on a spirit and life all of it’s own. Here are some of the photos of the day, as well as the lousy quality iPhone photo of lilac beauty on the mannequin when I first brought her home.  I’m sure you too can see how the dress and model were made for each other.  I hope you love these as much as I do.

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

The Lunar Effect

Tell me the story of how the sun loved the moon so much, he died every night to let her breathe….. 

Halloween is on it’s way.  Yes, a month away but I decided to start early.  Kirsty from KLB Images who helped me with my photos this week decided she’d like to do something dark so avoiding the common zombie type photos, we decided to go for something more terrifying… Real life madness!

Throughout the years, the full moon has been blamed for madness amongst us.  It’s synonymous with werewolves, vampires and just plain lunacy amongst we mere mortals.  Of course, the word lunacy comes from the word Luna meaning the moon. Whether or not the full moon does affect our moods and our sanity will always be an argument that no one can win.  Personally I believe people are affected by it.

From my own battles with depression and PTSD, I know the feeling of not always being understood by the rest of the world and I wanted to convey how much effort it takes restraining yourself from acting out how you’re really feeling.   How sad and crazy you feel when you’re battling your demons all on your own.

I decided on an old building here in my home town, went shopping for some clothes to rip up and we were ready.  We headed to our location, a chair and a pink umbrella our only props.  It was unbelievably windy which helped make Kirsty’s long hair look even crazier in the photos.   It was difficult to get a shot without her hair completely covering her face  but I was happy with the photos I got.

When we got home, I started to edit one of my favourites of her with a pink umbrella, straight away.  She  was standing behind me when she suddenly said, “zoom in”.  I did and was quite freaked out to find someone standing in the window of the old building.  Now, I’m not saying it isn’t possible that it was a person actually in there, however, I took a photo 4 seconds before I took this one and there was no one in the window in that or any of the 162 photos I took.  Just the one I was working on.  The windows are all covered in plastic and although I know most people will write it off as just someone standing there, I personally believe it was not a living being.  You can make up your own mind.

in-the-window

But beyond being freaked out by that photo, I have quite a few good images that I’ll be working on over the next few weeks from this shoot.  I have chosen 3 that I’m thrilled to share with you today.   I’m really looking forward to doing a few other spooky shoots leading up to Halloween that I’m sure won’t freak me out anywhere near as much as the photo above.

the-lunar-effect_

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