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Tag Archives: photography by studio home
Okay – I’ll admit that I woke up feeling a little nervous when I realised I had ambitiously declared I would deliver you some demystifying photography advice! I mean ….. its unlikely I know much more than you BUT if there’s one thing I do know how to do, its use the internet to find out the answers to everything and I have some favourite spots to share with you.
The questions below are ones that I have wondered myself and not been all that willing to ask!
I also share my own process which is by no means the “right” way but I really want to communicate that its not all as mysterious as we think!
To interrupt the text I have scattered pics from a dreamy getaway to the Coromandel with good friends last weekend.
SHOULD I PLAY WITH THE DIALS ON MY CAMERA?
A purist would scoff at this heading but seriously – sometimes I wonder why you would when I look at the terrific results my compact but meaty old camera used to achieve on largely automatic settings!
I’ve just got to a point in my thinking that if you don’t want to play with settings and would like the camera to take care of most of the decision making, then there are SO many awesome, high quality compact options out there for you ….. eg. you DO NOT need to go buy some great big hefty model!
If, like me, you were getting a little curious and had an idea of the type of imagery that you want to create then YES! Its time my friend!
I opted to go for a mirrorless camera in the form of the XT1. Much smaller and lighter than their larger DSLR cousins, they are packed with technology and MORE than enough of it for my use. I attempted to diligently read the manual and it all dragged me swiftly back to high school maths and a rising anxiety. It really sounded like cracking the code of ISO and aperture was only for fanatics.
Fast forward to 30 minutes with Joseph Michael and everything changed. In fact my whole entire photo taking process altered. I am not going to attempt to explain how to use your camera on manual here BUT I will say it was less about the terms and so much more about understanding the effect the dials had on each other and understanding where to start them to begin framing up a shot.
From there it was simply all practice and excepting that taking shots take longer for me now as I have dials to deal with BUT I am finding that I am doing much less time editing on the other end….which I find interesting!
On writing this I realise that perhaps I need to herd in an expert to give you all the basics in manual camera operation but in the mean time check out this massive well of knowledge called Pinterest and YouTube (links to pre loaded searches!)
WHAT ON EARTH IS A RAW FILE + WHY SHOOT IN THAT RATHER THAN JPEG?
Essentially your camera will save an image as a JPEG file or a RAW file.
JPEG’s are smaller, all ready to go, can be downloaded from you camera to computer and viewed immediately, edited, emailed on or printed.
A RAW file can be downloaded to your computer but cannot be viewed or printed until it has been “processed” by another programme (like Photoshop or Lightroom) This sounds pointless right? But the beauty of a RAW file is that it is highly editable, acting much like a digital negative – if you are interested in bringing out the best in your photos, these are the files that let you have ALL the fun!
RAW files are big so do take up a lot of room on your computer – you’ll want to get an external harddrive to store and handle them. (Once you have processed and edited you then save them as JPEGS ending up with a RAW and edited version of one image.)
JPEG files of course are much smaller and much less high maintenance in many respects. You can still play around with them in Photoshop and to a lesser degree sort out any issues you might have had with brightness etc.
I’ve read about the “types” of people that might want to stick to JPEG instead of RAW (parents, bloggers…???) and think its kind of MORE about if you want to roll up your sleeves and get creative! It is time consuming but better than watching TV!
I found this article today which I think is BRILLIANT and goes into more detail on each of these file types.
Click here for “A Beginners Guide to Start Shooting in RAW – The Easy Way” by Christina Greve
DO I NEED TO EDIT MY PHOTOS?
Of course not! Camera’s are so awesome these days. You can shoot in full auto and get great clear results!
BUT I’ve got to tell you – editing is super fun and not nearly as hard as you might think! Its such an effortless form of creativity that you can pick up and put down at any time. No mess, no stress, no commitment, just you fiddling round and experimenting with sliders, actions and more.
I started by shooting in RAW then opening images in Photoshop (it has a built in program called Camera RAW that pops up to allow you to tweak exposure, contrast, sharpness etc with the file first then on to the main screen)
I’ve always been drawn to imagery that has a subtle film-like quality. The world of ultra high definition has always felt a bit jarring and “real time” as I like images that look like thay are a memory or frame from a movie. SO my lack of experience with Photoshop meant that I really needed somewhere to start the editing process and that port of call was the beautiful collection of actions by Wellington based photographer; Peta Mazey. You can browse them here – my favourite is the Schoolyard set and from time spent experimenting with the opacity and contrast sliders I slowly created the vibe I wanted.
