Scott + Rebecca | Laurelville Manor, York WA | 26 October 2019 {Perth, Avon Valley & Wheatbelt Photographer}

Scott and Bec were blessed with a glorious Summer day for their stunning wedding, held at historic Laurelville Manor in York, Western Australia recently.

This wedding was packed with all the elements that get me excited, from the location, just 20 minutes down the road from me in the beautiful Avon Valley region, to the venue (one of our best loved local properties) and the couples families, a bunch of lovely farming folk, some of whom I know from my days in the agricultural industry. Not to mention the dusty paddocks on the outskirts of town that Scott and Bec chose for their bridal portraits - what more could a country based photographer with a background in agriculture ask for?!

A huge thanks to the following vendors for helping create such a stunningly elegant day for this gorgeous young couple. Laurelville Manor (venue), Kay hair & Co (hair), Mint Makeup Artist (makeup), Flowers By Elli Paige (florals), Ryan Clune (celebrant), Heyder & Shears Catering (catering), Audrey Davies (cake), Madi Lane Bridal (gown) and Joondalup Marquees (marquee).

And of course, a big thankyou to Scott and Bec for inviting me to cover your special day for you - it was such a delight to be there with you all!

 

The Wheatbelt Collective | Classic Elegant Winter Styled Shoot | Buckland Estate, WA | 16 June 2019 {Perth, Avon Valley & Wheatbelt Wedding Photographer}

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

Our aim as a collective has always been to provide a space for talented locals in the wedding and events industry to get creative, share ideas, and work together, towards the common goal of providing both city and country folk with a host of quality suppliers to choose from, when planning a wedding or event in a rural area. 

So when we heard that one of our most loved and historic homesteads, Buckland Estate, was being renovated as a new wedding and event venue, we joined forces with the new owners, keen to showcase the endless possibilities this incredible property has to offer.

And I had a personal incentive for being involved too. It was my fourth great grandparents, Charles Pratt and Ann Solomon, who upon arrival from England in 1830, began building on their newly allocated land holding, 120km east of the Swan River Colony, near the fledgling town of Northam. Their daughter Ann Ellen Pratt went on to marry one of Charles’ employees, a Seaman named James McLean Dempster, and together they produced the long line of Dempsters that are well known to both Buckland Estate and the local Northam area, to this day.

And what better way to explore the options, and to get word out about this fabulous new venue, than with an elegantly styled shoot full of classic feels, and warm, Wintery tones? A huge thanks to the following vendors and suppliers for contributing their wares and talents on the day, and for doing us proud in the country once again!

Russell, of Buckland Estate (venue) for all his hard work landscaping and renovating in the months leading up to the shoot, which provided us with a perfect backdrop on the day.  Sarah and Holly at Confetti & Co (planning & styling) for providing the brief and organising the shoot, and for their delightful table setting on the day. Sarah from Petallica Flower Co (floristry) for all the beautiful blooms you see, and Jamine Fowler (HMUA) for her incredible hair and makeup work with our fabulous model, Molly.  And finally, Yvette from Yvette’s Cakes (cake) for the delicious cake you see nestled amongst the candles and fruit on that delectable Winter table setting.

So if you’re in the process of planning a wedding or event, and you are yet to nail the perfect location, get in touch with Sarah and Holly at Confetti & Co to arrange a viewing of this beautiful venue. Otherwise, make your way out to Buckland Estate on Sunday 11th August 2019 between 11am and 3pm for the Wedding Open Day, being co-hosted by Confetti & Co. You’'ll have an opportunity to look over the venue, and to speak to a select team of fabulous vendors (both local and Perth based) who will be on-hand to answer any wedding related questions you might have. Plus there’ll be food trucks and a drinks van, so why not make a day of it, and we’ll see you there!

 

Tim + Zoe | Avon Valley Country Wedding | Beverley WA | 30 March 2019 {Perth, Avon Valley & Wheatbelt Wedding Photographer}

As many of you will know, I love a good Avon Valley or Wheatbelt wedding, and Tim and Zoe’s beautiful day held out in Beverley, just over 100 kilometres from Perth, certainly didn’t disappoint.

From the leafy surrounds of the Station Gallery for the ceremony, to the paddocks on the outskirts of town as a backdrop for bridal portraits, and the romance of one of our treasured Art Deco buildings for their reception, the town of Beverley really was the perfect wedding location for this local farming family. As was the weather - a glorious Autumn day full of light and colour (and the usual sprinkling of dust we get at this time of year!).

Add to that a team of awesome vendors and hard working, creative locals, and you have the recipe for an event to rival anything currently being produced in the city. All credit to the following people for making Tim and Zoe’s day so completely fabulous - you guys really know how to nail a country wedding! Carissa Shaw (P&C event co-ordinator), Beverley Electrical Services (festoon lighting), Love Ashleigh Perth Marriage Celebrant (celebrant), Foliage Bespoke Floral Design (flowers), Grandscene Wedding & Event Hire (furniture hire), Simple & Beautiful Catering (catering), Three Shucker (oysters), Say Cheese Towers & Blue Cow Cheese Company (cheese platters & cake), Hair By Sonora & Naomi Payne Hair (hair), Freelance Make-up Artist (make-up), The Wedding DJ (music), and Mr Potplants (plant hire).

Congratulations Tim and Zoe, and thank you for having me along to document your special day for you…

 

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!