“If I had to choose a religion, the sun as the universal giver of life would be my god.” ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
This morning we are up early, before the sun rises and long before our two black doggies usually get out of bed. Outside the air is cool, inside the aroma of freshly brewed coffee motivates me to get moving and get dressed for a trip to the beach. You may well wonder why anyone would want to go to the beach while it is cold and dark, but with a beautiful day forecast we know the temperature will rise and it is a perfect time to practice my photography and capture a sunrise. Eventually excitement reaches the dogs and they happily sit on the back seat of the car with tongues out and the drool slowing dripping onto the console and window sill of the door. As we cross the bridge that takes us towards the beach they start to fidget as familiar smells and sounds reach them, both are itching to stretch their legs on the sand, splash about in the waves and maybe roll in something dead and smelly.
I set up my tripod in a couple of different spots, clicking away madly whilst the dogs take turns dashing across the sand, retrieving sticks and balls for my husband. Soon Maxi joins me for a rest, at her age there is less dashing and more strolling, she still loves to paddle in the surf and can never resist digging holes in the soft sand. Only one other photographer has joined me on the beach, we aren’t at the most picturesque spot on the coast nor the most popular place for surfing so for many there is probably no reason to venture onto the sand, camera in hand, but for me and our little family it is the perfect place.
Looking back I realise that I should have focused more on the clouds as the rays of sunlight peeked through, experimenting with capturing the motion of the waves and the reflections distracted me yet I am happy with these few images that I am sharing with you and hope that you will be too.
Well, that is it then, holiday over and back to work. Can’t complain too loudly though, with temperatures over 40 degrees celsius in some parts of Australia it is great to be able to work in air conditioned comfort. My poor doggies are melting, throughout the day they move from one cool, shaded spot to another and you can see the relief on their faces when I come home and they can finally lie on the nice, cool tiles.
Christmas and New Years Eve was spent south of the border in New South Wales. My parents live in the country, surrounded by cows, horses and alpacas, it is a very peaceful place to stay and the nights are so dark that you can easily see the stars. The dogs love it there although they’d be much happier inside with us, but their Nan and Pop don’t allow dogs in the house so Maxi claimed the deck and Bundy decided that sitting on the outdoor table was the place to be. Every morning I took Bundy for a walk down to the river while Maxi got to have a walk through the paddock (her legs won’t carry her very far anymore), on the first morning everything was shrouded in fog, it was magnificent to see especially when the sun’s rays started to burn through the fog and throw a little more colour and light onto the picture.
Christmas day was a hot one, after the traditional early morning opening of presents I joined my husband’s family for brunch, watching our nephews playing with their presents reminds me of the excitement I felt when I got my first record player and the soundtrack for the movie Xanadu – I loved Olivia Newton John . The heat and the boys desire to try out their new boogie boards drove us to the beach, it was cloudy and windy, the water freezing but we still got sunburned and soon it was time for us to head off to my cousin’s house for a late Christmas lunch. Christmas with my family usually means five types of meat, a tonne of baked vegetables and more desserts than anyone could possibly need, not to mention lots of bubbles and beer. At some stage water is involved, often swimming in a pool however this year it was a water fight using the latest in water pistols (they look more like cannons) and buckets, this is when holding a camera has its advantages.
The 2013 National Beach Volleyball tour kicks off in Cronulla, my husband is part of the operations team that organise the event and work started on Boxing Day, December 26 so that is where we spent New Years Eve. Cronulla is heaven for surfers and beach goers, alot of effort has gone into tidying up the foreshore but this Sydney suburb still feels as though it is made for locals and on New Years Eve it was surprisingly quiet. New Years Eve is also our wedding anniversary, this year we celebrated our 5th anniversary and although in Sydney we celebrated quietly with bubbles and delicious nibbles on our hotel balcony, avoiding the crush of two million people on the harbour’s foreshore. New Years Day was spectacular weather wise, the beach was packed and the temperature soared, the lifeguards were going to have a busy day.
Only yesterday (or so it seems) my husband, Bundy and I were at the beach admiring the creative works of others and making the most of the opportunity to get our feet wet. If you’re wondering where Maxi, our other black dog is, she didn’t join us at the beach because her arthritis doesn’t allow her to spend a couple of hours walking up and down the beach and as she gets older, she is getting less patient (friendly) with other dogs. Since the Swell sculpture exhibition life has gotten pretty busy, both socially and at work, but mainly at work and it has my head spinning. I generally don’t write about work, preferring to spend my spare time focusing on the loves in my life because that is what is most important to me and I think that when you write about work it can be easy to get bogged down in the negative.
The weeks are flying by, soon it will be Christmas but in the meantime my boss will have moved on and we’ll be looking down the barrel at a restructure of our entire division. Restructures aren’t always a bad thing, I don’t mind the change and I’m trying to remain optimistic, hoping that it won’t mean a major loss of jobs however I’m not naive and realise that some loss is inevitable especially for those staff on short term contracts. The scary thing is that I’ll probably be stepping into my boss’ shoes for the short term, why? Because I’ve been around for a while and our senior executives are hoping that I can maintain a level of stability for the team while they determine what our structure will look like. Can I do it? Who knows, my boss seems to think so which is really nice but I can’t help feeling like a fraud.
The likelihood of something going wrong, really wrong, is minimal for the short period of time that I’ll be acting in that role, still, it makes me quite nervous and I hope that the pressure doesn’t turn me into a complete stress bucket. Coming home to our two black doggies and spending Sundays at the shelter will help keep me grounded, when working with the dogs I don’t think about work, it is all about them and I’m usually so tired of an evening that I easily fall asleep.
