Documenting your life: Part 2

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Documenting your life: Part 2

Here we are on Part 2 of Documenting your life and today I wanted to talk about a great way to prioritise this (and make it easier on yourself) to capture your life regularly.  If you missed Part 1 about how to flex your beauty seeking muscle - you can read it here

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A great way to make sure you're capturing your life from year to year is to create family (or couple) traditions.  Make something fun that you do every year - it could be camping, an annual all-out big family picnic, taking your family to the mountains, a board-game night, making a big deal over the first day of school, or taking on the local festival as a family.  Whatever it is - make it fun, make it special and capture it.  Another option is to have the tradition BE the photoshoot.  Every Springtime, you could do a professional photoshoot and hold it in a different location - a city adventure, amongst the springtime blossoms, or bundled up for an in-home session!

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You could make a small album of this special day every year.  How cool will it be to look back on in 5, 10 years time - memorialising this same event every year - seeing how you've changed, how much you've grown with the same constant theme running through it (your tradition).  

Creating family traditions makes time for the important things in life - time with your loved ones!!  I remember one of my close friends used to have one Friday night a month where they would have a 'family night' where they used to do all sorts of activities together - from board games, to going to the cinemas, to a dinner cooked by every one together.  No matter what, they all had to be there (they were older kids).  They all looked forward to it too, it wasn't a chore.  I was a little disappointed we didn't have something similar in our family at the time, but I vowed I would create something similar in my  own family one day.  

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Do you have any family traditions?  Would love to hear them in the comments below!

I am now available for Spring Family sessions in Switzerland!  Get in touch if you want me to capture your first family tradition!

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Zivilstandsamt wedding

Luis and Silvia approached me to take some romantic portraits of them during and after their civil marriage ceremony in Basel.  These two were doing a low-key legal ceremony ahead of their big catholic ceremony but still wanted to remember this special day.  I have to say that Luis and Silvia were such a pleasure to know and photograph.  They were full of life, so relaxed and happy. It was a joy to be around them. It's when I get clients like this that I feel like i have the best job in the world.  

Weddings isn't something I usually offer, however this was more like a couple shoot with a ceremony at the start.  It's the parts of a wedding I love shooting the most so this was a pleasure to take on.  Here are my favourite shots from the day...

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Product review: IXXI

We haven't lived in our new place long - it's coming up to a year now, and I'm only just getting around to getting some art on the wall!  We only took one special art piece by talented Shirley Fisher (pictured below) which also reminds me of beautiful Western Australia.  

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I ordered a couple of prints from Society 6 (which haven't been hung yet) and I was looking for some affordable ways to hang some of my own photographs.  Don't get me wrong - I think spending the money on quality prints and frames is SO worth every penny, however I am the worst decision maker when it comes to hanging pictures, so was looking for something that looks great and doesn't break the bank, easy to hang and arrives quickly (as we're having guests in our house in April.  That's when I stumbled across IXXI.  

Ixxi is a dutch company which prints your photos (or one of their stock images) into small 20x20cm squares which can be clipped together using plastic to create big pieces of art. You can choose to have one image spread across multiple squares, or individual pictures for each square to create a collage/instagrammy feel. I took the plunge and designed and ordered a 140cm x 100cm piece using my own photos....  Here's the result:

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In case any of you were wanting to order you own, I wanted to share my thoughts on this products.  First with the downsides:

  • The print quality wasn't fantastic.   It has an option to use instagram photos and I actually used a couple from my instagram (to save me the heartache of trying to find the originals on my hard drive). I first thought it was because of this that the quality wasn't great.  However 70% of these photos were high resolution from my DSLR camera and the quality was still terrible.  It looks as though they have over sharpened the images.  Close-up it bothers me, but from a distance you can't tell too much.  My husband said he thought it looked fine and that I only notice it because i'm a photographer.  Maybe, but still I expected a bit better quality print.  
  • The way you hang it up is relatively straight-forward and is pretty 'DIY'.  It probably took me about 40 minutes to put it together and hang. Putting the pictures on the clips was easy with the tool they provide, however there is a step where you have to put the clips on a clear piece of plastic tape.  The tool didn't work for this (as the plastic bends) and it really hurt my fingers to get it on without the tool.  
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As for what i did like?