In the last few months, with my new foray into shooting in full manual mode (!) on the Fuji XT1, I decided to throw caution to the wind and begin using Lightroom to process my images instead. This has been mostly under the guidance of my pro photographer heroes and I’ll admit, has not all been smooth sailing! Its not that Lightroom is harder, in fact all those using it claim its photo organising ability, batch processing etc is far more efficient and I’m enjoying experimenting with the VSCOcam presets I have downloaded ….but I just really miss my Photoshop opacity slider 🙁
ANYWAY I am very determined to go down this road and have actually found YouTube tutorials to be insanely helpful! It took a while but I have quite enjoyed the ones by American photographer, Anothony Morganti. His results are a little more saturated and full on then I am trying to achieve but he clearly explains and guides you through the million functions available!
How do you “get” Photoshop and/or Lightroom?
Well I bit the bullet this year and now subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud and for about $11 per month I have access to the very latest updates in the Photography Plan. I’ve got to say it is brilliant and means my programs are always at the front of the new technology.
What are “actions” and “presets” ?
Effectively they are prepared sets of tweaks and effects combined to be applied to an image. Its like using Edmonds pikelet mix instead of starting completely from scratch but of course allows much interpretation by the editor/cook!
Actions are for Photoshop and Presets are for Lightroom.
INSTANT GRATIFICATION: CAMERA’S THAT TALK TO PHONES!
For an instagram enthusiast ( I know I am not alone!) I have LOVED the fact that my camera can connect with wireless tech to my phone! This means that I can select a shot in real time that I would like to share, convert the RAW file to a JPEG on the camera, turn on the wireless function, locate and join to that on my phone then using the Fuji app I can simply download that ready to then open in an editing app or post/emailing directly …. no chords or cards or anything!
This has been surprisingly handy and for anyone using social media as a business channel, it allows you to always be presenting topnotch images without too much fuss!
I stitched together a really basic little view of how this all works below.
EDITING PICS TAKEN ON/OR SENT TO MY PHONE
When snapping moments on my iPhone to share on instagram I always use the inbuilt camera (eg. don’t take the photo using the camera in instagram or any other external app.)
I then open and upload that image to an “external ” (eg. not instagram) photo editing app. (This is also where my process would start with the images sent directly from my camera as in the vid above)
Up until recently I have solely used After Light but have just started experimenting with VSCO cam. With both of these you have a lot of options for tweaking brightness/contrast, sharpness and then applying filters. I have found over time that I tend to wind down the “opacity/strength” of any filters I use to about 50% or less. I also tend to stick to one or two max to achieve a cohesive vibe between my pictures. Just looks nicer!
Once you have finished editing in the app then you simply opt to publish to instagram and off you go with your editing done!
Another popular editing app that I know some of the insta super stars use is Snapseed.
I believe that all of these are available on Android too!
Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home
Shot on Fuji XT1
I hope this has been a little enlightening for some of you. Please don’t hesitate to leave any questions in the comments below and I will do my very best to point you in the right direction!!
I discovered my love of taking photos purely by accident and entirely out of necessity.
When I began wanting to interview and share stories with you, I found myself in the rather boring position of simply having to take the pics myself – there was no budget floating around to hire a pro. It was pure bloody luck that I actually loved the photography the most (and that you guys seemed to like it too?!) and armed with a basic 15 min editing lesson from Camilla I began experimenting. I learnt that shooting in RAW meant I could rescue many of the muck ups I’d made with exposure etc in Photoshop and then tweak “actions” to suit my taste (which is still changing!).
This process is probably one of the most creative things I have done consistently since leaving school!
I’ve also found out what it is to be someone really interested in photography but be generally intimidated by the industry itself which can feel very techy, full of jargon and imply that it might be a maths equation to get the shot (and camera!)
I have watched many an eyebrow shoot up in surprise when arriving with my small compact camera to take photos for my website – to be honest, this actually felt good and kind of released me from the pressures of people assuming I was a “real pro” photographer! With this in mind, while I felt ready to move to something with a more manual set up (as I was advised when pointing out pictures that I really wanted to achieve!) there was no way I was willing to take on board the physical/mental/emotional burden of a full scale DSLR kit.
FujiFilm, much like me, has in recent years steered clear of the producing largescale DSLR cameras and instead concentrated on leading the way in digital devices that all level of photographers can use!
