A Blue Mountains Photographer's Blog
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Thursday
Jun252009

Bamboo in Bloom

Here's a sneak peek into the range of men's stuff to be released from Sahara Bloom this winter. Another fun day spent in the studio - music up, cups of green tea and yummy snacks as we worked. The fabrics are so lush and soft, I love the feel of them them as we arrange the shots! The softness of the fabric makes it challenging to work with but I love the challenge.

Monday
Jun222009

Climate Emergency Rally

One brisk and chilly morn in June, thousands of people from all over NSW descended in dribs and drabs on Barrangaroo Point, Sydney. Banners and flags flapped and billowed in the chapping wind. Cups of warm coffee steamed as they warmed shivering, exposed hands. Down the hill they continued to come. Concerned citizens of all ages, on foot, bike, ferry and pram.

Soon the woolly little groups began to grow in size until masses of people were wandering about on the headland. Speakers leapt up to the platform to address the ever growing sea of red, sharing their passion, their energy and the urgency for the Australian Government to renew the economy by investing in renewable energy.

Speakers explained how Prime Minister Rudd's announced climate change plan would lock in weak emission reduction targets, and redirect billions of dollars to big polluters from the everyday citizen putting in their hard earned cash to make a difference in the world. Having been promised a Government that would act as a leader on climate change, the mass of people began moving through the streets towards the Sydney office of Prime Minister Rudd to demand that leadership.

Although the message was urgent, and the masses were moving to demand a renewables revolution, in Australia, there was joy, laughter and a sense of community in the air. Strangers smiled freely at each other. People sang, played drums and other instruments as they made their way through the streets.

The sun rose higher in the sky, warming the backs of thousands rugged up in their winter warmers. The rally reached Phillip St and halted outside Mr Rudd's office. A minute silence was held to think about the millions of people who will be dramatically impacted by the negative effects of climate change in countries other than our own. Pensive I looked up to the sky. A lone leaf, clinging to it's branch. The last to fall.

Once again the sound of the crowd echoed through the empty streets of the CBD and the beat of drums bounced between buildings. Lengths of red fabric had been laid along the footpaths and hundreds of people took their turn to write a message to be presented to the Australian delegates at the United Nations Climate Summit in Copenhagen this December.

As with all free speech in Australia, the rally had a time limit and the police began a quiet movement in line along the road and the peaceful rally began to break up.  As the colour started moving on, the city  slowly returned to it's empty winter day.

Friday
May082009

Photographer Treads Lightly..

Embarking on a mission w Mr K, I stepped aboard the light rail and rode into the city. Listening to the swish of the rails, and the chatter of passengers we watched the scenery blur by. We had some shoes to get. Today. Having each killed our only pairs of sneakers, that we had been traipsing in for over 9 years, we were both on the road to purchase.

We navigated swiftly through throngs of consumers, some meandering without a care in the world, others rushing for the Easter bargain, or their favourite brand. I liked that we had a list, not to be deviated from but to be adhered to. We made the purpose of the mission clear before starting out, so when bright blinking lights caught my eye and drew me to their doors, it was easier to stop in my well worn tracks and look where I was going, and ask myself if I really needed to browse in the beauty shop, the chocolate store and the trashy $2 shop. No, but they have 50% off... maybe I might need something if I just take a look...? Our last stop was the Kathmandu clearance store and I found the shoes that had been in my imagination but I didn't think actually existed. Simple's Eco Sneaks. We were done.

From shoe boxes made from recycled cardboard, to using carpet and old tyres, I was surprised and impressed by the way various materials had been used creatively after their first life. I did have to go through a few boxes to find a pair with great coverage of rubber on the sole of both shoes though. The first pair I tried had been worn down a bit low to the metal wirey stuff that is inside tyres and so it compromised the grip of the shoe and made it slippery. Not good in rain. Fair enough though, that happens with tyres. I didn't want to invest in shoes that were less than the standard they could be before I bought them. So we rifled like little squirrels inspecting their acorns and found the pair for me.

As I get ready for a brisk autumn morning walk, I pull my shoes' hemp heel up over my foot and tie up my laces made of recycled PET. I place my soles to the ground and bounce a little. Hmm. I feel... light.

So much of our consumption is based around our self image, how we want to look, how we want to feel. As my retread shoe soles were given a new lease on life, I feel I have invested in my future. It's a small step but it's one in the right direction. I paid less than $100 for my new shoes and in today's fashion for sneaks that's pretty cheap. And I feel pretty good.

The Simple website has a more in depth description of the materials and how they are utilised - with pictures! http://www.simpleshoes.com/ecoSneaks/index.aspx

Monday
May042009

Photographer goes Greenhouse Conscious

Since my commitment to offsetting my business in February (see Feb 26 post) I have been busying away calculating the carbon emissions generated in running my business. I am super proud to say that today, as a Photographer, I offset my carbon footprint of 4.3 tonnes of greenhouse gas! The calculations took into consideration natural gas, electricity, air travel, couriers, taxis, paper used for the business, off-site waste disposal and car travel. It was actually an interesting exercise, to see what I have been generating and using, and it was a surprisingly simple process to complete. For all of those phone phobes out there, I did it all completely over the internet. Very happy.

Thursday
Apr092009

Eco Living Fair

A year has passed since we embarked on an adventure to the seaside, to go to Randwicks' Eco Living Fair.

We admired tree frogs, inspected solar cars and sipped on organic hot chocolate..

