I've had a whirlwind two days in Auckland for the NZIPP (NZ Institute of Professional Photographers) 2017 Summit! Day 1 included the AGM and I was fortunate to be asked to represent the Otago/Southland region for the Policy & Planning meeting too which was interesting and lots of fun. Day 2 was a full on day with NZIPP Grand Master Jason Naylor for an inspiring wedding photography workshop!
Anyone who has had a chat to me about the photography community I work in or the NZIPP, will know that I am immensely proud to be part of this organisation. The NZIPP is New Zealand's only qualifying body for professional photographers but that is not why I am an advocate. I'm a member because I have found my people & I know this is where I belong. The people I know through the NZIPP I consider as 'workmates' or my photography family. When you think about how isolated it can be as an entrepreneur working from home most days, it is a pretty cool thing to have this sort of community. And from just two days in Auckland I have gained so many more new friends!
The workshop was an interactive, conversational day with Jason. He talked to us about where he draws his inspiration from, how he does business and so much more. Regardless that Jason has an entirely different style & approach to his photography from me there is always something amazing to take away from these workshops. In fact one of the first things Jason talked about was how awesome it is that we are all different. My biggest inspiration from the day was getting to hear Jason's thought process as he set up shots and created images. It was also a privilege to hear how he made his Iris award winning images, he has a level of creativity that I am in awe of! If you don't already know Jason definitely go check out his award winning work here.
I am so thankful to have been given this opportunity to be involved in the NZIPP Summit, to have made new friends and to spend a day being inspired by a Grand Master! Fabulous memories made.
We honeymooned in Rarotonga 6 years ago and fell in love with everything about this island of paradise - the hot sand under your feet, swimming in the crystal clear lagoon, scootering around the island, swinging in a beachfront hammock listening to the sound of the coconut trees swaying gently in the sea breeze.
Last week Matt and I took off back to Rarotonga for a few days of relaxation. But before we left for our holiday I did worry about how taking a week off in the middle of our busy season would go!
As a self-employed creative who runs a business largely from a computer, with the requirement of a stable internet connection - taking a week away with no one there to look after my social media posts or deal with my inbox was somewhat unsettling.
Well today as I sit at my desk I am happy to report that I’m not behind in my work and that my business did not fall apart in my absence. I even gained some new followers on social media even though I wasn’t posting daily!!! 😱
And our week in Rarotonga has reminded me of the true art of relaxing. A bubble bath while you scroll through your Facebook newsfeed isn’t actually unwinding & relaxing. Being in the moment, enjoying the moment and not thinking about the next thing - that’s the definition of relaxing. Funny how it takes going to an island with little to no Wifi to remind us of these things.
So thank you Rarotonga! Until next time. xo
I love the idea of travelling. Exploring other parts of the world, seeing amazing sights, doing amazing things, trying new foods & experiencing different cultures. Turns out the reality of travelling for me is not quite the same as the ideals I have. After just three short weeks in the States I am BEYOND happy to be home, reunited with my Henry dog, the comfort of my own bed & the satisfaction of my stable Wifi connection! Travelling overseas is hard work for someone that loves organisation & order haha. But I am so happy to also have WONDERFUL memories from the biggest holiday we've ever been on!
Here's a small compilation video of some of the fun we had exploring the West Coast of the States!
After a huge flight we landed in San Francisco, for an action packed 4 days of sight-seeing. San Francisco was a bit of an add on to our trip. It just became convenient to fly in here first & out of LA on the way home. So I filled the few days we were there with tours and trips. Everyone thats done the West Coast of the States before told me how much they loved their time in San Francisco, how beautiful & great it was. But it actually didn't impress me. We had three days of fog which didn't help, it was a lot colder than I expected & I found it was quite dirty with so many homeless people. Fisherman's Wharf was cool but it still didn't get me excited. By the time we left San Fran I was truly homesick. I'm super glad we packed heaps into our few days there, because we got to see some amazing stuff outside of the city!
On our first day we made our way down to the piers & jumped on a ferry for Alcatraz Island, situated 2 km off the shores of San Francisco & often referred to as 'The Rock'. The history of the island itself is incredible & the tour of the penitentiary was eye-opening to see how cold & isolated the convicts would have been.
Up early again on day two for a bus ride out to the Muirwood National Forest. These giant redwood trees are famous from the Planet of the Apes movies. And in real life they are just as magical. These trees are thousands of years old & truly massive!
On our last full day in San Francisco we took a 12 hour tour all the way out to Yosemite National Park. By now neither of us were that thrilled about getting up early for such a big day but it was SO worth it! I don't honestly know how to describe the vistas of Yosemite. The views are so off the scale huge it's hard to believe they're real. We got four hours in the park which definitely was not enough. If we came back to this part of America we both agreed we'd love to spend a week in the park itself just exploring!
On the way home from the park our awesome bus driver stopped in at Treasure Island so we could see the night lights of San Francisco and the Bay Bridge!
Our next city was Las Vegas & from one extreme to another. The miserable weather of San Francisco was replaced with the heavy air of 40 degree heat in Vegas. Everything about Vegas is extreme! Anything goes in Sin City. The resorts & casinos are just out to be better and bigger than the one next door, you will see people wearing anything and doing anything, the casinos are full of people throwing money onto tables & sliding bill after bill into slot machines and you start wondering how many come to this city just to gamble. The night life is thumping, with music on the streets, blaring out of clubs & that's before you even get dazzled by all the neon.
The resorts seem to be themed. Matt & I experienced Paris, Venice, New York & more just in our five days in Vegas. We had a blast just experiencing Vegas & soaking up the vibe of the crazy place. We gambled a little, drank a little, shopped a little and saw ALOT.
While we were in Vegas we got a helicopter ride out to the Grand Canyon, flying over the Hoover Dam & Lake Mead before descending 4000 feet down into the Canyon itself for a champagne breakfast. Amazing! If you come to Vegas you must definitely do this!
The last city of our trip was Los Angeles. A total of seven days because this was the reason I truly wanted to go on this holiday in the first place. There is something about this city and the area we stayed in that attracted me & as soon as we arrived at the hotel in Santa Monica I fell in love. The hotel was AMAZING. The views from the hotel room were amazing. Santa Monica beach and pier was amazing. It was everything I imagined & it's hard to describe exactly why I loved it here, because it seems like nothing compared to some of the incredible sights we'd already seen & things we'd done. By the time we landed at LAX I was homesick & ready to get home, but after an afternoon exploring Santa Monica it became a question of if I'd ever want to leave!
As you can see we had an awesome time & my love affair with the West Coast is definitely not over! However I've had enough of long haul flights for quite some time ;)