Oh the places we’ll go… #FordThinking

Oh the places we’ll go… #FordThinking
Those who follow me on Instagram would know that a few months ago I was voted as one of Kidspot’s Voices of 2015 Top 3 online creatives in the Food & Travel category. What an overwhelming surprise it was! I’ve been really grateful for it and what it has encouraged me to do. For some time now, I have been wanting to get back into doing my own writing, but always seemed to put it off. This chance to blog for Kidspot was the perfect push I needed to get me started.
As part of the Top 3 I was also given this opportunity – to test drive and blog about one of Ford’s newest vehicles (I’ve been zooming around town in the Everest!). Last week we drove to Bulli, just about an hour from Sydney (read more about it here). This week we decided to take the Everest south-west to the Snowy Mountains (Lake Crackenback to be exact). Yep, a much longer drive but we were up for the challenge. I read that the Everest was equipped to ‘tackle any terrain’ so with our 3 kids, 1 infant and 6 hours of road – no doubt, it was going to be a challenging terrain. Still we were up for it and we prepared as best we could.
I packed each kid their own snacks. They took some writing, drawing pads and pencils and of course we could not go without our much needed tablets (not the Panadol type, even though that too became a necessity, but more so the smart tech type!). I love that the Everest has the two USB ports and Auxiliary Power Points (in the front, centre and rear of vehicle), which meant we didn’t have to worry about the gadgets dying on us… the kids were able to stay connected for most of the trip.  I did also organise some car games that we played along the way, a chance to interact and get them off the gadgets. But let’s not kid ourselves here, the fact that they were able to stay connected to their devices for longer saved our ears from the constant ‘She’s staring at me,’ or ‘She touched me,’ or ‘Are we there yet?’

I actually love a road trip. In fact, for years I’ve been looking at the types of Winnebago motorhomes I could buy for retirement so I could travel around Oz taking photographs and eating good food. Retirement is a good couple of decades away, but hey it’s always best to be prepared. I don’t plan on going on my own though, I’m taking my husband along too, I just haven’t told him yet! I’m now convinced that if we had a vehicle with some of the high tech features that the Everest has, then it really shouldn’t take much persuasion at all. The Adaptive Cruise Control, how it warns you if there’s someone in your blind spot and even when there’s a car coming from either direction when you’re reversing (now that I find really cool!). And then there’s the Active Park Assist, which he hasn’t stopped raving about! 
(Side note to hubby: retirement, an Everest with motorhome in tow, my camera, the road & the two of us would be a great idea!)

“And of course, she had to throw her camera into the midst of it all,” he’s probably thinking. I admit I’m a bit obsessed sometimes, maybe a lot of the time! I’m the one who takes their camera everywhere. I love photography and although I do a lot more food photography these days, my passion for it actually first started with my interest in photographing people and places.

Which (apologies for my rambling) brings me back to this road trip. Why would it be any different? It’s the perfect opportunity to do just that – create snapshots that will remain as beautiful souvenirs for years to come. And since you’re all coming along for the ride I thought, instead of foodie talk, I’d share with you some photography tricks I was taught during my studies. That, regardless of your type of camera, applying these techniques to your own photography should take your average snapshot from something ordinary to something that’s more engaging, even extraordinary.

Back home in Sydney now, I’m still blown away by the grand scale of the Snowy Mountains’ harmonious beauty! It truly was the perfect place to do some photography and so was Lake Crackenback Resort. A few years back we came down that way during the snow period, but never before in Spring. If you’ve never been, you must put it on your list of places to visit. I can assure you, you will not be disappointed! What an amazingly magnificent location! There were so many things for us to do as a family too.  Bike riding around the Lake and down to the river, disc golf, trampolining, canoeing, a Segway experience and even a bit of fishing. We really had such a great time!

I hope you enjoy checking out what we got up to in the images & video below (and hopefully you take advantage of the photography tips too!)
TIP #1
Photographers (and other visual communicators) often use lines and shapes to lead the viewer’s eye through an image, guiding them to focus on a specific point. You could do this by looking for “lead lines” (a fence, road, stairs or even the line of the horizon) or shapes (including L, V and diagonals) in your surrounding environment. The lines and shapes make a shot more interesting where the subject can be seen from a different perspective. The image is instantly engaging and has more of a story to tell.
SnowyMountains_0025-1 SnowyMountains_0033 SnowyMountains_0047 SnowyMountains_0051SnowyMountains_0073 SnowyMountains_0121
TIP #2
“Rule of Thirds” is a photographic composition widely used to frame a subject in an image. This concept is one of the most simple, yet powerful compositional devices that I have discovered since taking up photography on a more serious level. All you need to do when taking a photo is imagine your frame is divided up into thirds. (In fact, many cameras have this grid as an option and when set on you always see it in the viewfinder.) When following the rule, line up the subject of the image along these grid lines and their four intersecting points. The idea is if you place your subject in the intersections, or along the lines, your photo becomes more aesthetically pleasing to the eye and enables a viewer a more natural engagement with the image. The first image is an example where the “Rule of Thirds” has not been used creatively. Here the subject is in the centre, making the image a stock standard one. However, the second image I have used the “Rule of Thirds”. The subject is now to the right of the photograph, leading the eye from it across the vast landscape.
Here’s another example:
TIP #3
Enhancing your awareness of how “point of view” changes the narrative and overall impact of an image will really help take your photography to a whole new level. This series of images I captured is simply of a pile of firewood taken from a number of different angles. As you can see, from image to image, the result changes depending on the camera axes. Using different angles, as opposed to a straight on shot, to capture a subject has a greater impact and gives the viewer altered feelings. In changing your camera’s “point of view” you allow the viewer more room to wonder and develop a story to attach to your image. So in the photographs below, as in the trampolining shots, you are not just seeing a firewood or a kid on a trampoline, it has become more than that. And really it is open to the viewer to create whatever story they want from the image. 
SnowyMountains_0469  SnowyMountains_0471  SnowyMountains_0473  SnowyMountains_0475
I hope you’ve found these photography tips useful!
Let me know if you would like to know more??

As a Top 3 Finalist in Kidspot’s Voices of 2015 I have been given the opportunity to participate in the #FordThinking challenge, sponsored by Ford Australia. As part of the challenge I get to test drive Ford’s brand new Everest for 6 weeks and blog about my experience. This is Blog 3 of 3 posts.
Thanks for coming along on this ride with me! And thank you Kidspot & Ford Australia for this AWESOME opportunity! 

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