Horses, horses and horses - Jodie tackles 1000km solo ride - Albury-Wodonga photographer

This is Jodie. She’s tough, determined and about to tackle a mammoth effort on her own.

On Saturday 3rd November she’s heading off on a 1000km ride from Healesville to just north of Canberra, solo with only her horses for company. Initially planning on riding the 5500km all the way to Cooktown in FNQ, her plans were thwarted by the current drought in NSW. Undeterred, she's still heading off as planned, but only going to complete the first 1000km, once completed she’ll plan her next strategy…

She’s doing it to raise awareness and bring about discussions around mental health. Jodie has experienced first hand the awful effects of what happens when mental health goes untreated, unnoticed and undiscussed. She sadly has lost 2 people close to her within the last few years, and so rather than sit around and dwell about it, she’s decided to get out of her office chair, onto the backs on these magnificent beasts and do what she does best. Ride and talk.

And in preparing for her ride, she’s experienced set back after set back and overcome each one with grace and determination that won’t stop her achieving what she’s set out to achieve.

You can follow her ride over on Instagram , Facebook or website under the name Green, Gold and Blues

Hicks Family and Farm photos - Albury-Wodonga Family Photographer

So I was planning on writing more blogs over January, but you know. I haven't. Instead we've been spending our days at the pool, making biscuits, making crazy art, finding every toy in the house and spreading them everywhere. You know what school holidays look like? You think you've got more time then you do - then you remember you've got kids and they kind of need entertaining occasionally!

So, onto my next blog post. I've known this family since our oldest 2 kids were brand newbies and Tegan and I were in mother's group together. When we met at mothers group, we then remembered we'd actually sat for those really fun 2 hours together in the waiting room at the pathology while doing the Glucose Tolerance Test. From memory, Tegan quite liked that gross sugary liquid. I think I did pretty well not to throw it back up again (damn morning sickness)! During those 2 hours we talked and discussed many things, baby names being one of them. 

This is actually the 4th time I've photographed them. I first photographed these guys just after the twins were born. Tegan very kindly let me practice some of my early in-home photography on her family. Then they booked me late 2016 for a family and farm business shoot. I also did some behind the scenes photos for an ad they were making for one of their businesses. I should note, Tim and Tegan run Hicks Country Beef where they deliver the tastiest beef around! They are also co-founders of Cultivate Farms. Because 4 kids just isn't busy enough!!

So I was pretty chuffed when Tegan booked me again, for family and farm photos in late 2017. These guys are such a great family to photograph. This time we headed out to the property they are currently leasing for their stock, with some pretty amazing views of the Hume Weir in the background. Not a bad way to spend an evening!

Photographing a fellow Photographer! Albury-Wodonga family photography

When you get an email from a friend and fellow photographer asking if you can please take her photos there is a certain emotion which comes along with that. It's a weird emotion to describe. Sheer terror is one. Proud is another. And the rest fall somewhere on the spectrum between these two.

So when Bec of Forever Pixels Photography asked me if I could take photos of her and her husband for their wedding anniversary I was quietly proud that another photographer would ask me to take her photo, while quietly panicking that I would fail and be judged and be exposed for being a fraud and all that self-talk which goes along with feeling exposed and vulnerable!!

Pretty sure everyone feels like this at some point! Those moments when I feel most exposed are those moments when the self-talk is at its peak - I can almost convince myself that I'm going to fail, that I don't belong in this field, that I'm not a real photographer... Then I remember how much I absolutely love photography. How when I see the perfect combination of a great sunset and a fun loving family or couple which have asked ME to take their photos, and it just makes my heart sing!! Once I start a photo session these fears disappear as I get myself completely lost in the moment.

Of course, none of those worst fears actually happened. We had a glorious sunset along my favourite hill, and lots of laughter and fun and ended up with a gorgeous gallery of images for Bec and James!

Life Unmade Workshop with Amy Rushbrook

I started this little business of mine midway through last year, on a bit of a whim, without too much thought. I had no idea how to start or run a business. But I figured I'd learn as I go. I knew how to take photos, I didn't really know how to take the lifestyle type family photos I love looking at on Instagram. My plan was to let the business pay for itself, so if it failed, I wasn't at least going to be out of pocket. I wanted to do as much learning as my budget would allow. This probably sums up my attitude to life a little bit. Don't think too much, jump in head first and figure it out as you go...

