Well it promised to be the trip of a lifetime and it didn’t disappoint!
For those of you that don’t already know, back last year Dave and I were approached by the wonderful NiK and Alpa (now Mr. and Mrs. Ghedia!) and asked if we would be willing to travel to Australia for their four day extravaganza of a wedding in Perth. We had covered Alpa’s sister’s wedding in London around 4 months prior to them coming to us with the proposal and so it was a massive compliment for us that Nik and Alpa believed in our ability so much that they were willing to fly us half way around the world! Well, as you’ve probably already guessed, we said yes (in fact, to be honest, we were a little more enthusiastic than just saying yes) and so it was that on 27th March this year, Dave and I headed off to Heathrow airport, photography suitcases in hand, ready for a 12 day round trip of antipodean splendour!
So having finally landed in Perth after 21 and a half hours worth of flights (with a brief stopover in KL), we dropped our main bags off at Alpa’s brother’s place and after a brief but lovely welcome, we made our way around the outskirts of Perth City for a quick recce (and obligatory cityscape shot) before heading over to the domestic airport, for yet another flight onward to Melbourne.
6 hours later and still no sleep for the better, we touched down in ‘Melbs’ at 5am and slowly made our way to our ‘accommodation’! At this point I should say that I’m sure the Discovery backpackers inn is a fantastic place to stay, if you’re sub-20 years old, single and not looking for some good shut eye. However, being post-30, married and a father of two children under 3 years old looking for some sleepy respite, I found it slightly less appealing! That said, we only ended up spending one night there and I only had my head on the pillow for around 3 hours in that time, such was our obsession with capturing night time and sunrise shots, so I shouldn’t complain too much.
We did manage to fit in quite a bit of ‘photographer’ sightseeing in just two days, including stumbling on to the Aussie GP track in our pimp daddy Holden Malibu (a less manly sounding car I’ve yet to hear of!), visiting Philip Island to shoot the beaches, heading in to the Laneways in Central Melbourne and even managed to meet up with some old friends in Yarra and St. Kilda and made some new ones as well.
Hybrid Dave and I with a native!
Philip Island Beach
After a whirlwind two days though, we headed back to the airport for yet another flight on to Sydney. Landing at midnight and with bleary eyes, we made our way to our slightly more appealing hotel. However, we managed to spend only as long as it took to dump our bags and retrieve our cameras there, before we were heading down to the Botanical Gardens for some night shots of the city. A bit of walking and a spritely jump around a security fence later, we were faced with our first sight of two of the most recognisable sights in the world in the Opera House and Harbour Bridge and spent a good two hours shooting them with various techniques!
The following morning (after a record breaking 5 hours sleep) we headed out to explore a little closer to the Harbour and arrived at Circular Quay only 10 minutes after leaving our digs. Despite it being a hugely popular tourist haunt, I think we managed to fire off some fairly unique shots but, of course, we couldn’t leave without doing the very tourist like tour of the Opera House. That said, we did manage to get some shots of the inside of the two halls, despite being strictly forbidden from doing so by our very German guide!
The following day was a little less furiously paced and saw us boarding the famous Manly ferry for the half hour sail to…. Manly (obvs). We quickly made our way to a nature reserve on the Western side of Manly harbour and set about photographically detailing as many creatures as possible that could kill us… It didn’t take long!
Golden Orb Weaver
A few hours later, we found ourselves back at the ferry terminal and with some precious time to spare, we decided that beer was the only way to pass it. Specifically Bavarian beer (Sorry Australia, it’s just better!). It was while sat on the veranda of the bar, gazing out across the water, sun beating down on my face and stein in hand, that I suddenly realised why so many Brits fall in love with this place!
Manly Harbour (from the Bavarian Bierhaus!)
Still, there wasn’t too long to contemplate this as it was soon back on to the Ferry returning us to Circular Quay and onward to our 5th flight in as many days back to Perth, where the very reason we were in Australia awaited us… The Ghedia/Varsani wedding!
Arriving back in Perth at midnight again (we really hadn’t thought this through!), we headed to the hotel where, amazingly, we didn’t head straight out to take photos, instead getting some much needed shut eye. We were up bright and breezy the following morning though and made our way South to some known Dolphin spotting sites…. Only, we didn’t manage to see any. Well, not close up anyway. This was the best we managed. Still an amazing sight, nonetheless though.
That evening we met another old friend who told us about an awesome spot for some night photography and so it was that at 3am the following morning (having gone to bed at 12am!) we were up and heading in to the middle of nowhere to try our hand at astro photography. The result weren’t too shabby and even the Milky Way made an appearance, thanks to the Moon disappearing!
The following days were consumed by the awesome wedding of Alpa and Nik, including some wonderfully traditional Hindu ceremonies in the days before the main events. I’ll go in to this in more detail in a later post, once the wedding shots are done. However, I will share this photo of us with the very happy couple at both their religious and civil ceremonies (the latter photo taken after Nik carried Alpa in to the drink… and Dave followed!)
All in all, 10 days was never going to be enough time in this amazing country but we experienced so much and have been left with so many outstanding memories, that I’m sure it won’t be long before we head back again!