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Sydney Adventures

Over the second week of September I headed up to Sydney, for a well deserved getaway with my boyfriend Shaun. We decided to test out my new car and take the challenge of driving 892km in one sitting! After an early start and a long car trip, we finally arrived in Sydney’s CBD around dinnertime and eagerly checked into our lovely hotel in Darling Harbour. Having stayed in the same hotel previously three years ago, the surroundings were luckily familiar to us dazed Melbournians. But we were eager to explore Sydney bright and early the next day.

For our first day I was excited to head to Coogee beach and complete the coastal walk to Bondi, as I was in search of the perfect locations for my upcoming photo shoots. We lucked out with amazing weather and I was blown away with the beautiful Sydney coastline. Having scouted perfect locations for my upcoming fashion editorial shoots, to top off a great afternoon it wouldn’t be Bondi without a celebrity spotting of Jason Momoa AKA Kharl Drogo from Game of Thrones! I would highly recommend the Bondi coastal walk to anyone heading to Sydney, its about 6km in total but its quite an easy walk and only took us three hours to complete with lots of lovely stops along the way.

The following day we got up early for my first photo shoot of the trip, which would take place at Bronte sea baths. I couldn’t have asked for better weather and I was blessed with a very talented team of Sydney creative’s. Milla from Chic Management was my lovely model for the day and Seaneen Blair styled her in wonderful clothes sourced from various PR agencies around Sydney. The talented Alysha Maree did beautiful hair and make up for the shoot and she kept it simply elegant with a side fishtail braid accompanied by gold eye shadow which came out beautifully in the afternoon sunshine. We completed nine different looks over the course of the shoot and were entertained by some funny local swimmers who kept a watchful eye over us the whole day. Overall it was a very successful shoot and I will be able to share the end results shortly so keep an eye on this space.

As Shaun and I were technically on holidays we decided to visit the Sydney Aquarium the following day as I really wanted to see the dugong’s, since I had never seen one in person before. Unfortunately the dugong’s were “distressed” and were not on display, which was disappointing but I will hopefully get to see them on my next trip. I did however get some images of my favourite sea creatures… the Jellyfish!!!

Keeping with the tourist mindset we then decided to explore the Blue Mountains for a day, as Shaun works in the outdoor industry and was keen to find some rock-climbing challenges. After talking to some local Sydney climbers, we found a great walking track were Shaun was able to do some bouldering (since he didn’t have any harnesses with him). I of course brought my trusty camera and snapped away while I waited at the bottom of the rocks watching Shaun climb up like a monkey. I haven’t really attempted “sports” photography before but enjoyed the challenge and Shaun was pleased with the shots. Later in the afternoon we decided to visit the Three Sisters on the drive home. I remember visiting the destination when I was really little and was pleased to find you could still walk out on a small bride to the fist rock formation. We arrived around 4:30pm and so were greeted with a nice afternoon sun to make for some beautiful landscape photographs. On my next trip up to Sydney I would love to explore the Blue Mountains more, as I think there would be some great walking tracks and it is truly a beautiful part of the world.

Over the weekend we had in Sydney, we attended the annual Australian Professional Photography Awards and the Digital Playground seminar, which was held at the Luna Park Big top. For the first

day of the event we took the ferry across to Milsons Point, which had an amazing view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We spent the day watching the APPA judging of the commercial, advertising and fashion categories and wondering around the exhibit. Although smaller than the Digital expo in previous years, the exhibit area still had all the main leading imaging brands on display and had a few interesting demonstrations. However our main purpose for the day was to watch the Australian Professional Photography Award judging and there were a few photographs that caught my eye this year. For those that don’t know, the APPA awards is for professional photographers mainly from Australia to compete in a number of categories and for the coveted title of “Australian Professional Photographer of the Year”. Every awarded print (gold distinction, gold, silver distinction, silver) also accrues “award points” which count towards the achievement of Associate and Master Photographer status within the Australian Institute of Professional Photography, which is very prestigious and taken quite seriously in the industry. To participate in the awards you must be a member of the AIPP, which I currently don’t have a membership for so sadly I didn’t partake this year. However I did enter the awards in 2011 when I had a student membership and was lucky enough to score two silver awards. I found the APPA’s a great experience, as I got to see where my images were at in regards to industry standards and enjoyed getting feedback for my images from judges who were all recognised professional photographers in the Australian industry. I try to attend the APPA judging each year as I like to see what my peers are creating and I enjoy the exhibits on display at the expo. I find I learn a lot about photography by watching different images being judged and seeing how they are valued and benchmarked, as there is always such a variety to the awarded work.

On the second day we attended Luna Park we decided to drive in as we had an early seminar appointment to attend at the Digital Playground. As soon as I found out about this event I booked tickets straight away for the Sunday seminar as one of my favourite Australian fashion photographers was speaking, Georges Antoni. I have been a fan of Georges Antoni’s work ever since I started to have an interest in photography back in high school, so I was stocked I got the chance to hear him speak. The session was titled “A day in the life of a Fashion Photographer” and we got to hear about what drives Georges’ creative process and his industry insights. I found listening to him talk on direction and working with talent on set really interesting and I have tried to incorporate some of his strategies into my own shooting. I also really enjoyed listening to some of his important career lessons and hearing about his time as a judge on Australia’s Next Top Model, being a host on The Face Australia and also stories about the various celebrities and super models he has photographed. I wish he was able to speak for longer then an hour, but if he ever holds a workshop here in Melbourne I will be sure to attend. We then decided to spend the rest of the day watching the other guest speakers which included - Vicki Bell speaking about “The art of creating soulful portraiture”, Pearce Leal talking about “Wildlife photography in Africa” and Mark Watson who spoke on “Adventure sports photography” (which Shaun really enjoyed). I think its important to attend photography seminars at least once a year, as I always seem to pick up handy tips or new techniques and you never know whom you might meet at these events.

The day before we left Sydney I had an amazing fashion editorial shoot at Coogee Cliffs. My team for the day included model Carolin Sünderhauf from Priscillas, Belinda Vangelov as our talented hairstylist and once again the lovely Alysha Maree as make up artist. I was the wardrobe stylist for the day and sourced clothes from Melbourne designers; Cara Drake from Calouda and Tennille Sanders. During hair and make up preparation I learnt that our model Carolin was actually from Germany and had only been in Australia for 4 weeks. We later learned that Carolin was actually part of the top six girls of Germany’s next top model Cycle eight in 2013, and I enjoyed hearing her stories about the show and what it was like working closely with Heidi Klum. As a model Carolin moved really well and combined with Belinda and Alysha’s beautiful hair and make up looks, we achieved a great mood. We were graced with another perfect sunny day for shooting and I was super stoked with the location I had scouted prior. We shot ten different looks throughout the day and all the neutral toned garments tide in really well with the earth tones and textures of the stone cliff tops. Overall I was really pleased with the final result and I can’t wait to share the images with everyone shortly.

In total Shaun and I spent an 11 magical days in sunny Sydney. I found it great having access to my car, as we were fortunate enough to have the freedom to see so much of Sydney in the time we had. The brief change of location has been refreshing for me and I’ve been able to pick up the pace of my work life since returning to Melbourne recharged and inspired. I was blessed to have met and worked with some truly talented and lovely Sydney Creative’s on my stay and will hopefully return to Sydney in the near future for more fun and creative adventures.

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