“Do you know what you are?
You are a marvel. You are unique.
In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you.”

- Pablo Casals

Welcome to this world, little one. I was blessed to meet you when you were only seven days old, a  whole week of being here, the beautiful beginning of a new life.

Oh what joy it is to see you in your mother’s arms, cradling you gently, rocking you to sleep, loving you.

You are everything.

Belinda Radalj - February 20, 2013 - 4:38 pm

Beautiful as always Anastasia. I long for the day when I can take photos as good as yours xoxo

Cindy Habel - March 8, 2013 - 8:48 am

These images are beautiful…they evoke such a sense of peace. Just perfect xo

Happy Valentine’s

“So, I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.”

- Paulo Coelho

My favorite image from a recent wedding of two beautiful people.

It’s all about Love.

Happy Valentine’s. Spoil your loved ones you today, more than any other day.  Tell them what you have deep inside your heart,  don’t hold back.  Because love must be celebrated.

Belinda Radalj - February 15, 2013 - 8:53 pm

Beautifully written as always. And such a sweet, emotive photo. I can feel the love :)

Movie Nights

“Film as dream, film as music. No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight room of the soul. A little twitch in our optic nerve, a shock effect: twenty-four illuminated frames a second, darkness in between, the optic nerve incapable of registering darkness.”

- Ingmar Bergman.

I wonder why my eyes have not turned into two green-coloured squares yet. It’s just that I have spent such an enormous amount of time in front of various screens in January it’s amazing I still actually look human.

In between working and editing photos and catching up on bookkeeping and backing up files and replying to emails I managed to squeeze in quite a number of movies this month. Every year I start a new “Movies Watched” list that I keep in my phone. It’s rather surprising but by the end of January I have watched eleven (!!!) movies despite being one  busy woman. I think my brain goes into some self-preservation mode after reaching a limit of crazy computer hours, and sends me downstairs to sit quietly in front of TV for a little while. Or tells me to go to the cinema under an excuse that we have run out of broccoli, and why not to watch the latest blockbuster since we are already inside the shopping centre.

Nine out of those eleven are really worth the mention:




1. “Your Sister’s Sister” – very raw and real. Quite arthouse-y if you enjoy this kind of stuff. I do, and I loved it. No special effects, no flashy backgrounds (except for the most gorgeous Pacific Northwest greenery), only emotions.  A movie about people who are driven by their souls’ deepest desires, loyalty to their siblings, about finding out (sometimes in a rather entertaining for the viewer way) the reason  why they are in this strange little mess. A touching story.

2. “The Sapphires” – first, it’s an Australian movie. Second, a very well-made one. Third, the music is amazing. Fourth, the light is gorgeous. Fifth, it’s based on a true story. I can continue counting, but I think it’s the best if we all just watch it. An absolute mood-lifter.

3. “Silver Linings Playbook”. Ok, I was blown away by this movie. It was totally unexpected. I found myself holding my breath many times during those two hours, completely absorbed by what was happening on the big screen. Plus I did not check how long it is till the end even once  (which is rare). Bradley Cooper is brilliant as Pat, an ex-teacher, a guy who is trying to navigate his everyday world after being diagnosed with bipolar.  One word – Love. It’s about love. And being honest with yourself. My top movie of the month for sure.

4. “Moonrise Kingdom” – another favourite. Came second after “Silver Linings”. Not the most usual Hollywood movie I would say, despite the presence of such heavyweights as Bruce Willis (he’s hilarious in it), Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton. But those two kids stole the show. Sam and Suzy know they are made for each other.  And they don’t care about all the rules and complications that are threatening to keep them apart.  Highly recommend if you want to remember the feeling of being in head-over-heels in love when you were twelve.

5. “Life of Pi”. To be honest I can’t say I enjoyed it that much. Yes, it is VERY impressive. Yes, it is worth watching it in 3D. Yes, the special effects are hard to believe. But in my own personal opinion something was missing, and maybe it was missing for me as I have not read the book, and we all know the movie is never as deep as the book that inspired it.  But I can tick the box that I have seen one of the most anticipated movies of the year.

6. “Les Miserables”. I will not say much except for that it is one seriously long movie with lots of singing, and that it is worth seeing for Hugh Jackman’s acting alone. We watched it on Australia day, and it was perfectly complemented by the screening of “Australia” on channel Ten that night. Two epics featuring Hugh Jackman in one day – you cannot have too much of Hugh on your screen.

7.“Hitchcock” – oh what a visual feast! I love the movies that make you feel as you have travelled in time, and this one certainly made me forget about everything except for what was happening on the screen. And again, the acting is brilliant. Pure art.

8. “Beginners” – I love French movies, although this one is not French. But it feels French. I know why – because of Melanie Laurent. Again, I enjoyed the acting probably a just a tiny little bit more than the story, and with Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer both being the leading men you cannot not go wrong when choosing what to watch on a Sunday night. I cried a lot at the end too.