  • The overall effect is quite cool.  I love that you can create big pieces of art that has impact and is really affordable for the size.  
  • I love that you can swap out some tiles and get new ones printed. This would be great for a family where you want to replace family pictures with new/different ones.  
  • The price - I complain about the print quality and that it was a little difficult to set up, however for the price (I paid about 120 euro), I understand the quality might not be as good as I hoped.  It is very affordable and a good option for many.  
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Just in case you were wondering - this post isn't sponsored!  Just wanted to share my experience with this product!  Have you got an IXXI?   Let me know how you like it below.

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An expats guide to Basel Fasnacht

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An expats guide to Basel Fasnacht

Even though I had been in Basel for three christmas's, I'd never once seen Fasnacht.  Patrick had, of course, known and loved this festival since he was a child. I am so proud of him as this past year he has learnt to play the trombone to take part in Fasnacht with Grachsymphoniker.   I remember even in the years we were in Australia, he would be up in the middle of the night watching the live stream on the internet.  I didn't quite get it!

Now I do.  Basler Fasnacht has made the UNESCO list for Intangible Cultural heritage and it is referred to as die drey scheenschte Dääg (the three most beautiful days). The only way for me to describe it is an explosion of colour, music and art.   There are many similar festivals nearby in Switzerland and Germany however the Basel Fasnacht is the most well-known.  It also has its own unwritten rules (i'll detail some of them below) and 'Baseleans' can always spot (and frown upon) the outsiders when they don't follow the 'rules'.

Fasnacht begins with people pouring down the streets of basel early on Monday morning making their way to the city for morgestraich.  This alone was quite a surreal experience. Getting up before 3am to cram on a tram with adults and children alike dressed up in their festive costumes and then walking over the mittlerebrücke with hundreds of others, wishing each other 'schöne morgestraich'.  You can feel the buzzing energy as people anticipate the start of the carnival. At exactly 4am, the city lights go out.  Even stores which are open have to block out their windows.  All you can see are the colourful lanterns and all you can hear the sound of piccolo's and drums as they parade in the old town of Basel.  Each of the Fasnacht groups, called cliques, choose a theme which is conveyed in their lantern artwork and costumes.  They comment on social and political issues and are usually highly satirical. I heard someone say that Fasnacht takes the dark and turns it into light!  This year we saw the 'Ballistic Games' featuring North Korea and USA in an olympic style parade and also a few featuring 'bugs' commenting on the newly opened restaurant that sells a burger made from insects!

The carnival lasts for exactly 72 hours - finishing on Thursday morning at 4am.  I spoke to a band member who said Fasnacht has so many elements of life in it - It has joy, music, love, colour, humour and celebration, but because it runs through the night, you can feel exhausted. It also highlights some pretty grim themes happening in our world (even if it is in a humourous way).  It was incredible to hear some of the members of Grachsymphoniker had injuries (or injured them self during the carnival) yet continued through pain to be part of it.  You witness great loyalty and team spirit amongst the bands. 

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A parade (Cortège) of all the groups happens Monday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon.  All the shops close so everyone can enjoy the festivities.  It consists of the guggemusik (brass bands), cliques (pipers and drummers) with their lantern floats, and waggis wagen.  People (mostly kids) will hold out their hands and call after the waggis to give them treats - they hand out flowers, fruit and vegetables, drinks (even beer!), lollies and loads of confetti!  Most of the kids are after the lollies - I witnessed a child get quite disappointed when he put his hand out and received a carrot!

