Sunday 26 August 2012

Back together again

It has been years since all of us have been in the same place at the same time.

Today, we shared the most beautiful, relaxed afternoon together in the sunshine.

These people, are my people.

My heart is full.

Belinda x

Tuesday 14 August 2012


This is my first ever remote post. Blogging from a sun lounge in Thailand, fingers crossed it works!

The theme of this holiday is renewal. My head, heart and body have taken a bit of a battering these past few months. I got to the point where I was on auto-pilot, my mantra was "just keep on trucking" but honestly, I didn't have much left to offer. So, I feel very grateful that we've been able to take a break from reality and take time to renew.

Escaping the blustery winter cold in Sydney is a bonus too!

Day one today started with a body scrub and massage, followed by a cocktail out of a coconut (alcohol ban temporarily suspended!) some lounging by the pool and of course, shooting loads of photos. 

Already I'm feeling lighter, inspired. The warmth of the sun, the time to breathe, read books, the promise of rest and time with the man I adore, are making my heart swell with happiness and gratitude. Life, for all it's challenges, is good. Really good.

So, please excuse my absence here. I'll be back in two weeks with sunshine in my heart and stories to tell.

I'll continue to Instagram while I'm away. I know, try as I might to unplug completely from the matrix, I just can't commit to a total digital blackout!! If you care to follow, you'll find me @elsieandjoan.

See you soon!

Belinda x

Wednesday 8 August 2012

The Nursery

Feeling refreshed and inspired this week. Rich and I had such a wonderful weekend away down to the south coast, it was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Attending Tim Coulson's photography workshop, aptly named 'The Nursery' on Saturday, completely exceeded my expectations. We were joined by a lovely small group of bloggers, crafters, designers, budding photographers and hobbyists in Tim's home. Tim's passion for people and photography just lights him up from the inside out. He shared his knowledge on the key technical elements of shooting but also how to connect with your subject and how important it is to be present, in order to see and capture those moments within moments (emotional shooting).

My tech-head husband, bless his stay-up socks, has tried many times over to teach me the technical stuff.  Some of it stuck but for the most part it was just a case of, waaaay too much information, too many options, where do you even begin?

What I've learned from Tim about shooting on manual is that I can keep it simple, stick to a couple of settings that work for most situations and train my mind to understand how the technical elements work together. It was a revelation! It's actually starting to make sense. After 'hundreds of days' of practice it will eventually become second nature and not get in the way of emotional shooting. I'm looking forward to that!

The thing about shooting on manual is the image is just so much better when you get it right. It's such a thrilling feeling too, I'm hooked!

These are some of my favorite images that Rich and I captured at the workshop's practical live shoot. We couldn't have asked for more, a breathtaking setting with magical afternoon light, beautiful subjects and expert guidance from Tim and his clever 'profesh photog' friends, Annette and Luisa.

On Sunday, we spent a gorgeous day in Berry. Keen to keep practicing what we had learnt, our cameras shot in manual all day. It was slow going, but I felt so empowered!

A huge thank you to the talented and generous Tim who is so willing to share his experience and knowledge with all of us. And to his (seriously) beautiful wife and son for having us in their home. The good news is, The Nursery may be coming to a town near you. I couldn't recommend it highly enough, I'm still smiling!

Thanks also to the group, it was so inspiring to spend a day learning and creating with lovely people. Rachel, GreerJodi, Roberta and Kelly have also blogged about their experience and shared their awesome photos. Check em out.

How clever are we! 

Proud as ;-)

Belinda x

Sunday 5 August 2012

Green Thumb

My Grandpa had beautiful hands. I loved the way he would clasp my hands in his, or gently squeeze my shoulders after a hug, his sparkling blue-grey eyes smiling at me.  His hands could build engines, make or mend anything and had two of the greenest thumbs ever. He was an amazing gardener. Every day at the break of dawn, he would be up and out, either tending to the garden or tinkering away on a project in his Kaboodle (shed) down the back.  His beautiful garden was thoughtful and considered, a breathtaking living artwork, always so tenderly cared for.

Ever since we moved into our first house earlier this year with a garden to call our own, I've become rather obsessed about growing our own veggies and herbs and attempting to grow plants in beautiful pots that don't die within a month. I'd like to believe that I innately have Grandpa's gardening genes, I've just got to work out where they've been hiding and hone those skills.

Truth is, I've never been good for a garden or a pot plant. I'm a serial killer but I am committed to change. I'm just not consistent, that's the issue. I'm now consciously trying to get into a routine. It's never meant that much to me, but now I get a ridiculous amount of self satisfaction when I've remembered to water the plants and prune dead leaves (there are always dead leaves, I don't think there should always be but there are) but when it's been a while and I can see they are starting to look miserably at me, thirsty, I get anxious with guilt!

I leave them a while too long, then I overwater. I'm sure I'm doing all the wrong things but I'm slowly working out the independents and the needys, who needs what light - I'm hoping that soon, it will all start to come more naturally. We'll see.

Spring is coming and the next project is to complete the transformation of what was originally a pond into our very own veggie patch. We'll be letting the soil settle in over the next few weeks then plan to plant in Spring. I've only just heard of mushroom compost and am now wishing we had've used that but I'm sure this organic potting mix will be just fine.

 I've started a wishlist of what I'd like to plant in this, my very first veggie patch.
  • Strawberries
  • Blackberries
  • Green beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Maybe even a Plum tree??

Oh man, if I can actually grow stuff to eat from my own garden - I will be so flippin impressed with myself. I want to keep aiming for a more sustainable approach to how we consume, I love the link to our food in our own backyard particularly for the little one. It's not groundbreaking but it's a start.  From little things, big things grow*

If you have any tips or ideas, please do share - clearly I'm flying blind here and could use all the help I can get!

Belinda x

* reference to this Paul Kelly song.

Friday 3 August 2012

We were here

I love taking pictures. To capture the grandest or the smallest of moments, preserve precious memories or attempt to bring a creative idea to life. I'm not great at it, I've always been a lazy student but ever since I got my first Instamatic camera as a teenager, photography has always inspired me. I'm not sure why exactly why we're so compelled to document the story of our lives, come to think of it. Is it about capturing those flashes of beauty in the world, the connections we make in life, perhaps to leave our mark, make sure history remembers that we were here.

In this digital age, we have limitless creative license to experiment. Hello Instagram, I love you!  While I am grateful for that as I learn to use my digital camera properly, I do have a sentimental attachment to film and old cameras. The cameras above & below are some of the manual cameras in our ever growing collection. I haven't been in a darkroom since high school but there was something about processing everything yourself and not having that instant gratification that I took for granted. You had to take more care and time to capture something to film which I love and I miss that now, it's sad to think it may disappear. 

While sticking mainly to digital, Rich and I go out to practice shooting whenever we get a chance. I try to stick the manual settings but I have no confidence in the choices I make so a good photo with all the right settings is mostly down to luck right now, not control. Which is completely frustrating!

This weekend holds a extra special treat. Rich and I have been lucky enough to score a coveted spot at Tim Coulson's, The Nursery photography workshop tomorrow.  If Rich and I were one person ('Belch' as my sister would have it) we would make an awesome photographer. He's got the technical side sorted and I love composition. We need some help rounding out our strengths. I'm rather in awe of Tim's ability to capture the truth in things and people. His are the kind of images that leave you mesmerised by their beauty and spirit, they connect with you. I'm incredibly excited have this opportunity to learn from such an amazing talent, it's going to be a great day!

No doubt, we'll come home with some newly acquired mad skills and, lots of photos.

Because we were here, and we lived.

Have a lovely weekend!

Belinda x
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