Lessons from my little ones - Be present.

I've recently entered a new stage of life with my youngest child starting school. I imagine every mother goes through this self reflective time when her baby hits the school ground running. Five days a week, for the next 13 years in an institution. No big deal right?? Despite the gravity of the situation; for the most part I (and certainly little miss 5) felt ready for this next stage, that we are now well settled into. Our Tenacious Tilly has taken the adjustment to school life in her stride, embracing the routine, the structured learning and the school yard banter.

For me, I had been gearing up to utilise the additional weekdays for creative endeavours, work and other outlets. Editing photos during daylight is always more pleasant than squinting at a screen late at night. I do however feel a little twinge of loss every now and then. Gone are the days of "today we have no plans" for me and my girl. I like the concept of 'slow parenting' but the reality is now, every morning I end up hurrying my kids to get them off to school on time and asking myself if I could have done it better in the window of time I had to connect with them.

I remember this feeling when my son (now 7) started school too, but the silver lining was that I had more one on one time with my (then) preschool daughter. In the sincere search for continuing real connection with my growing children, I have managed to find an answer for now. It's certainly not rocket science but it requires a deliberate effort... it's the simple art of taking the available opportunities for one on one time with each child and being present. My husband challenges me that if I try to capture the moment all the time with a lens, I'm not really experiencing it. Well I have to make sure that I find the balance here, and after asking my kids about their experience with me, I'm satisfied that I have the ability to be 'present' and only occasionally bring my camera along.

Every Tuesday from 5 - 7.30pm, my husband takes our 7 year old to Iconz (a boys adventure club) so it leaves Tilly and I with a window of time together. Instead of doing the clean up and dishes after a rushed family meal and onto the weeknight bed routine, on this night, we have a date together. We are so blessed to live within walking distance to the beach and we have been relishing our Tuesdays, with dusk wanderings in our extended back yard. Noticing the beauty of the clouds, the textures of the tussock, the seasonal flora, and adventuring along the changing tidal beach scape. Together, Tilly and I embrace the joy of being present. Long sunlit days don't last year round though... We have just come to the end of daylight savings so our choice of activities will be changing, but I will definitely be holding onto my deliberate use of this time with my Tilly. 

I have a final thought to share in closing this ramble. Last night we ate dinner slightly late and everyone was thankful when the food reached the table. My husband remarked that (for the kids' benefit) "he always feels better when he has a bit of food in him". Tilly came back with an instant reply... "I always feel better with a bit of Joy in me". Heart melt! Let's keep feeding our kids with joy and see how much we can learn from them when we take the time to be present.  x Alice.

Wilderkids of New Zealand

There's something about the wilderness that is very nostalgic for me. I spent my early childhood growing up in the remote hills of Northland, New Zealand.  My parents fully embraced the DIY and sustainable living ethos during that time; tending to their own small piece of land and building their own home. We had chickens and goats and our land backed onto a river surrounded by native bush. Making tree huts with bailing twine and punga fronds, rock hopping along river beds and collecting wild black berries were all normal after-school activities. I have very fond memories of exploring the natural world that was around me.

Though my lifestyle, as a adult is quite different from that of my childhood, I want to make sure I savor the adventures I have with my own family (however occasional they may be), and intentionally provide opportunities for my children to enjoy the natural world around them.


Ohbaby! Family Feature: Tornados and Calm

The Anderson Family are an inspiration. A visionary creative force; Beks and Greg own the boutique shoe label Chaos & Harmony. They are raising two awesome kids and they support and encourage countless people in their church community and beyond. To read more about their story, check out the latest edition of the OHbaby! Magazine, for which these photographs were commissioned.

Celebrate the little things.

As winter approaches, for those of us with small children, the change of season means (among other things) snot & coughing,  being up in the night to snot & coughing, daily battles to keep warm clothing on our small people as they dance around outside, stripping off layers, professing they are too hot... And thus the cycle of snot, coughing & broken sleep continues.

So when I post photos like these of my beloved small people, I remind myself, and you, to celebrate the little things. Enjoy the moments between the rain, the snot & the coughing. Make the most of your back yard and this fleeting stage of life.

It was one of those days this week. Cabin fever was setting in. We just had to get outside, so I gave the kids each a zip bag and set them an impromptu nature scavenger hunt. We collected leaves of red and gold, flowers of purple and white, clovers, ferns and dandelions. We danced and sang and watched the grey clouds rumble in.

I could say it was one of those perfect parenting moments, But what I didn't photograph was when we'd walked the furthest from home, both kids needed to poo. I didn't have toilet paper so I found myself frantically scavenging for appropriate foliage as the kids squatted. Then the rain settled in.

As a parent, you'll know the feeling all so well. Moments of pure joy and then sh** happens. So we just deal with it and move on. Let's remember to celebrate the little things.

