She’s always lookin’ at me

**Edit: It’s 3am in the morning and I’m not bothered to write a new entry, but the good news is I’ve changed the theme and I have a random image rotation on the head banner; so you can refresh to see almost 30 odd pictures! I may or may not delete/add some more later**

This is such an image-heavy post that I’m not even sure where to begin recalling my past week of events! But I’m counting on the theory of chronology to help me out here:

We left for Raglan on Tuesday, but I’d stayed up to some ridiculous hour on Monday night – well into the early morning – and it was raining all night, with general terrible weather. Thankfully the rain had cleared up a bit by Tuesday morning, and more so when we headed South-West towards Raglan, the first 3 photos are from the beach on the Tuesday:

Everything asides from the crap weather that returned on Wednesday, and my ever-worsening cold was great: the campsite was awesome and it was set up so you could park right next to your tent (instead of the sort with a separate carpark); we were lucky enough to get a spot right next to all the vital facilities like toilet, shower, bbq, etc. On the second day due to my cold and our lack of wetsuits, Charlotte and I opted to stay out of the choppy waves down at the surf beach, but my sister and her friend Caryn dived straight in with some rented boards that were $35 for 3.5 hours. We were all so tired from either surfing or going on an huuge walk down the beach (it’s a very, very long beach, we found out) that we all collapsed and went to sleep halfway through our poker game that night. I haven’t had the chance to get the photos off Charlotte’s camera yet, but she has the other half of photos, which include the huge sand dune that we decided to scale whilst the youngsters surfed. Soft sand is very, very difficult to climb – but the leaps down felt amazing!

The photo on the right is of the Bridal Veil Falls, which we visited on our drive back to Auckland. I believe the sign said it was a 55m drop – and evidently we didn’t feel like taking the half an hour walk down… and back uuuuup.

Upon arrival home, Liv and I cleaned all the sand out of our bags and flopped down on the couch for some much needed rest – I shot the Peaches gig that night too, except I haven’t yet had a chance to sort those photos yet.

The very next day I awoke to my paranoia of forgetting something important as I was leaving to attend Auckland’s Big Day Out. Usually I would’ve packed light – sunnies, money, ticket and phone in pocket, but this year I was photographing for Cheese On Toast (who had offered and gotten me my first fancy-looking media pass that had my name pre-printed and all!). Here are some shots of acts that I’m sure most people will recognise, the rest are up at CoT! (Hopefully I’ll put some up soon as well… although such publication is a bit iffy…)

To be honest, I’d always thought Muse was good, but I had been quite indifferent and definitely didn’t constitute myself as a fan. But that changed after photographing them – I was completely blown away. It was just so EPIC, intense and insane.

Ironically, this is my favourite Muse photo:

Lily Allen:

Sophia Burns of The Veils – she’s stunning, it was a mission to get her face though, with the shoe-gazing bassing stance:

Ladyhawke & what I found beyond the media room beneath the stadium stands – the stadium changing rooms had been converted to the bag check area, and all the rooms and bathroom walls were lined with numbers and bags against the wall in numerical number; here’s a photo of the main corridor:


Joshua Third from The Horrors – once again, trying to get his face was such a mission, but I eventually got quite a few, here’s two I like of him:

At the end of the night my sister got a shot of me in my bright orange photo vest. I never wore it apart from when I was in the pit because the fabric was quite rough, and plus it got pretty hot. Although, the one time I’d left it on whilst trying to find my wallet in the shade, soooooo many people stopped to ask me for directions for things… obviously they couldn’t read the “PHOTO 19” on the back of my vest and assumed I was an event guide – who were in florescent yellow vests scattered throughout the stadium. There were so many of them I couldn’t figure out why anyone ever thought to tap on the shoulder of the girl who was evidently having trouble juggling 2 heavy cameras with 3 lenses digging in her bag! Following that, I had to work both days of the weekend and my shoulders were completely rubbed, raw and soooo sore. But it was definitely quite an experience – front row punters were all jealous, and they all had some misconception that I want to take a photo of everyone of them… haha.

Completely irrelevantly, today my mother bought me a belated graduation gift. It’s a turquoise Thomas Sabo bracelet, and thoroughly appropriate for the occasion, as we were barely just discussing how she hadn’t quite yet found something I could keep close to me all the time. When I spotted the bracelet it immediately reminded me of mum because she has a custom silver cuff with the same stone embedded in the centre of it from Japan when she was about my age – and I’ve been borrowing it for about the past six months. Ahh I’m so in love with this, it adds some sparkle to my silver and monotone jewellery, yay!

