Sweet girl Eliette celebrated her 1st birthday recently. She was all seriousness for her birthday portraits. This girl was not giving up the smiles. But an absolute doll. She’s precious. When she arrived at my house for her session, I was amazed to see how much she’d changed. Amazed it’s already been a year. Sometimes it blows me away. I’ve watched as her parents have just been smitten by her. She’s such a perfect addition to their family.
Eliette was curious about her surroundings, liked seeing the cats although I don’t think they were as keen on her. She has a fabulous wardrobe of colorful dresses. This kid will no doubt be stylin for year’s to come.
Those lashes, ahh!
Those beautiful blues…..she looks so much like her Daddy, an yet I see bit of her mom in her. She get’s the best of both of them all wrapped up in one.
Did I mention she was sassy too. She’s spunky and a bit of ornery. She is tough but loves a good cuddle.
Oh the smiles never came, but she still didn’t disappoint in all her cuteness.
Who doesn’t love cake! After a celebration with her family and friends, Eliette is moving on to her next year, of so many new things. I am so happy to watch as my friends travel this road of parenthood. You’ve survived the first year with flying colors. Job well done at raising this lil beauty!
The first time we visited Australia, Ephram was just shy of 3 year’s old so he doesn’t have any memories of his trip other than photos. We started thinking months ago about where we wanted to go on vacation last year and Ephram wanted to be able to see my friends and get to know them since he’s older now. Who was I to argue….I was thrilled with the thought of returning. So last year we buckled down and made our plans. We counted down the days. It was finally here and it was hard to believe. The suitcases have gotten bigger and feels like there is more to transport now. I’ve had a lot of people tell me they don’t think they could make the 16 hour flight. I’ll be honest, I’ve always thought that too, but somehow it goes faster than you think it will. With movies, snacks, food coming at you all hours, mingling with other fliers, an sleeping, it makes the time go by.
16+ hours later and we arrive in Melbourne, Australia. My friend Sarah picked us up from the airport and we made the hour and a half journey to her home in Ocean Grove. I was so happy this time we all managed to get some sleep on this flight. We all felt pretty good. We took a short nap just to ease through an by the time the girl’s got home from school, Claire and Ephram swam for a few hours in the pool.
One would think we wouldn’t want to get back on a plane so soon, but the next morning we were off for an hour flight to Hobart, Tasmania for a couple of days get-a-way. This entire trip consisted of 10 plane rides, so we got our fair share of the friendly skies. Ephram’s love of planes and airports only grew. It’s funny how Australian airports differ from those here. While you still have to have your laptop go through security, they do not require to you take off shoes, sweaters, jackets, etc. For domestic flights, you can still walk to the gate with your loved one’s to see them off or to greet them. During one of our flights, I was confused when I passed a man crying as we walked out to our flight. It took me a second to realize that he’d just said goodbye to someone. How sad that made me that we no longer have that freedom in America.
Hobart is absolutely beautiful. Course I’d be lying if I didn’t say Australia boast’s of a lot of beautiful places. Hobart is surrounded by countless lakes an mountains. It’s not a super huge city, but yet it offer’s so much.
We visited Port Arthur which was a convict settlement started in about 1830. It was also the sight of a massacre that took place on the grounds in 1996, killing 35 an injuring 23.
The city at night is just as spectacular. The ships and boats sit in the harbor in the still of the water. I couldn’t resist getting some photos of them.
Every Saturday the Salamanca Street Market is held on the main road in Hobart. There were so many great items to browse through, and the produce, flowers and such were tempting had I a place to make use of them. We found some nice trinkets to take home for our keepsakes, but I’m kicking myself for some of the stuff I didn’t get.
The town of Richmond is quiet and rural. We had a nice lunch at a local cafe there and enjoyed the warm sun on our skin. We took in some of the shops and did some sight seeing by foot and car.