9. “Hope Springs” – all about Meryl Strip. I can just sit and watch her, no major story line necessary.

So naturally this month’s self-portrait would be all about those movie nights (and no movie session  is complete without a bowl of freshly popped corn):

 Happy watching!

Happy Snaps

“As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are.

Otherwise you will miss most of our life”.

- Buddha

Before the holiday mood wears off, before summer becomes a memory, before the layers of the new year start piling, one over another, or, let’s just say it, it’s too late to have pictures of Christmas tree posted on the front page of my blog, I would like to share a few images from our South Australian family Christmas holiday that continued into a beautiful road trip  from Adelaide to Bendigo to High Country Victoria to Sydney.

Adelaide welcomed us by windy but rather comfortable weather.

“I wish I could fly, into the sky, so very high..”

Someone doesn’t mind looking rather foolish (but super-cute) in exchange to being the centre of attention on Christmas morning:

Mum’s cactus flower that decided to bloom right on Christmas day:

Wide open spaces, sun setting into the ocean, tumbleweed that leaves weird marks on the sand and then decides to go for a swim:

Port Willunga, combining the perfect beach setting, and the happiest memories of photographing these two gorgeous people celebrating their wedding day in this particular spot:

 And some wine tasting, ahem, location scouting for a wedding in March this year (McLaren Vale, you are one beautiful spot to get married):

Oh Handorf… The first German settlement in Australia, you still carry all the old-word charms despite the crowds of tourists and the souvenir shops and the traffic. One of my most favourite places to be when we visit Adelaide.

With Mum. Gardening shop.

Live band playing Christmas carols in the hot midday sun:

 And we did not leave Handorf without some beautiful Coober Pedy opals:

But the main event of our Handorf trip this year was the visit to The Cedars, where Hans Heysen, one of the most famous, most poetic Australian landscape artists (and one of  the people who inspire me endlessly) lived and worked, where gum trees that graced his paintings still stand. We were inside his studio. I could not take pictures there, but I made memories. I saw the watercolour brushes that were the medium between the master and his creations. I saw the dried paint tubes, palettes, unfinished work on his easel. His energy is still there.

Hans Heysen was also the pioneer of caravaning in Australia. This Ford Model A and this caravan accompanied Heysen to Flinders Ranges on his painting trips.

Back in Adelaide. Beautiful Semaphore, it is gorgeous at any time of the day. Even when the crazy wind is messing with your hair, and  sand is flying around you like snow.

Ta-daa! Burra Homestead. One of the most recognized, most iconic buildings of the Australian outback.

Wheat. Well, gluten. I cannot eat it but I can take pictures of it.

Claire Valley vineyards. This particular one, Sevenhill, was established by Jesuits in 1851. The church that was built back then still stands, surrounded by grapevines.

Annie’s Lane cellar door. One of those bottles travelled up to the mountains with us (more on that below).

Mum’s Birthday. No, the cat was not the present, and she did not come with roses. She was there for the ribbons, again. And the box of course, what cat doesn’t know the value of an empty box. Hours of free entertainment.

And then we wandered streets of Adelaide.

And visited the Botanical Gardens.

And Mount Lofty.

And then we drank champagne.

And ate beautiful food.

And back to Semaphore.

Largs Pier Hotel, that takes quite a place in Australian music history. As per the hotel’s website, “during the 70s and 80s the hotel began to establish its reputation as an important Aussie Music icon. Jimmy Barnes with Cold Chisel, AC/DC, The Little River Band and The Angels all played here during the early days of their careers. Bon Scott, who later became the lead singer of AC/DC, even met his wife at the Largs Pier Hotel after a gig in 1971.”  Wait, there is more. This place had the very first drive-through bottle shop in Australia, opened in 1953. I also highly recommend their food – beautiful treat after a day spent at the beach.

St Kilda. Rather different from Melbourne’s St Kilda. Hot, flat, open. Plus pirates.

New Year Eve. Semaphore again. Fireworks.

And on the 1st of January we started our drive to Bendigo via the labyrinth of Victorian country roads, with a quick turnoff to see The Grampians:

Beautiful Bendigo, full of history and lovely buildings. Would love to photograph a wedding there one day (just throwing it out there ;))

High Country. The drive there was exhilarating (also long and often scary), the views unbelievable.

Admiring Christmas presents from Mum at the hotel:

And then we decided to watch the sunset from the top of Mount Hotham.

Yep, according to the map of the village sunset is that way.

The bottle that made it with us from the vastness of Claire Valley to the top of the mountain.

Look at those views…

Alpine grass, and snowgums rising above it.

The End:) And a big thank you for making it all the way through this super long post!

Belinda - January 22, 2013 - 8:50 pm

How could you not get to the end of this post. Your pictures tell a beautiful story. I was captivated. Xxx

Cindy - January 28, 2013 - 10:07 pm

Absolutely beautiful pictures and great storytelling!! You could publish a travel book ;) xo