You and me in the photobooth, waiting for the flash, close the curtain urgently

I’d totally forgotten about my plight with these shortbread cookies until I was cleaning out the memory card and found photos which my mum took of them. These were the nicest batch, and dare I say, my batch that I’d mixed from scratched and made myself. I know, I know, shortbread is freaking easy to make, but it was more the fact that I actually went to the effort of making them that’s really worth something – I’m really lazy and generally don’t enjoy much baking/cooking, etc…

Anyway, the story behind these Christmas shortbread cookies was that I’d made them to give to friends who I simply couldn’t afford to buy Christmas presents for. The problem was, at some point, mum took over mixing the ingredients, and she’d doubled all the ingredients except the flour! But being the amazing cook she is (and me the shitty one), she didn’t like the idea of me entertaining the idea that perhaps she’d done something wrong in the process, as the mix was just faaar too soft to even cut up! Thus began the tedious task of refrigerating them back and forth until I had finally shaped them all and baked them. It wasn’t until much later that she suddenly had a lightbulb moment and went “OH…” haha.

Those who managed to eat some in the end said they were good anyway; but I felt a little bad that there were many friends I’d failed to deliver to, just because we were never home when I was free or had the shortbread with me!

In other matters, tomorrow I’m driving down with a friend, my sister and her friend to Raglan for a couple of nights. We’ll be camping at the local holiday park, and who knows, I might even brave it out and attempt to surf. Maybe. I’ve always wished I could surf… although unfortunately the weather at the moment isn’t looking too fantastic, I’m just hoping it clears up soon, but it’s a guaranteed good trip in general! In fact, this is shaping up to be an exciting week overall: Tues-Thurs is Raglan, Thursday night I will be photographing the Peaches gig (I’m actually quite gutted that I’m missing out on The Mint Chicks because it’s on the same night), and Friday will entail about 14hours of photographing Auckland’s Big Day Out. Not to mention I can’t get out of shifts at work for both Saturday and Sunday…

To be honest, I just can’t wait to see what whacky shots we come up with on the trip and how good proper stage lighting will make my gig photos; so please, please, please all have your fingers and toes crossed for me that my sore throat gets better ASAP!

Cheap Monday

So our beach day didn’t quite go according to plan when the weather soured with cold windy gusts and rain. So when the weather finally cleared up the other day, Charlotte and I took a quick drive down to a beach that I used to visit a lot as a kid, and spent the afternoon laxing in the sun and chatting. It was just a good day, but we didn’t do anything exciting really, and I only took two pictures (one of which is below). I think the funniest thing that happened on our excursion was when we decided to go to Momo’s (an asian bubble tea place) in our beach gear on our way home – upon entry the waitress gave us the most inquisitive, rude look, as if we weren’t allowed to be in there or something… very strange. The same thing happened when we tried to order and pay our check. A friend of mine said, “well, you know, asians don’t go to the beach!” (but he’s asian, so that’s not really racist… hahaa).

I was surprised to find a wayward branch full of the prettiest, yellowy-pink roses that had swayed out onto the footpath in our front garden when I got home as well. Ah, pleasant surprises.

I’m actually in a bit of a crisis at the moment: our family’s decided that our huge yard (along with 2 side hedges) just costs far too much time/money to maintain – think mowing lawns, weeding, trimming hedges, and the regular garden bag service to take it all away – so we want to sell our house and move into a bigger one with a smaller, more tameable garden. This, and with my quickly-approaching departure date of January 26th as mum’s deadline for me to clear my rubbish out, has led me to pour the entire contents of my desk drawers and shelves out. A lot has already gone into the paper recycling and rubbish, but I honestly cannot move around my room, let alone try and sleep (my bed is worse than when this picture was taken). I even slept on the couch after getting home at 3am from Sumadayze. Anyway, the point of this picture was to show how luxurious my cat is, even in moments of chaos – he’s managed to snuggle up and sleep on two (apparently quite pricey, as I’m pillow-picky and can’t sleep otherwise) pillows! What a cutie.

As if my room wasn’t enough to deal with, I procrastinated in my sleeplessness, and sharpie’d myself a Cheap Monday tee shirt:

I must say, although it’s severe cheating, I was quite happy with how my free-hand skull drawing went. And I’d screwed up one sleeve whilst tearing it, but I’ve split the sleeves on both sides (the idea courtesy of Charlotte) and it’s nice and loose, and rather beachy. Maybe I’ll go and confuse the waitress at Momo’s again with my bikini underneath, tehe.

and I want to walk around with you

It’s taken me two days to recuperate from my excitement-filled 18-hour day out on Tuesday: I’d spent the day lounging in the sun at the beach, followed by one of the best gigs of this year –Animal Collective playing at the Powerstation (scroll down for gig details).

My Tuesday kicked off bright and early with a wake-up txt message from my friend making sure that I had indeed gotten out of bed by 7.40am – which I personally thought was a little over-the-top, but considering for the entire year I’d rolled out of bed at 7.55am for school on the days which I didn’t have training nor rehearsal… it seemed understandable that they wanted to make sure the driver was awake.