On our last night in Hobart, we went to an intriguing restaurant called The Drunken Admiral. The whole restaurant was filled from top to bottom with all things nautical. You simply had to take a tour of the place just to take it all in. As we waited for our table reservation, the girl’s and I walked around the dock’s.
Claire an I were twinkies that evening….
We enjoyed our evening at The Drunken Admiral. A few wines, some tasty dinner, great company and a lot of laughs.
We flew back to Melbourne, an the next morning Marty, Ephram and I were on a train into the big city again from Ocean Grove for a night. Melbourne is a city full of splendor, color and unique views. Some of the alleyways are vibrant with graffiti. It’s kind of neat to see art put to a good use. Many of the building’s line up close together, leaving these generally ugly alleyways, so it’s a great means of making it more appealing to the eye. Always something different to see.
We made another visit this trip to the Victoria Market during our visit to the city. You can find an array of wonderful Australian finds, as well as the expected produce and such. This place is a must see if you make a visit.
We opted to go back to our friend’s house so we could spend more time with them, making the most of our trip with them as we could. Ephram was having such a good time he didn’t want to be away from them. Both of our first born’s share the same birthdate. Isn’t that crazy? So the night before their birthday we had a little birthday celebration as we had plans for the following day. We had a wonderful Italian dinner and cake for Grace and Ephram.
The next day, we had a 14 year old and a 10 year old. We started the day with opening gifts then went to The Dunes Cafe on the beach for breakfast. We took a ride above the city of Melbourne on the Melbourne Star. It’s a slow paced ride with sights for miles out, but at the same time can make you want to stay away from the windows. Don’t look down. Then we ended the night with the opening night of Australia’s AFL. Australian Rules Footy as they call it. It was something I’d always wanted to do and was so happy I was finally there in the right season. It’s a high energy game. The fans go wild for their teams. I was a little concerned that Ephram might be bored. I was more shocked that he was absolutely enthralled in it. He was cheering on his picked team and yelling out in anger….it was rather fun to watch. But he still was devoted to his first love of NASCAR, even way down in Australia.
Early the next morning, Marty, Ephram and I took off for another flight to Brisbane, Australia. I had one purpose that I was beside myself on for visiting. My longing to hold a Koala. You don’t even understand, this is like a dream since I was a young child. I was so excited, it was almost emotional. Lone Pine Sanctuary holds all the great native Australian animals. You can get up close with the Koala’s, feed Kangaroo’s and experience other animals in the park. It made for a fun afternoon.
And just like that, it was done. I knew going in, I would only get to hold one for about a minute, but it was so worth it. I’ve loved Koala’s for so long and I wasn’t going to miss out on this again. That by the way is Bonnie, he was a handsome boy that I am holding. They are a sweet animal, very slow moving and docile. But adorable as can be!
We made the drive about an hour from Brisbane to Surfer’s Paradise, heading South from Brisbane. Our hotel for the night was on the top floor, level 19. Gorgeous views of the city and the ocean in view.
The next morning we had a nice breakfast at our hotel and then went out on the beach to check it out for a few before getting in our car to make another hour’s drive further South to our next destination.
I’d been looking so forward to this part of the trip. Seeing some place new we hadn’t seen the last time. A spectacular beach like none other I’d been too before. Byron Bay is electric. It has a population of a more hippie life style. Cafe’s and shops line the main streets, and then there is the beaches….I could just loose myself there.
This was our home for the next three nights. These cabins were more like a house. The sounds around us were nothing like that of being here in Ohio. You could hear the Kookuburra’s singing off and on during the day, the different exotic bird’s that would fly over. The smells of the Eucalyptus tree’s..I just couldn’t get enough of it.
This time frame gave us a chance to slow down a bit. By now we’d already taken five of our ten flights, so we were constantly on the go. We spent much time swimming at the beach an spending time at the pool where our cabin was. The weather was perfect and it just felt good for the soul.