I guess I just have to keep reminding myself that I am working to live and make myself take time to enjoy moments such as those in my photos.
Thank you to everyone who liked my shots of the Swell Sculpture Festival in previous posts: series one and series two, I now present the final series of photographs from the festival and I hope that you’ll like them as much as the earlier images.
A familiar sight on surf beaches all around the world, this piece of work attracted alot of attention and it had me wondering how they managed to keep the towels in position overnight.
Bundy loves attending the Swell Sculpture Festival, not only does he get to ride in the car and go for a paddle in the surf, he also gets to pose with the sculptures and assist with providing a sense of scale to the artwork.
This really didn’t look out of place on the beach, the large rock close to the horizon is known as ‘Elephant Rock’ and you can see the high rise landscape of Surfers Paradise in the background.
There is always a nautilus shell featured in the exhibition.
Water tanks are normally pretty plain and boring, you will find one in most Aussie backyards but they certainly don’t look like this and I can’t imagine that it would hold much water anyway.
I’m guessing the motion of waves inspired this sculpture (no I didn’t read the exhibition program), those made by water and by humans.
Like many native species, the tiger and koala are struggling to stay alive in our constantly changing environment. In Australia, Tiger conservation is a highly promoted and supported, however our native Koala which is in danger of disappearing from our region as a result of growth in development and traffic, has only recently been acknowledge as being in danger by our government. It is shameful that the majority of the Australian population take this beautiful creature for granted, its plight has become ‘invisible’.
A daylight shot of the giant mosquito featured in series one, this thing is huge!
Sums up the festival perfectly
Just after 4am I arose from a deep slumber courtesy of my husband, the plan, to see the sun rise over the Swell Sculpture Festival on Currumbin Beach. I am not a morning person but once on the sand the enjoyment of being on the beach and watching the sun rise removed all trace of sleep. Photographers with their tripods were everywhere, we unintentionally followed each other along the esplanade, vying for the best position in an attempt to capture a creative photograph of the sculptures on display. There is much for me to learn and I’m pretty sure that some of other people’s images were taken from an angle that never entered my mind, yet I’m pretty happy with the results and I hope you will be too.
The biggest mosquito on the coast was the most popular insect on the coast this morning with several people toting cameras and tripods preparing to capture its silhouette as the sun rose.
The love cats…
This sculpture represents rain, sunshine and wind, which is which? My guess, from left to right is wind, sunshine and rain.
It won’t come as a surprise to any of you that the reflective dogs were one of the pieces that I really loved, seeing them from front, back, left and right gave me something different and interesting to experience.
Sculptures featuring mosaics appear every year, regretfully I did not pick up a program so I don’t know who the artist responsible for this colourful and pretty piece is but the style is familar and I’ve no doubt that their work has been exhibited in Swell for the last few years.
Between May and August humpback whales migrate north along the east and west coasts of Australia to breeding areas off Queensland and in September they begin the return journey to feeding areas in the Antarctic. This sculpture is a beautiful and timely reminder of this annual event, later in the morning we did actually spot a couple of whales off shore, even though they were too far away for me to photograph them it was still an exciting experience.
Can you see the faces? I didn’t notice them at first, distracted by the colour and the reflections it wasn’t until I looked through the lens during my efforts to focus that I noticed them.
With more photos still to come please stay tuned for Swell:series two!
Cheers and have a great weekend
A wedding on the Sunshine Coast gave us the perfect opportunity to spend a weekend in the coastal town of Caloundra, about one and a half hours north of Brisbane. The wedding was held on the headlands, thankfully there was no rain but the ocean breeze made things a little interesting for the bride and her veil which had to be held by the bridesmaids throughout the ceremony. It was a beautiful wedding and a fun evening of celebration with the usual dancing and champagne, still, we managed to be up early for a walk along the beach even though the hours of sleep were few.
Caloundra has made the early morning walk easy, where there is no sand to walk on you can walk along the footpath and a boardwalk makes navigating rocky heads much easier. Serious photographers (not me) were out with their super duper zoom lens’ and tripods, I settled for minimum baggage and more often than not, tilted horizons which were easy enough to fix on the computer
Despite the beautiful sunshine, at 7am it was still quite cool with a slight breeze coming off the beach and much of the path still in shadow. Dog walkers, joggers and surfers were already in action, at one point we just stood in the sun watching the waves role in and loving the fact that we had made the effort to get out of bed.
As we walked back towards the centre of town and the plethora of cafes open early for all the tourists and locals who like to get their morning caffeine fix we saw several very cool cars parked near the BBQ area. Not sure whether this was a usual haunt for car aficionados or a stop for car loving friends out on a day trip, but I couldn’t resist taking a photo. Don’t ask me what sort of cars they are, cars are not my thing so feel free to leave a comment telling me what they are if cars are your thing.
We stayed at the Oaks Oasis, a nice hotel however, eating in the hotel restaurant when there were so many lovely little cafes by the beach seemed a bit silly. We dodged the cafe where all the cyclists were meeting because who wants to be surrounded by sweaty, smelly men in lycra, and chose a small, but busy cafe not far from the water. Hubby and I love Merlo coffee and we could spot the big blue Merlo banners and umbrellas from a mile off, the bonus was the extensive range of delicious sounding options on the breakfast menu and there was no resisting the Eggs Benedict with bacon.