Pick Your Own

“The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” 
- Eden Phillpotts

Every time we drive through Bilpin along Bells Line of Road, we stop at one of the roadside shops that sell local fruit and veg. And in autumn it’s all about apples. And the apple pies. But since we’ve both gone gluten free, apple pie from Bilpin is now out of the question. Which only leaves us one option – buy apples and make your own pie. Or even better – pick them yourself! Not sure why I didn’t think of this before? Year after year, we kept driving past the orchards, never stopping anywhere except for a couple of familiar fruit shops to buy apples, honey, maybe some chestnuts (I still haven’t figured out what to do with those by the way), and to grab a quick coffee. Until now.

As we were walking up and down the hill through the orchard, buckets in hand, as we were picking the ripe, beautiful apples off the branches and biting into crunchy goodness, I thought – it’s so easy to be happy. All these little things  hardly cost anything but make our hearts swell. Like a heavy, juicy apple, warm under the autumn sun, just hanging off a branch, almost ready to fall on soft grass.

And since it’s the last day of the month, there is a self-portrait among these images. Nothing fancy, just a snap of my happy face, surrounded by apple tree leaves.

Abundance is all around us.

Mel Riddell - April 30, 2013 - 8:27 pm

What a beautiful post, I love these photos! xx

Belinda - May 1, 2013 - 12:43 pm

Inspiring and heart-warming as always Anastasia. Thanks for reminding us of the beauty of the world around us xxx

Jay Down Under - May 1, 2013 - 12:49 pm

It is a wonderful idea for an autumn gateaway, thanks for the nice photos.
For the chestnuts, you can boil them in water or grill them. If you grill them, you should make a small cut on the chestnut skin so they don’t explode. Enjoy.

Cindy Habel - June 27, 2013 - 6:09 pm

What a sweet story and very happy pictures! Love this Anastasia…and great photography as usual xo

[…] you. You changed our plans for that day – instead of the trip to Hunter Valley, we went apple picking in Bilpin instead. And continued to the beautiful Mount Wilson, where leaves were golden, and the rain was […]

Celebrating the Love

“We were given: Two hands to hold. Two legs to walk. Two eyes to see. Two ears to listen. But why only one heart? Because the other was given to someone else. For us to find”

– Anonymous

It was a middle of summer. They said the day would be hot, very hot. But instead, as if by magic, the temperatures stayed comfortably warm, and then the afternoon clouds rolled right before the ceremony began. As the bride and groom linked their hands at the altar, the rain started hammering the roof of the church, making everything new, washing away the old, celebrating families joining together.

And later, after Maria and Jun were pronounced husband and wife, after the hugs and kisses and happy tears were shared with the family and friends, everything around got basked in the most sublime, soft, golden light.

Every moment of the day was filled with love. And laughter. And beautiful energy.

My absolute favourite photographs from the day are the ones of just the two of them, right after the sunset, outside, away from everything, where the soft pastel colours of summer evening became the perfect backdrop for the tenderness and sweet emotion, and the connection Maria and Jun have.


I would like to say a very big thank you to Andrea who joined me on the day as a second photographer.


Reception Venue – The Grange Marquee

Videography – Indulge in Style

Make-up – Make Up Mode

Golden Hour in the Field of Dreams

“To love beauty is to see light.”
- Victor Hugo

As I type these words, the rays of setting sun are finding their way through the strands of blinds on my floor-to-ceiling window, drawing long golden lines across everything in the room. This is the time of transition and change, light into darkness. Another day is coming to an end, bringing calmness and satisfaction of the day well lived, and a promise of well-earned rest.

But until the sun dips way below the horizon line, I feel restless, fidgety, and not able to focus on anything that is going on around me. Except for the light. I can only focus on the light. Everything else is a distraction from the glory that is unfolding in front of my eyes. I just sit and watch how the light colours everything in our living room yellow, then orange, then soft pink, or how the sun peeks from behind the clouds and sends the rays streaming down to the ground, creating the most spectacular display, or how pretty the back-lit tall grass looks on the hill in front of our windows. To me the whole world simply stops during those thirty minutes. Which is ironic, as it is one of those times of the day when you do feel the Earth spinning, rolling the day over, carrying us into tomorrow.