This couldn’t have been more evident when I visited their Auckland HQ to discuss what it was that I actually needed. They coped well with my chat about wanting something light, cool (of course!), basic in its set up so I didn’t get lost in the upgrade and when it came to lenses I just said “What would be the equivalent to an all mountain ski?”. Having a view finder, full manual control AND lens options felt intimidating enough!
The result is what I feel is a magical and manageable set up!
Fuji have been seriously mastering the mirrorless revolution and I jumped right on board with the XT1 – nice looking in a slightly retro way with a XF 16 – 55mm lens. When the lens is locked into the XT1 , it seals to create a robust water resistant unit!
I’ve had the last 3 months to get my head around this beautiful upgrade, stealing 30 mins from Joseph Michael to learn the fundamentals of shooting in manual, lots of photo taking of seagulls and my cat followed by the download of Lightroom CC and some hours watching editing tutorials on YouTube!!
There IS a reason I am sharing all this with you. Yes, hopefully you’ll enjoy an improvement in pics going forward BUT most of all I know that many of you out there would love to record your life and get creative with technology that isn’t just the latest smart phone release. I also know many of you might be reading this with a guilt knowing that you haven’t touched that enormous DSLR that you bought with the best intentions 2 years ago…but seriously…so BIG!
Tomorrow I am going to share with you all the little things that I personally have gleaned and discovered on my own search to be a great and happy photo taker without being an overtly expensive professional one! This will include some breakdowns of techy jargon (eg. what is RAW and why no Jpeg?), editing tools, programs, tutorials and some of the super futuresque features I am loving about the XT1. Yes, this thing talks directly to my phone..!
Below I am sharing travelling, family and general life photos from two recent stints I have had based in the South Island. I think this is what having a camera is about, snapping whatever seems to be cropping up each day and I wanted to spend some time recording whatever that may be instead of an organised shoot (like the pics above as taken by super sidekick, Sarah Allen!)
All are shot with the same camera and lens set up, downloaded as RAW files and edited in Lightroom. I am only just mastering this programme and have also been playing around with some VSCO cam presets. You will notice this perhaps in the inconsistencies of the pics but hey! learning in public here!
DOWN SOUTH WITH THE FAM
I spent some time creeping around documenting the hard renovation work being completed by my sister and brother in law in their sweet little workers cottage in Christchurch. Bike riding aside, they worked away diligently – even with drinks in hand by car headlight!
I was also reunited with that huge feline who took great pleasure in pretending he’d never met me in his life. No loyalty.
I then bounced north to Ashley to spend some time with the folks. The autumn Canterbury light was so beautiful and even made Mum doing her animal jobs look romantic! I also got to watch her zip around at Rangiora One Day Event.
On ANZAC day we gathered to follow Mum and a legion of 99 other horse and riders complete a historic ride to commemorate the horses that went to WW1. It was an amazing event to witness ! Much tea was consumed in Francesca the caravan as we followed the progress of the march until the terrific and emotional ceremony at the Waikari War Memorial.
Then, on managing to thieve a car from the family I dashed to Wanaka for a long weekend of birthday surprises, catch ups, ski boot finding and most importantly some time at my special place, Lake Pukaki at the foot of Aoraki-Mt Cook. I stopped to suck up the goodness on the way down and way back and had two distinctly different experiences as you can see!
All photos by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home
Shot on Fuji XT1
I hope I see your here tomorrow!
If you have any questions at all that are amateur photo taking/camera wrangling related please feel free to ask in the comments below. If I don’t know the answer I will certainly endeavour to find out for you!
Welcome to the first TEAM.WORK collaboration of 2015 and in a nod to our ANZAC friendship, our first with an Australian based brand.
Radical Yes! were not only appealing partners with a functional, fun and awesome take on shoes, I was also super attracted to their modern business mentality. They are an ambitious, exciting but calculated brand who have made their home online and make up their own rules ( two things I am quite into too!).
SO for YOU we knocked heads, threw ideas back and forth across the Tasman sea and arrived at two limited editions styles that we think are just the right amount of classic, quirky and most importantly will slide into everyday busy wardrobes with ease.
Using the classic Radical Yes ‘Abundance’ lace up silhouette as a starting point, we have dressed it up in two new styles.
The first, a classic 70’s vintage vibe with a heavy handle Tobacco Suede upper. This features antique bronze eyelets and super fine cream cotton laces, the Radical – Studio Home detail kicks in with the contrast of a white base, black polkadot canvas lining leaving the feeling modern desert bootie with a graphic twist.
