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Six Days of Photography and Celebration

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Originally published March 4th 2008 on my Redbubble photography blog. Reposted here on WordPress for easy reading.

For those who haven’t noticed, we have returned from six days in upper New South Wales (NSW) and some parts of Queensland (QLD), Australia.

It was a lot of fun, and my wife and I were able to escape the hot weather of Adelaide to enjoy the wet yet humid days of the East side of Australia. Primarily it was to attend my grandfather’s 21st birthday (before you ask “What the…?”, think about what year it is and what date it was at the end of February), but I was able to spend some time photographing some amazing locations.

Out of the chosen 125, I uploaded around 25-50. It’s always the way, you think a shot is terrific – but the truth comes out when carefully scrutinising the final result.

Here are all the locations we were able to visit: Bleekers Arboretum . This was a great location with amazing foliage and flowers. I don’t think I saw the whole place, we only stayed a few hours. I hope to return within the next 12-18months. 
Read more about all three images in consecutive manipulation
Crystal Castle ( Crystalight )

We got a little lost trying to locate this mesmorizing tourist attraction so I had a few short opportunities to shoot local architecture, street signs, letter boxes, and other features. We crossed a concrete bridge that had water shooting out one side, but you couldn’t see where it came from on the other … really weird.

On the return journey we found a wide part of the one-lane road to stop to capture some creative angles of this wooden garage door . Expect to see some more images of this that certainly step outside my usual style!

Casino Royal Revolving Restaurant, QLD (for Opa’s birthday).  I shot some amazing photographs from the 26th floor, but I’m undecided on uploading to Redbubble.

Plus various beaches, cliffs, peninsula’s and other geographical locations around Lismore, Fingal Head, Broken Head Beach and Minyon Falls , all in Upper NSW.

The irony of it all is the contrast of weather patterns. We rarely saw sunlight on the Sunshine Coast, whereas Adelaide’s usually grey-days were stinking hot. (And I’ve come back to a 34 degrees celsius day. Joy of Joys.)

BTW, The World is Getting Too Small!

1. Whilst visiting an open garden in upper NSW last week, I was asked by a guy at the gate if I put my work on I laughed and wrote my pseudonym in the visitors book. I have now met a Redbubbler in the flesh.

2. On the flight back to Adelaide I purchased Volume 30 Edition 8 (Feb 28-April 2 2008) of BRW. is mentioned on page 58 as part of an article entitled “Caught in the Web 2.0″. Actually quite an informative and interesting article.

3. Ten minutes ago (around 1.30pm, 4th March 2008) a representative from a roof-sealing company knocked on the door. After discussing a few options, I agreed for him to have my name to call back in 12 months time, saying “It’s OK, I’ll be famous soon.” (Said with tongue-in-cheek and a hearty laugh). He asked why. I said I am a photographer, I sell my work on the internet. He asked “Redbubble?” …. Needless to say, we had a good laugh.

The world is getting far too small… Or Redbubble is getting very very popular?

Using Twitter to Get Camera Recommendations

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Rear view of Professional SMC Member

Hard to believe it, I have had a Twitter account since mid 2008.

For a long time it was just something I looked at from time to time, not understanding how anyone could cross-converse in such a hectic and vibrant community. It looked (and sometimes still does) like a bazillion monkeys chattering over the top of each other, all clambering for the highest point to ensure their voice is heard.

Yet it turns out to be the best way to ask questions that a MASSIVE amount of people can respond to and (mostly) give a good response. Here is one great example:

I asked on Twitter earlier this evening…

With only one response, I chose to follow the link.

Considering many of my friends are complete arseholes, that was a big risk. Wait, wait, what I mean is they are Australian’s who like to use any opportunity to make fun of each other, which all of us, including the recipient, laugh till it is someone else’s turn. So when an Australian calls you an arsehole or a bastard, more often he is saying either “Aha, you got me!” or “Damn, you take the best holidays!”

Turns out this is a great sugggestion for a second camera. So I tried to follow with a less than 140 character reply. Considering all of the amazing features, I had to find just one or two that warranted a twitter response. So, Ric, @aqualung, this is what I have to say about the Fuji X-T1:

Read the full review of the Fujifilm XT1. I got what I wanted from Twitter. Which really is amazing.

From Paper to Glass

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Six years ago when I purchased my first smartphone … wait, let’s go back a step.

In 2007 I was shown the Apple Touch by a salesman at Photographic Wholesalers (Hutt Street, Adelaide CBD). I found it so impressive that I purchased one within a month. It served me well until about 2011. By then the OS was so old that almost none of the internal apps opened successfully. The only thing it was good for was playing music.