Now that I’m back home, I keep going back to one of my happy places which was Byron Bay. I just felt peace and happiness of being able to see this beautiful country a bit more. It was exciting to be able to see surfers for the first time. An yes, the bat’s. The Flying Fox bats, they were in swarms around Byron Bay in this one area, it was far too cool of an experience.
Just down the road from our cabin was The Farm at Byron Bay. A working farm sitting on a hill overlooking the valley from all around. They had just had new piglets born, so that was an attraction for everyone to enjoy. They were cute, an the mom was tired, she plopped herself in a nice mud bath to cool herself off from the heat. They were just in the start of Autumn at our arrival. Our spring, their fall, kind of messes with your head.
We got in some more beach time and I was just amazed at how few people were on the beach with us, it was very nice and very relaxing. Such a beautiful spot.
We made a visit up the hillside to Cape Byron Bay Lighthouse. It’s a small area at the top, with only few spaces for cars. It was kind of crazy watching a tour bus park itself on the edge of the lot amidst other hopeful cars looking for a space. The views of Byron Bay from all sides was gorgeous. Not over populated at all. Just as nature made it. It was absolutely refreshing not to see towering hotels and business’s along the coast, just the tropical tree’s.
This scene was seen several times during our visit.
The Pass at Byron Bay is where we did our swimming. You literally felt like you were on a deserted island, having it all to yourself an a handful of other’s. We watched as surfers caught waves, we strolled along the beach finding barely any shells. It’s just a stunning area and I’m so glad that we visited here.
At Angel’s beach about 30 minutes from Byron Bay I met with Indigo and Tiffany for a portrait session on the beach. While I was shooting, Marty and Ephram were playing in the sand and walking along the edge of the water, but not getting in the well known shark area ocean.
We made the hour flight to Sydney. Since Ephram wasn’t able to remember his last visit there, we wanted to be sure he got to see it again. We started our day with visiting the Sydney Opera House, taking a tour of the inside. Something we hadn’t done our last trip. It was interesting getting to see it from different vantage points and learning more about the History of this iconic building that sits at the edge of the harbor. It’s so grand.
There are ten points to the sails of the top of the building. It took 16 year’s to build the Opera House. Over a million tiles cover the roof. They have over 3000 events a year held at the Opera House.
The inside is just as intriguing. The massive concrete walls that frame the house. It’s a virtual eye maze of lines and designs. It’s sad to think that the architect who designed it never got to see his masterpiece in living form.
From a homeschooling point of view, Ephram was learning so much about this great country and differences in the world. To learn through his eyes is just as exciting. I always love hearing his memories from his travels.
We had dinner at the water’s edge next to the Opera House standing above us. We watched as the massive cruise ship backed out of the harbor to set sail into the seas. Ephram was a bit in the dumps as he lost one of his NASCARS in the Sydney Opera House tour. Now there will always be a bit of Ephram and NASCAR in Sydney.
Night or day, Sydney is awesome. I didn’t do the bridge climb this trip cause the guy’s aren’t keen to it, but thankful I can have that memory from our last trip. If you ever have the chance to visit Sydney, I highly recommend it. I’m not a huge fan of heights, but I never felt scared when making the climb. It’s an experience like no other. And I did it alone with a bunch of strangers while Marty and Ephram watched from across the harbor.
We visited Bondi and Manly beach on this trip and it was nice to see some other sights around Sydney. Bondi has this long wall along the beach full of message graffiti.
A view of our apartment while in Sydney. We were directly across the harbor from the Opera House. We were amazed when we walked into the apartment the open view of the Opera House across from us. We would simply Uber back and forth which was quick an less time consuming.
One of the days in Sydney was a complete rain out due to the Cyclone (hurricane) that had just hit up in Queensland the day prior, so we made use of our time by visiting some navel ships which kept us dry for the most part and then went to one of the mall’s in Sydney.
Every year for his birthday, I do photos of him to commemorate. What a backdrop for his 10th year. What great memories he’s had for his birthday.
