A Snapshot of 2018 | Avon Valley, Wheatbelt & Perth Wedding, Family, Event & Commercial Photographer}

As 2018 draws to a close, it's time to reflect on what an amazing year its been for me, with a random selection of some of my favourite images from the past 12 months.

A big year for my business, 2018 saw me awarded Owner/Operator of The Year at the annual Wheatbelt Business Excellence Awards, and a Finalist in the Best Home Based Business category at the Avon Valley Business Excellence Awards. I also managed to squeeze more than 50 weddings, family, event and commercial gigs in, plus a number of incredibly satisfying personal projects. And The Wheatbelt Collective grew from a simple light bulb moment to a successful collaboration with a bunch of great local suppliers and creatives.

So here they are, thirty memorable moments from 2018, in no particular order.  An eclectic mix of images from the incredible work I've been privileged to shoot throughout the year, plus a few from my own collection too, including a couple of self portraits.  Because its important for photographers to make time to document our own lives too (and because they took me forever to get right, so I’m pretty darn proud of them!).

So a huge thank you to all of you who have made 2018 so rewarding for me.  Because without you, my amazing clients, friends and family, I wouldn't have been witness to these moments, or had the opportunity to create these beautiful images.

Have a fabulous Christmas and New Year, and I'll see you all again in 2019!

 

Meckering Earthquake Gala Dinner | Meckering WA | 13 October 2018 {Perth, Avon Valley & Wheatbelt Event Photographer}

On the 14th October 1968, an earthquake rocked the small Wheatbelt town of Meckering in Western Australia, demolishing 60 of the 75 homes, and most of the commercial buildings in a matter of minutes. The population was effectively reduced to a quarter of its original 500 inhabitants, as most of the business owners and many local families never returned to rebuild.

But fast forward 5 decades, and Meckering is again a thriving community with the vision and talent required to host a remarkable commemoration weekend recently, in celebration of 50 years since that fateful day. And I had the pleasure of covering the glitzy evening that was the Gala Dinner on the Saturday night!

Held in a Swan Events marquee in the middle of town, 200 guests from all over Australia enjoyed a fabulous 3 course dinner catered by Citron’s Catering, an exclusive commemorative beer by Lucky Bay Brewing (aptly named Richter Ale!), and music by DJ Mac and one of our favourite local bands, Another Fine Mess. Rosary Floral Design provided the gorgeous floral arrangements dotted around the marquee, while the boys from the Cunderdin Football Club did a sterling job of serving tables throughout the evening.

Then Sunday saw over 2000 people descend on the town for a day of celebration, which included bus tours to the earthquake fault line, a display of memorabilia in the Hall, and the unveiling of the revamped earthquake walk trail.

A huge thanks must go out to Rebekah Burges and her team of 30 local volunteers, for the 12 months of work that went into bringing this incredible weekend to fruition. What a credit to you all, and a shining example of what’s possible out here in the Wheatbelt!

 

Helena & Aurora Range | Koolyanobbing WA | September 2018 {Avon Valley & Wheatbelt Documentary Photographer}

The Helena and Aurora Range (also known as Bungalbin by the Kalamala Kapurn people) lies 100km north of Southern Cross, near the mining town of Koolyanobbing in WA.

Surrounded by the Great Western Woodlands, and classified as a Conservation Reserve within the Yilgarn Shire, this is a special place which only recently escaped mining through the recommendations made to government by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

The range is a 10km Banded Ironstone Formation (BIF) containing more than 350 native plant species, and a number of remarkable animals - according to the brochure. Although to be honest, we didn’t hear boo from the animals, although we did find some roo poo up in the caves along the eastern side, and there were a couple of crows hanging around our camp!

Of these threatened species, the Malleefowl and Tetratheca aphylla, subspecies aphylla (a spiky little number with a delicate pink flower) are the rarest, with the latter being the main reason the range was given a temporary reprieve from mining. The whole area really needs to be made a Class A National Park though, to give it greater protection, because under WA Law a Conservation Reserve can still be mined. And pooey to that, I say!