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If you are a Fasnacht first-timer, you might want to follow these unwritten rules of Fasnacht:

  • Confetti (Räppli) is only sold, bought and thrown in individual colours.  This was put in place to stop people reselling 'used' confetti. You also should not pick up confetti from the floor and throw it again - make sense... who wants confetti mixed with dirt thrown in your face?
  • Confetti should not be thrown at masked participants of the carnival - I suppose this is a sign of respect for those taking part
  • Everyone should buy a Fasnacht Blaggedde (badge) - they have 4 'levels' of badges ranging in price.  The proceeds go to each of the groups to help them cover expenses of the carnival.  If you're not wearing one - expect to get dumped with confetti a few times!  They say if you don't buy one, you are harming Fasnacht
  • Fasnacht is renowned for its masks, not painted faces as it is in other carnivals.  You'll stick out like a sore thumb (perhaps not in a good way) if you paint your face rather than wear a mask. 
  • There may be times you have to cross the parade route to get to another location - its is disrespectful to cross through a band, you should wait until it has passed and cross between bands.  On this same note, you should always move out the way for the bands.  More than likely, they will not stop/move for you anyway, so if you don't want a drumstick in your face - make way!
  • If you speak German, you should know that everyone is on first name basis at the carnival, which means you'll be saying the informal 'du' instead of formal 'Sie'
  • Guggemusik don't perform at Morgestraich as this is reserved only for Clique groups, but in return the Tuesday night concert at Marktplatz is only for guggemusik
  • When they turn the lights off at 4am for morgestraich it should be be dark - photo flashes are frowned upon!

A couple of other things you should know is that Fasnacht is loud and crowded and takes over the entire city.  The trams don't run through the city which means you'll have to put on your walking shoes.  Due to the close proximity to the smoking-loving swiss, you'll probably inhale quite a bit of smoke too (and thats not including the smoke bombs they often let off).  But the joy, music and celebration is worth the inconveniences. I definitely think that everyone going through Basel should experience it!

 

 

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Documenting your life: Part 1

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Documenting your life: Part 1

It makes me sad that we know very little about those that have passed away some time ago when technology wasn't as readily available and we didn't have the fortune of having a camera with us at every moment of the day.  Maybe ancestry websites can tell you bits and pieces such as date of birth, date of death, cause of death, marriage details etc, but these tell us very little about who a person was.  How he smiled at his loved ones, the singing club she was part of that she loved so much, the thick-rimmed glasses that all his friends and family knew him for, the fact that after a glass of wine she always wanted to dance... all these little details is what we love people for.

We are in a new era!  Generations after us will know so much more about us.  There will be so many photographs and videos and Facebook status updates (*cringe*) that they can hopefully access.  I often ponder on this idea and feel such a strong desire to give them incredible images.  I'm not talking about a million mediocre, mindless iPhone snaps... but REAL, EMOTIVE, BEAUTIFUL images that reflect the stuff that matters like how madly we loved one another, the laughs we shared together, the way we grew up and learned.  

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Because this is so important to me (and hopefully you too), I'm starting a series on my blog to give you the knowledge and inspiration to document and capture your life in a thoughtful way.  It's almost like you're writing you'll be recording your autobiography as it actually happens.  My series will focus on a diverse range of topics from how to organise your photos to overcoming self-consciousness.    Today's topic is:

And above all,
watch with glittering 
eyes the whole
world around you
because the greatest
secrets are always
hidden in the most
unlikely places.
Those who don’t
believe in magic
will never find it.
— Roald Dahl

Finding the beauty in everyday

I think most people will be thinking:  "I have nothing to photograph on a day-to-day basis, nothing out of the ordinary happens".  

Nobody's life is unicorns, glitter and adventure 24/7.  Even the glamorous personalities you see on Instagram still do all the 'normal' activities you may see as nothing special.  However there is magic in the mundane, and stories to tell in the repetitive tasks - you just have to look a little closer.  