So after completing a couple of photography workshops online through Clickin Moms I decided one of my major business goals for 2017 would be attending an in-person workshop - I learn so much better in person, talking, watching and being able to absorb it all in and be in the moment. I reckon it only a matter of days after I decided that that was my goal, Amy Rushbrook announced she was running a workshop in late March on the Mornington Peninsula... needless to say I jumped at the chance to be able learn off one of Australia's, if not one of the world's best lifestyle photographers at present (just go check out her stuff and her recent achievements if you think I'm exaggerating).

When Friday afternoon finally came around, I was bursting to tag team the kids with my significant other when he got home from work, and get out that door on my way to Melbourne. What better way to start off a weekend away on my own without kids, but to have a 3 hour drive by myself listening to Myf and Zan podcasts, and a beautiful dinner in Port Melbourne with some old school friends.

On the Saturday morning when I arrived at the most beautiful the Airbnb house in McCrae I was greeted with a van bogged in the driveway - and everyone trying to push it back up the hill, on loose gravel. Team bonding exercise Number 1 completed!

Once the workshop started proper, it wasn't long until Amy had managed to make pretty much everyone cry. Thanks Amy! Best way to start off a workshop with a bunch of beautiful creative souls. She opened up that bucket of vulnerability early on and broke down those barriers so no one had any walls to hide behind. From then on there was nothing but a sense of safety and security, more tears, laughter, coffee, more laughter, yummy food provided by Merowyn of Plate Got Ate, more coffee, and so much more laughter that my cheeks were hurting. And of course so much photography and business talk that my head was spinning.

It was such a beautiful space to occupy for a weekend, both physically (the house was amazing!), mentally and creatively. Amy was an open book for us for the weekend. Any question we had she answered honestly, without pretense. There was so much to take in I wasn't sure if I would walk away and remember anything. I couldn't wait to get my head around everything I'd learnt and take it into my next session. And in testament to Amy's teaching, I can see a huge distinction between my pre-workshop photography and my post-workshop photography.

And also, a huge shout out also goes to the other beautiful souls who shared that weekend space with me. Hannah, Julie, Alice, Peta, Yvonne, Kasey, Maddison, Liane. Without you ladies, this weekend wouldn't have been the same. Everyone was so open to sharing their stories and experiences, their own life lessons, and sleeping spaces... Thank you for making this workshop as awesome as it was!

And of course, when I finally arrived home to my cherubs on the Monday morning, I was greeted by my youngest with gastro...

And thanks to this workshop, My newest goal for my business is to nail in-home photography sessions this winter and make them another feature of my business!

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Autumn Leaves Family Session - Albury-Wodonga Family Photography

I'm not sure there's any better way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon in late Autumn, than playing in the fallen leaves of some of the biggest oak trees I've ever seen. At least when you're 5 and 2 year old brothers!

What a spectacular autumn we've had on the Border. Very little wind and rain has meant the leaves have been hanging around, turning every shade of autumn. The piles of undisturbed leaves under these trees was like nothing I've ever seen. We ventured ever so slightly off the beaten track to get to some of these trees and it was so worth it! I reckon in places these leaves were almost knee deep - if you're 5, and making tripping over unseen sticks a high possibility. Thankfully we had Millie dog along to help us find all the sticks...

I've known this gorgeous family since Sarah and I were in mother's group together with our tiny babes and I practiced my photography on these boys under some of these trees almost 12 months ago! It was so nice to have both Sarah and Trent in the photos this time as a family. As much fun as photographing kids is, I love being able to capture the whole family playing and interacting together!

I hope you have as much fun viewing these photos as we did taking them!

This one is for all the Mum's of the world - Albury family photographer

Remember back in B.C (before children)? When we thought we were tired? Working all day at a job outside the house, then coming home, cooking dinner and going to bed. And sleeping through until the sun rose?? I do. I thought I knew what exhaustion was. I used to work a 55 hour week in a job I didn't really love and would collapse with exhaustion at the end of the week. Back when weekends were for sleeping in and catching up with friends, reading a magazine and going out!

Then we got pregnant. Some planned, some as a surprise (yep - that was me!). You still have no idea how much your world is about to change. No amount of talking and hearing the stories can prepare you for it. Because at the end of the day you used to go home to your quiet, warm bed and sleep. Through. The. Night.

I remember when I was pregnant with my first and talking to friend who had just had her first, and the realisation slowly dawned on me of the sleepnessless that was about to happen. I was petrified. For some reason, not of being responsible for another human - but of not getting a full nights sleep...! Ha!

