Sunday, April 22, 2012

So I guess my resolution to be a bit more regular with my blog posts has been well and truly broken! The past 3-4 months have been amazing with so much fantastic stuff going on.

I have just returned from a trip to Canada where I attended a 3 day photography seminar with some of the finest photographers in North America - more of that shortly. This was my first big trip alone and I was terrified and excited all at once - this was a huge adventure for me! Getting patted down in Vancouver Airport was an absolute highlight - all I could do was laugh - I just kept setting things off, even though I was almost butt naked!Fortunately the customs officer found it as funny as I did and I was soon on my way - note to self, do not fly with metal sparkly bits in your scarf, rogue bits of change in the furthest part of every pocket of your jeans, metal bracelets and necklace, metal buckles on your shoes and a metal decorative hairclip - or you will find yourself in a state of near undress!

This trip really pushed me out of my comfort zone. One the one hand I so wanted to attend this particular seminar but the downside of that was that I had to make that huge step to travel to the other side of the world...alone. I am so glad that I did this, on a purely photography level I learnt so very much in such a short time and know I will be putting that knowledge to use over the coming days, weeks, months - YEARS! On a personal level, pushing my boundaries to the limit has made me discover a whole new side of me that I wasn't sure existed...I think I have been bit by the travel bug!

I made it to Toronto and although I had been sleepless for almost 35 hours, I managed to find my shuttle bus and make my way to the hotel where some sleep was on the agenda. Once I caught up I headed into Toronto for a look at the city and was amazed at the size of it - to say it wasn't quite what I was expecting is probably a little understatement! The wonderful old buildings, the waterfront area, CN Tower and of course the shopping centres! Yonge Square was a great place to kick back in the sun, enjoy some people watching and soak up the ambience. I only had one day to see the city but it sure did make an impact on me!

The seminar was amazing! Top shelf photographers from many different genres, Newborn, Boudoir, Family and Fashion Photography. We had seminars from 9am in the morning through til 9 at night and then afterwards we would retire to the lounge and talk with other attendee's and presenters until the early hours of the morning. The things I learned in those three short days both in the seminars and later when we were all catching up have inspired me beyond belief. I met the most amazing people and am proud to say I now have fantastic friends in both Canada and the US!

One of the highlights was my visit to Niagara Falls on my last night in Canada. To stand there and see the power and beauty of one of the world's most beautiful falls was an incredible experience! I could not quite believe that I was there. This trip showed me just how naive I was - a little like Crocodile Dundee when he went to New York lol! When we were making our way there, I commented that Niagara must be out in the middle of nowhere. My friend Michelle (who took me there) laughed and said you are not going to believe it, Niagara is like the Canadian answer to Vegas...and it was! Casino's, hotels a huge tourist strip - fantastic and amazing in itself. Michelle asked me why I thought it was in the middle of nowhere and I explained that is where we stick our incredible natural wonders - (Uluru, Great Barrier Reef, The Kimberley etc ) Out in the middle of nowhere! And here was this amazing torrent of water just an hour and a half from the middle of busy Toronto - unbelievable! Honestly it was just breathtaking, and at night with the coloured lights projected onto the falls - WOW!

To all my new friends in Canada and US, thank you for making me feel so welcome! I had the best time and when the time came to say goodbye, I didn't want to leave I had enjoyed myself so much. All of the presenters and attendee's were fellow photographers and were so open and shared their photography experiences and techniques so freely and honestly, I was overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone I met. A huge thank you to all of you, I loved every second and cannot wait to come back and see you all again.

Cheers Alicia.
(AKA The Traveller!)

Just some of my fantastic new friends.
Photo Courtesy of Mike Long.

Me at Niagara Falls
Fantastic Experience and 
Photo Courtesy of Michelle Ashton Heron