The second pair is a twist on the now classic Radical Yes Polka Dot shoe, with a super cool, French influenced Navy Polka Dot canvas in a painted wash finish. Balanced with high quality Forrest green leather lining and perfectly matched with an emerald lace, this shoe is all about blue and green being perfectly seen.
HOWEVER the real Studio Home – Radical Yes twist lies in the back up lace option!
Both styles are being sold with a clever back up set of black laces, finished with the signature Radical Yes metal clasp detail allowing the wearer to change the look to suit!
As with the ethos of all the TEAM.WORK collaborations, we always pull together more clever, like minded partners for the shoot!
I had a few ideas rattling around in my brain and decided that this time I wanted to do the photography myself (in response to an exciting new partnership with Fujifilm NZ and delish new camera! More to come on this very soon!) and produce imagery with a secondary element for something a little different.
This led me to Christchurch based designer/illustrator Sally Shand of Ragdoll Illustrations – talented AND the perfect model!
We had an awesome day exploring the seaside suburbs of Redcliffs and Sumner to demonstrate the adventuring and light hearted vibe of the capsule collection. After her modelling stint, Sally then did some lighthearted doodling across some of our favourite shots to add a little whimsy.
So there you have it my friends!
The limited edition shoes are available exclusively online from Radical Yes!
Orders this weekend ANZAC weekend have free shipping across New Zealand and Australia – just use the code: FREESHIPPING15 at the checkout.
We are giving away a pair too! Scroll down for details!
Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home
Shot on a FujiFilm XT1
Model and Illustrator Sally Shand of Ragdoll Illustrations
And out super lucky winner is
THANKS to you all for entering!
Please share with us any pics of these shoes in your own life!
COMPETITION NOW CLOSED
– click here to visit the Radical Yes store to check out the shoes in detail and then simply leave your choice in the comments below!
– for a second entry locate the Radical Yes + Studio Home TEAM.WORK post on the Studio Home facebook page and leave your choice there too!
Competition open to New Zealand and Australian readers
Drawn at random on Tuesday 28th of April.
This feature is an all time favourite.
My visit to Balquhidder House in Napier, the headquarters of the artistic, fearless and creative Culy family was meant to be a relatively fleeting one. Gunning to be there for about an hour and a half I was forcing myself to leave out of politeness after five….
Despite it being a year on (Time! Where did you go!), revisiting my notes and screes of photos had me once again dreaming of being a resident and member of their crew.
There is an amazing warmth and casual determination about Leanne and Brian Culy, a partnership that has been bought about no doubt through their many adventures, homes and self starting approach to life. They simply have always done it their way and as a team.
I invite you to sit back and enjoy this rambling magical home and the story of those that call it their own.
A young, artistic Leanne left school at 17, boosting quickly out of her regional New Zealand home of Palmerston North direct for Wellington. Having excelled in art she found work in the art department of Wellington Newspapers, Spectrum Illustrating and as a graphic designer at Mike McCulloch Design.
This was the 1980’s. Graphic design was a labour intensive industry creating type by using wax, scalpels, epidiascopes, development in darkrooms and screens. Leanne relished this work and by the age of 21 she was an in demand freelancer working hard in the advertising industry.
At 25 she launched her own business based in a terrific old stone, cubist building. Specialising in corporate identities led to an extension of her design work and invitations to develop corporate spaces as well. This naturally progressed and soon enough Leanne was squeezing in set design, weddings and event styling!
Around this time she was asked to offer some interior advice to the film company based upstairs from her own studio owned by one; Brian Culy.
It was love!
A world adventure and marriage followed with the arrival of their daughters Jacobina and Billie in 1990 and ’93. It was only natural that Brian and Leanne would begin combining their creative talents, allowing for great collaboration and projects within the film industry. However a change was on the horizon and when the opportunity to purchase a grand old homestead in the Wairarapa popped up – they grabbed it, heading away from their city base and straight for country life.
The 5 years they spent Pounui Homestead offered them the unique opportunity to start Homebase Films, a pared back production company aimed at doing simple, beautiful work without huge budgets and the resulting logistical pressure of crews, food and the rest. Work included ads for Wade house, Ansel Adams for the city art gallery, some beautiful black and white milk advertisements for the national dairy board amongst many others.
But the family weren’t done with their exploration as next on the cards was a move to sunny Kerikeri. It was here in a brightly painted house and balmy sub tropical climate that Leanne began painting her now iconic oars.