So last weekend my old Uni mate Hugh and I packed the bare minimum (just the important stuff, like swags and food, a winch and a coffee perculator), and headed east to explore the ranges. And this is what we came home with... no words required, really. And all made possible by that big piece of blue Duplo, the Toyota FJ Cruiser, which took us into places your average 4WD couldn’t, and allowed us to climb to the very top of the ridge at dawn to shoot the sun rising over the Woodlands. Truly spectacular...

 

The Wheatbelt Way | A Road Trip | May 2018 {Avon Valley & Wheatbelt Documentary Photographer}

With my Autumn weddings done and dusted, I took the opportunity for a three day Roadie earlier this week, heading north-east to the shire of Mt Marshall on the edge of the Wheatbelt, where the Emu Proof Fenceline divides our farmland from station country.  

Late Autumn is such a beautiful time of the year out there.  The days are warm and still, the flies are (mostly!) gone, and the evenings cool.  But it's also the driest time of the year, normally following a long hot Summer, and before the first rains of Winter settle the dust and germinate the newly sown crops. 

Founded on a nomadic pastoral industry, which later included the cutting of sandalwood, the Shire of Mt Marshall takes in the tiny towns of Bencubbin and Beacon, running north to the Emu Proof Fenceline. Nowadays it mostly consists of vast areas of flat, open cropping country, pockets of bush teaming with native flora and fauna, long straight gravel roads, the remnants of small settlements, and some very large rocks.

So, armed with my Fuji XPro2 + 18-135mm lens, plus a few other essentials, like food, water, my coffee machine and a Wheatbelt Drive Trail Map, I headed east to the Beacon Caravan Park, to set up camp - ever conscious of the fact that I was going to be far more comfortable in my Donga than my great great great grandfather JS Roe would have been, when he first discovered and explored this country in 1836! 

  And for the next three days I drove long distances, trekked through bush, climbed rocks with easy to spell names names like Billiburning, Elachbutting and Beringbooding, and watched farmers kick up trails of dust across the landscape with their seeding machines.  I also walked through towns (both existing and extinct), and met a few of the locals, including Bruce and Mal, who offered me a stiff cup of black tea and a rollie, and took me through the Beacon Men's Shed, and a short history of the tractor in Australia. 

But mostly I just hung out on my own.  Sometimes it's good to just quiet the chaos, to switch off and celebrate the simple things in our own backyard. That's what this trip was all about for me. And maybe a little bit about taking photos too, because, well, that's just what I do! 

 

The Grand Ball | Northam Women in Business Fundraiser | The Grand, Northam WA | 24 February 2018 {Perth, Avon Valley & Wheatbelt Event Photographer}

Last Saturday night the Northam Women in Business hosted their second annual Grand Ball, at The Grand, Northam, and what an evening of glitz and glamour it was!

 The proceeds of this gala event are awarded in the form of a Business Scholarship, to a local woman looking to open and/or continue to run her own business in the Avon Valley. The process for applying includes a written application and interview with a panel of representatives from the Bendigo Bank, The Northam Chamber of Commerce, and the wider business community. 

Applicants are required to demonstrate their desire, ability and readiness to either start or continue a career, venture or vocation that will bring wide ranging benefits to the Northam business and social community.

A huge amount of time and effort goes into creating an event like this, with dozens of sponsors, suppliers and donors contributing to make it second to none. So a big thankyou to all those who donated, especially our Gold Sponsor, the Bendigo Bank, and our Silver Sponsors the Commonwealth Bank, The Grand Northam, SportsPower, West Coast Fireworks, Darren West, Simply Spectacles, and Angie Roe Photography.  