How to exercise your beauty-seeking muscle

  1. Select a part of your day that you usually just gloss over - it could be getting dinner ready, or your daily walk in the park, the first half an hour on a Sunday morning, or getting the kids ready for bed.  Approach this moment with the purpose of finding the beauty in it.  Look for the little moments and how you feel about them (and they don't always have to be happy to be beautiful). 
  2. Be observant of facial expressions and the movements of your/their body - particularly reactions to what is going on. 
  3. Observe how the light looks - is it harsh, or soft, or a glow from a lamp. What colour is it?  How does the light make you/your loved ones look?  
  4. What sounds do you hear - laughing, birds singing, the kettle boiling, how does your loved ones voice sound?
  5. Express gratitude - think about what makes you grateful in this moment, maybe its the fresh air, seeing your child's joy, the peaceful morning light.  There will always be something to be grateful for - even if you're staring at a pig-sty of a house - you can be grateful for all the living that created the mess, the joy it has brought you, the fortune of owning so many wonderful things!
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The way I express gratitude is by taking a photo of it.  I look at the whole scene, but consider what is it I want to highlight or express in my photo.  Is it their hair, or the details of their hand, the emotion, or are you telling a story by taking a few steps back and showing an entire scene. 

Seeing the beauty in the everyday is a bit of optimism and a bit of mindfulness.  You need to be in a positive frame of mind and be living in the moment.  No matter how 'boring' the moment may be - see the beauty and capture it!   A great way to practice this is by participating an a 52 week or 365 (daily) photo project - you can either just take a photo each day/week, or find a prompt list that you can follow. 

Happy beauty seeking!

 

 

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Caroline & John | Basel Couples Photographer

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Caroline & John | Basel Couples Photographer

I had the pleasure of taking photos of fellow photographer Caroline and her lovely partner John last weekend.  They have a beautiful apartment in Basel - lots of light coming in with large windows and so homely with their eclectic and creative style.  Their window sill is lined with cacti, plants and treasures, there's art all over the walls and books galore - it gives me all the heart eyes!  

There's something I love about photographing people in their own home - people are more comfortable, its more personal and the outcome is more customised to them meaning the images will tell more of a story.  I think Caroline & John's photos show how much love they have for one another - the way they look at each other, how they hold hands and the laughs they share.  They've been with each other for 13 years - I think everyone hopes to still share this sort of connection to their loved ones after so long. <3

In-home sessions is something I want to do much more of in 2018.  If you want some images like this - contact me to book in!

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An Australians' experience living in Switzerland

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An Australians' experience living in Switzerland

It's been a year since this Australian got on a plane to Switzerland, not knowing how long we'll be here for or what challenges, travels and momentous occasions will unfold.  I have to start this post by counting my blessings and although not every moment has been peachy, I do realise not everyone is fortunate enough to live in two beautiful countries such as Australia and Switzerland. 

I wanted to share what its been like for me, an Australian, to move to Basel - the quirks, the awesome surprises and the things that make me want to pack my bags and take the next plane back to Australia. 

The scenery

I had a funny encounter with a check-out lady who picked up on my accent. She couldn't understand why I had moved to Switzerland when I came from such a beautiful country.  She said she'd move to Australia in a heartbeat if she won lotto.  I remember saying something along the same lines to my husband - "Why would you move to Australia when you live in Switzerland!?" I'm not denying the beauty of Australia, however the Swiss landscape leaves little to be desired (okay, maybe the beach!) - majestic mountains and crystal blue lakes do something to my soul! I feel at peace around a landscape so grand.  

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They're not breakfast people

I tell you, I'm missing the cool cafes/restaurants of Perth - Harvest Espresso, Bib & Tucker, Imp, Tiisch and so many more.  I am dying for some creative breakfast food!  The truth is, they don't really do breakfast here - it's all croissants and muesli, which is okay... but it's a bit boring. Their brunch consists of meat, cheese, bread and if they're really out there - scrambled eggs and bacon.  It sounds like such a superficial thing, but visiting cool cafes was one of my most favourite things to do to relax. Cool interior design, awesome tasty food and good coffee.... c'mon Switzerland!

Post comes on Saturdays 

Poor posties - they work 6 days a week... but it means we can get packages delivered on Saturdays too!  hooray!

The seasons

In Australia  (Perth specific)- there's basically two seasons - hot/warm weather, or rainy, slightly colder weather.  In Switzerland, Every one of the seasons brings a different landscape - the many flowers of spring time, the warm summer and blue skies, the spectacular shades of orange, red and brown in Autumn (where leaves actually fall off the trees) and the snow, bare trees and blistering cold of winter. I've seen so much more beauty in the seasons!!