She had painted on wood before but distinctly recalled the beauty she saw in their slender length and patina. It seemed like they had led “a good life” and in so many ways reminded her of totem poles.
It was 2004 and off the back of another sell out show of her oars at the Hawkes Bay based Black Barn Gallery, Leanne and Brian discovered the incredible Balquhidder House, perched high on a leafy ridgeline on Napier Hill.
Kerikeri was put up for sale and by the end of the year they were Napier based – well almost! The girls had decided that Havelock North High School was the one for them so until 2009 the family based themselves in a special beachhouse in Haumoana. ( This is a WHOLE nother post!!) Leanne continued with her oars which were gaining huge notoriety across the country and by 2009 they were finally at Balquhidder House.
By this point, Homebase Collections had been born.
It was a singular “brand” that the family could use to encompass all of their creative projects. Brian was able to share his brilliant largescale photographs and Leanne, with her catalogue of prints could apply them to textiles – both available on the roll or as lampshades, cushions and more. They developed and added products and furniture to their range as they saw need, using Brian’s photography skills and their own home as a backdrop.
Their art, aesthetic, design, personalities and way of life gave a distinct vibe to Homebase Collections that rapidly gained peoples attention. There is something so uncontrived about what they do yet completely covetable and easy to relate too. For instance they were the first to re-engage the retro material of pegboard in their sideboards and spaces long before it shot to its wide popularity over the last couple of years. A focus on honest, simple, natural materials was both a conscious choice and one that matched their personal style.
In 2013 they opened a small store beside Balquhidder House in their leafy no-exit street, pausing it for a time to “pop up” on Auckland’s, Ponsonby Road for the summer of 2013/14.
When I visited and got lost in their world on Easter Sunday last year, Leanne talked of their want to focus more on creating art and collaborating with like minded souls. After spending hours chatting away at the kitchen table, poking around their sprawling home and picking Leanne’s mind on many of my OWN topics of conversation – I left thinking “Pick me! Pick me as your collaborator!!”
Currently NZ based fabric company; Hemptech are slowly releasing some of Leannes designs in new colour ways on a selection of beautiful base cloths. This is helping the family acheive their goals of pursuing more personal creative projects and I can say there are more than a few on the boil that will be of interest to you!
Rambling and romantic Balquhidder House which has served as HQ for many a creative Culy endeavour has now quietly been made available for sale. Youngest daughter Billie has made a return back to the Bay, working with a local beekeeper and growing her own portfolio of art, but with Jacobina based in Wellington and opportunities on the horizon the family feel it might be time to down scale and return back to the seaside, allowing a new tribe have their turn in the home.
Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home
WHAT I LEARNT FROM THE CULY FAMILY:
Whenever possible, find inspiration in your lifestyle and loves as they stand now.
It is likely the results will be filled with a passion, integrity and authenticity that will strike a chord with others.
In April 2014 I headed to the South Island with a 2 week road trip planned a head of me. I looked over my loose itinerary taking me from Queenstown to Wellington and pinpointed a spare 24 hour hours, naming it “Jon Thom Day”. While there are SO many more people that I want to meet in Dunedin, I had a small window which involved a 7 hour round trip drive and room for just one interview in the southern city – and I was determined more than ever that I would finally get to meet the young artist/creative/savvy entrepreneur that I have been following for years.
Lucky Jon Thom was cool to meet ME!
Jon grew up in the small Central Otago town of Clyde, his parents both teachers at the local Dunstan High School. He was always heavily into art and as a teenager was encouraged to take part in a group show in the regional centre of Alexandra. His work was then picked up by a Wanaka gallery who he sold exclusively through for a couple of years.
Jon may have been the only student of his year at Otago University who funded his lifestyle via his art from day one!
But Uni wasn’t all paint brushes and charcoal stained hands! Jon initially set off with the plan to enter Health Sciences and the aim of becoming a doctor. He then had a change of heart and headed off toward Law studies instead….but that didn’t stick either. Finally he decided on Art History + Design.
During his second year of studying (2010) Jon started to exhibit with terrific Dunedin gallery; The Artists Room. However, it had occured to him that his art was out of reach of his friends and peers, so he set about doing something about it. Following his interest in fashion he turned to t-shirts which acted as a canvas AND provided a familiar and functional vehicle for his art and a younger audience. He started with a limited run of 50 which promptly sold out. The next run was 270 and while he continued to increase his production from there he kept each design down to a limited edition of just 20.
