Returning home - a summer sojourn

It is always emotional experience heading home to Australia. To hear those aircraft cabin doors close, feel the steel buckle of the seatbelt against my waistline,  and hear the captain explain that in 16 hours I will be home to my native land, I exhale a full breath.

While San Francisco and the US has increasingly started to feel like my adopted home over the last eight years, Australia is the place of my family, dear friends, familiar sights, smells and sounds. 

Returning home is like checking in with my own life. To rediscover all that has changed, and all that remained the same. For this trip I was determined to take my new Canon 5D III camera body and 75-200mm 4.5L lens, alongside my trusty Rebel T3i and 18-35mm lens, and continue my relentless journey of learning. 

I also made the decision to hire an 85mm 1.8 prime lens for portraits from an Adelaide based film hire location, to hopefully  capture the energy and emotion of my family and friends in their element and familiar places.

Whilst the lenses did get used on occasion, sadly not as much as I had planned. Collective schedules, sickness, general jetlag, and distractions only had me shoot about 1/10 of the frames I had taken in my mind and I returned home with what are often considered "glory shots", absent from my cards. Having spent a week editing, I start to see a few bright spots. 

Most of my favorites were shot without extensive amounts of planning, other than right place, right light, right time. Maybe this is how I am destined to shoot. Less pre-meditation, more spontaneity. Less angst, more vulnerability. Less focus, more space. 

The shot accompanying this post was taken at Port Noarlunga in South Australia, a beach where I spent umpteen years of my childhood and youth snorkeling, swimming, building sandcastles and getting totally, naively, sunburned. Unlike many kids of our neighborhood, my brother and I were never allowed to "jetty jump" so we would pop down to the end of the jetty, snorkel and fins in hand, and simply discover a mysterious underwater world, then swim back to shore.

We knew never to swim at dusk, for that is surely prime time for sharks, but in high Summer, by the time the sun hit the horizon, we were well at home, showered, applying burn cream and noshing on hot chip sandwiches.   

This image reminds me of Summer in full swing, and that magical hour when mother nature takes one enormous exhale, sinking over the horizon line, retreating to rest, and create the next perfect day.