We returned back to Ocean Grove for the end of our trip. Soaked in some more time with Craig, Sarah and the girls. Took in some sights close to them. Visited a vineyard, the remains of a ship. We had a nice lunch at a dock area. It becomes harder at this point wanting to return home. It’s hard knowing it’s all coming to a close. It’s hard to even grasp the trip at this point as we’ve seen and done so much.
I was thrilled to get a bit of ‘work’ if you want to call it that in while in Australia. It is always so nice to be able to have those experiences and photographic keepsakes for my portfolio. I had the opportunity to photograph Sarah and Craig’s daughter’s on the beach with their friends. While in Byron Bay, I captured Indigo and Tiffany on a deserted beach. They were awesome to work with. And to end the trip, I had the pleasure of photographing Sarah’s family.
The trip brought on so many wonderful memories. It’s hard to whittle down photos to a few when there is tons more. So many funny moments, like the time we got pulled over in Tasmania…watching Marty doing laundry in Ocean Grove. Those early morning flights…Ephram becoming the photographer. He was happy to not only take some of our photos, but he also ended up taking photos for other tourists around.
I cannot put into words how much fun we had on this trip. I enjoyed watching the kids bond with one another. It’s so very hard saying goodbye each time. We cherish the time we get to spend together and always look forward to the next time. We have so many fond memories from this trip. It is such a unique bond of friendship that is more family to me. So for now, I will hold these photographic memories close until we meet again. Thank you for a wonderful visit Sarah, Craig, Grace and Claire. XX!
Our trip was coming to a close, and I wanted to get some photos of the kids together. The girl’s wanted to bring their dog’s, Harry and Alice along with them. We took a short walk in their neighborhood to an open park area full of gum tree’s. Since Ephram and Grace share the same birthday, he wanted to get her a gift and he got her this hat, so I wanted to get some photo’s of her in it.
Grace love’s her dog’s. She would often carry them around and be giving them cuddles. She is a animal lover indeed.
Seeing Grace and Claire in this image reminds me how quickly they will change. Both growing up so fast. They were 7 and 3 the last time we were in Australia an have changed so much. Claire and I are nearly eye to eye. It’s hard to believe our kid’s are getting to be this much older already. It makes us realize how important it is to see each other when we can cause the children are getting bigger, an we are all getting older.
Claire is a firecracker. She has a wicked sense of humor you are drawn too, but is a sweetheart just the same. I loved watching her and Ephram playing together. They all got on so well. Claire even was very informative in sharing useful knowledge for our son’s homeschooling purposes. She makes a wonderful crepe. She loves swimming and was trying to teach Ephram how to dive.
Grace aspires to be a model one day. Ironically enough she loves Victoria’s Secret and would love to one day be an angel for them. I told her how we live in the city where Victoria’s Secret offices are, what are the odds. Grace also has a passion for fashion and photography. She and I spent a lot of time during our visit walking around together and taking photos of things that inspired us. She hasn’t been to the United States yet and is eager to visit New York City especially. So much to see for this young traveler.
The sun was going down an leaving this breath taking sunset. Wild Galah cockatoo’s flew around us. The thrill of things you don’t find in America.
I so enjoyed our time with Grace and Claire. They both brought so much joy and laughter and great memories to our trip. We look forward to the next we see you again. Miss you both! XX
I was so honored to photograph my pen pal Sarah of 32 years and her extended family while we were in Australia. Sarah and I have had the privilege of meeting each other a few times over the year’s, and it’s been such a joy to get to know her family as well. They are an extenion of our family and I cherish that bond between us. I would have never guessed that that first letter would go on to create a friendship that has brought on a sisterly bond. I adore her. I love the memories we have created over time. Too many memories to count. It’s a hardship not having more time spent with her. Saying goodbye each time leaves such a hole in my heart…
We went to Clifton Springs Jetty near their home to take some photos of the whole family together. What a great keepsake. Family is everything.