With the wheels starting to turn on this business he began a hunt for wholesalers but with little luck, so as a local early adopter of “independant business direct to customer” he opened an online store and started to leverage social media in his favour.
By 2012 the business not only had the name of “Moodie Tuesday” it also had a partner in crime with the arrival of Chris Brun. Jon recognised that while he had the creative direction and communications down, the business was needing a slick push and management in the production side. Also hailing from Clyde, Chris had started out as a builder but due to injury was retraining and in his final year of teachers college when the call up came. Perfect timing for both of them!
2012 also marked Jon’s first solo exhibition at The Artists Room as well as what was meant to be his honours year. By the middle of the year he made the bold move to pull out of University and take on an inner city studio where he could go full time on his art and give Moodie Tuesday some room to grow.
During this time he was approached by a talented young filmmaker called Sam Stuchbury who wanted to collaborate by filming one of the creative Moodie Tuesday campaign shoots. This was the beginning of what was to grow into a valuable partnership! The pair recognised an unfilled niche locally of creating beautiful, emotive content for brands/business for marketing collateral.
They pitched to the marketing department of Otago University and went on to create interview style clips for their use online. The content caught the attention of Tourism Dunedin and by 2013 they had been commissioned to produce a 12 part series focusing on locals and their love of the region; aptly titled “Insiders Dunedin”. This relationship developed to include a custom website designed by the growing team and management of the posting and sharing of the stories online – thus Motion Sickness Studio was born!
In late 2013 the Dunedin based company split with Sam and his team moving to open an Auckland office and Jon remaining to continue to run the Dunedin based studio combined with Moodie Tuesday and of course his own art practice. Recognising the need for more space he moved his team into a large industrial site (formerly a garage for a car yard) just out of the central city. The guys got busy fitting out the mezzanine with desks and on the ground floor a separate painting room, sewing area and on my visit, the development of a meeting/reception/showroom.
In mid 2014 Jon and Chris decided to diversify (obviously you are getting that he is an expert spotter of opportunity!!) and set up custom screen printing service, The Print Room – a business that now works with companies, corporate, sporting and private projects nationwide! They have seen rapid growth in the company during it’s first year mostly likely due to their design skills and experience with what potential customers actually “want” to wear when it comes to branded apparel. With the fashion world being so fickle, Jon knew that printing and designing for others would help fund the progression and ideas for the growth of Moodie Tuesday. And by all accounts…its working!!
Jon has this calm, focused ability to not only continue his own art, but work across all his ventures, bringing in like minded people and presenting such a professional front that would put many larger companies to shame!
He just “gets” it.
The content produced by both Motion Sickness studio’s is not only beautiful, honest and real – the teams are acutely aware of “how” to deliver content and “what” an audience is looking for…eg- no stupid dumbed down campaigns that lack any engagement.
It has been ragingly obvious to me (even prior meeting Jon in person) that he innately understands the concept of creativity vs. business and demonstrates maybe the most awesome forms of that!
One to watch. Businesses to watch. Results to inspire.Photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home
WHAT I LEARNT FROM JON:
Know your audience.
Age is of no barrier.
Let your work speak for itself.
Please take the time to check out the businesses that allow us to bring this cool content to you!
Tomorrow Jon is launching a beautiful new exhibition!!
This is quite a meaty post but I hope to offer you all an insight into the Bali that I saw over my three weeks AND the one that skirts the sparkly resorts and packed shopping streets! While I was SO lucky to find myself absorbed in the daily life of those clever NZ/AUS creative brands that I was visiting, I found that I was having a totally different experience to friends that had been before.
I was asked if I had been to “this” beach club or “that” bar…and for a second had a panic! Was I missing out???
Instead I relished the peek I had into everyday life and with the help of the group of Bali based brands below I have pulled together some places and experiences that you might want to plug into your trip!
Most are predominately around the Canggu area or easily accessed from there!
ROSIE SHELTON – LA LUNA ROSE
WHO: Rosie Shelton – originally from Christchurch and now flitting between Bali, Australia and New Zealand
BRAND: La Luna Rose – Bright, beautiful and precious jewellery! (interview to come)
WHERE: Canggu Beach, Bali. One base for the roving La Luna Rose headquarters!
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL: There is nothing more calming to put the worries of the day at bay than a walk along my local beach to watch the beautiful Bali sunsets. Often accompanied by various friends popping into the island to say hello – each and every walk brings a different mood and delightful experience!
