It was two and a half days of being immersed in Pinot Noir. Not literally, thankfully, but I sure do know a lot more about this wine variety than I did before the Cloudy Bay 2014 Pinot Noir Event! Don't get me wrong, I could quite easily tell the difference between a red and a white wine, but being able to identify what region of the world a particular Pinot came from just by tasting it was (and still is!) somewhat over my head! We sure did enjoy photographing some very smart wine folk though!
The Pinot event was all about education by experience. The first two days were for invited guests from all over the world, some VIPs, a scattering of media, restaurateurs and people from the wine industry who would come and learn all about how Cloudy Bay create their Pinot Noir. They were wined and dined and what started out as a group of strangers seemed to very much finish as a group of friends.
On the first 'hands on' day the group were taught all about where the wine started, right there in the vineyard. Everyone was given some pruning and tying gear and were let loose on the vines, with the guidance from the experts.
Annette Scarfe is an international Master of Wine, very much a VIP in the wine industry and someone who can absolutely tell what a good Pinot Noir looks like.
All of that manual labour meant that everyone was well ready for an amazing lunch, beautifully created by Dave and Sarah from Essence Events.
And then a little friendly competition of wine blending. Each team was given a specific food for which they were to create a perfect Pinot Noir match.
There was some pretty serious blending going on. It's all about getting the perfect ratio!
The evening saw more food and wine and a whole lot of laughs served up to the guests.
And the wine makers in their absolute element!
Saturday was the BIG day. This is the day open to those who have bought tickets, and believe me, if you like Pinot Noir you will find yourself in your happy place.
First of all you'll be placed among some of the most discerning wine experts in the land and be served 18 handpicked 2011 Pinot Noirs from all over the world. You won't know what wine you're tasting until the very end. In the meantime you swish, smell, taste and spit your way through each option. You'll write notes and compare one glass to the next.
Then you'll get to hear what the wine experts thought of each wine. Some wines will be highly praised, and a couple may be referred to with words like 'compost'. (pretty sure that's not high praise!) Finally, when all is said and done, you'll find out exactly what each glass contained, where it was from and the price of each. You may feel a bit sad about the fact that you've just spat a rare $350 per bottle variety.
Meanwhile, celebrity chef Ben Bayly created a jaw dropping long lunch for eveyone out the back.
Check out the amazing vintage lounge that Paula, from Vintage Events, created!
And gorgeous little floral touches by Janine from Verve.
So it was time to kick back, relax and be served some of the most delicious food by one of the top chefs of the country.
And to finish off, a little dancing for those so inclined.
So there you have it, a wee snapshot of what was a most beautifully put together event. Well done Cloudy Bay!
It's been quiet here on this blog, I know. But I won't apologise, because you know what? I've had the most marvellous winter hanging out with my tribe. I've kept work a little more on the down low and spent more creative energy on my children. I've challenged myself to capture more of the everyday beauty that I get to enjoy. I have, after all, been blessed beyond measure with six amazingly beautiful children and a husband who cherishes and supports me in every way. Why would I not record these moments? And so I have. And because we're all BFFs here, I'll share just a little glimpse of what my life looks like when I'm not being a photographer, just in case you'd like to see.
This is Sophie and Charlotte, our two littlest girls. They are each other's greatest friends and totally inseparable.
This is Sam, my only boy and chief fire starter. Growing up with five sisters has got to be challenging, but he's risen to the occasion and has become a young man I'm super proud of. He'll also make an exemplary husband!
Georgia is full of fun and personality, beautiful, bright and bubbly, there's never a dull moment when she's around! Our cat has to put up with many cuddles, I think she's mostly resigned to this being her lot in life.
Emily is our budding photographer, and a very good one at that. She works with us in the office during wedding season and is often seen assisting us at weddings. She's not only beautiful on the outside, but she's pretty spiffy on the inside too. The little people that live at our house love her to bits!
Kimberly, our stunning firstborn. Being the mother of an adult makes me feel all kinds of old. When I consider that I was married when I was 18 and now have an 18 year old myself, I get kind of weirded out by how quickly time marches on. Still, I couldn't be prouder of her. She's both smart and sensible (she gets that from her Dad), and I've forbidden her from ever leaving home. I'm not sure how long that's going to last for...
