Congratulations to two amazing people, Hannah & Scott it was absolutely an honour to be a part of the crew for the day. The sky cleared after what seemed like six months of rain, all in perfect timing for a tremendous wedding celebration in the spectacular Marlborough Sounds. I loved that you were totally true to who you are and the day was filled with love laughter and good vibes. The party continued into the small hours and we were impressed that the dance floor was working hard. I wish you both that life continues to be a huge adventure for you and that there is nothing but good times ahead on your journey together.
I have always wanted to visit the little Kaikoura Lavender Farm just north of Kaikoura and so it happened back in early February during a visit over Waitangi weekend here in New Zealand I was ecstatic to finally tick this off the list. This little farm was perfect for a little wander around and to take in the beautiful sights and the heavenly smell of lavender. I was extremely lucky that there were hardly anyone else there.. So packed with my camera I set about to enjoy the gorgeous surroundings and just sit and contemplate. Now normally the bees would have kept me vigilant but somehow we harmoniously shared the same space. It’s quite brilliant to see these bees working away knowing the importance of there work. I spent about one and a half hours both in the gardens and the store. The garden has many different hidden spaces, livestock and of course more that just lavender. I met the owner Myra and learnt about the different varieties of lavender and managed to find my little sleep potion aka Lavender Oil. My sleep potion is my nightly ritual and a dab or two is for sure added to a cotton pad under the top sheet every night, and since I have started this my sleeping pattern is 100% better. Plus our room smells gorgeous! In the store there was a vast variety of lavender products that there is something there for everyone and also make great gifts to share. I am regretting not trying one of the gorgeous looking lavender scones, that will have to wait to the next time I visit. So next time you go to Kaikoura, check out the Lavender Farm you won’t be disappointed. It’s supporting local and entry is a gold coin donation. Some day, I hope to be able to photograph someones wedding here. The perfect setting for intimate bridal portraits.
Take a walk in the trees & smell the wild air. Natures ability to heal is greater than anyone has permitted you to believe.
Hannah and Scott came up to Marlborough in October to go over the final plan for their wedding day and have a little engagement photo session. We met in Anakiwa and it was a typical Marlborough evening, the type of evening that just goes on and on and the light just gets better and better. Our location was simple just down from Hannah’s family Bach, down a bush lined track with stunning ferns and native growth. Navigating over a tricky stream while carrying camera gear silently thinking don’t be that photographer that ends up in the water! Hannah and Scott are truly that couple that are so down to earth, and can laugh at themselves, not taking themselves too seriously. Then throw Darcy their happy fur baby in the mix and you can’t help but to just roll with it. They say never to work with children and pets…..Thankfully Darcy was a star! Hannah and Scott are both talented sportspeople in their own rights and you can see when you are around them that they are committed to being the best versions of themselves and together as a couple. Both are very private people, so below I have chosen a small gallery of their engagement session images.
Wahoo Hannah + Scott,
wishing you all the happiness in the world ❤️
Dannielle and Leon were the lucky winners of a voucher towards a photo session of their choice and they chose a couples session. Dannielle and I met up for coffee at 5Tapped to discuss a plan. What makes them the perfect recipients is that Dannielle and Leon have been engaged for little over a year and had not quite had the chance for any photos. We nearly postponed due to the weather, tho I do believe that even if it had been wet Dannielle would have still been keen as mustard to push through and make this happen. So just like that on the only day it hasn't rained or so it seems the sun came out to provide a little warmth. I can't express how cool these two young lovebirds are, they both were true troopers as the wind was relentless. We ended up back at their cute little property as their precious little Alaska was needing her mum and dad. This little family who love Marlborough are here to stay and I wish them the very best for their future here together. Thank you for a great photo session!!
Enjoy your photos Dannielle and Leon, XO Carmen
I love it when I am invited along to a special occassion to record and photograph that moment in time. Martina's birthday party held at their incredibly stunning home in Blenheim, was a party inspired by the classic era of the 1940's. Well I can say I am a huge fan of this era and Martina's family and friends pulled it off beautifully! Firstly I would like to say how talented at stylising Martina is, the effort and thought was extraordinary. The details did not dissapoint, the black & white movies playing in the lounge, the music and the amazing food and drinks! All I can say bring back the teacups! Everything was collected by friends and op shopping, there was a little story in every little detail. Everyone looked incredible, honestly they looked like they had all stepped off the 1940's train. Womans fashion was breaking new grounds in the 1940's with the rationing of fabrics brought shorter hemlines and more masculine shape but with still maintaining a feminine silhouette. Also lets not forget the furs, they were drop dead gorgeous! The guys looked the part with a dapper/Gangsta vibe happening. It really was a special era in history. Below I have put together a small gallery of some of the images for you to feast your eyes on. Thank you Martina & Khalid for having me along.