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Swiss checkout assistants don't work as hard as the Aussies

Okay, maybe they do work just as hard but I actually miss food shopping in Australia.  It's so easy - great variety in each spacious supermarket, pick your food take it to the checkout, then put the bagged groceries in your trolley, to the car and then your home.  In Switzerland - It's a bit more effort.  When you pick your fruit and vegies, you then have to weigh it, put in the code and put a sticker barcode on each item.  Then when you get to the checkout (its a bit like Aldi) you have to bag it all yourself. It gets a bit chaotic when you're trying to bag everything before the next customer, pray you remembered to put the barcode on everything, and pay for it.  All my items are just thrown in the bags... lucky the bread is crusty and doesn't get squashed too much!  All plastic bags cost money here (so everyone generally brings their own) and then you've got to lug it home on the tram.  Food shopping should be an olympic sport here. I should get a medal! haha. 

Its easier to buy alcohol than panadol 

In supermarkets you can easily buy alcohol, even my corner supermarket has a good selection of wine, beer and spirits.  But panadol?  You need to go to the pharmacy.  We had a funny situation when we went to Mürren for a weekend and needed some panadol, but because it was a little town (only accessed by a gondola) and the town doctor passed away recently (!!!)  you couldn't buy any! Over the counter drugs are quite easily accessed in Australia, didn't realise this until I came here.  It annoys me I have to make a special trip to the pharmacy to buy panadol (first world problem, I know - but I live in Switzerland, all my problems are first world)

Dogs come everywhere

Honestly, nothing brightens my day more than seeing the happy dog on the tram that gets to go everywhere with their owner.  People are always out with their dogs, walking them, food shopping, getting lunch. Just don't forget to buy a big dog a ticket for the tram. I've seen (a few times now) dogs being carted around in prams. They honestly live the best life here, and they're pretty well behaved too... oh to be a dog in Switzerland! 

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No beach, No worries

So, there's no beach here - but that doesn't stop the Swiss from enjoying Summer!  They're out on the Rhine and multiple rivers and lakes around Switzerland with their beach towels and big inflatable flamingos bathing in the water and sunbathing on the grass. Some of the lakes are so clean and clear you can see the ducks legs paddling beneath the surface.

In fact, all year round - everyone is out enjoying the outdoors - hiking, skiing, swimming, skydiving, base jumping... it really is an adventurers paradise.

On the topic of water though- the water is so fresh and clean you can drink it straight from the tap. No filter required.

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They don't hip hooray 

After happy birthday we always do the hip hip hooray in Australia... maybe even a 'for she's a jolly good fello'.  But after the happy birthday (which they weirdly, all sing in English) there's nothing else... feels like its missing something!

Travel is cheap and easy

Travel is so easy. In a few short hours (or less) I can be in Italy, France, or Germany.  Its a 3 hour train trip to Paris, I can be in Germany or France in 10 minutes, and a short plane trip can take you to any european city.  The train trips through Switzerland  have the most beautiful views - I cannot put away my camera! Every time I'm on a train in Switzerland.. I count my lucky stars i'm here and get to see views like this on the reg. 

We also have access to a 'half-card'. We pay an annual fee to get half price off our train tickets - it's more than paid for itself. Sometimes they also have special day tickets - CHF29 for a day ticket. Considering I can get to any place in Switzerland in less than 3 hours it's easy and affordable to do day trips.

 View from the Train over Lac Léman (Lake Geneva)

View from the Train over Lac Léman (Lake Geneva)

So much more smoking

I have to say... it's my biggest gripe about living here.  There's double the amount of smokers here than in Australia. Switzerland is very behind in smoking laws.  They're allowed to smoke on train/tram/bus platforms, they smoke right at the entrance to many shops and restaurants and even in kids playgrounds.  (I should note they are just about to trial no smoking in 6 train stations across Switzerland - it's been met with much resistance).  In summer, I feel sad that I can't really dine outdoors without breathing in smoke.  It's made me so grateful for the strict laws in Australia that makes fresh air a common privilege, but ugh.... It's the bane of my existence here in Switzerland.

