Friday, September 22, 2017

Emmanuelle, Loïc + Gael: La Reunion Family

A family session by the Indian Ocean. While I was running my photography workshops in La Reunion, I met with Emmanuelle, her husband and her son. Soon this sweet family of three will become four, and they wanted to have a little session to capture them as they are now, before the next chapter.

Their love for each other wasn't hard to capture, and it made golden hour all the sweeter watching them together. Their son, naturally playful and happy, made it extra enjoyable, but even he had his moments (as we all would if we were a toddler asked to look at a camera instead of putting a seashell in our mouth—“ne pas manger le coquillage!” was a phrase frequently uttered during the hour).

Fine one minute, imminent devastation the next are simply the hallmarks of parenting. Those little not-so-glamorous, impatient, cranky family moments are, to me, just as important to capture as the loving, playful and joyous ones. For those flawed moments are natural, honest and real. It's how you get through them that makes you family.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

LUX* Le Morne, Mauritius.

After the Maldives, I travelled to Mauritius, running my workshops at Belle Mare & Le Morne. LUX* Le Morne was the last of the two resorts I visited, and was a beautiful way to end my stay in the country. In the car from the island's north-east to south-west, I was captivated by the changing landscape as we drove closer and closer to the mountains. This is what makes LUX* Le Morne unique—it's a resort that sits by the sea whilst having a mountain as its backdrop. Le Morne Brabant is a baby in comparison to the mountains of the Rockies, with its summit being 556m, but it certainly has a backstory (and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site):

The peninsula was notorious in the early 19th century as a refuge for runaway slaves. After the abolition of slavery in Mauritius, on 1 February 1835 a police expedition was despatched there ostensibly to inform the slaves that they had been freed. At the time the slaves had been using Le Morne summit for many years as a look-out point to spot military despatches from Port Louis being sent to re-capture them. On previous occasions when these attempts had been carried out they had been spotted by the look-outs, the warning issued to the rest of the slaves who chose to leap to their deaths from the rock, (into the area now known as 'The Valley of Bones'), rather than be recaptured back into slavery.—Le Morne Brabant, Wikipedia

The warmer weather here in comparison to the north of the island meant I felt more inclined to be outside. There was so much to do, and none of it was anything I'd be able to do in the Rockies. So I snorkelled amongst coral and tropical fish, learnt to sail (and sailed poorly, but there's a first time for everything), kayaked across crystal clear water, and most memorable of all—I swam with dolphins for the first time. I look forward to the day being waterproof is just a standard feature of DSLRs, because using a GoPro simply didn't do it justice for me.

Beyond being a collection of new experiences, there were new connections to treasure as well. Conversations on sand after snorkelling and exploring the local reef. Photographing new friends as they taste freshly caught sea urchin (but none for this vegetarian, thanks). Walking by floating bonfires and listening to live saxophone. Sitting on a beanbag on the sand while enjoying the Mauritian version of a mulled wine while a woman sings and plays acoustic guitar. Talking about our lives back home and people-watching. What better way to form new friendships than in a setting where you're experiencing something new?

As always, more imagery below.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

LUX* South Ari Atoll, Maldives.

You know that giddy, electrifying feeling when you're aware you're about to have a life-defining moment? This was one of those times.

Let's backtrack a little: in the year before I left Australia, I pursued my love of teaching and my love of photography, running photography workshops in South Brisbane with Workshop Brisbane/Workshop Australia. Although I've always been naturally drawn to any form of teaching, I'm often shy to start—perhaps because, like many creatives, I suffer from a severe case of impostor syndrome, and that I can't possibly be good enough in anything to be teaching it to somebody else. I doubt there's ever going to be a piece of paper, milestone or accolade that will make me feel as if I am, but strangely, that seems to keep me going.

In December—in the car on the way to dinner with my fellow yoga teachers, frustrated with an ankle still healing from surgery, and on crutches, no less—I got the call about this: the opportunity to run my photography workshops at LUX* Resorts in the Maldives, Mauritius and Reunion Island.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Ha Ling Summer Solstice Summit.

The 21st of June marked the summer solstice—the longest day of the year. We decided to summit Ha Ling Peak for sunset. Myself, Martin, three of our friends and two dogs set off at 6:30pm, knowing the sun wouldn't set until close to 11pm. Despite having already summited Ha Ling in March—in harsher conditions—I was still nervous to start so late, knowing that with a group our size we would likely travel slower, not to mention it would get dark below the tree-line well before 11pm.

The weather was grey and foreboding. Despite it being the start of summer, I prepared for every weather condition, making sure I brought layers for the wind gusts when we reached the alpine zone and became more exposed to the elements. The wind and lower temperature at elevation is what makes the summit of any mountain unforgiving, and not something you're likely to sit and enjoy for more than a few minutes unless you're really layered up. It must have been 4ºC at the top of Ha Ling despite it being around 20ºC-25ºC in the valley, but the incoming hail clouds made it feel far more bitter. We found ourselves wishing we had packed gloves after all, shivering from the exposure.

June is still considered shoulder season around these parts—where many trails are still littered with snowy, icy patches and avalanche risks are high as the snowpacks become unstable and come crashing down. The trails on Ha Ling may have been well clear of snow, but the weather certainly tested our preparedness—we got hailed and rained on for the last 1.5 hours of our descent, performing the remainder of our hike in the dark with only the light of our headlamps and lightning. I was thankful we weren't scrambling down in those conditions, and wondered how the people at the top were faring. We made it back to the carpark at around 10:30pm, starving, cold and wet, but elated and somehow ready to do it again—hopefully in better conditions next time.