Summer is here and boy oh boy are we in for a gorgeous long hot summer. As the mercury climbs on the temperature gage here in Marlborough, I got to photograph the heat between these two love birds. Nearly a year ago, on boxing day 2016, they met in Picton. Lisa & Marty are your genuine down to earth kiwi couple and both don't take things too seriously. They were both extremely easy to hang out with, nothing but good vibes and I was pretty much able to do what I do and record their story. The early evening sun and this fun loving couple made everything perfect. Couple Goals right here people! These guys knew how to have fun, and were full of surprises. My heart flip flopped when Marty took charge and began to dance with Lisa, this boy can dance, hunt and love his beautiful girl. Now girls FYI these guys still exist but this one is taken! Marty and Lisa, thank you for spending your evening with me and hopefully one day we will have dinner up on top of a hill soon.
Today I got to hang out and connect with Alicia & Bevan. A typical winter day here in Blenheim - a tad bit chilly but we had a blast. Alicia and Bevan value the importance of having photos done, so that one day the kids can look back and see their parents as they grow old. Alicia and Bevan have been together 12 years, they know each other well and have that comfortable ease around each other.
Cafe Home is one of their favourite coffee houses and that's where you will typically find them on a Saturday morning. Everyone has a little ritual on a Saturday, Bevan's is reading the newspaper and Alicia enjoys her habit of fine coffee which she will freely admit that she is extremely fussy about! Once your out and about one must use this time to have a look around the local stores and a little retail therapy. Thanks to Cafe Home we were allowed to shoot there privately.
Our next location was out at Rarangi Beach and though it was cold it was beautiful at the same time. Alicia and Bevan were troopers and their love and bond is evident. Both confident and up for most of my sugestions. These two were pretty real and were a perfect mix of sexy, super snugly and playful. We were nearly done but we took a break and were able to have a hot coffee and a change of wardrobe.. Thank goodness I actually packed the flask and cups this time! We were sort of chasing the fading light at this point but managed to grab another 15 minutes of photo's. To be honest I really wish we had stayed and hung out for more I was having a friggen great time. Thanks guys enjoy your images!
I was fortunate to meet Alissa, while arranging another shoot and as fate would have it that photoshoot was postponed so I asked Alissa if she would be keen to create some portraits later that day. Thankfully she said yes and trusted me completely. Alissa is a assistant manager at a fashion retailer here in Blenheim, New Zealand so knows her stuff when it comes to all things fashion. I have to say that her makeup skills are on point and I couldnt of asked for a better look even right down to her nails were just perfect. Check out Liquid Glamour nails here in Blenheim they are leaders in their field (Good Luck at getting an appointment!!) I was in the prescence of a beautiful soul who was just so easy to photograph and work with and I hope we get to create something amazing again together!
I can't even explain how much we were looking forward to our trip to Australia. After what seemed like waiting forever, January finally arrived and we were off to the Australian Open!! This trip, our flight was without drama and leaving us the whole day to settle into the apartment in St Kilda. Our booking via AirBNB was just the amount of perfect for us and ideally located a three minute walk from Acland street. St Kilda beach was a five minute walk from our apartment and we spent a lot of down time there. The cafes and bars in St Kilda are all worthy of working your way through each and one of them - Favourite cafe/bar #95 - seriously go there. Our first game for the Australian Open was a night session and Andy Murray did not disappoint. The light and music show at the beginning was amazing and the village within was incredible. Next time we will without a doubt be there for the final.
Shopping in Melbourne is sensational and one would be hard pushed not to find something to add to the luggage. DFO was our first hit for Tayla and I while Phil was entertained on a tour of the MCG. Now I'm no slouch when it comes to shopping but Tay won first prize. If you are in St Kilda my favourite store there was "Instore", again a boutique store with many OMG moments and do you ship internationally? And in saying that, I have since brought from them since being home. On the hottest day 37 degrees we went in search for "Chadstone'" ummm bloody hell! Wow it was a "New Zealand mall" on steroids and I think I covered 70% of the stores. What does a husband do whilst the girls are shopping? Well he goes to the movies of course. A total of over six hours spent in a congrete jungle you lose all sense of time, rather like being in a casino really. You really can get lost and a bit overwhelmed by the magnitude of choice. But I can say it was a success and David Jones was on sale!! Though again Tay outdid me in the money spent! Haha your going to be a student this year. The Victoria Market is another must and did not walk away empty handed. Yes I managed to bring a cowhide home, very big but a real steal from the worlds funniest Asian, of course would not lie to me - apparently this cow hide is going to bring me immense luck. On a sadder note we were in the centre of the city close to Bourke St when it unfolded. At first we thought it was a terriost attack but an Italian family looked after us and news filtered in that it was an attack from one person and not terriost related. Our sympathies and hearts go to the victims and their families. Melbourne was shut down and travel out to anywhere was a mission. I cannot for the life of me think why someone would hurt so many people and cause so much devestation.