Ian and Trish have created a beautiful family in their nearly 48 year’s of marriage. They should be proud of the son’s and daughter they have raised.
Nigel and Naomi and their children Nathan and Charli
Andrew and Jacqueline and their kids, Madeleine and Xavier.
Craig and Sarah and their daughters Grace and Claire.
I’ve had several people ask me how Sarah and I came to be. Short story is, my grandfather, as well as Sarah’s father were both members of Kiwanis. I’d had a long standing love for the country Australia and longed to have a pen pal. On a whim, my grandpa wrote in the hopes of finding me a pen pal. I’m not sure if it went directly to Ian or not, but it got back to Sarah and one day I recieved a letter stamped from Australia. I was absolutely giddy. I had no idea how that letter would change my life. Over the year’s the letters have sadly stopped, but technology has brought us the ability to talk daily if we want and even be able to do video chats, so I guess I can’t complain.
Ian and Trish have been fortunate enough to welcome their six grandchildren into the world. What a blessing watching them grow up into fine young adults.
This beach was so nice, the backdrop was eye catching with the old rustic left over pier. They all love the water, and being so close to it made it the perfect backdrop.
Thank you all for such a wonderful afternoon, but more for all the year’s of friendship and family you have been. We had an absolutely WONDERFUL trip back to Australia. We miss you all so much!! XX
As mentioned in my previous blog post, Australian beaches are so beautiful and breathtaking. Better than any beach I’ve been to in the US. During our trip to Australia, I met Indigo and Tiffany about 30 minutes from where we were staying at Ballina Beach in New South Wales (NSW). Upon leaving our car and walking out to the beach, my jaw dropped when I realized we had the entire beach to ourselves. No one was there. That just blew my mind. With a little thought, I put two and two together, while people do tend to swim here and surf, it’s an area where sharks frequent. There are shark nets several yards out in the blue ocean waters doing their part to keep the sharks away. Regardless, the beauty around me was mesmerizing.
Tiffany had this gorgeous mermaid like dress she wore. The shimmer of the colors against the rocks, the way it wrapped around her body. So fitting for our location.
Indigo and I had been setting up this shoot for a few weeks prior to the session and I loved what they came with. The colors of their dresses, vs the earthly surroundings complimented each other so well.
Indigo took off for a rock in the low lying water. The waves crashed up around her and yet she was in her zone. She was elegant and bold.
Tiffany knew how to work the camera just as well. They were both such a pleasure to photograph.
No fears, not hesitations. Living life to the fullest. Indigo has that essence about her.
The girls changed into these gorgeous orange dresses. Orange is such a beautiful bold color and yet so rarely worn. It was absolutely stunning with the green lush around them and among the black lava like rocks.
The wind in their hair, the smell of the ocean. The empty beach to call our own…I was savoring it for all it was worth.
These two friends do a lot of modeling together and they make a great team. There is appreciation for each other. They get to make a lot of beautiful memories with each other.
I kept seeing images of a medieval princess with Tiffany. I guess from art prints I’ve had in the past. But she so flawlessly brought it to life in images.
These tree’s were so unique and so different from what we have in the states. I couldn’t resist them.
It was interesting hearing facts about their area and learning from them. They talked about the star fish that normally can be found there on the beach, and Tiffany even taught Ephram how to tell the difference in a boy and girl crab. Life experiences best learned in person.
The views around this beach were just simply put, heavenly. I wanted to take it home with me. I cannot imagine living so close to these kinds of beautiful spots. The clouds behind them were unreal and only added to the beauty.
Again, thank you both so much for a fun filled afternoon, it was so great to meet you and spend time getting to know you both better. I had an absolutely amazing time and am so pleased with the images. I have so many fond memories of our trip and this will stand out as one of them for year’s to come. Hope to work with you again in the future! Thank you for a wonderful time!