"The best way to remember a beautiful city or a beautiful painting is to eat something while you are looking at it. The flavor really helps the image to penetrate the body. It fixes it as lacquer does a drawing." ~ Anais Nin
It's no secret that one of my favourite places to shoot is the Story Bridge. You just need to look at my gallery to see that. I've been taking photos of this 81yo lady for the last nine years and it's still my favourite spot. So much has changed in that time as Brisbane continues to grow.
My most recent visit to the Story Bridge was on Sunday, 18th July 2021. I hadn't been to Wilsons Outlook Reserve for about three years. Life gets busy and time flies as it goes. I didn't realise that it had been that long because these days my mind finds it hard to grasp the concept of time. Is it old age creeping up on me or is it a millennial thing? Everyone seems to agree no matter what age. I was surprised to see the changes made at Wilsons Outlook Reserve, the gorgeous park upgrade and the picnic area littered with rugged up couples enjoying a bite to eat and the dynamic view.
In the gallery below you will see the changes to the city's skyline over the last six years. The addition of a few buildings and of course, Howard Smith Wharves where patrons enjoy the restaurant precinct just below the cliffs add a new perspective. The wharves really stood out to me in the photo above and at first I was a little unsure about the aesthetics. I'm not used to the development after looking at it for so long as a vacant block. The development was completed in 2018 and it's taken me a bit to get used to. I'm still not sure if Howard Smith Wharves takes the focus away from the Story Bridge but one thing is for certain and that is that it is still one of my favourite spots. Brisbane has come a long way since my youth and that's progress. That's never going to change and you wouldn't want it to. Keep shining Brisbane, I'll be back soon.
“To see in colour is a delight for the eye but to see in black and white is a delight for the soul”. – Andri Cauldwell
While night photography will always be my first love, black and white photography is a genre that sits most comfortably with me. As a child of the sixties, I often rummaged through family old black and white photos taken with my dad's 1950's Braun Paxette camera and I was fascinated with the images. Those old images took me into a world of wonder. Black and white photography was forgotten once colour came to the masses but some photographers remained loyal. Today, in the world of digital photography, there are many great black and white photographers and it's making a resurgence.
Black and white photography is seen as the purest form of photography. Humans see the world in colour and to me, it's our "common" so to speak. Once you remove colour from an image, you are able to look at it without the distractions. It makes us pause and take a closer look. We see the subject, textures, patterns and composition. Black and white images can be dramatic and emotive, they tell a story. A black and white portrait is a picture of beauty and in my eyes, these portraits will retain that classic, timeless element.
"Colour records the image, but black and white records the feelings that lie beneath the surface." ~ Cole Thompson
When I took up photography as a hobby nine years ago, I went crazy and took photos of everything, as you do. I was passionate but soon realised that not all images looked good in colour so there they sat on my computer for years. Recently I listened to a Podcast, F-Stop Collaborate and Listenby Matt Payne. In Episode 178, Discovering Your Vision in Landscape Photography, Matt interviews Cole Thompson, a brilliant black and white photographer who has changed the way I do things. Cole spoke to me and revived my passion for black and white photography once again. It had being lying dormant as I focused on other things.
Night photography is magic but it is becoming more and more impractical for me as I get older. However, black and white photography, well to me that's a genre that is both versatile and practical. I can be trigger happy without having to separate the genres because black and white photography is a genre that covers whatever you want to cover. It is not limited to say, night photography, landscapes, architecture, portraits, etc. - you can do them all!
I am currently sifting through my archives and I look forward to 2021 as life eases back into a relatively normal life here in Australia. I am excited about going out again to shoot some great black and white photography. However, keep an eye on my night photography because that love affair is not over yet.
PODCASTS: Please give Matt Payne's podcast, F-Stop Collaborate and Listen a go. He has fantastic guests and I am hooked. It's one of the best (if not the best) photography podcasts around. I recommend Episode 178 with Cole Thompson. Cole talks about developing a personal vision, not following the rules, external validation and its impact and being true to yourself. Also check out Cole Thomspon's and Matt Payne's websites. I am a huge Matt Payne fan and listen to his podcasts regularly. I find Matt to be a great interviewer and he asks the right questions, and I love his work! Matt's podcast is interesting, inspiring and motivating. And in case you haven't already noticed, I am a HUGE Cole Thompson fan ☺️
“Architecture is the learned game, correct and magnificent, of forms assembled in the light.” ~ Le Corbusier
I’m not a big fan of the Gold Coast’s never ending development of high rises and these buildings are no exception. Jewel, comprising 3 crystalline towers, rise above surrounding buildings making them appear minute in comparison while blocking out sunshine and beach views.