Werribee Zoo, took us about and hour out of Melbourne but with the many trams, trains and buses it was closer to an hour and a half. The trip out was an interesting one. At one point I was ready to grab an Uber......are we there yet!! The open safari zoo did not disappoint and the scenery was magnificent. My favourites of course were the Giraffes.
Eating out is never difficult in Melbourne wherever you turn there are choices after choices to tempt even the fussiest of diners. Favourite place would have to be "Day Of The Dead" on Fitzroy Street, a wee Mexican Cocktail & Tapas Bar. Check it out on my instagram page. Cocktails there are off the chart! The food will leave you wanting more. The service from Scotty and the team are what you don't get anywhere else, I promise. I just wish that my big camera was there with me. Il Tempo in Degraves Street was another great find and their Chicken and Mushroom Risotto was an Italian win. Running with the Mexican theme we found Cantina in St Kilda where the Tequila was a treat and the food flavours of a mexican feast. Favourite cocktail Mexican Colada" coconut infused tequila, popcorn & pineapple. Topilinos on Fitzroy is a great place for some pizza and a cheeky drink or two. These are just a few of what we experienced and it would be a challenge to not go back to them and force some new experiences next time.
Eureka Tower, I nearly bailed on doing this but thought if you die your dead - so what! We were packed into an elevater like little sardines and some smartass says at floor 15 "If we fall now...we're all dead" But 88 floors up and the views made you forget about everything else. We were lucky that it wasn't too windy and while it was busy, we found it easy to have acess without having to fight for it. The view from up there is incredible, and made me realise that my bearings were slightly off and my compass clearly broken. But thanks to Google, Tayla, Phil and I really didn't have to worry about navigation. If in doubt get an Uber!!
Flinders Lane & Degraves Street, The iconic Laneway. Art,food, atmosphere - What can I say we love it and it never dissapoints.
"LIFE IS FOR DEEP KISSES, STRANGE ADVENTURES, MIDNIGHT SWIMS & RAMBLING CONVERSATIONS"
I asked Anna after her portrait shoot if she would indulge me in trying on the vintage wedding dressess that were begging for someone to breathe life back into them. And with that said the dresses came back to life, both dresses fitted like a glove and you could visualise Anna's wedding day in the future.....The setting was perfect, as were the dresses ... but it was Anna who was the star of the night. Thank you Anna, I loved every moment... XO CARMEN
These guys are a busy family. We had hoped on doing their family portraits back in late autumn but luck was against us and we rescheduled for early spring. That said everything worked out beautifully! We kept the location simple to allow personalities to shine through. The plan was going for a low key afternoon, with the emphasis on the family having fun. You guys were great company and easy going and made my job a heck of a lot of fun! Thank you M&A for choosing me as your photographer. Your little family is awesome. Enjoy your images. XO Carmen
Portrait Photography allows for such unique story telling images and captures individuality. I often have a vision of how the final images will look like. The perfect location and time are so important. This property in Blenheim has so much history, I fell in love when I first pulled in the driveway. Every little pocket of this amazing property had scenery like out of a story book.
It's the little moments that often have you laughing so hard that tears are often a real thing! Watch out for thistles, weeds that are suposed to support a position and sheep poo! I still think the rooster should of been included....
Anna, May your journey in life be epic, full of adventures and your heart filled with love. Thank you for allowing me to capture a glimpse into who you are.
It's the simple little things in life that keep us grounded. Sometimes those are the very things that we take for granted. We forget to take the time and to be grateful for even the simplest little pleasures in life. It has been just over a week since the earthquake struck us here in New Zealand, which seems so long ago. The days after the quake, many felt like life was a bit of a daze. We have all been affected in one way or another but life continues and we just keep on being. While there has been many hugely affected in unimaginable ways there is also a positive shift in the way that I've seen more humanity and forgiveness in people post quake. The willingness in some to show a a more vunerable side and just generally coming together more and looking after one an another. It's incredible that life does take on a normality again and we look forward to our crazy busy lives filled with the up's and downs that life throws at us. We all cope differently, and that's okay. I'm grateful for family and friends that are safe, possesions can be collected again. I thank those family and friends for their caring love and support. It takes a little time to again venture past the safety of leaving home and to not think of the "what if's". So my therapy was to head out with my camera and see the beautiful in my neighbourhood. This is where I live, this is home and I love it!