From watching the local fishermen haul in their boats for the night, to the local guys playing soccer like they are in the world cup to the little ones chasing their kites to rescuing puppies from the relentless waves…consistent in its beauty but ever changing with its adventures, this is by far my most favourite part of my day!
JILLIAN BEED – RUE STIIC
WHO: Jillian Beed – originally from San Diego, California, but my Australian roots took me back to Australia where I have since lived in Perth and based my label.
BRAND: Rue Stiic
WHERE: This photo was taken on a fabric sourcing day in one of the many fabric stores in Denpasar. The fabrics in Bali are all so beautiful and it’s so amazing to walk into shops of endless swatches and push my creativity to see what I can create!
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL: Bali is a magical place with endless opportunities. I come here almost every month to work on Rue Stiic, source new fabrics, and practice a healthy lifestyle. My favorite is waking up, having a fresh cup of Bali Kopi, hopping on my scooter and driving off through the rice paddies to see where the day may take me – whether it will be a day of production and fabric sourcing or a beautiful beach day swimming in the Bhukit with a coconut in hand.
DANI CLAYTON – SALT GYPSY
WHO: Danielle Clayton, hailing from Auckland’s North Shore in New Zealand.
BRAND: Salt Gypsy – a women’s alternative/indie surf lifestyle brand (interview to come)
WHERE: Warung Bumi in Canggu, Bali.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL: It’s cheap, delicious and crowded with locals and expats alike. The best campur in town!
My favourites? Corn fritters and the crispy tempe.
FAVE LOCAL CANGGU BREAK: The river mouth at Echo Beach in Canggu – a few less people in the water than further down the beach and some pumping long waves to pick off. And afterwards, crisp cold beers at one of the warungs on the beach. Perfect!
CHRISTINA LAFIAN – SUKU
WHO: Christine Lafian – splits time between Indonesia and Melbourne.
BRAND: SUKU Home (interview to come)
WHERE: GAYA Ceramic– Ubud, Bali Indonesia
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL: Italian sophistication meets Balinese craftsmanship!
We were lucky enough to be given private tour into the workshop and gallery. They’ve worked with clients such as Armani Home, Ritz Carlton, Aman Group resort, Bulgari etc. It’s really is a ceramic HEAVEN! Don’t forget to try their gelato at their other business a little further down the road!
STU MUSGRAVE – BNVVT
WHO: Stuart Musgrave, orginally from Brisbane
BRAND: BNVVT – Bon Vivant (interview to come)
WHERE: Canteen Cafe, Batu Bolong, Canggu, Bali
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL: Located near the beach and not far from my house makes this a perfect breakfast spot. The fact that they do Aussie breakfast faves with a twist is a bonus! Filled to the brim with surfing history and nostalgia it is a great place to start your day and also get some work done.
LUCY BAKER – BY ASL
WHO: Lucy Baker, St-Kilda, Melbourne, Australia
BRAND: BY ASL – for girls with crooked smiles & full hearts
WHERE: At the end of Double 66 Road on the border of Seminyak & Legian, where the rusty umbrellas and salty sun lounges reside, where beach boys sell water & Bintang, where expat locals and tourists mix; chasing that Bali sun, I sit every Sunday!
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL: Sometimes alone, sometimes with friends – but it is my escape place! I sit back and relax, dream about my latest collections, my hopes and aspirations, people watch some of the most interesting characters, I read a book and angle my chair to maximise sun exposure (with a hat & sunscreen – of course).
The fruit lady comes along with her store on her head, splits open a coconut and machetes a pineapple or mango or 2 – and I have one of those ‘I’m so lucky to be here’ moments!
And before I go home, I will dive in to the sea for a swim or 10 and I am ready for Monday!
AND NOW TWO SPECIAL MENTIONS!
I have broken my staunch “NZ/AUS content only” rules for these two as both designers/business owners not only have exceptional brands they were also super memorable and inspiring people!
SUKI – SUKI WOODEN SUNGLASSES
WHO: Sukma Suki – originally from Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia.
BRAND: Suki Wooden Sunglasses
WHERE: Think Pink Nails at on Batu Belig.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL: The best nails polish collections ever, amazing service and full of smiles!!!
KAI PAUL – INDOSOLE
WHO: Kai Paul – grew up in Jakarta Indonesia
WHERE: Echo Beach, Canggu, Bali, Indonesia
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL: It is a 500 metre walk from my house to Echo Beach where there are good waves and great sunsets! Its very chilled out and I love taking my dog, Shayde, down to the beach to play.