It was a warm and lazy afternoon with a cool breeze just starting to chill the backs of our necks as the sun lowered in the sky. People were keen to share friendly smiles and knowledge of things from cane toads and worm farms, to organic cotton sheets..

Lots of local Councils are making moves to support their communities in 'going green' and I think it's great. There is always more we can do but I think one of the great things is that consumers get to see that buying organic food or products isn't always more expensive. A set of big brand sheets sprayed with all kinds of chemicals to make them crease free generally cost as much if not more than a set of sheets made from chemical free cotton, bamboo or hemp. Organic sheets are going to be my next cosy investment this Autumn.

 

Tuesday
Mar312009

Earth's Hour of candlight. Soy, no sugar..

On Saturday March 28 we switched off the lights for Earth Hour to show our commitment to the earth, and to combatting climate change. Some people saw Earth Hour as a dark inconvenience or pointless but we saw the opportunity to light up some romance. Mr K cooked a scrumptious meal and finished preparations by candlelight. I had bought candles on our trip to the Blue Mountains, soy based tealights from a store in Leura.

I love candlelight and I love 'burning' essential oils but I have been enjoying both much less since I read numerous articles on paraffin wax and the toxins released from regular candles. The cost of healthier alternatives is what has kept me in limbo. When the everyday punter can buy 100 tealight candles at IKEA for around $4, why would they buy 9 for a dollar each? At over double price it can seem pretty steep.

This time I bought aromasoy candles as they were fragrance free with cotton, lead free wicks. When we burnt them I felt at ease, no nasty paraffin smoke swirling about as we dined during our shared Earth Hour. As an initial venture into the world of non paraffin candles I was happy with my experience. Made in China and hand poured, I cannot assume Fair Trade or not, and so perhaps next time I might look for something made in Australia. www.vervehome.com.au

Another purchase I loooved and wished I had bought more of was a lovely tealight holder made of papier mache' from the iKOU store, also in Leura. www.ikou.com.au

 

Made by HIV positive women in Cape Town who work from home. The income this brings in enables them to take greater control of their lives & support their families as as increasing their self worth.

Knowing my purchase helps others directly feels so empowering. I do continue on the candle mission..

Tuesday
Mar312009

Feel theTranquility

Sweltering humidity and city tension urged us to flee to the Mountains for a mid week escape, and we returned refreshed, clear headed... tranquil.

I reveal that as well as sharing my photography skills with young businesses in the Mountains, we are conducting research for a special location for a very special, upcoming celebration. Staying at Tranquility Cottage on a cliff looking down the Megalong Valley, our hot days cooled down to crisp nights snuggled in warm layers of woollens and a lazy glass of wine to unwind.

The daily adventure was as varied as the weather, homemade lemonade at a teensy cafe in Wentworth Falls. Fresh and cooling, we quenched our thirst, watching the locals passing by.

A visit to Everglades Gardens in Leura revealed a lovely piece of history, manicured gardens nestled on the hillside bordering the Blue Mountains National Park with a quirky art deco residence to explore, before an afternoon cup of tea. The gardens were organised and categorised, educational. For those who wanted to learn more about nature could do so reading the informative signs along the way.

Next stop, Jenolan Caves. Exploring with our own personal guide we entered the dark, damp caves underground and listened to the echo of voices as a group trapsed through ahead of us. The acoustics impressed as we listened to various pieces of music in the Cathedral Chamber of Lucas Cave. Once we returned to the daylight we went down to the richly coloured Blue Lake in the hope of spying a Platypus. No such luck on the fauna front. Mosquitos, spiders and a lone duck.

The sun began to drop as quickly as the temperature and we jumped back into the mobile and passed through 'The God Forest' Pine Plantation on our return to Blackheath. The light flickering through the trees as we drove had me mesmerised. With the music on the radio, it was like I was the star in a sunset film clip, or something of the like. You know what I mean, you've done it too..

 

 

 

Thursday
Mar192009

Crawling Little Buddha

At 8 months the munchkin crawls and our lives have changed forever. Again. I went to the Kirribilli Markets in Sydney looking for a few special gifts before Christmas, and I met a woman who designs a line of baby clothes that uses both new and vintage fabrics. I loved her funky designs, and the little pants were perfect as they covered only the nappy on the scorching hot days we had this summer. I bought a sassy red pair of the same style and they have both gotten a lot of wear. She makes limited runs so what you get is really unique. She makes the pieces herself AND she was decidedly lovely to chat to. I have attached a link to her website so you can check out the dates she is there for yourself.. www.littlebuddhaclothing.com.au

Sunday
Mar152009

Sharing the Love in Tough Times.

I stepped outside today to find a car with a gigantic sticker on it's bonnet. Happy but curious. Not everyone has a sticker that large on their car. They usually leave it to the bumper to have all the fun. Was this very car owned by the man I saw on a median strip days before Christmas? Is there a fleet of grateful and happy cars out there? Will I see it again? How does his dog feel about going on these outings? So curious!When people are feeling stressed about their future's and rushing around consuming before Christmas, it was a refreshing approach to sharing love in the world.

Wednesday
Mar112009

Percy Family Picnic

My lovely friend Danielle asked me to shoot her in laws on the weekend. We went to a lovely location just south of Newcastle called Bolton Park. With gorgoues old fig trees and swing sets galore it was a bustling place for families and parties on a warm Saturday afternoon. With 18 people in the main shot we had a lot of re arranging and 'look at me! look at me!' but when a cockatoo dropped a big doloppy poo on my back that seemed to get instant smiles! Typical. The things I have to endure for a great shot...