Tradition 

Switzerland is steeped in tradition.  Patrick always snickered at 'tradition' in Australia - as it usually means it's only been running for around 100 years (or less). In Switzerland there are many traditional events such as Fasnacht, Vogel Gryff and Desalpé (in the mountains) which have been running for more than a few centuries - sometimes it's been running for centuries beyond what's recorded so it's hard to determine when these started. It actually boggles my mind thinking of all the people that have come before us also taking part in these events.  Sometimes I'm amazed that such outdated, and down-right weird events still take place. In Zurich, they burn the 'böög' (English translation: boogie!) until its' head falls off. The longer his head stays on, the better the summer will be.  

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Desalpé in Charmey.  When the farmers adorn the cows/goats with bells and flowers and walk them down the mountain for winter.  

Expensive is an understatement

When I first arrived, I mentally converted the cost of things to AU$.  Probably a bad move!  AU$40 for a small plate of sushi (from the supermarket!), AU$20 for two Starbucks coffee's, AU$120 for two indian dishes, rice and 2 non-alcoholic drinks,  AU$5 for a short one-way tram trip to the city, AU$320 for a doctor visit (until you reach your health insurance excess).  The bright side is you obviously get paid much better here too.  But I can understand why some people can't afford to visit Switzerland for very long, but it makes visiting Italy even sweeter - "wait, the best pasta ever for 12 euro??? heck-to-the-yes".

They're serious about rules

Noise and recycling have the most restrictions in Switzerland. No noise from 10pm, and between 12-2pm and Sundays. So don't even think about assembling your ikea furniture during those times.  For recycling: take your glass to a local recycling station, take your plastic to the supermarket, your cardboard needs to be put together for a separate verge-side collection and general rubbish needs to be in swiss-approved bags for collection.  And for when the noise and recycling come together: No glass recycling on the weekends because it makes too much noise when you drop it in. Yes... I'm serious. 

 One of many delicious meals enjoyed in Italy!

One of many delicious meals enjoyed in Italy!

So overall - what's it like?

There are obviously things i miss about Australia - Sunshine almost all year round, fresh clean air, creative affordable food, and of course - my friends and family.  However 2017 was honestly one of the best years of my life.  I've learnt some German, been able to travel to some GORGEOUS places with amazing people and got to know so much more about how the Swiss live and enjoy life. Switzerland is a visual feast for the eyes and as a photographer I couldn't be happier.  Financially, I am so grateful to Switzerland for giving us opportunity to build our wealth for our futures.  It's taken some time to shift perspective from what I'm missing in Switzerland to what I have, but I think ending a year here and being able to reflect on all I've experienced has made me super grateful and 'hashtag-blessed' for all it's given me.  

Even though I wrote this blog post after a year, I am still continually surprised by things which are new to me - pleasant surprises and also things which are darn confusing.  I'm looking forward to another year of learning and swiss experiences.  If you haven't been, Switzerland is definitely worth a visit - let me know if you want any recommendations. 

 Lauterbrunnen Valley.

Lauterbrunnen Valley.

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 Zhanna - Pregnancy Announcement

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 Zhanna - Pregnancy Announcement

A few days ago, I went to visit my friend Zhanna (of Nomadic June Photography) in the South of Switzerland - I wanted to get creative and try out my new camera so we did a mini shoot in her home. What made it even sweeter is the fact that she's 4 months pregnant with her first child so we got to incorporate some beautiful maternity photos!  I love everything about these pictures... the tones, her gorgeous home, the cotton flowers and her cosy outfits. 

In 2018, this is the direction i'll be taking my photography and i'm excited to start offering in-home sessions just like this.  If you're interested in a shoot like this for yourself - get in touch!