But I really wanted a smartphone. My wife watched phones enter the market, sit at exorbitant prices on the shelves, then slowly dissappear into semi-obscurity. Some met our needs and wants,  but very few were offered on contracts we could afford.

In December 2012 I watched an advertisement for the Samsung Galaxy Note II. A pen for drawing, a large screen, and looked easy to use.

Apart from the pen being near pointless (twisted irony!), I like this phone!

My point to this post?

Six years ago when I sat on a train with my Apple, I was one of about 10 people on 3 carriages with an Apple.

These days 8 out of 10 have a smartphone of some description. Most are listening to music. Some, like me, are writing and posting their first article for the day.

The world has changed.

Finding my Photo Mojo (Again)

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Sub Title: Shooting Boots

Yesterday I had the weirdest and scariest moment of my life.
I thought I had lost my photo mojo!

I quickly connected my Canon L-Series 70-200mm f4 IS USM lens to my Canon 50D (I dream of having a 5D some day!), went out the back door and started searching for something to shoot.

Lo and behold, I found my father-in-law’s old leather boots, both covered in character that only time and hard-work can give. With ripped toes exposing the steel caps beneath, plus stretch marks where they have been hastily pulled off his old weary feet, these boots were instantly my subject of the day.

As the afternoon sun hit the backyard, I quickly found a surface apt for the job: The top of a honey-heater-box, coated in dirty white paint (because dirt fell on whilst the paint was drying) was perfect for the job!

As you can see from my photograph series of boots below, I still have my photo mojo!

Always feels good to shoot an interesting subject and shoot either with natural or appropriate lighting. Oh, photo mojo, you complete me!

Advice to Commonwealth Olympians

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I said this on Facebook earlier today. Now I realise that a wider audience needs to read it:

Advice to Athletes:

Forget about social media, you have a bigger job to do this week.

Advice to social media addicts who feel the need to judge olympians:

Get off the computer. Go outside. Get some exercise. Grow up. Get a life.


How Vulnerability Helped Me Find Myself

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About two weeks ago my emotions ran wild and nearly overtook my normal crazy creative state of mind. How on earth could such a thing happen? Well, I allowed myself to express my emotions through my photography, and it was quite vivid!

#42 Tied Ham

To explain that statement, view the photo displayed to the left.

Yes, that is my head with string wrapped around it like a roast meat. It is experimental photography, based purely on an idea I had probably seen elsewhere, and probably a boring afternoon where I wanted to try something completely different. I don’t recall the exact day, but I can say this: It was not a state of mind, not anger or frustration.

But on the day that I published as my Facebook profile pic, a lot of people didn’t realise I had done so after both my wife and I had gone some fairly traumatic events with our baby boyIt is an image of a moment in time, in place of  poetry or prose, to explain the place in which my head ‘was at‘ at that time – because words were failing me.

I uploaded it to Facebook, made it my profile picture , then put a note on it saying something like “Wow, head spinning, sad moment, hard to deal with, getting me down, this is how I feel”. Which wasn’t a lie, but it seems my friends took my feelings a little too far. Not that I am complaining, I’m #justsaying.

My friends actually did the right thing: They were compassionate, empathic, considerate, kind, and asked what was going on. I cannot recall if I explained to my Facebook friends about the situation that compelled me to use this picture, yet enough of them got a general gist of, again, what my wife and I had gone through only days earlier.

Yet it was the words of just one of my many online and offline friend that actually ‘kicked me firmly in the nuts’ and convinced me to get my head into a ‘better space’.

Stephen, for Jai’s sake, put on a happy face, get it together man!

OK, That’s not the exact words, but that is the way I remember it! Soon after I’d deleted the picture from my Facebook gallery, so neither the image nor the responses are immortalised into Facebook history. Not that anyone was harsh, but I decided to delete that moment in time.

(#0014) MeltingWhy delete history? Well, some moments are best learned from, then we move forwards.

I composed, recomposed, refocused, found my direction and returned to the path I wanted to be upon: Photography. Making it work for me, not me for it. I enjoy photography. I don’t have to make money from it, that’s just a bonus.

(#0027) Rock Face

Why even the need to write this down and publish online? Whilst without history we have no path, without release and expression of our vulnerability, we so easily forget why we continue to exist.

How often do you let yourself go crazy enough to do something so strange and odd that people see another side of you? I did, and it was worth it to find out who noticed, who cared and who was also prepared to be vulnerable enough to reach out and help.

Postscript:  Names have been suppressed as I have not asked if they are OK with being published in this article. If they should read this and like to me, I will then amend accordingly.

PostPostscript:  All photographs in this image are very odd self-portraits.

#44 Cable Tied