When I have my camera in hand during the golden hour, I shoot like crazy. It’s the most precious light of the day, and I live for it. If I am to photograph your wedding, I will make sure we sneak outside of your reception venue and photograph just the two of you in that luminous golden haze – it’s pure magic.

That light makes me believe in my dreams.

Golden Hour, Sunset, field, wide open spaceGolden Hour, Sunset, field, wide open space

Julia Down Under - March 26, 2013 - 8:55 pm

Beautiful text ! This moment of the day is even more delightful in Australia, light is very special Down Under. Very different to Europe.

Do you have any photography tips to capture the beauty of this golden light?

Anastasia - March 26, 2013 - 10:42 pm

Thanks Julia x Shooting in your camera’s manual mode helps a lot when taking portraits in light like this so the face is exposed correctly, plus the very best light for it is half an hour before sunset!

Monica - May 16, 2013 - 1:26 pm

Lovely photos! Loved it! :)
Where is this location? I’m dying to know!

[…] did not yet know, but you were with us already.  I was taking my monthly self-portrait, which, as it turned out, was the last one for the year – I had no energy to keep up with […]

[…] did not yet know, but you were with us already.  I was taking my monthly self-portrait, which, as it turned out, was the last one for the year – I had no energy to keep up with […]

Baby Love

“Every child begins the world again”

- Henry David Thoreau

Perfection. New life that is created by the magic of love and the force of nature. What more can be as life-assuring, heart-stopping, awe-inspiring as a newborn baby?

The softest, flaky skin, the tiny fingers and wrinkly toes, the midway-through-my-endless-nap pout, and the adorable smiles. The precious moments that are so fleeting but oh so powerful.

What are your dreams, baby dear?

Mary - March 14, 2013 - 8:49 pm

Just gorgeous Anastasia x

That Feeling of Content

“Life is a big canvas; throw all the paint on it you can.”

- Danny Kaye

It’s February – the last few weeks of summer, the time of crazy weather, and my birthday month. As for the weird weather conditions – seriously, this was the first year in the last I can’t remember how many that the weather was actually very pleasant on the day. All the previous birthdays were the parade of extremes – either torrential downpour and 100% humidity, or 15 degrees and cold and miserable rain, or 45 in the shade. That 45-degree weather forced us to book last-minute tickets to Tassie for my birthday a couple of years ago, where we spent an amazing weekend of wine tasting, photography, and enjoying refreshing 9 degrees at sunrise. Ah, the sweet memories of spontaneous trips – we should all get away on a whim more often!

But this year Sydney just sparkled. I spent the afternoon wandering around The Rocks, attended the exhibition of mind-bending, mega-inspirational work of Anish Kapoor at MCA, then sat on the grass and enjoyed the view of the Opera House across Sydney Cove, and the gentle warmth of setting sun.  Feeling blessed and content. And then I photographed my happy face to etch that feeling into my memory.  Here it is, that photo from three weeks ago, on the day I turned another year older, surrounded by the dazzling waters of the harbour and my favourite soft late afternoon light.

That quote at the top of the post is something I try to remind myself of daily. Because life is a work of art indeed. And you are the one with buckets of paint and brushes in your hands.

Here are few more pictures from that day. Hope you all had a beautiful summer. And I am so looking forward to what autumn will bring.

Mel Riddell - February 26, 2013 - 8:19 pm

Beautiful! I love your self-portrait, it’s gorgeous. Hope you had a wonderful day!! xxx

Cindy Habel - March 8, 2013 - 9:09 am

Love this Anastasia! Happy birthday xx
It’s so nice to spend your special day just doing happy things :)

Anastasia - March 9, 2013 - 8:19 pm

Thank you so much Cindy xxx It was an absolutely lovely day. Great to just wander around with camera for the whole day.