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Autumn Family Session

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Autumn Family Session

A couple of weekends ago, i met the gorgeous Gama family.  With 4 children, I was expecting a busy 45 minutes, however the kids were super adorable and well behaved.  The littlest warmed up during the shoot and we ended up with some amazing photos for them to treasure for the rest of their lives!  Morning light is superb by the way - and it's great if you have little ones as they are a bit fresher and happier in the mornings.  

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Herbst Mini Sessions | Basel Family Photography

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Herbst Mini Sessions | Basel Family Photography

We had absolutely spectacular weather last weekend which made for some gorgeous family photos in Basel's Lange Erlen.  The leaves were a plenty and we got so many great shots. If you want to make the most of the Autumn colours - book your session today. I know just the spots to go for some beautiful pictures! 

Here are my favourites from the mini sessions:

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Hallan-Nickel Family

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Hallan-Nickel Family

This family was a total dream!  We went to one of my favourite locations in Basel for a family session - Lange Erlen Park.  It was so many beautiful spots and right now, the leaves are starting to turn orange.   We had a lot of fun making our way through the park, stopping at the river to throw some rocks in, before heading to a big corn field for some more.  

Couldn't be happier in how these photos turned out. Let me know if you want your own family session before the weather gets too cold!

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La Desalpe de Charmey 2017

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La Desalpe de Charmey 2017

One of the top activities I had to see in Switzerland was the annual cow descent.  There are numerous throughout Switzerland but we chose Charmey - a french speaking town in the canton of Fribourg.  The cows here make the tasty, world renowned Gruyere cheese, and is said to be one of the best festivals around.  

The descent has been taking place each year for centuries, and the festival in Charmey has been running for almost 40 years.  After 100 summer days grazing in the Alps, the farmers return the cows to their valley pastures before the winter arrives.  Apparently these cows produce over 3,000 tonnes of cheese every summer.   Alpine cheese is highly prized due to the quality of the milk - the cows graze on only grass and herbs which gives the milk and cheese a great taste and excellent quality.

We ended up getting a hotel in Fribourg as the Charmey hotels were all booked out.  A sign of how popular this festival is.  We made our way early to charmey village via train and bus.  The first group of animals came shortly afterward.  Crowds and TV Stations watched on as the cows (and some goats) were celebrated, adorned with flower headdresses and cowbells.  The farmers wear traditional dress including hand-stitched leather satchels (which the farmers apparently keep salt for cheese-making). 

These days, there aren't many days in which we show gratitude and respect to animals which serve us humans.  These cows give us milk, and a source of food.  They are a livelihood for many farmers and an important part of the swiss culture and trade.  It makes me so happy to see a community (and many visitors) get behind it.  (A side note:  even through Gruyere cheese is relatively cheap and plentiful in Switzerland, it sells for roughly AUD$90 a kilo in Australia!)

There were also many stands for wine, crafts, and of course - cheese! Alphorn players and brass bands entertained the crowds as the cows, horses and goats made their way through the village.  Traffic was backed up as the cows took precedence.  I felt like a had a true Swiss experience and I hope many others get to see it!

I made a little video from some of my photos and video clippings which hopefully give you a good glimpse of what the day is like. 

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Bramwell Family

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Bramwell Family

Forgive me while I catch up on some older family sessions.  This is the Bramwell family in the heart of the Alt Stadt in Basel.  We had a great time wondering the cobblestoned streets and capturing some beautiful family moments.  The youngest child, Jaxon really wanted to have a picture with a Basel tram - and making dreams come true is what i'm all about!  :-P

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Football and Scouts

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Football and Scouts

I love love love the concept of this shoot. Lillian and Emily's mother, Heather, wanted to capture her daughters hobbies!  Lillian enjoys playing football and is part of 2 different Swiss teams.  Emily is part of Scouts in Basel.  So we used nature and a football field to showcase and capture what they do best.  Completely adore this location - it was the perfect setting for each of their hobbies.  

I love that the focus of this shoot was on the girls' passions - it celebrates their individuality.  Every child should get the opportunity for this.  

