Life is simple, and beautiful. Family is central to everything. Work is physically demanding, and hours are long. Lives are lived out communally on the streets. The landscapes are stunning, the textures and colours are rich. Making ends meet isn't always easy, but the people of Vietnam are happy, vibrant, and so incredibly friendly. It's a land rich with culture and history. We felt increeeedibly privileged to explore this beautiful country!
Crisp colours, clean lines, contrasting tones. Spectacular snow. Perfect light. Glorious mountains. Winter wonderland.
New Zealand. Photographer's heaven.
Crystal clear snow surrounded this sleepy little town. Every twiggy tree, every winding road, and every stone right down to the lake edge was enveloped in this white blanket. It was a scene of total beauty. We live in an incredible country.
Presenting to you... Tekapo: The Winter Collection
Unfortunately, the compression of these photos for website purposes changes them a lot, but you get the idea of just how stunning this place is.
Looking down on the township...
Any of these individual photos are available for purchase as prints, canvases, or photo blocks. Please get in touch with me for details.
Tekapo also has an awesome outdoor rink which we utilised, and hot pools which I wish we utilised. This is me and my fiance Liam...before we impressed everyone with our beautiful figure skating and our particularly ungraceful falls.
On this fantastic expedition, my family-to-be quickly learned that an adventure with me requires a lot of patience - I cannot pass up opportunities to shoot scenes that take my breath away. They will learn just not to ask if I want to stop... of course I want to take photos! However, every stop was well worth the muddy knees, frost-bitten fingers, and wet pants I came back with. I promise I didn't actually wet my pants with excitement, just got them very wet around the hem. That's all.
Samoa is a country abounding in beauty - it is lusciously green, covered in banana and coconut trees, and surrounded by glorious blue seas and vivid skies. The villages are small and unobtrusive, with children playing together on the side of the road, brightly coloured clothing drying on the grass, roaming animals, many people sitting together in open fales, and others going about their daily business at a pace that is all very relaxing.
I was fortunate enough to have a week in this incredible country with my sister, brother-in-law and boyfriend, before photographing a wedding over there. I want to give you a glimpse into a humbling culture that knows how to live life simply, but to the full.
Samoan children are incredibly beautiful. I wanted to photograph every child I saw, not just because they are all SO adorable, but also because they all seemed to have a story that I wanted to share. In Samoa, kids are allowed to be kids...they spend their days playing with the other children in the village, attending school, and running around in the sand playing soccer or cricket. As we drove by, the children would all wave and yell "Malo!". When I asked if I could take photos, many would clamber on top of each other trying to be seen. Others were very shy, but inquisitive. Let me show you just some of the young faces of this beautiful nation.
I have to dedicate a section to the Samoan public transport. I fell in love with these buses! Decked out in ridiculously bright retro colours and little decorative LED lights, pumping out loud music, packed with people sitting on top of each other and named things like 'Paradise in Heaven', how could I not?!
It was such a privilege to get a glimpse of life for Samoans, as we slowly passed through each village. Both islands, Upolu and Savai'i, are only really populated along the coastlines, so one road circling each island takes you through the large majority of villages. The simplicity of their lives was inspiring, and I loved the cultural traditions that still prevailed in their daily lives.
The sea-life absolutely blew me away! Bright and colourful fish surrounding the coral, and these beautifully calm and slow-moving turtles were definitely highlights. The characteristics of the surfy turtles in Finding Nemo are pretty accurate really :)
Samoa is packed full of beautiful swimming holes, waterfalls and astounding natural features. While hardly signposted or manned, the 'tourist attractions' are all amazing spots of paradise that the locals charge you only a few tala to experience. Waterfalls that you slide down (quite clearly no OSH requirements there!), giant ocean trenches to swim in, spectacular blowholes, beautiful beaches to relax on, and fascinating coral to snorkel around are just some of the amazing things you have to see and do!
This elderly man made a living by throwing coconuts into the famous blowhole for tourists. We paid him some tala, and watched as the blowhole spat the coconuts waaaaay into the sky! He was such a cute man... very proudly wearing his "New Zealand" tshirt which his son had sent over for him!
Travelling around the southern coast of Upolu, we struck the devastation of the 2009 tsunami. The destruction was still pretty raw, and very heartbreaking. I spoke to a few locals in the villages where it hit. The lady below lost two children, and many, many homes were wiped out.
Recovery is reasonably slow and there is still a lot of debris around. Topless trees, destroyed vehicles, piles of concrete, and graves where homes used to stand are constant reminders of the damage. However, efforts to rebuild fales, tourist accommodation and infrastructure were definitely evident. We stayed in newly rebuilt beach fales on a gorgeous beach in Lolumanu, an area hit very hard.
Churches are everywhere and they are amazing buildings. This church stood strongly in the midst of the tsumani damage on the southern coast, but beside it lay a field surrounded by crosses... a mass grave for tsunami victims. It was a hugely sad scene, but the hope that they share was also quite obvious.
These little roadside shops are EVERYWHERE... tiny little family businesses selling things like canned food, rice, soap, and Digicel phone top-ups!
Every morning (except Sunday) in Apia, the Police brass band marches down the main street. As soon as the national anthem begins, every car, bus, taxi and pedestrian stops, and watches proudly as the Samoan flag is raised outside the government buildings.
Everywhere you look, the scenery is dramatic and vivid, and the flowers are so bright and cheerful! It really is paradise.
We went to a very impressive traditional fiafia (Samoan dance) performance at Aggie Grey's Resort. The singing, dancing and fire-throwing were INCREDIBLE, definitely something worth seeing in Samoa. I did get occasionally sprayed with their sweat to get these photos, but that is the price I pay I guess ;)
And finally, on a more personal note...I think I left Samoa as the happiest girl in the whole country. I am still buzzing with excitement, and it has become a very special place to me, because my amazing man proposed to me on our last night over there! Exciting new adventures for me ahead. Check out my beautiful new ring... :D
I definitely recommend that you visit this island nation if you get the chance! It is soo beautiful, soooo relaxing, and soooo hot!! The culture is strong and amazing, and they definitely present a different perspective on life. If you are after a relaxing but amazing trip, where you can forget about the hustle, bustle and stress of life... you should totally go! :)
Surrounded by the magnificently blue Pacific Ocean, gorgeous frangipanis, palm trees and a stinking hot 32 degrees, Katrina and Luke's wedding took place on a stunning beach at Aggie Grey's Resort in Samoa! This intimate wedding, with 30 special guests was a relaxed and beautiful day. Kat and her bridesmaids looked amazing, and the environment was absolutely surreal!!
Here is a sneak peek of their special day! The dress and rings were photographed with real Samoan leis that they were gifted the night before their wedding.
Ahhh...tropical paradise! I LOVE frangipanis so much...you may notice they feature a bit!
Katrina was a gorgeous bride, and was cool, calm and collected all day!
Katrina's clever aunty made these amazing bouquets for the girls with beautiful tropical flowers!
The ceremony was held on the beachfront with a stunning island backdrop. I love the adorable looks between Kat and Luke during the service!
Kat and Luke are a great couple! Very cute together...
What an exotic wedding...we all had an AMAZING time in Samoa and are all feeling the cold back here!!
I hope you have enjoyed your first week of married life Kat and Luke! All the best for your future together!!