Monday, October 7, 2013

Perfectly Pampered

It's great when birthday celebrations linger ... makes getting older a bit more bearable.
Today my new 'fashion' camera bag arrived - a present from my parents - and I also redeemed a voucher for a two hour Pamper Package gifted to me by a very dear friend.
I got quite used to being 'pampered' on recent trips to Bali and Thailand where massages, manicures and pedicures were almost daily (and still wonderful) occurrences. However here in little old NZ, the cost of regular pampering of this kind, is prohibitive for most of us. So I was extra happy with this gift.
The experience consisted of a 30 minute massage (it was awesome), a manicure and a fantastic facial. I also paid for a pedicure (Blue toes to match my blue bag hehe)
But! Post massage and pre manicure I had my first ever "hand mask". It was delicious! If you haven't had one it consists of submerging your entire hand into (in this case, rose scented) warm, gluggy wax, which immediately sets on your hand when you pull it out. The hands are then wrapped in cling film and put inside huge mittens to stay warm while the beauty treatment continues. When all is unwrapped 30 mins or so later, the wax just falls off and your skin feels amazing (So many superlatives in this post!)
My post 40 year old hands feel fantastic! I'd go back just for one of those.

Friday, October 4, 2013


Serendipity has always been one of my favorite words.
Now I have combined that with one of my favourite things - photography.
Thanks to the inspiration and advice from a group of special fellow-amatuer photographer friends, the "Serendipity Photography" Facebook page is now up and running.
In the 'long description' they ask you to give on set up, I wrote...

It is said that quality photos are made, rather than simply taken. I definitely believe this. However I personally find joy in that special moment that presents itself, and take great pleasure in capturing that serendipitous moment in a photograph. 
I am always scanning the environment around me for those informal moments that may never present themselves again. My camera is almost always with me.
I love shooting people, and enjoy building a relationship with my subjects to enable the real person to be seen through the lens. I enjoy creating simple images that tell a story. BUT... I look out for that serendipitous moment again in these shoots, and it's often the photos that cannot be recreated, that tend to be my personal favourites.
Whilst 'finding' the photos is a favourite aspect of photography for me, I also love learning more about the technical side of things, and am increasing my post-processing skills all the time as well.
Making photos makes me happy; equally, sharing them with those who are invested in them, and seeing their reactions, gives me just as much pleasure!

Please visit my page and 'like' it :)

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Took the plunge and entered another photographic competition tonight. Just entered one section - Panorama, and entered the maximum of 4 in that section.
Thought I would share them here on my blog, but for some reason they are all looking overexposed and/or over-saturated on this page. Weird.

Anyway, which one do you like best, and why?

 "Iconic" - It may be too simple for the competition, but the colour and simplicity please my eye!

 "Dry As" - not a new image, but a new crop. I like it so much better as a panoramic crop!

"Protecting the View" - Last month's MPS Open Image of the Month. I do NOT like how it has uploaded here! The orignal image has no green

"Storm Brewing" - taken as we about to get in the ferry to leave Tiritiri Matangi island. I'm breaking the rules here, by putting the bird smack bang in the middle, but I like that it makes a triangle.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Family Portrait with a Twist

Today I took some photos for my second family, the Dad of which is off on an overseas mission for some time. They wanted some family portraits, and I saw an idea which I thought was right up this technology-infused family's alley, so I tried it...
I'm cross that I did not see the glare on the Mum's laptop, and I do need to get to know the capabilities of my flash more.... but cest la vie.
In the first one they posed with a picture (of their choice) of themselves on a device. It works. But I LOVE the second shot where they tried to replicate the photo on the screen. Hilarious. And so 'them'.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Indelible Memories

There are some occasions that you know you will never forget - such as our evening last night at Auckland's Euro Bar and Restaurant. The synchronicity of great friends, amazing food and some pretty fine wines was enhanced by our position at the chef's table, where we were cooked for and waited on by our own personal staff. Their ability to interact when appropriate but allow us to totally enjoy ourselves, the food and the company, was most appreciated. Yes, we paid for it, but because it was such a special night, I am sure the pain in my wallet will fade long before the lingering memories on my palate, and the warmth in my heart.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Happy Post

I'm not quite sure where to focus this bog post - no pun intended. While the photos below are about the fun and interesting learning I did today about flash photography, and while that learning was the reason I went, I came away with a full heart for a combination of reasons.

Yes, I loved indulging in my passion for a whole day; being the student, being pushed out of my comfort zone, successes and failures, some quality learning experiences. But a very significant aspect of the day (and the learning), and a huge contributor to my enjoyment, was the dynamics of the group of seven strangers thrown together for the day.

Of these seven, I was the only Kiwi born - gotta love living in Auckland. We also ranged in age and in photographic experience. The first person I met was a seasoned photographer from my spiritual home of the Bay of Plenty. He lived in Waihi, but had had originally hailed from the UK, and when he came to NZ in the 70s, settled in.... Edgecumbe, basically where I grew up, and where I went to college. Another of the women was UK born, and another from the US, and she had just finished her primary teaching training as a mature student. A third girl was Dubai born, and Richard was from Korea, via a stint in the States. The story he told of his departure to NZ being marred by a certain historic world event - the bombing of the Twin Towers - began the longest introductory session our tutor said he'd experienced. But hearing and sharing small pieces of what brought us to the group certainly set the scene for the day, and made for a vibrant culture; one that no doubt contributed to the collaborative nature of our learning. Our tutor, a South Africa native, had a personality which allowed for and encouraged our individuality, questions and sharing.

So I guess this post is about learning and about people. A reflection on my work life and what really 'worked' for me as a learner today, and how I can translate that back into my school life. And people... not only the positive vibe this group created, which in turn facilitated said learning, but also about how much enjoyment I get from opportunities to meet, mix and mingle with different folk, with different strokes. And while I may or may not have made lasting connections today, I will recall this day with memories of warmth and genuine enjoyment. It was a happy day.

Playing with bounce flash

Experimenting with second curtain

Getting gear ready for off camera flash shooting

Getting settings sorted for Spooky Alleyway Shots lol

Don't Look Back #1
Don't Look Back #2

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Changing Skies

As I have blogged about previously, I visit the same patch of grass many times each week, and have done for over 6 years since getting my dogs. Try as I may, and I often do, I cannot always see something different in such familiar surroundings, even when using my photographer's eye.
Tonight, after reasonably late work departure, I taxied the boys to the reserve for a quick run as the sun was on its way out for the day. I had my camera in the car, so tried to find that 'something different'.
These pics were taken within a ten minute time frame. They have had very little post processing. While they may not be the most technically brilliant shots, they do show the different moods in the sky, dependent on where I was standing and focussing, in relation to the sun.