What happens if it rains on my wedding day?

This question will go through your head at some stage if you're planning a wedding. The weather is something you can't control but you can certainly make the most of what's handed to you on the day... So what happens with the photography when it rains on your wedding day? ... We go to Plan B. We pack umbrellas. We find a sheltered location. We wait in cars during downpours and race out as soon as it clears... We improvise. In short, we embrace it.

Olivia and Steven were wed in Auckland this summer. Usually in Auckland we can assume the weather will be changeable, though on this day, a storm rolled through and it rained for most of the day. Our plan B strategy was put in place and it meant our photography locations were altered a tad but we did embrace it. We made the most of the sheltered walkways and eaves that King's College (ceremony location) provided, and I stood under an umbrella, snapping away in the rain. The bridal party cars were utilised for shelter and pictorial value too. When the skies finally cleared, we dashed off to nearby Cornwall Park to maximise the time we had left before the reception. All in all, it was a beautifully memorable day. Just one more thing to add to your plan B list... Something warm for the ladies ; )

The Gift of Master Crusoe

The road to parenthood is a profound one for all those who journey it. For each of us, that journey unfolds in it's own way, it's own timing, in it's own beauty. Meet the Harpers and their precious gift; Master Crusoe.

"We have waited a long time for Cru. There have been some tough moments during the last few years... He is our little miracle baby, an answer to many prayers!" [New mama] Michelle.


I was recently asked to write a guest blog post on the subject "Top tips for Landscape Photography" for a bicycle tour website. I used to spend a lot of time photographing awesome locations within my work in the film industry. And though I don't get into the wilderness as much as I'd like to these days, I do LOVE an opportunity for an adventure.

...My writing assignment resulted in the following ramblings...

Golden hour at Lake Hawea, Otago, New Zealand

Golden hour at Lake Hawea, Otago, New Zealand

1. Composition - Rule of threes.
The traditional rule of composing or framing a balanced photograph is to divide your frame into 3 even segments vertically and horizontally and then to compose your subject (or landscape) within this… This is a good rule to master and then you can break the rule as much as you want, but if you’re looking for a nicely balanced shot then place your horizon line on the upper or lower third to make more emphasis on either the land or the sky. Some cameras have these guide lines as an option for framing in the menu of the camera (otherwise just use your eye and guess). Similarly with the vertical divisions, you can place land marks centrally or off to the left or right side of frame using thirds also.

2. Aperture - How much is in focus.
If you have an SLR or a camera which allows you to change the aperture (known as F stop) then you can can control how much of the picture is in focus (depth of field). A large number like F16 will give you a larger depth of field so your foreground and background are both in focus which is good for landscape photography.

3. Lighting - The golden hour.
The golden hour refers to the first hour of light in the day and the last hour of light in the day. If you can photograph at sunrise or sunset, you’ll be sure to capture some natural beauty. The hour (or 2) leading up to sunset is a gorgeous time of day to photograph; this is when you can capture those golden tones on the landscape, long shadows, sun flare, calmer waters, changing dramatic colours in the sky. If you have the time to stick around, capture a number of shots in a sequence to show the change in light as the sun fades.

4. Take another look...
As well as the epic open landscape shots… Look for the points of difference in a scene to personalise your capture...people or structures in the landscape, seasonal trees, water reflections, cloud formations and the way the light interacts with the scene. Look for little things that will spark your memory of your experience in the landscape when you look back on your photos. ENJOY the process. - Alice Veysey

Thanks to http://www.envydesign.co.nz/ for the writing assignment : )

- See more at: http://www.cyclingtours.com.au/blog/entry/top-tips-for-landscape-photography

Photographing your family, and you... We are the Veyseys.

When I look at the photos of my little family since the arrival of my two little poppets over the past 5 years, I see many, many photos of my children and many photos of my husband, but often there's something missing... me. If you are the photographer in your family you often find yourself being the unseen member behind the frame.

Unintentionally removed from the action, I now have to intentionally place myself back in. So now, every so often, we will take a stroll or a picnic or some family jaunt, with camera in hand and make sure we ALL appear in frame. I want to keep our family journey documented and celebrated without self pressure of trying to capture photographic masterpieces. If we've had some quality time together and it shows on frame, I am more than happy with that!

Family life for newborn Tula and her 3 big brothers.

The thing that is special about family photography for me, is the chance to capture points of real connection between family members...  Fleeting moments of perfect joy amongst the (sometimes chaotic) reality of day to day life. Every family has its own dynamic and a unique story to tell. My privilege is to see a glimpse of this story with my camera and preserve it for the family, to keep and share. I spent an afternoon with the superb Dickey family recently who are adjusting to life with a newborn baby girl and 3 energetic growing boys. Thank you Josh and Amy for letting me share in your story.