We push our bodies to the limit during pregnancy. Some suffer less than others. The morning sickness set off by the most random things. Frozen bread would make me run to hug the toilet every single time I opened the freezer. I didn't even know bread had a smell when frozen until I was pregnant! Our bodies stretch and strain for 9 months (give or take). The feet in rib cages. Indigestion and heart burn. Constantly needing to pee. Hips and pelvises that feel like they're falling apart. Feet and ankles that swell. There was no pregnancy glow here. It might have been a residual glow from throwing up for the 5th time that day.

Then labour. Again, some suffer less than others. I was so very fortunate to have 2 quick and easy labours. But I've heard so many stories of others that didn't. And we thought our bodies had been stretched to their limit during the previous 9 months... think again!

Of course, once we hold them in our arms and breathe that sigh of relief that it's all over, we forget about it so quickly.

Then comes the feeding. Whatever way we choose to feed. All night long. And all day long. And all night long. Until we don't actually know if its day or night, can't quite remember if we showered today or not, and eat pretty much whatever looks like it might be edible. Including oh, so much chocolate.

And don't get me started on sleeping. Apparently there are some babies that like to sleep... My first did not. At all. Ever. Wouldn't even sleep in my arms. Then when she finally did, she would fart herself awake again 5 minutes later. At age 5 she is now a wonderful sleeper, so persistence pays off. Or she's just catching up on all the sleep she didn't get as a baby. My second was the best routine baby ever. Slept and fed on schedule like an angel. Then she turned 2 and decided enough with the predictability. And now at almost 3 I can't actually remember the last time she (and I) slept through the night...

There's lunch boxes to fill. Dinners to be rejected. Tantrums over the wrong colour cup. Emotional meltdowns in the middle of the supermarket. Inappropriately timed toilet accidents. Ear infections. Broken bones. Drawing on walls. Painting themselves. Waking up in the middle of the night because a sock came off...

Some return to work. Because they have to. Some because it provides a welcome relief. Some because they dearly love their careers. Some don't go back to work and choose to stay home. Some run a business from home, between getting dinner ready and nap time. Everyone single mum has challenges to face and guilt to overcome.

And each day we get up and do it again. We don't get weekends off anymore to sleep in and read a magazine. We survive off a heady mix of coffee and wine. But we wouldn't change it for the world. When those little chubby fingers grab you around the back of the neck in a hug so tight you can feel their soul crush against yours. When you get woken up at the sparrow-fart with 'Dood morning mamma. It's a bootiful day today'. When a cuddle from you can fix their biggest problems. When they look at you with those eyes and tell you how much they love you - and you know they truly mean it.

And some mums have had to deal with the most unbearable devastation and loss. I can't even begin to image the pain. I know all our hearts go out to those.

And of course we can't forget those that help us along the way. If we're lucky enough to have them: our significant others. Our parents and in-laws. Aunties and uncles. Neighbours and friends. Those who help us pick up the pieces when it all feels too hard. Those who cook dinner or drop off a much needed coffee when we couldn't get out of the house. The ones who appear when we need a shoulder to cry on, or to down a bottle of wine with us. Those who we know we can drop a child or two off to at the last minute to do a mad dash to an appointment. Those who offer to take our kids overnight so we can get some much needed sleep. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts, because without you, we'd be a mess.

And then, after some time has passed, some of us choose to go ahead and do it all again.

"To the world you may be just one person, but to one person, you are the world"

The secret wedding I was asked to photograph - albury lifestyle photographer

Ok, it wasn't really the wedding I was asked to photograph - I'm not a wedding photographer, nor would I pretend to be. But I was asked if I could take some family photos after this gorgeous couple had their sneaky registry wedding. I am a family photographer, so I happily said yes.

Stacey and Daniel's story started 6 years ago in Townsville, and resumed again 2 years ago. Between then and now they've had a gorgeous little boy, who is now a healthy 6 months old. Stacey and Daniel decided to keep things low-key and private for their registry wedding, only having Daniel's long time best friend Tim & his family along for the ride! And Stacey's dress and ring only turning up on the morning of the wedding!!

In discussing which location we should head to, Stacey decided to check out some photos from my portfolio, and every picture she picked was taken in the same location - easy decision! We agreed to meet up on Eastern Hill  -f you're probably quickly realising is one of my favourite outdoor locations for sunset photos. And with an uninterrupted view west - why wouldn't it be!

We had a beautiful evening for photos, a little cloud which only added to the colour and background of the photos.

Enjoy viewing this happy couple!