Moa Beer Company has been one of those places on the list of places to visit. Finally on a long weekend we managed to commit and get a cheeky beer or two in. The Moa Beer Company offers a wide variety of craft beers and we cannot wait to head back. We were lucky enough to have the place to ourselves and it felt like we were enjoying a quiet one in our own backyard. Located in Marlborough, New Zealand. Worthy of a detour on your next trip to sunny Marlborough.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love horses and that love has never disappeared. It never occured to me till just recently why am I not photographing them more. Horses have always been a huge part of my life and I remember my very first pony called Popcorn, now it's every little girls dream to own their very own pony and I can't express deeply enough the wonderful memories of growing up and having a pony in one's life is. Rewarding beyond imagination. The smell the feel and love one learns from their horse is never forgotton.
I was lucky enough to ride to primary school daily from the farm with a friend. This sure beat the bike ride on a dusty gravel road and over hills. The good old days when life was easy and the summers lasted forever. Days consisted of riding over to other friends farms, cross country jumping around the farm. Dad used to find new jumps appear faster than the old John Deer tractor could go! Pony club, shows and eventing were what I lived for. I gave up eventing for some time while the girls learnt to ride. But it remains the one passion I regret not continuing with, but I found new ones and have those incredible adventures and memories to last forever.
I discovered these two quietly enjoying fresh spring grass. Of course the littlest was the bossiest and ruled the paddock. I was lucky enough to get some kisses and a hug in exchange for a carrot or two a chat and a good rub. The little pony loved the head scratch the most.
One of my most favourite places in Clyde,Central Otago. The Orchard Garden Cafe/restaurant. The garden and maze, incredible rooms of display, many hours of work and love have gone into the creation of this labour of love. On a lazy sunday afternoon there was no better place to have lunch and sit back an admire the beautiful scenery. A popular destination visit for locals and travellers as this is on the doorstep of the Central Otago Rail Trail. Its hard to believe that it is almost coming up a year since we left Central, while we love living in Marlborough there are many things that we miss in Central Otago.
Last week I discovered a little gem of a farm up the Taylor Pass road. The farm belonging to Mr & Mrs Cooper of Marlborough. It was one of those moments when you bump into someone a complete stranger and end up at their place for a cup of tea. Now don't be alarmed I just don't rock up to a complete strangers house without doing any sort of risk management first - yep in the 10 minutes that we were chatting on the road, I had found a common ground and decided that I liked this person and that he was not in any way a mass murderer of any sorts! I feel lucky that from my background of growing up on a farm that I find it easy talking to people that I've just met.(I probably talk far too much) and hence, that in my job, and as a wedding photographer it all comes rather easily having a conversation with people I've just met.. I find it reassuring that in today's world that something we took for granted back in the day that we can meet someone and trust them. We have met so many interesting people, that we might not necessarily have met if we sat in our own bubble. Could you do this? I challenge you try it at a cafe, strike up a conversation with someone. You might just make their day!
It seems like ages since I went exploring. Today I felt the need to be outdoors and in search of some inspiration. While I had plenty to do at home, I needed some alone time and time with my thoughts and camera wherever I happened to end up. I love photographing buildings like the one here located on the other side of the train tracks. I just imagine what this building has seen in it's lifetime, I can also envision that it has some life left in it still. This I reckon could have the possibility to be one of the coolest bar/cafes in the area. The ideas are endless. I'm so intrigued with old buildings that it has become one of my many obsessions and I know that there are so many more out there for me to discover. Don't take the old for granted, they hide many stories, take a look around hopefully many will still stand long enough to be appreciated. As I sit here and brainstorm a plan for this place and scribble ideas on paper I forsee it as a studio apartment, a Photography studio or quite possibly the place to be for local's to be enjoyingr a meal and a few fine local vino's. Something a little different and unique to fit it's life on the other side of the tracks.
Early on when I first started out in Photography, It was the B&W images that I was so in love with. I think I could entirely work with just Black and white all the time. Due to the weather this weekend a family photo session had to be cancelled, but I think if I didn't pick up my camera and shoot something that I would go slightly more crazy than I already am. Thank you Tayla for allowing me to goof around with my new brolly from Dolly's Brolly that I love. Slightly royal but makes me way more cooler than I actually am!