There is also a temple at the edge of the beach looking over us and when I look at it from the water it gives me good vibes!
NOW MY TURN!
Some sights, places and experiences which stick in my mind as highlights of my debut trip to the tropics!
A “gang” is an alley or little skinny street. I would love trying to catch a snap of life when shooting past them on my scooter. Think roosters, dogs (so many dogs) cats, children playing, children learning to drive scooters, burning, washing and a great deal of just hanging out. They acted like extended living areas and I loved feeling a little more connected to the local way of life then most visitors in the resorts would feel!
This is a snap of the gang I stayed down for much of my visit and our neighbour Made with his youngest little girl. Every day I wound my way up or down there (on the scooter I had hired from him!) I would be acknowledged with the most brilliant smile! Sometimes there were even little “offerings” left tucked into my number plate…guess they thought I might have needed some spiritual protection!
SUNSET DRINKS AT BATU BELIG BEACH BAR
It’s a humble little tin bar parked right on the beach and it was one of my favourite spots. No ritz and glitz of the Seminyak sparkly resorts – just a crew of smiling local’s behind the bar, a DJ grinning through his sets, bean bags on a bamboo deck and without fail a crowd of visitors and those that call Canggu home lapping up their environment.
The hours around sunrise and sunset offered up a light that to me was noticeably different from at home in New Zealand. More gold, more pink and more ritual around both those times for locals and visitors alike.
SCOOTER LIFEStu of Bon Vivant – living the good life!
Dani of Salt Gypsy parking up by her house (!!)
…… Rosie of La Luna Rose with her particularly beautiful machine!
The freedom of scootering – wow!
When I first arrived, straight off the plane and travelled in the back of a taxi to where I was staying I was utterly GOBSMACKED at what I was seeing on the roads. There were double lanes but no one took any notice of the lines, helmetless children, a sea of scooters darting around cars and a crazy amount of tooting on horns!
BUT – then I got my own scooter life going and it was a fascinating discovery to find the order within the chaos. There is a kind of “flow” that occurs, cars give way to scooters, the honks are a polite way to say “hey! I’m just popping past you or I’m approaching an intersection everyone!”
It kind of reminded me of the mountain rule of “give way to the downhill skier” – if I concentrated on the chaos in front of me hopefully those behind me would be doing the same !
The helmetless children thing…well yeah, not ideal at all but overall the scooter is the workhorse and wheels that this entire country operates on.
As a visitor the humble scoot gave me the ability to not only explore with freedom but to reallllllly see face to face the country and communities in them.
Just amazing, eye opening stuff!
BENING DAY SPA
Best massages of my life and verrrry cheap at Bening Spa on Batu Belig. Don’t worry about going anywhere else! This was IT for me!
PS – Watch out of the full body massage ladies…it includes the entire top half unless stated! haha
MT BATUR SUNRISE MISSION
Climbing the “softly steaming” volcano Mt Batur in the pitch black at 4am to witness sunrise from its chilly top ridge was a massive highlight!!
PADDY FIELDS + FARMING
I found it so interesting stopping to watch the farmers tend their paddy fields and plots. The terracing is immaculate and did you know that every single plant in those rows are carefully placed by hand… take the time to watch and learn.
WEEKEND TRIP TO BINGIN BEACH
I found Bingin Beach fascinating and almost like an amazing movie set!
A ramshackle collection of guest houses cling to a step cliff, wedged tightly against a white sandy beach and aqua ocean sporting some amazing surf breaks!
We stayed in very simple and cheap ($10 NZ ) accommodation with incredible views!
Couldn’t recommend this place more to explore but be warned….it seems to be FULL of outrageously good looking travellors!
A LAST FEW MENTIONS
– There are kites and streamers hovering over rice paddies everywhere to keep the birds away. I found that almost magical!
– Mahi Mahi burrito’s (or simply ANYTHING else!) at Betelnut Cafe in Canggu
– Western food in general was WAY better then anything I could get on Ponsonby Rd in Auckland….and less than quarter of the price. Actually 90% of my eating experience was exceptional…of all cuisines…did fit in a few extra meals!!
– Frogs enmasse in paddy fields at night sound like a flock of sheep. True story.
– The hour between sunset and full darkness requires closed mouth when on scooter! Bugs galore!
All photography by Julia Atkinson for Studio Home