Special thanks also to the following event suppliers, for making it such an awesome evening!  The Grand, Northam, Confetti & Co, Chalk on York, and Studio Luxe Candle Company (venue, styling and decorations), Swift Hound Films (videography), Citrons Catering and Confetti & Co (catering), Rosary Floral Design (flowers), Rhyce Toovey, BellyDance Bombshells Perth and Another Fine Mess (entertainment), WestCoast Fireworks (pyrotechnics), Leeson Digital and Jodie Longmire (marketing and artwork), and Spuds Marquee Hire (marquee).

And although I couldn't possibly list you all (there were more than 70 of you!), a huge thankyou to all the local businesses who donated their wares to both the auction and silent auction which were held on the night, and also to the people who bid on them. Your generosity contributes a significant amount of the funds required to make both The Grand Ball and the Business Scholarship possible, and we simply couldn't do it without you.

And the result of all this hard work and vision?  A fantastic night full of glitz and glamour, which saw guests enjoying the incredible grazing and dessert tables (think sweets with names like pear and almond frangipani flan!), and a host of entertainers, including Rhyce and the band, and our gorgeous belly dancers, who even brought their own snakes along - as you do!   

Now all that remains to see is who wins the scholarship!

 

The Wheatbelt Collective | Rustic Boho Styled Shoot | Faversham House & Mt Brown, York WA | 17 January 2018 {Perth, Avon Valley & Wheatbelt Wedding Photographer}

The Wheatbelt Collective has now been established for just over 6 months, with the aim of seeking out the best of our local Avon Valley and Wheatbelt talent, in order to provide both city and country folk with a host of quality suppliers to choose from, when planning a wedding or event in a rural area. 

Founded by myself and the lovely ladies from Confetti & Co and Petallica Flower Co, the Wheatbelt Collective is a collaboration between like minded wedding and event specialists, based in the Avon Valley, just east of Perth in WA.  

The Avon Valley and Wheatbelt offer a stunning backdrop to any style of wedding or event, and being local to these regions, we have an intimate knowledge of rural venues and suppliers, which means that together, we can help you plan a unique and exciting day that runs smoothly, is loaded with personality, and most importantly, reflects you and your event.

We are not a directory of suppliers as such, but rather, a bunch of creatives who love to work together, and who take our recommendations seriously, which is where our styled shoots come in.  The aim of these shoots is to not only have fun creating something awesome, but to allow us the opportunity to work with local suppliers we may not have worked with before, and in turn, showcase both them, and what we can offer you in the country, should you choose to keep it local.  

So in preparation for our summer shoot, we put our heads together to brainstorm something uniquely suited to our region, and invited an amazing bunch of both new and old businesses to contribute. And not only did they all do an incredible job, but they were also totally lovely to work with, which means we'll definitely be recommending them in the future! 

So a huge thanks to Nola at Faversham House for providing such a perfect backdrop (and a beautiful cool room to get ready in, on a very hot, sticky day!).  And to Jasmine Fowler for her incredible hair and makeup work with our fabulous model, Ash, to create a natural, summery boho look.  And to Kimberley from Blue Silk Design Studio for not only providing a stunning gown, but for tailoring it to Ash on the day. Also to Sue from Birdsnest Gallery of Old and New Things for all her gorgeous rustic knick knacks for our table styling, and to Angela from The Knotty Kiwi for her stunning macrame backdrop, flower wrap, table runner and chair pieces.  

And of course, to Sarah and Holly of Confetti & Co for providing the brief for a rustic, summery, vintage boho look, full of natural tones and pops of pink, peach and copper, and for their fabulous table and arbour styling on the day.  And to Sarah from Petallica Flower Co for all the beautiful blooms you see, and finally, to Lauren and Ben from Swift Hound Films for their incredible film footage, which I really can't begin to describe, so seriously, just watch it, people! 

And following is the result. Which I have no words for.  Except to say that I feel immensely proud (and lucky) to be surrounded by so many wonderful personalities, and such talent, right here where I live.  This is what we are capable of out here, and I think you'll agree, there's really no need to go to Perth, or to source your suppliers from the city, when planning a wedding or event in the Avon Valley or Wheatbelt!