See below for highlights from the day.

Four lakes in a day.

The week before I left for my trip to the Indian Ocean for LUX* Resorts (more on that soon) was an...interesting one. We moved from our house, our first home in Canmore where we made many a great friend, to a condo deeper into the forests and mountains, further from town, but closer to the wild and the wildlife. A day later, Martin's sister and her boyfriend Andy came to visit, and so, as all good tourists do in the Canadian summer, we took them to Banff & Lake Louise.

First, we visited Moraine Lake—early—to avoid the seas of people that would inevitably arrive. Then we headed over to Lake Louise to do the Lake Agnes Teahouse Trail. Including passing by Mirror Lake, we managed to see four beautiful Canadian lakes in a day. Lake Agnes was still in the process of thawing completely, but that's not so surprising for the start of the season...

Friday, June 09, 2017

Camille Nathania x Workshop Australia x LUX* Resorts.

Well, I've been keeping this on the down-low since December last year (yes, that's right) but now it's time to let you know: in 2 very short weeks I'll be flying to the Maldives, Mauritius & Reunion Island to run my Everyday Storytelling photography workshops at LUX* Resorts, who are collaborating with Workshop Australia to bring unique and creative workshops to their guests.

When I received the call that I'd be going on this trip, I had to take a day to pick up my jaw off the floor before I could call them back and say yes. Who knew I was going to be going on an adventure within my Canadian adventure? My biggest thanks goes to LUX* and Workshop Australia for organising everything and making this happen—I doubt I would've ever been able to go to these beautiful islands otherwise.

I can't wait to share some of my tips on photography, creativity and storytelling with new people, and I'm looking forward to seeing this part of the world for the very first time and sharing the beauty of it with you. I'll be away for a whole month so the blog might be a little quiet, but just know there's more around the corner. Find out more on the LUX* website and stay up-to-date with my travels on Instagram story.

If you want to learn more about photography, I also offer one-on-one photography mentoring & workshops in Canmore and the Bow Valley. Don't hesitate to write to me to find out more:

Sunday, June 04, 2017

6 months into a new life.

This month marks half a year living in Canada. Life is fuller than I could have ever imagined. Full not in the sense that it is chaos, but in the sense that each day feels more whole. Every day feels more and more like coming home to myself. As I adjust to the rhythm of a new life, everything falls into place. The love I have for this country and the people I've met will never leave me.

Our story started in Vancouver, touching down on the 15th January. We drove from Vancouver to Jasper to Canmore in February, encountering many a closed highway (read the full story here) and getting a very quick lesson on driving in the Canadian winter. We moved into a house of 8, with views of the mountain ranges out our kitchen window, and have since become friends & family with the people who have come in and out of our home. Our house of travellers has been inhabited by Germans, Czechs, Australians, Canadians, Kiwis, an American and two dogs.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Grassi Lakes at the start of spring.

If you've seen my recent Lake Louise photo-story, you would probably find it hard to believe these photos were taken within five days of each other. Martin and I visited Grassi Lakes before our visit to Lake Louise, so we were about as surprised as you were at the stark contrast between both (and yes, because I've been bad at blogging these days, I'm only getting around to posting these now). It makes sense—Lake Louise sits at the foot of the mountains, covered by their shadow for most of the day and therefore not melting quite as fast, not to mention the area generally being even colder and windier than Canmore. Grassi Lakes at the start of April is well on its way to fully melted, making the trail a little muddy but still very much worth a visit as your introduction to Canadian hiking in the warmer months.

Being an easy 4km round-trip trail, Grassi Lakes is a popular hike in Canmore for families, their dogs and their visitors, being well-marked, easy to find, with great views. On that weekend the trail was pretty busy, as it was warm enough to wear only a t-shirt and a light jacket for what must have been the first time in a long time. I can only imagine just how full the trails will get during the summer months. Grassi Lakes is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic at the end of your leisurely walk, so you can truly pause to enjoy the view over Canmore or watch the rock climbers while sitting by its emerald waters. If you're extra lucky, you might encounter some Bighorn Sheep on your drive there, just as we did.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A moody mountain day at Lake Louise & the Fairview Lookout Trail.

Long weekends always call for extra adventures. Our Easter Saturday was spent amongst the misty mountains in Lake Louise, where the snow is still falling and the powder on the trails is still knee-deep. April is certainly a month of mood swings for the Rockies—we can get sun, rain, and snow in the same day. To say April is “springtime” in Canada is probably a little premature.

Joining us for our moody mountain adventures were Morgan and her fur-babies, Boone & Mala. We took them up the Fairview Lookout—a relatively easy 2km out and back trail, but the descent was certainly difficult without microspikes. The dogs loved playing in the snow, not to mention the rabbit and the squirrel they spotted along the way...

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Ha Ling Peak at sunrise, and rising to the self.

I wasn't always an outdoorswoman. It honestly wasn't until I started yoga that my relationship to that which I used to avoid changed—rather than judging myself harshly for not being able to break a “bad” habit, I began to observe the discord at an arm's length, and approach it with a process of enquiry. Why did I seem to be blocked around something I kept telling myself I wanted to do? What excuses was I making? What is it about this person, place, or thing that makes me uncomfortable? What is it telling me about myself? Is it only difficult because I am telling myself it is (I believe it was in Hamlet that Shakespeare wrote, “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”)?

Usually the things we avoid are the things we need the most.