Paul is my anchor. My best friend, my source of breakfast in bed, my partner in crazy plans, and usually the realist that keeps things in order. He's had a crush on me since he first saw me when I was 10, and after being pals as teenagers and then almost 20 years of marriage I couldn't imagine a single day without him. He's the daddy that has read to the kids pretty well every single night for the last 18 years. This man is a keeper. F'sure.
Oh, and we also have a funny looking dog who looks ridiculous when she's having a shower.
I've been realising for a while, actually, that I haven't been capturing my own family as well as I should have been. What do they say about the cobbler's shoes? The builder's house? I've spent so much time capturing precious memories for others, and neglecting my own. Well, I'm doing my best to change that. My poor children have to put up with me and my camera more often now!
It's amazing how fun a box can be when you have a big brother to push you!
Or a trampoline, for that matter.
We ballet. (Well, I don't ballet, personally!)
And we wait our turn at ballet.
We get piano lessons, as well as drum, saxophone and violin lessons.
So you can imagine how it can sometimes sound when several people are practising at once.
We get dragged around the floor...
along river beds...
and up hills.
Sometimes we make cupcakes.
And we watch movies on a rainy day.
And so these are the people that are my life. Little pieces of myself living in people that I love as much as the air I breathe. We laugh often, we sometimes hug at the exact moment that someone is about to say something so their words come out all funny. It's noisy and often messy. I am blessed.
Now that I've got the blog moving again, I think I'll need to be updating some other things we've been capturing lately! We've got loads lined up, so don't be a stranger! Come on back.
Beautiful chaos. Isn't that what life is like with kids? Days full of energy, noise and sticky fingers. Each child brings their own special sweetness to the mix, their own personality to both delight and drive us crazy at times. But we wouldn't be without them, would we?
"It goes by so fast", that's what they tell us, those old ladies in the veggie aisle. "Enjoy it", they say. And we're sure while we're experiencing it, some days, that it most certainly is NOT going fast. Some days bath time just can't come soon enough. But some time in the future we will look back and realise that it has gone by like a freight train. That's when those fleeting moments caught on camera become even more precious.
Larrissa and Craig asked us to capture some of those moments for them a few weeks ago. So we headed off to Brayshaw Park to play with six year old Isobel and her twin brothers Harry and Louis.
While I might have a particular image in mind, (and sure, it's probably a goody!) however kids being kids will often create their own image. And you know what? I actually rather love the series of Isobel helping her little brothers to see what's through those windows! Turns out I ended up with the best of both worlds, I got the image I was after AND this fabulous series leading up to it!
This is Harry. He's the kid that lights up in front of the camera. He's got that pizazz and seems to realise how EXTREMELY cute he is!
When I told Harry that there might be a mouse in my lens, Isobel simply couldn't help coming to check it out!
This is Louis (the French sounding Louis, as in Lewie not Lewis!) This boy is full of life and cheekiness!
These boys really are the best of friends!
And Princess Isobel, who just lost her top teeth. This girl is such a great big sister!
How's this for a GREAT looking family? Larrissa and Craig are fantastic parents, their kids clearly adore them.
And once again another spontaneous series. Never ever put the camera down!
A wee trip to the blue wall to make the most of the rest of the kids energy!
And so we finish with what I think is the shot of the day. People, I couldn't have orchestrated this even if I had wanted to!
Larrissa and Craig, it was such a fun experience getting to know your family. Those kids are so cute, I don't know how you can stand it!
It was New Year's Eve, with the engagement ring ready Toby considered asking Bonnie to marry him at the six60 concert, but decided he'd wait until the next day when it would be just the two of them on the beach. So the evening was spent with a touch of worry as the ring was stashed under the seat of the car. And, thankfully, it was still there safe and sound in the morning and things could go ahead as planned!
Stopping at the beach on their way home, Toby asked Bonnie to go for a walk with him. Jokingly she said, "you're not going to ask me to marry you, are you?"
She walked on ahead, and when she turned around there was Toby, on one knee in the sand with a ring in his hand.