Check out my favourites from the shoot:

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Assya & Matt

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Assya & Matt

When I met Assya and Matt, it was sweltering!  It was the hottest hour of an already hot day, and they were absolute troopers.  They chose the beautiful botanical gardens as it was a place they loved and I do too. Seriously... i think i could shoot there all day.  

These photos are something to treasure... it shows love, joy and beauty.  My top 3 things to photograph.  I love when couples invest in themselves and get photos capturing their love for each other.  For generations to come, these photos will be there. How much would you treasure photos like these of your parents or grandparents?  Don't let life pass you by and regret not treasuring moments like these!

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Oliwia & Jose

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Oliwia & Jose

I'm so excited to share this session!  Oliwia and Jose were such a joy to photograph at the University Botanical Gardens.  They're kind, gorgeous people (inside and out), and their love is infectious and oh-so-romantic.  It was touch and go whether we could shoot that day due to rain, but ended up going for it.  As I waited for them at the gardens, a storm showed up over head and I took for cover in the cactus greenhouse.  There I discovered how beautiful the light was while cloudy and knew we had to head back in there for some shots.  

Oliwia is a talented piano player regularly travelling back to Poland for performances, and Jose stars on a telenovela show in Guatemala!  Okay, maybe he isn't but i said he should be with his looks.  Speaking of Jose's looks, once it was pointed out to me that he looks like Roger Federer i couldn't un-see it!  Check out the photos below and see for yourself!

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Salina and Maleah

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Salina and Maleah

Salina and Maleah have to be the sweetest mother/daughter duo ever!  Maleah is like a mini-Salina, their outfits perfectly complemented each other, and you can see by these photos how much fun they have in each others company.  

This shoot was so much fun with ice cream eating, lots of laughing, dancing in old town basel, and taking bites out of a baguette. 

This is only a THIRD of the images I delivered - I think this is a record number for an hour-long photoshoot, and it was so hard to pick, but if i included them all it would have been a really long blog post!  This just demonstrates how easy these two were to work with. Enjoy taking a glimpse into the shoot:

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Art Basel

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Art Basel

I was so excited to be in town for Art Basel this year.  Patrick surprised me with tickets so we made our way there this morning to make the most of the day. It was so much bigger than I expected - the equivalent to 3 floors of art exhibitions plus Art Basal Miami.  The collection of art were modern, a lot of them interactive and most with meaningful messages.  Art Basel featured works from over 4,000 artists from 291 of the worlds best galleries. 

I love that Basel comes alive this time of year - there's people out everywhere enjoying themselves, pop up restaurants in full swing and the rhine is lined with people soaking up the sunshine. My fitbit tells me i walked 14,000 steps today... and i'm not even mad - it's what happens when the sun shines 15 hours a day!  

Here are a few images from my first Art Basel experience.

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Gaio Family

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Gaio Family

I had the wonderful opportunity of photographing Martha & Deigo and their 3 children, Finley, Chiara and Devin in Basel's Lange Erlen on the weekend.  They are a multicultural family with heritage in the USA and Italy while living in Basel, Switzerland. They're all bi-lingual - something I marvel at as (so far) only speak one language!  Finley, the oldest of the three kids also represents Switzerland in athletic events! This family is seriously talented!!

Even though it was humid and hot (even after 7:30pm!) we had so much fun together. This family has a whole lot of love for one another and it really showed through in these photos. 

 

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Kevin & Katie

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Kevin & Katie

These two!  Outstanding photographers. Soulful creatives. Intelligent. A caring mother and father. Bookworms. Complementary. Resilient.  Never had professional photos despite being married for 13 years!  Just some of the things I learnt about Kevin and Katie on our week long getaway in Italy.  

It's quite intimidating photographing for two photographers!  However, on our last night in Italy, I really wanted to experiment with some new couple posing and also to give something special to Kevin and Katie.   

Because we were surrounded by mountains of Cinque Terre, after sunset we were left with a beautiful long twilight.  Katie found some gorgeous dresses in Vernazza that afternoon, and Kevin surprised Katie with a timeless string of pearls.

I am in love with these photos and I hope you can feel the love when you look at them!

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