travel photography

travel photography, photography, life

Big Island

For the first time since moving to Australia in 2013, I went home for Christmas these holidays just past. And by home, I mean somewhere I’ve never actually lived, to Vancouver where my sister and her family live.

On the way back to Melbourne, my partner Jason and I met up with my parents had a quick sojourn in Hawaii, in the Kailua-Kona area on the ‘Big Island.’ My parents love to avoid Canadian winter now that they’re both retired and have been to Hawaii several times, so they’re excellent tour guides and very knowledgeable about the tourist traps vs. the authentic Hawaiian experience. We only had 4 short days there, but I snapped heaps of photos and would like to share a few.

Directly across the road from where we were staying was a small rocky beach with excellent snorkelling. That was one thing that surprised me about the island of Hawaii - how rocky and desolate it is! When most people think of Hawaii, they think of Honolulu and Waikiki on the island of Oahu and the famous white sand beaches. Volcanoes, sure, but mostly beaches and palm trees and resorts. Driving around on the island of Hawaii you see fields and fields of crumbling, tumbling black and brown lava rock, and very little else.

On our second day, my parents took us for a drive down the coast to South Point, the southern most point of Hawaii and therefore the United States. We saw epic rocky coastlines, fishing operations, oddly placed pastures amongst the lava rock with grazing cattle, and a picturesque wind farm jutting out into the sea. There was also a strange field with satellite dishes and large white domes, reminiscent of the X-Files…

On the third day, on a local hot tip, we ventured to a snorkelling place known as Two Step because of the shelf of rocks that makes it relatively easy to get into the often rough waters. We snorkelled pretty much every day, but I don’t have a waterproof casing for my camera so unfortunately I can’t share the natural bounty we glimpsed underwater! Better to save some memories in the old brain anyhow…

After snorkelling at Two Step, we headed to the Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park, a sacred (kapu) site of ancient absolution rituals and a temple housing the bones of 23 chiefs (ali’i).

After that we headed to the famous St. Benedict Catholic Church, or ‘Painted Church’ as it’s more widely known. It’s a tiny little Gothic chapel on a hillside surrounded by an early 20th century cemetery, and the interior of the chapel is covered entirely in murals.

The next day my parents wanted to take us to see a lava tube, a naturally formed tunnel just chillin’ on the side of the highway. When molten lava flows, the top layer hardens and forms a crust, while the molten lava under its surface keeps flowing. In the case of this one, the lava flow had long since ceased (obviously) leaving a long hollow cave. In a few places the ceiling of the cave had collapsed, leaving ominous holes on the rock’s surface with a view into the tube below. It was VERY cool.

The rest of our time in Hawaii was spent lounging, strolling, eating, drinking, sampling Kona coffees and relaxing. It was so nice to spend some time with my parents and chill out before returning to the bustle of Australian summer with its weddings to photograph, its concerts and festivals and socialising.

Here are a few more random snaps from the trip. Thanks for reading!

life, photography, travel photography

Hobart, Baby

Last weekend I took a trip down to Hobart, Tasmania. It was part work, part pleasure - my boyfriend works as a hip hop DJ, and after having a look at his tour schedule, I realized his last show on this run was May 31st in Hobart. Having always wanted to visit Tasmania this was the perfect excuse.

We arrived on Saturday afternoon and spent most of the day at the venue, doing sound check and hanging out. Before the show we went for a really nice dinner with the crew at a restaurant called Smolt in the historic Salamanca Square, sampled local oysters, octopus and salmon (eating as much seafood as possible was definitely part of my Hobart to-do list). The show that night was great. I befriended one of the other artists' girlfriends backstage, who told me that she was also planning on staying in Hobart for a couple of extra days, so we made plans to hook up later in the week.

On Sunday morning we went for a stroll to find the farmers market and sample some of the famous Tasmanian produce. We got fresh juices and fruit, local cheese and oysters (of course). The raspberries and apples were just wonderful, and check out the size of those carrots!  

On a local tip, we got in the queue for Masaaki's sushi, which is rumoured to be the best sushi in Australia. We waited in line for a good 30 minutes, but the wait was well worth it. We watched as our tuna and salmon maki were constructed right in front of our eyes, with wonderful ingredients like snow peas and little strips of egg, not to mention the beautiful fresh fish!

We spent the rest of the day walking around central Hobart admiring the architecture and scenery. We revisited Salamanca Square, then wandered over to the Elizabeth St. Pier to take pictures and gaze out over the water. We had made plans with our friends to meet up Monday morning and go to MONA on the ferry, so we stopped by the ferry office and grabbed tickets.

That night we opted for a quiet night in with a movie in the hotel, a cheese and fruit platter procured at the market earlier in the day, and definitely the BEST bottle of Pinot noir I've ever tasted, a Tasmanian specialty.

We spent the whole next day at MONA which was absolutely mind blowing. I'm a big fan of art museums; I've been to some old world museums in Paris and Vienna, and MONA was definitely one of the craziest museums I've ever been to. It was pretty gloomy and rainy so I didn't bring my camera with me, plus I didn't know what the museum's policy on photography was.