And she said YES!
So in a few months time these lovebirds will become HUSBAND and WIFE! If our engagement session was anything to go by we are going to have an absolute BALL! Toby and Bonnie are so much fun to be around!
Bonnie, you are going to look absolutely amazing as a bride!
And not to forget our dear Toby, who learned first hand how to be a model. I think ya surprised yourself there, hu?
Well Bonnie and Toby, my new friends, I cannot WAIT to be part of your wedding day! It's going to be fantastic!
It wasn't hard to find things to laugh about, even though our lives are lived about as far away from each other as we could possibly live them. We shared the same Grandma, but I just happened to be born over the other side of the world and they were in Holland. I don't know if you know what I mean when I say I felt at 'home' with this distant family I had only ever met once before, but this is exactly how I felt. My Uncle was a sweet echo of my own Dad, my Aunty warm and inviting and my cousins were great fun.
Renske and Jim are my cousins, and along with their 'significant others' Jeff and Joyce, we headed out to have some fun together!
The weather had been horrid that day, Spring in Holland can be beautiful indeed (a hint of tulips in the next blog post will prove this!) but the time we spent in Holland the weather decided it didn't really want to play along. We found a window of niceness early in the evening and we all dashed out. Within a few minutes the sky started closing in. Here you'll notice Thor, the cat, warning us to get inside. (Perhaps he was just playing too, but I think it's more fun to imagine he was warning us)
I looked up only to see the clouds closing in on us, and with only moments to spare I called out to Renske and Jeff to quickly get in front of the door so we could get a shot with them there too.
The wind hit, then rain and then hail. Like, all within about 15 seconds. BAM. It was time to run back inside.
So we chatted and laughed and ate some more and waited for the weather to fine up again. During this little interlude, I'd like to properly introduce you to Thor.
Then the wind and the rain and the hail passed, and the sun came out again. Dried off and changed the troops came back outside to play.
Jeff and Renske have a beautiful relationship. She calls him 'friend' and he cooks her amazing food.
Jim and Joyce are full of life and laughs, and Joyce's smile can light up any room!
So there you have it, another little piece of my family puzzle pieced together. I loved being in Holland and getting to know my Dutch family. I loved seeing myself in the culture and the people, somehow it felt like home and I could tell that this was where my roots truly lie. And you can bet I'll be coming back sometime! (And next time, Aunty, we'll try and do the photos when you're not soaking up the sun in Spain!)
Last year Simone and Kai had us come to Germany to photograph their wedding, as we hugged them goodbye in August last year I honestly didn't think I'd be back over that side of the world anytime soon. Surely this was a once in a lifetime opportunity? Well, nine short months later and we're back in Europe to photograph another wedding. I rejoiced heartily, with happy dances and the like (which may or may not have included finger snapping and fist pumping, I'm that cool). We ate the cheese, we smiled at the locals (while trying not to get run over by their bikes) and we caught up with good friends. Because that's what Kai and Simone had become, friends. It's funny how life can bring you friends from places you just never expect. I like that about life.
So here we were, we had a day to cruise around with Kai and Simone and left it entirely in their hands as to where we'd explore. Our first stop was an abandoned coal mine. Zollverein has become somewhat of a tourist attraction in Essen, and Simone and Kai knew that we would never have seen anything quite like THIS before. Boy, were they right! To say this place is huge would be quite the understatement! Gargantuan would be closer...
We wandered around finding all sorts amazing little spots. This 'window' was super cool, but the light was just not quite right. We really hadn't packed a full kit of equipment for our wanderings, so Paul asked if I wanted some more light, picked up a white plastic table, holds it up and reflected the light right to where I needed it. Epic.
Selftimer coalmine trees.
You can just walk around this place for miles, I don't know if it's the quality of light on the other side of the world, or if it was just because the entire place was made out of redbrick and steel, but we saw loads of amazing light that you just can't get back in New Zealand. If only we could pack it in our suitcase!
Thanks to Kai for taking the camera and making us do a little of the modelling too!
In the winter this stretch of water freezes right over and they open it up as an iceskating rink! Excuse me? How many coolness points would that earn Essen? More than I could count!