On the other hand, the architecture is magnificent and impressive to say the least and it is bound to be another Australian landmark. The buildings are stunning at night giving out the illusion of a drawn outline around the buildings. I was able to capture the "cartoonish" night image above.
The striking structure has a distinctive glass curtain walling system (16,000 glass façade panels) and according to DBI Architects, the fundamental design concept drew inspiration from three smoky quartz crystals that were discovered in the region. Jewel is inspired by the crystalline volcanic hook that forms the underlying structure at the coastline and in particular, the Gold Coast’s iconic hinterland. It is resplendent in the sunlight and visible to boaties all the way up the Nerang River.
Stretched across 130m of absolute beach frontage, the site sits over 2.8 acres and includes luxury residential apartments, an internationally rated 5-star hotel including a Michelin Star restaurant and a grand ballroom. You can't miss it on your next visit to the Gold Coast.
"I often think that the night is more alive and more richly coloured than the day." ~ Vincent Van Gogh
How did it start?
I’ve been a night owl since my early teens so it only seemed fitting that I found my passion in night photography. It was by chance and came at a time when I was going through a significant transition in my life.
That was ten years ago and photography was changing. DSLR camera prices were dropping making them more affordable to average folk like me. My youngest child was in her last year of school and I was regaining time to do the things I wanted. I had just joined Facebook and the world was becoming digitalised. I loved technology so combining both this and photography became a way to feed my creativity.
I didn’t know much about photography back then. While out one night, I took a photo of a storm rolling in with my little point and shoot camera. I thought it was a great photo and the colours of the night lights contrasting with the dark grey clouds stood out. I posted it on Facebook and received compliments from family and friends. This was just what I needed to boost my confidence and motivation. I cringe when I look back at the photo now because it was terrible!!! It’s not something I would post today but it changed things for me.
After that, I started searching for anything I could find on photography. YouTube became my friend (yes, I’m still addicted). I watched tutorial after tutorial on how to use manual mode, exposure, shutter speed, long exposure and understanding ISO. The topics were endless and I was hungry. I took notes and practised. I did a few workshops, one of which was a night photography workshop and it was there that I found my passion . Nothing was going to hold me back.
I tried different genres, even had a go at starting a family lifestyle photography business, but photographing people made me anxious. With an already stressful day job, I needed something calming.
"At night, when the sky is full of stars and the sea is still you get the wonderful sensation that you are floating in space." ~ Natalie Wood
What is it about night photography that is so intriguing?
A scene shot in the middle of the day can look dull and ordinary compared to the same scene shot at night. The camera captures the wonder and colour of a scene in a vastly different way than our eyes see it. The colours are rich and vibrant making the images much more interesting, magical even, and I love the contrast of light and shadows. After looking at my website, someone recently commented that she didn’t realise Brisbane was so lovely.
Why is it different?
Night photography requires planning and patience as the camera works within a small window of time. Waiting gives me a sense of calmness. It’s a welcoming pause in a world that moves too fast. Unlike family lifestyle photography, which is fast-paced, long exposure slows everything down. One photo could take anywhere between 15 seconds to an hour, depending on what you’re taking. I like to take advantage of that time by staying off my phone, observing and reflecting. Sometimes you go home with only a handful of images compared to 500 images from a family session. It sure makes selecting photos a whole lot easier too.
What kind of gear do you need?
The essentials for night photography are basic and you don’t need to spend a lot of money. My motto throughout my life has been KIS (keep it simple). I also apply this to my photography. When I first started, I had a basic DSLR (Nikon D5100) and a 50mm kit lens. I captured some amazing images with that camera and lens, some of which are still on my website.
Start off with an entry level camera and in time you can look at upgrading. I found that night photography (and any photography) is more about technique than gear. Don’t get caught up in the gear, it’s very easy to do and we all know how good modern advertising is. Unless you want to go professional, spend time on learning your craft instead of spending money unnecessarily.
You will need a DSLR camera and lens, a tripod and a remote shutter release cable (or you can use the timer on the camera). Some additional items are: a torch (or your phone), a lens hood and always, always extra batteries and SD cards. Don’t take any chances. I’m a minimalist and I don’t carry a heavy bag packed with gear. I’m getting far too old for that.
I haven’t made much money from my photography but I am proud to say that I have sold images to top corporations, advertising companies and individuals. It’s pretty tough out there if you’re looking to make a living and the market is saturated. But it can be done if you put your mind to it. Above all it is the experience and the journey that matters most.
If you are interested in photography, learn what you can and have a go. Choose a genre (or two) that interests you, find your passion and do what you love. You never know where it may take you.