We were set to fly home Tuesday night so Tuesday morning we rented a car and drove down the Tasman Peninsula. First we went to Port Arthur to see the prison ruins, but realized a little too late that it was more of an all-day thing so we checked out the lookout point instead of paying admission into the ruins. We then headed further down the Peninsula to see Maingon Bay, Remarkable Cave, Devil's Kitchen and the Tasman Arch. It was stunningly beautiful down there despite the rain and the fog - in fact the rain and fog enhanced the experience for me. It was all so magical.

It's really hard to appreciate the scale of some of these features. The last image is of the Tasman Arch, taken about 20 stories up from the waves crashing into the coastline.

Overall the trip was awesome, and (of course) not long enough. I'm looking forward to heading back to Tasmania to see more of the picturesque island state, eat more of the amazing produce and seafood, and drink many more bottles of wine.

photography, travel photography

Rural Snapshots

I’ve already shared some of my experiences and photographs from the time I spent at the Ramboda Homestead in Anakie, Queensland, but that certainly wasn’t it for me. As will happen, a girl and her camera in an isolated setting will take lots of photographs to pass the time.

Something that really struck me about the farm setting was all of the beautiful textures I was surrounded by every day: weathered wood, worn leather and rough rope, corrugated metal, barbed wire, denim, rust, cobwebs, spiny cacti, fur and feathers. On the few days off I had, and on some evenings I did a bit of wandering with my camera and explored the interaction of light with these beautiful objects and surfaces. 

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I spent a lot of time alone, enjoyed many quiet moments and tried to convey them as images. I even photographed a few people, because that’s what I do best.

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photography, travel photography, life

Farm Life

For the last month, I've been living and working on a cattle farm in Central Queensland. I love Australia so much that I've decided I want to extend my 12 month Working Holiday Visa into 24 months, and to do that holders of certain passports (Canada included) can do 3 months of "specified work" in certain rural postal codes and apply for an extension. Over three quarters of Australia's population lives within 100km of the coast, and I think the idea is to get temporary workers out of the major cities and into the rural areas.

Thus is how I've found myself in the Gemfields area of Queensland, 40 km west of the town of Emerald, working at the Ramboda Homestead with the Hatte family. I have never, not even for a week, worked on a farm but I've done different kinds of manual labour, I'm physically strong and I'm not opposed to getting dirty so I figured I'd be alright. So far it's been a great experience - I'm always up for trying something new! For the most part, I accompany Jimmy on the daily farm tasks, including feeding horses and cattle, checking water tanks and pumping water from the various dams on the property, repairing fences and gates, and ripping around fields in a beat up farm ute (the BEST part).

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Last week I had the opportunity to go to a cattle auction in Emerald, something I've never experienced before; it's ironic considering that I grew up in Alberta, Canada's cattle capital. But hey, sometimes you have to fly across the world to appreciate something that happens all the time in your own back yard.

Check out some of the photos I captured at the cattle auction, and check back soon for more snap shots of this rural lifestyle I've immersed myself in.

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photography, travel photography

Jindabyne

During the last week of August, a friend and I rented a car and drove to Jindabyne, New South Wales to visit some friends, see an Aussie hip hop show and go snowboarding. The drive from Melbourne took 8 hours, but it was worth it. Growing up in the Rocky Mountains and being spoiled by killer ski hills and epic mountains, I figured I'd be disappointed in what Australia had to offer as far as snow. But I wasn't. The scenery along the way and the town of Jindabyne among the Snowy Mountains was breathtaking too, so I'd like to share some of the images I captured on our trip.

On the way up the eastern coast, we stopped at a place called Lakes Entrance, a man made channel that links the Bass Strait and Tasmanian Sea to the Gippsland Lakes network. We pulled over at the top of a hill and took in the lovely views, then we made our way down to a small fishing area and hung out with some pelicans for a while. We switched drivers and were on our way again.

 

We arrived in Jindabyne late on Monday, with just enough time to meet up with our respective friends, organize accomodation and plan our trip to Perisher the next morning. We went up to the ski hill bright and early and had an awesome day, even though one of my friends did a faceplant and cracked one of his ribs... (He was a trooper and rode the rest of the day with us regardless.) Perisher is a pretty large ski resort, apparently one of the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. What it lacked in height it made up for in expanse; the resort comprises 4 villages linked by lifts and runs, and I even managed to lose my group of friends for a period of time when I took a different run than them and ended up in a completely different village!

On Wednesday night we went to the Seth Sentry show at The Station, the sprawling resort accomodation for Perisher. Before the show we did some hiking around The Station, saw kangaroos and deer in the wild, found a quaint little creek and climbed some trees. (I tried to get closer to the kangaroos to get some better pictures but they were spooked easily.)

 

For the rest of the week we chilled out in Jindabyne and did some hiking, wandering, eating and touristy things. Jindabyne is built on a huge man-made lake created by a dam, which we had to drive up to and see. The area is so picturesque... I'd like to return some day.