National Photographic Portrait Prize Finalist

No, not me. One of my students. Tiffany Garvie. I feel so proud. Taught her everything she knows. Haha. Nah, not really. But I was there at the start of her photography journey when she signed up and did the RMIT Intro to Photography course with me. She then went on to do the People and Portrait course with my mate Bryce Dunkley.  And from there she's gone ahead in leaps and bounds and there's no stopping her. Oodles of natural talent, a keen curiosity, plenty of drive and determination. You can see more of her work HERE. She's a powerhouse. Oh, and a friend, not 'just' a past student. :-)

The National Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition is showing at the Yarra Ranges Regional Museum in Lilydale SAT 7 JUL – SUN 2 SEP 2018. There's a bit of a Photography Festival going on around that area so be sure to see what else is happening if you're heading out that way.

 Photo by Richard Kickbush

Photo by Richard Kickbush

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And here's a fun snap of Bryce and I and Tiffany on a recent photo day out. 

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Space

Sometimes, in amongst the endless busy-ness of life, you need to step back and reassess. You need to look around and see if you're headed in the right direction. You need to ask yourself if the busy-ness is adding value to your life. Are you busy doing what matters to you or are you just busy. 

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Sometimes, you need to create a bit of space. Space to think. Space to feel. Space to ponder and wonder. Space to breath out. 

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I caught up with my big bro recently. He's learnt to take space. It took a major operation a few years ago to really push him into action. He had severe ulcerative colitis that didn't respond to treatment. Not fun. He dreaded the operation that would remove large bits of his insides (I dunno what. Colon? Bowel? Major bits!). It took a good while to recover. Then he bought himself the motorbike he's always wanted and started trekking about the country. Now he's bought himself a camera and he's taking pretty good photos. He's got a job he's pretty happy with. Life's not perfect. It never is. But he's making the most of it. (If you want to follow him he's on Instagram as mbstewart07 and if you're into Veggie Gardening he has a blog here). 

This photo was taken at Brisbane's Southbank Parklands. I leant him my 70-200mm lens which should come with free gym membership because it's so fecking heavy. It used to be my favourite lens but it's getting tricky trekking between Melbourne and the Sunny Coast keeping the carry on luggage under 7kg with that baby in the kit. I haven't been using it since I bought the 100mm macro anyway. And I'm using the Fujifilm XT-2 more and more...

But this wasn't meant to be about him. Or cameras and lenses. 

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It's about creating space. Stepping back. Taking time. And then moving forward again in the direction you want to go. It's about learning to say no. It's about looking after yourself. Looking after not only your physical health but your mental health. 

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I've cut back on teaching this semester to give myself some time to catch up on all the things on my to-do list that never get done. (Things like updating my website, amongst a thousand other things!).  I'm learning to say no to things that don't fit with me. I'm learning to ask for what I want and need. (and yes, I will regret this every payday, but sometimes you have to work towards the bigger picture).
It's nice. Instead of the frantic and exhausting go-go-go, I can feel a lightness. 
It's my birthday next week. I've decided to claim the whole month to celebrate. Then I'll tackle that to-do list and see how far I get. 
I hope you take the time to step back and create some space. For you. (Unless you're a selfish git. Then maybe you should step up and do something to help someone else).


Oh, and if you want to follow me on Instagram, you can find me at Wild Honey Photo

Escape the big city and get lost in a world of quaint and quirk at Radio Springs Hotel

A self indulgent blog post about a purely indulgent weekend. 

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Less than one and a half hours north west of Melbourne, in the middle of nowhere (or the centre of the universe according to the street sign), you'll discover the quaint and quirky world of Radio Springs Hotel. On a spur of the moment whim in early Autumn, my partner booked a room with a king size bed and a claw foot bath and off we headed for an adventure.  

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We stopped along the way to meander around The Diggers Garden of St Erth and enjoyed a tasty lunch and Chardonnay in the cafe.

Country Victoria is pretty damn beautiful and I took full appreciation of being chauffeured by exploring the capabilities of the Fuji X-T2 and playing around with slow shutter speeds.

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We arrived late afternoon after exploring a bit of nearby Daylesford and entered a magical wonderland of visual delights, with every corner revealing an eclectic mix of part junk shop, part museum and a healthy sense of humour. You really have to discover it for yourself. Once you get past the quirk, the real character and sumptuousness of the place becomes evident. 

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We wandered through the ramshackle garden (two acres!) with a glass of wine in the late afternoon sun and discovered an ancient cinema with tiered seating and plenty of charm and intrigue. They have movie nights, but not just any ol' movie night. Tue nights is Back Beach Bar Date Night (we're in the country remember) with wood fired pizza and a mystery noir film. Hawaiian shirts not compulsory but definitely encouraged. 

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On to the evenings proceedings and with a variety of warm and welcoming rooms to dine in, we landed seats right in front of the rock-a-billy entertainment.

The service was good, the food was good, the ambience was good. It was a bloody good night. We drank too much good wine and then wandered back to have a bubble bath. 

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A lazy start to Sunday and then breakfast in the dining room before driving through more country roads and towns with gorgeous buildings covered in vines before heading back to the big smoke. It wasn't a budget weekend away by any means, but in terms of originality and value, it was a quality weekend away. I highly recommend it if you're looking for an escape to another world. 

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While I was out walking... Darebin Parklands

I've been staying in Carlton North for over 7 years now and last week I discovered a new parklands just a hop, skip and a jump away from me. Darebin Parklands is a hidden gem. Melbourne never ceases to amaze me with its abundance of parks and nature reserves. You can easily forget you are living in a major capital city and imagine you're out in the bush in the middle of nowhere.  

So this morning, before the 42degree temps hit, a mate and I grabbed our dirty great big lenses (70-200mm) and hit the track to try our hand at a bit of bird photography. Neither of us are particularly keen on bird photography, but we figured it would be good practice. And we were right. It's bloody hard! 

You need a lot of patience, some pretty good camera skills, a bloody long lens (I had a x2 converter on the 70-200), some good light and a nice background. And did I mention lots of patience? Oh, and a good bit of luck too.

My mate got some cracker shots. But she's one of those uncannily gifted people that can easily make the rest of us think we should hang up our camera's right now. 

I kept getting distracted by bugs and berries and the light on the grasses and things other than birds. It's a great place to go for a walk. Straight down Separation St and you're there. Check it out. 

Favourite Photo from 2017

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain.

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To be honest, I find it bloody near impossible to choose a favourite photo from a whole year. My Lightroom catalogue on my laptop alone has over 10000 photos from 2017. 
But this one stands out to me. This is my photography buddy Bryce. He was one of the first people I met when I moved to Melbourne in 2010 and it's because of him I started teaching at RMIT. He and I are pretty much interchangeable in what we teach. He's one of my best friends and this year, he nearly died. The specialists informed us he had about two weeks to live and they were looking at palliative care. 
This photo was taken in Qld a couple months AFTER that phone call.

Moral of the story? Get a second opinion. 

And don't take life for granted.

And sometimes it's ok to have a crooked horizon line. 

Below is another favourite. A Smart-Phone shot of me dancing with Bryce on Christmas day. Best present ever. 

So maybe a favourite photo isn't about the best technical or creative or clever photo. It's about the memory, the moment, the story, the person. 

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