Vivid – Sydney’s Festival of Light – is my favourite festival of the year – and a great one for families and photographers!  The City does such a fabulous job illuminating the City with light, music, interactive exhibits and fireworks for two fabulous weeks.  Each year the festival gets bigger and bigger.  We didn’t get to see as much as usual this year, but what we did was incredible.  And incredibly crowded! We spent one evening down at the height of the festival at Circular Quay.  The Custom’s House light show and the lights on the Opera House are always my favourite.  I could watch those for hours.  There were also more interactive activities for kids with crowd controlled entry which was a big help.  Next year we will be sure to go on a Monday or Tuesday when it is a bit less crowded.  But despite the crowds it was fun family night.  To top it off, we took the ferry there and back allowing us to see the lights from the water.  The last photos of the Opera House were taken from the ferry.  It was a spectacular sight!  And the kids always love taking the ferry.  Can’t wait til next year!

Family going to Vivid on the ferryVivid SydneyVivid SydneyVivid SydneyVivid SydneyVivid SydneyVivid Sydneylittle girl at Vivid SydneyVivid SydneyVivid SydneyVivid SydneyVivid Sydney

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We had a very big day in our family this week when my husband graduated from University of New South Wales with his Ph.D. in Business.  It was the celebration of a huge commitment by him and our family. The past four years have been full of research, writing, giving up weekends and evenings, and lots of hard work.  It was so wonderful to see it all come to fruition.  We took the kids and they actually enjoyed the day too.  Their present to their dad was surprising him with which costumes they decided to wear! Throughout the ceremony, backpacks were unloaded of snacks, crayons, iPads, stickers, stamps to name a few distractions.  But they enjoyed clapping for everyone and screaming for the last but not least graduate – their dad.  I have to say it brought tears to my eyes to see him walk across that stage. We are all so proud of him.

Afterwards there was a party and celebrating all around.  There aren’t that many days in life when you get to celebrate such large accomplishments. I am glad we were all able to be there.  Here are a few images that document our day.  Congratulations Dr. Lee!

Family at UNSW graduationfamily at UNSW graduationsofia the first at a UNSW graduation
Dad with kids at UNSW graduationBuzz lightyear at UNSW grduationsofia at UNSW graduationkids and dad at UNSW graduationPhD graduatefamily at UNSW graduationI’d love to capture your families celebrations!  Contact me to book your session

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Blue – that was colour assigned to the month of May in my color blog circle of talented photographers from across the globe.  Working with a theme is something that is a bit out of my element.  I am a reactive photographer meaning that I love to watch the scene unfold around me – snapping what catches my eye. This approach is definitely useful for a child photographer as little ones don’t like to sit still!  Being reactive leads to photographs that are full of emotion, spirit and connection that captures the true essence of children and families.  There is something about looking for a particular element to incorporate in a photograph really pushes me to think in a different way. But I loved the colour challenge! And seeing as blue is my favourite color – this month was especially fun. It is winter here in Australia so many photographs are from after the sun went down, allowing me to work with gorgeous bokeh and lights.  Hope you enjoy the selection below. And please follow along and view the amazing work by my friend Heather!

blue light bokehCaptain America relaxinglittle boy jumping on basketball courtlight boken20150429-DSC_7617-1ferris wheel dariling harbourblue lights at the MCA in Sydney

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  • It is much harder to plan out the color shots but you did wonderfully!! I love the captain america. He can save my day anytime!ReplyCancel

  • Allison I just love the rain boots and your super hero! These are all lovely!ReplyCancel

  • […] of June in my color blog circle of talented photographers from across the globe.  This was my second month working with a colour scheme. Once again I procrastinated a bit as working with a theme is […]ReplyCancel

Recently I joined a group of talented photographers from around the world with the goal of sharing images with each other and our readers.  One of the monthly posts is a “4 on 4” which simply means posting four images on the 4th of the month from the month before.  I love blog circles like this and being able to connect with photographers with different styles from different countries.  It’s still one of the things about the internet that amazes me.

May was a bit topsy turvy in our house.  I fell off the wagon of taking a photo everyday for the first week of the month.  However, on the first Thursday of May, I grabbed my camera on the way out the door to pick up my daughter.  Little did I know that when I got to her school, there would be the ice cream truck parked conspicuously on the corner of the street.  And it was a soft-serve truck with sprinkles – with one smart driver!  I have to say it was real whipped cream ice cream that was absolutely delicious.  It was one of those moments that I was so glad I had my camera.   On this late Autumn afternoon,  the light was so pretty as the sun was already starting to get lower, bouncing off windows of the tall buildings surrounding the school.  And I even used the self-timer to capture a quiet moment of my daughter and I together.  Four images that capture a sweet afternoon after Kindy on a random Autumn day.  Those are the best.  Thanks for looking and please continue on to see the amazing work of Ti Hildebrand.

Ice cream after schoolicream cream after schoolice cream conemum and brown haired girl eating ice cream

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A huge turning point in my photography was a class by the fabulous Audrey Woulard which was almost exactly a year ago. While organising some family photos for a project, I just stumbled on the first project from that class which was of my kids coming back from grocery shopping.  While Audrey is a master at finding great light, we were also working on focus, location, and composition.  I can still remember thinking “Backup, get lower but don’t bend over, don’t overexpose, and try to find variety.”  It’s alot to remember when you are shooting fast moving small ones.  The other extremely important thing about this “shoot” is that it was the very first time someone told me to trust my eye and I believed it!  When you are learning to take photos, you absorb all sorts of information, styles, tips etc.  Most of us try it all on and see what we like.  And since while you are trying to find your eye and your style you are still making tons of mistakes technically because you are LEARNING – it is very hard to trust you have an eye at all.  I had photographed my kids on this derelict yet charming corner numerous times.  I loved this corner.  I loved the relic of the building, I loved the colors, the edginess, the contrast of young life against age.  And I loved the light.  But most children’s photographers photograph kids in parks, gardens and fields.  And I love those photos too.  But my heart and eye liked this.  And because I was still working so hard on technical skills it was very hard to see if this location was rubbish or golden.

But along comes this little practice shoot with the technical advice to do it better than any other day and a fabulous instructor whose words “That location is GOLDEN!!  Can you go back there?  Do it again!” jumped off the page at me and straight into my heart.  And I haven’t looked back.  I agree that we all need to find our own voice and that listening to others’ opinions sometimes works against the creative force.  But seriously – we all want to feel validated.  And when you find an instructor who you know wants to help you find your style, eye and voice and they validate your choices – it can launch your photography into a whole new world.  And that is what this little shoot did for me.  It is by no means perfect and I am still learning so much but I do tend to trust my eye.  And I am forever grateful for that.

Kids in pyrmont playing

It wasn’t but a few days later I took the photo below, in the same location, on another walk to the grocery store.  My son just happened to sit down and I happened to have my camera.  If I hadn’t felt confident to trust my eye I might not have snapped this photo.  Which went on to win first place in a recent competition.  And I only say that because we all get stuck in ruts and feel like we are producing rubbish at whatever we are doing.  This little shoot reminded me how important it is to keep going, and learning and seeking out people you know can bolster you up and not pull you down.

Little boy in the city

And best of all is how these photos make me smile.  A year later, I totally remember that rather mundane afternoon.  The treasure box my daughter carried around in plastic bag.  The urgent need to park on the bench which is literally only a few meters from our house.  The joy in just playing around in the neighbourhood with nowhere to go.

I am so thankful for my photography journey, the people that have played a roll in it and photos like these that capture our days.  Thanks for reading!

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