Simone, you are so much fun to photograph! Such a beauty!
Ummmm.... I don't know about you, but this sign didn't fill me with much confidence.
After our adventures in the old mine, we went for a walk (and dinner!) in a VERY old little township. Like, really really old.
As we were driving home and the sun was getting low, I spotted these fields on the side of the road. What was it? Maize, corn, wheat? No idea, but it was beautiful and we had to go check it out!
And so we had done it all in one day. Old abandoned mine, seriously old village and then this beautiful piece of nature. I'm officially in love with Germany! I'm so thrilled to have made such great friends, Kai and Simone - you guys rock! Next time you'll have to come here and we'll show you some of our prettiness! How's that for a deal?
The first time Vanessa laid eyes on Adam he was wearing a Wallabies jersey, among a sea of All Black supporters. It was the 2012 Bledisloe Cup and as the evening wore on, and the All Blacks were absolutely thrashing the Wallabies (ahem 22-0), Adam couldn't take his eyes of this pretty Kiwi girl with the amazing smile. Vanessa had already noticed Adam's equally gorgeous smile beaming back at her, and decided not to make it TOO easy for Adam. He was really going to have to work to get Vanessa's affections. Well, whatever he did sure did the job because not quite two years later and here we are on their wedding day! The weather was absolute perfection and Marlborough sure put on a spectacular show of light and colour for the occasion!
Not long after they had met Adam had to go off and work in Antarctica for four months, and absence most certainly made the heart grow fonder and the warmth of Vanessa's love was waiting at home on his return. They both knew exactly the treasure they had found in each other and wasted no time getting engaged.
Vanessa took a moment before getting into her dress to read her speech, I love how she cracks herself up.
And there's that amazing smile!
I love love loved her Dad's reaction to seeing his little girl as a bride!
And OH MY GOODNESS what a gorgeous bride she is!
Vanessa told me that the only reason she decided to wear a veil on her wedding day was because she had read me saying how very much I love veils. And I do. I very much do!
While the girls were out getting their hair and makeup done, Adam snuck into the house and delivered a letter and left it where he knew she'd find it.
Which proved to be very appreciated!
Meanwhile Adam shows absolutely no signs of nerves.
Just genuine happiness that the big day has finally arrived!
Why is there an exchange of money and rings? I have no idea. Pretty funny though!
Vanessa and Adam opted to see each other and have their main portraits before the ceremony, this left the rest of the day free for them to relax and spend time with their guests. Such a brilliant idea!
And then it was time for the big reveal.
I'd say that's a win.
From this moment on it was tricky to pry them apart, they were just SO into each other!
I'm pretty sure that if there was an award for the wedding with the most laughing, this one would win gold.
Then a quick stop at the Auntsfield Road to capture a little bit more of Marlborough's amazing scenery before we headed to Wither Hills Winery for the rooftop ceremony.
Overlooking a scene like this, it's easy to see why Adam and Vanessa chose to have their wedding here in Blenheim. I, for one, am absolutely thrilled they did!
Jacqui Leslie created a beautiful ceremony.
And then, just as the sun was setting, we brought Adam and Vanessa back outside to make the most of the amazing light.
There are so many reasons to have your wedding in May, when else do you get light and colour like this?
Paul was demonstrating his ninja-post-climbing-skills in order to get to his shot.
I'm loving the royal wave. Clearly making the most of the fact that the Royals, Will and Kate, were in this very spot only last month!
Then it was time to go inside for the reception where the laughs continued into the night. In fact there was so much fun and laughter, it's a good thing Wither Hills Winery aren't surrounded by close neighbours wanting to nap!
Vanessa and Adam, your day was absolute perfection, thank you for allowing us to capture it for you! We can't wait to show you all the rest of the images, in the meantime have an AMAZING time in Hawaii!
And that brings us to the end of our 2013/2014 wedding season! It's been an absolutely magical year full of beautiful brides and grooms, loads of laughs and adventures and thousands upon thousands of photos. We're still here, however, and about to launch into Family Portrait mode, so if you're keen to book a spot do get in touch for more information!