A Welcome Weekend

* The photography tour with photography travel.net was gifted to me by Gift It Now.


Life has been busy lately – family, work, house and work. I’ve been craving some ‘me time’, and finally found it this weekend. On Saturday morning I was up before the sun, and ventured into the chilly city for a photography workshop. Having a proper play with my digital SLR and learning how to use manual mode is something I have been meaning to do for a long time. When Gift It Now offered me the chance to choose one of their many experiences, I jumped at the chance to partake in a workshop with a professional photographer.

Catching the train meant I had an hour each way uninterrupted to read my book – such a treat to read without little voices interjecting. The view in the picture above can be seen as soon as you step foot off the train, and it is one of my favourites in the world. I paused to snap the first of many, many photos of picturesque Sydney.

I walked up to The Rocks, the original settlement of Old Sydney Town, and warmed my hands on a hot chocolate while waiting for my photography tutor and group. It started to pour with rain at this point, and didn’t ease up until the end of the tour. Fortunately this didn’t dampen our spirits! Despite the rain, tutor Alfonso Calero taught us lots of photography tips and tricks both technical and creative. We discovered alley ways, museums and tunnels which were great locations to complete our tasks, while staying mostly dry. We looked at different elements of photography, and discovered how to use the different elements of our cameras. Finally learning about aperture, shutter speed, and light settings was fantastic. I have been interested in photography since I was a teenager, but have never had the confidence to play around with these settings on my cameras. One of the things I enjoyed most was having three hours to spend taking pictures, and having a professional photographer’s extensive knowledge at my finger tips was a huge added bonus.


The convict-built sandstone buildings were fun to photograph. We spent quite a few minutes dodging rain drops in this little courtyard, photographing line. I found that looking for certain elements to to take photos of made me really take in my surroundings, and I loved seeing my city in a new light.


Sharing our photos and looking at everyone else’s interpretations was very helpful, and seeing what the other women had discovered about the same area was really interesting – so many varying perspectives.


The rain did make for a great addition to our pictures when we were playing the with the aperture – I loved the droplets of water and the veins on the leaves outside a church.


Shooting cars in continuous shot mode in a tunnel made me feel a little like a paparazzo – I was hoping no one would question what we were doing! The aim was to capture a shot with a blurry car and blurry background, which I need a lot more practice at. Alfonso even ran along the road in the quest for our perfect shot, but I think we were all laughing too hard to capture anything decent!


The Sydney Heritage Museum was a great place to play with the light that came streaming in through their windows from the courtyard. The sandstone had a beautiful warm quality, and we were able to experiment with the light balance settings on our cameras.


Our final stop was the Overseas Passenger Terminal, overlooking the ferries, Opera House and Harbour Bridge. I had fun playing with the Tungsten setting which gives a blue tint to the pictures and complimented the stormy sky.


I took so many shots of the Opera House sails – the shape and texture is fantastic. Hopefully next year I will feel confident enough to go and take night photos when the Vivid Festival is on.


My new friends, and fellow photography students posed for a few final pictures as a memento of our day. Thank you for making the course so much fun! Once our little party went our separate ways I wandered back into The Rocks and treated myself to a baguette and massive chocolate-topped choc chip cookie for the trip back home. More reading and a full tummy made for a very relaxing trip!

We ventured back in to the city as a family in the afternoon to have dinner with friends. The rain kept up, but it resulted in a good photo opportunity from the front passenger seat of the car.


The rainbow eventually reached right across the sky. They’re always a thrill to see, and the kids loved pointing out the different colours. Our friends made a beautiful Mexican dinner, and  we had a fantastic night with good food, good wine and good friends.

Today has been lazy, and oh so nice. It was my turn for a sleep in, and I woke up to the smell of pancakes and maple syrup. Is there anything better on a Sunday morning? We spent the day reading books, watching DVDs and transforming gum boots into Iron Man boots (the four year old is a super hero fiend, at the moment).


I decided to try out some of yesterday’s hints and take a few quick snaps of our backyard while the rain was falling – it turned out to be a very short lived session when the dog ran into the house with muddy paws!

Late this afternoon we decided to try our hand at making cheese (well, Notzarella in this dairy-free for kids house) and Vegemite scrolls.


Apparently we’re the ‘best cooks in the whole world, Mum’. I guess they were a hit! I will pop the very easy recipe on the blog later this week, if you’d like to try making them as well.


This is the last week of the school term, which means holidays next week. Hurray! I’m looking forward to some lazy days, lots of reading and a few day trips with the small ones.

How was your weekend? What did you do? Do you like cheese and Vegemite scrolls?

* Thanks to Gift It Now for the photography voucher for my session with photographytravel.net. You can follow Gift It Now on Facebook,  Twitter and Pinterest to keep up to date with all the new experiences they offer. You can download Alfonso’s free photography e-book that we used during the session here and see his photos on his Facebook page here. Alfonso was very informative and patient with us all. He has a very wide knowledge of cameras, and the technical and artistic elements of photography. His company run day and night time courses in five Australian cities, and if you’re feeling adventurous you can even take an overseas jaunt. Happy snapping!


3 thoughts on “A Welcome Weekend

  1. Pingback: Sydney Photography Tour Review |

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