My year that was…2013

2013 was, in some ways, a really crap year personally and professionally with change and uncertainty, anxiety and worry featuring heavily for several months. Thankfully, there were many bright moments and things started looking up towards the end of the year. This post is my year in review in pictures, dogs are a constant, along with flowers and our local wildlife, these are the things that really kept me sane and brightened my days.

 

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As the sun rises

“If I had to choose a religion, the sun as the universal giver of life would be my god.”  ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

Such a beautiful Autumn morning

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.

On the road

Preparing for Christmas, attending Christmas functions at work and spending time with friends and family over the Christmas break didn’t leave much room for blogging. As soon as the computer came out my Mum hit me with questions about her computer, using picasa and organising all her holidays photos which she somehow managed to download in the lowest possible resolution from her camera (if she is able to get 6 x 4 prints done I’ll be surprised) so I gave up even trying to get online.

Anyway, I digress. The first step to our Christmas holiday this year was packing up the car and driving between six and seven hours south to reach the homes of our parents, luckily my husband’s Mum and my parents only live about 30 minutes apart. The road trip is not something I necessarily enjoy, but I’m getting better at it especially if it means an opportunity to see something different. Intermittent road works mean that route has changed slightly since I last drove south, leaving home at 4.30am also resulted in us seeing the sun rise over the hills, slowly burning away all the mist which covered the countryside. Rather than get my DSLR out of the back of the car to take photos along our journey I used my iPhone and when boredom kicked in instagram become my travel friend.

This is our journey in pictures from the sunny Gold Coast in Queensland to the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales.

Dogs at the start of the road trip
At the start of the trip

Sunrise and mist

Sunrise and mist
Rural Australia in the early hours of the morning
Dog's head outside window of car
A dog’s favourite spot in the car
Happy Maxi the dog
Happy Maxi
Bundy the dog
Bundy enjoying the warmth of the sun
Bundy and view from car
Mmmm…when do we stop for breakfast Mum?

 Pink waterlily

White waterlily

Waterlilies at Grafton
Waterlilies at Grafton
Dog Maxi napping
Maxi napping, not sure how this is even comfortable
Sleeping dogs in car
Sleeping dogs
Traffic jam on the highway
20km traffic jam on the highway heading north but we’re almost at our destination
ride on lawn mower in the country
Our destination in rural New South Wales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swell: series two

As promised, part two of my series of photographs from the 2012 Swell Sculpture Festival and there are still a few more to come.

No, the ice cream truck wasn’t a sculpture but I love the ‘retro’ appearance and who doesn’t like enjoying an ice cream by the water.

Hot off the press! Swell: series one

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 🙂

Early morning walk to see the sun rise

Nobby's Beach Newcastle
Nobby’s Beach Newcastle
Nobby's Lighthouse as sun begins to rise
Nobby’s Lighthouse as sun begins to rise

We had roughly 24 hours in Newcastle, timed so that we could attend the 90th birthday of a much loved family member, my husband’s Poppy and still make the most of one of the city’s popular locations: Nobby’s beach. The 90th birthday was an extended affair beginning at a local club for a long lunch and continuing into the evening at Nan and Pop’s home, most of the family was there and stories of WWII, cheeky children and spoiled grandchildren were shared over pizza and glasses of wine. It was a lovely day, the tears of joy were many as it had been several years since the family had been together for a celebration.

With the aim of getting some exercise and seeing the sun rise over the water, we awoke early and put on a few layers of clothing before braving the cold weather of an early winter’s morning by the ocean. Nobby’s Beach is a favourite among the locals for walking, jogging, exercising the dogs and surfing, not to mention the occasional backdrop for wedding photos. The only cameras we had were iPhones and I was madly snapping away as we walked towards the end of the break-wall, stopping so often that I had to jog most of the way just to keep up. My hands were icy and a beanie kept my head warm, but being by the ocean and witnessing one of most beautiful, natural events made it worth having ice cold fingers. All of us stood in awe, basking in the golden glow as the sun rose above the horizon, trying not to get wet as the waves crashed against the rocks and concrete blocks stacked on the break-wall.

Early morning walk
Early morning walk
The city of Newcastle
The city of Newcastle
Looking back
Looking back

Invigorated by the walk and the fresh air it was now time for coffee and a bite to eat, breakfast at a local cafe called Estabar consisted of Espresso and toasted sourdough smothered in Avocado with garlic, feta and sea salt – delicious! Before too long we were back on the plane and heading home, Newcastle is a city that is close to my heart, I went to University there and it was where I met my future husband, it was great to be back even though it was only a quick visit.

Popular place to walk and jog
Popular place to walk and jog
On top of the world
On top of the world
Feeling the spray of cold, salty water as we watch the sun rise
Feeling the spray of cold, salty water as we watch the sun rise
Family portrait
Family portrait
Interesting rock
Naturally carved rock, mother nature is very creative
Morpeth Sourdough and Avocado for breakfast
Morpeth Sourdough and Avocado for breakfast