Nine of us decided to head up north to the Shakespear Regional Park, and set up site for the day on Te Haruhi Bay. Ironically the best part about the whole trip for me (asides from how early they’d made the departure time) was the drive up north. Good friends, decent music, great views through the sunnies and an effortless swift drive for just over an hour was definitely my cup of tea. The biggest obstacle of the day was when the people in my car disagreed with those in the other car as to where we wanted to set our towels down for the day. I’d personally vouched for the sand and didn’t understand why we’d drive all the way to a nice beach with decent, soft sand (Auckland is full of overly shelly beaches that don’t really have decent sand) only to spend the day sitting on the grass; but eventually we compromised, moved around a bit and got the best of both worlds when we threw a frisbee around on the sand and I even attempted to use a soft bat on a foam ball. It either went too far or in whacky directions or both – the foam ball didn’t stand a chance against the wind!

At some point in the afternoon after several hours of swimming, lying in the sun with music and pigging out on buns and a roast chicken that we’d bought from Countdown, we decided that we’d bury Euan in the sand. Well, actually he’d volunteered himself, and made sure that we made the sand wet and compact enough that he couldn’t escape. And soon, what do you know, one of the boys suggested (how typical) to make the buried-Euan into a giant penis. I felt somewhat guilty for having encouraged the use of dried seaweeds as pubs around his head, followed by Michael’s cam-whoring antics as the owner of the giant penis once he saw me whip my camera out!

The real fun began when I got to surpass having my bag checked at the door of the Powerstation simply because I was being given a media photography pass and got to dart through the door. My obligatory drink of a Monteith’s Original led to my vow of never ever drinking beer out of a plastic cup again, regardless of how good and cold the beer was. It just tasted vile… with a slight tinge of that smell of plastic which mixes in with your taste buds at the back of your throat. Nasty. $8 for plastic beer? No thank you. The bartender looked at me with great distaste when I asked if he could just give me the bottle – I imagined in my head that he was thinking something along the lines of “Didn’t you get the memo? No glass bottles in this venue!”, good lord. Not surprisingly the rest of the evening only went uphill from there – Bachelorette’s set (or what I caught of it) was enjoyable albeit the couple of technical difficulties which caused her to even restart a song. Boy was I wrong when I’d expected to see a duo on stage – obviously my friend had misled my beliefs to this “opening band” idea, and apparently I’d also missed her best song. Nonetheless, thanks to the mellow tone of Bachelorette and the use of my camera, I easily settled myself in a comfortable, just off-centre spot in the front row. I’m pretty sure I was allowed, if not supposed to be in the pit in front of the railing, but I simply didn’t want to have to leave the front after 3 songs – which turned out to be a priceless decision.

In a strange way, I’m grateful for the photography for 3-songs-only rule, as it meant I was forced to set my camera aside and fully throw myself into enjoying the show. Otherwise, I know I would’ve been far too torn between thrashing around during the set or staying affixed behind my camera. I applaud them for their set list, especially with slotting in tracks from their latest album evenly throughout the set – opening with In the Flowers, ending the encore with My Girls, with an extended “just a sec more in my… beeeeeed” from Panda Bear nicely placed in the middle. Pure magic. For quite a few of my shots I’d purposely used a slower shutter speed and aperture to capture the atmosphere and buzzy movement of it all.

Here’s my favourite, followed by some highlights (click here for full set):

So slag it all, bitter’s in fashion

By this time next week, I will officially no longer be a high school student! Next Tuesday is the 7th formers sign out day where we all go into school in our uniforms for one last time, return textbooks and get our yearbooks and leavers’ jerseys. To be honest, after five long, often tedious years, I’d often thought this day could not come fast enough. but right now… I’m kind of sitting at home wishing I could put it off for longer. That same night will be our Graduation Dinner, and as of right now I still haven’t sorted anything to wear. I don’t want to be too vain, but surely, who wouldn’t want to look good in front of people you’ve spent the past five years with, regardless of, and actually, most especially if you don’t like most of them very much? Haha.

At the moment I’m trying to feel out a draft plan of how I’m going to spend my 3-month long summer. So far I have flights to Taiwan/Japan booked for Jan 26th-Feb 26th, so that should be a really good trip right before uni starts in March. Apparently I will be working something like Sunday-Wednesdays at my part-time job in a cafe so that should provide me the funding for gigs/shopping/transport/booze/Christmas presents over the holiday period. Speaking of which, I saw the most amazing earrings today, so I already have an inkling of what I might get mum for Christmas. As for everyone else… especially my Dad? I might have to just wing it. What does one get a geeky, middle-aged man for Christmas?! I still owe Dad a (very very very) late birthday present too. Yikes.

In slightly irrelevant matters, I really need to dig in and shed my winter fat – what with all the pills messing with my weight as well for the past few months – I need to look good in the Volcom bikini that I found today! I haven’t bought it yet, but I’m convinced that’s what I will be spending my summer in; I should say hello again to my neglected friend, the gym!