Why Blog?

As the pre-written template here declares…. “Hello world”! Where to begin for now? The very beginning? It’s a very good place to start, you say? How melodious. Ok: why are we here? Not ‘here in the universe’ (gotta save some of the big topics for later lol…) but here on this page??

Right. In answer to that… I have a public confession to make. When it comes to non-core activities, I’ve been a bit of a ‘gunna’ about keeping records, diaries and photo albums and things like that. Is that a term everyone is familiar with? ‘Gunna’ do this, ‘gunna’ do that… yet to see it through. I haven’t been splashing them everywhere willy-nilly of course, but “I’m gunna write this up in my blog…” is what I’ve been assuring people whenever cool stuff has happened over the last year. And despite the prolonged absence of a blog, an ENORMOUS load of cool stuff has happened to me over the last 12-18 months! A brand new job description, a new boyfriend, a new home-business, a new parrot (more on that later), many new friends, a bunch of shiny new technology and a mother-load of fantastic new experiences at restaurants, bars, musicals, concerts, festivals, day-trips and holidays. And now… even a NEW household budget strategy! Who’da thunk it? 😉

But it looks like I’m getting around to it at last. Primarily a journal-style photoblog, Benjamin and I want to use this page to share what we are lucky enough to experience in this amazing city – Melbourne – at this amazing point in time. It is so easy to get lost in the hum-drum nothingy routine of everyday life that we, as a species, can forget to sit back and gawp at our circumstances. We really ought to continually wonder and marvel at the fact that we live in a time and place where so many people have any sort of disposable income, let alone a life free from the perils, plagues, wars and worse that have blighted the lives of so many before us (and still ruin the lives of many in the world even as I type). It’s SO important to celebrate the positive experiences we have so that we can rationalise the negative ones, and find the joy even in the little things and the beauty in ‘average’ sunsets. Don’t get me wrong… I’m not the type to write daily affirmations on my mirror with lipstick or anything, but still! It’s always worth putting thoughtful energy into enhancing your experience of life… by building a conscious mindset that allows you to fully appreciate how lucky you are. And my goodness, LUCKY we are. And perhaps my effervescent enthusiasm for life will rub off on others a bit  – which may or may not inspire them to go and try some of the things I eat, watch, go to, play with, try on, listen to, shoot with, etc.

So – ‘shooting with’… for us, yesterday, our daily dose of dopamine was a simple matter of playing with our new LENS! We went and got ourselves a shiny new AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G… for those of you to whom that means anything! Personally speaking – until about 6 months ago those numbers and letters were still somewhat mysterious… and 12 months ago they meant nothing!

I’ll translate some of the lens-talk here… stick with me, it’s not too bad:

  • “85mm” means it is a medium telephoto lens at an 85mm fixed focal length; a bit too ‘zoomed-in’ to take photos of anyone right next to you but perfect for stunning portraits of someone a couple of metres away.
  • The AF means autofocus, which is fabb-o but doesn’t for a moment negate the need to put mental effort into focussing on precisely the right point of your image.
  • The f/1.4 is the bit we are excited about, as this has to do with how wide the aperture can open. (How much light the lens can let in…) The style of photography we like uses a very narrow plane of focus which means you can get that deliciously blurry background. This effect is called “bokeh,” and makes the uninitiated wonder why they love the image so much!
  • The ‘S’ and the ‘G’ bits are a bit more technical and less exciting… they’ve mostly got to do with what bits are automated and can affect whether a lens will work on older or cheaper cameras. It’s worth noting that we use Nikon cameras. Some of the lens jargon is often called something else on other brands, but means the same thing.

So there you go! We love taking photos to highlight the awesome people, places, pets and events around us. I am delighting in opportunities to learn new tricks about working with light. It’s a bucket of fun to find ways to capture folks at angles and poses they find most flattering and that are somehow extra-aesthetically-pleasing. Benjamin has been an avid photographer for over a decade, whereas until more recently I was basically a keen but technologically ignorant “snap-happy iPhoner”.  I feel very blessed to be able to access a wealth of experience at the drop of a hat from such a smart and patient spunk. Similarly, I’ve been grateful to suddenly find a lot of experienced photographers in my (new) friendship circles. This has had a profound impact on the direction of our business (which is photography) as well as our hobby (which is also photography)! Convenient, huh? Maybe lucky. 🙂

So yesterday, armed with shiny new lens, we strode boldly off into the garden. Almost immediately, we strode boldly and quickly back for bug spray and for an outfit for me that wasn’t an old t-shirt with parrot poop down the back (see I told you there’d be more on that later). Off we strode once more. And the results were quite pleasing!  The best time of day to shoot is always in the warm evening light so we used it to backlight the silk kaftan and my (still too fluffy) freshly washed hair. The 10 shots here were our favourites!

We fixed the ‘film sensitivity’ at ISO 200, and the shutter speed varied from about 1/160th of a second to 1/500th of a second, depending on the amount of light in the frame and the angle it was hitting me. All of the shots were taking advantage of our new lens’ ability at f/1.4 (low number = big aperture hole=more light). This meant that sometimes the plane of focus was so narrow that only part of my face was sharp, especially when I wasn’t squarely facing the camera… which is rarely the best look, anyway, but hey – rules are made to be broken! Benjamin had the opportunity to experiment by focussing on different points on my face to get different effects. I took a few photos of him too but he kept scrunching up his face and sticking his tongue out. Very mature. Ahem. But anyway, surprisingly none of those shots are shareable… which I am sure was part of his evil plan. I’ll get him sooner or later!

Tripping around the garden in a silk kaftan and heels is not something I do very often. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever done it before. But it was a lot of fun. Practice shoots for lens experimentation are always fantastic and give us further inspiration for our wedding photography. If I get a new profile picture for the month – bonus! 😉 There are certainly worse ways to spend a sunny afternoon!

So – time to do the blog clothing credit/explanation thing! The floaty garment featured here is a ‘Havana Printed Kaftan’ (12306-JG111) in purple, size S/M, from chelsea.com. This is a very loose fitting, 100% silk kaftan with mixed print. It has a beautifully (heavily) beaded front and back neckline and flowing sleeves with beaded hems. The sleeves are 3/4 length and the sides finish at mid-thigh length. The kaftan has a shaped hem which fit nicely against the black body-stocking mini-dress I was wearing underneath. So there you go!

Benjamin just proofread this and gave it the thumbs up but said I needed a little sign-off… Huh? What kind of sign off are we talking?

“Something like… oh, I don’t know… you know, ‘You’ve been watching Channel 8 News, thanks for wearing pants,'” he said.

Not sure I can really top that, so I might just leave it there.

Thanks for wearing pants!

– Michelle

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1 Comment

  • comment-avatar
    Souri February 16, 2015 (10:01 am)

    Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!! Great post to start off with. Looking forward to pushing each other along with our blog posts 🙂