• About Me

    I am a family photographer. That’s what I do. From that miracle of life growing inside you, to that perfect new baby, to busy toddlers, and hilarious teenagers- I photograph them all.

    It is my passion, and privilege to be around all these beautiful families- especially the tiny newborns I get to hold and cuddle and then call it a job!

    I treasure family- I married my knight in shining armor in 2001, and we’ve been blessed with 5 beautiful children. I have seen the joy of family, the craziness of it. Having buried my daughter, I have also seen the sadness- and so my perspective of how important a family is, and the fullness of it, is huge.

    A picture holds your history. It is proof of your memories- reminders on your wall of all that you have that is precious in the world. You do this not for you- but for your children, and all the generations that follow. The fact that I can help you give them this gift is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

    Photograph credit: Alexis Diack

Ellie

This little precious girl and her big sister were so lovely to photograph. She had the most delicate pretty little features.

Meet Ellie.

Introducing Jack | Fresh 48

Those first few hours and days of holding your newborn are purely magical. Their skin is velvety soft, they have a distinct newborn smell. They make noises that they may only make the first few days. There is a euphoria about a new baby- as the parents, you simply cannot believe that you can love this tiny being so much- it is an overwhelming, all consuming, tear jerking love.

That’s what a Fresh 48 is. It’s photographing family in an un-posed, documenting style, taking during the first 48 hours from delivery – meaning it is often done IN the hospital. The long hours of family all hanging out in the hospital room- baby being passed around and cooed over, of smiles and tears of joy, of cuddles and hand-holding, and getting to know each other. It’s such a special special time.

These photos of Jack show the beautiful simplicity of these photos- and tell a story of the love of a family that has been written as God’s redemptive story. It’s beautiful.

Local holidaying with four children

My kids school was closed for the Easter holiday for 3 (yes, THREE!) weeks. They were driving us completely nuts at home- let’s face it, with four children at home, I simply can’t get ANYTHING done. Also, with four boys, they started getting real cabin fever (how do people live in cold cities where they can’t shoo their children outdoors for hours on end?!).. so we had to have some time away!

But my husband has recently taken up a new position with a company, so we weren’t able to take any lavish holidays away, or travel too far.

So we went away over Easter weekend to Rocky Bay, and then spent part of a week at MacNicols resort in Bazley (where my husband could go to work during the day but it was close enough for him to join us in the evening and on the weekend). So I thought I’d give a little review and things to do at each- and just my little thoughts on both places.

Rocky Bay:

Rocky Bay is a little closer to Durban than Bazley. The campsite is huge. We arrived on day one, and in trying to find our campsite, completely missed it somehow (apparently my fault… well, husband, next time YOU read the directions). Our campsite wasn’t great. Admittedly we booked the day before we arrived over the busy Easter weekend, so the fact that we go a campsite at all, is something to be grateful for. But our site had no trees, and the hedge blocked out the wind (great when it’s cold), but then also blocked out the breeze (not great over the ridiculously hot Easter weekend that we were there).

The camping ablution facilities were kept clean and organised- but really needed an update- lots of mildue in the showers, and the walls needed a good paint. But they kept them clean, which, with my hate of public facilities, is a huge plus.

The beach at Rocky Bay is phenomenal. A long, winding bay. When the tide was high, it was a bit rough (though the bigger boys didn’t complain… Hudson, however  would yelp to be picked up, shouting “it’s coming, it’s coming”… not big on the waves at this stage, that boy!). But there are also lots of little rock pools at low tide, which are full of little fish and crabs… making it a gorgeous beach for both the little kids and the big kids (though I suppose at different times!). The one day it was also a bit windy, and there were families down on the beach with their kites- which was pretty awesome. With some of the campsites you could practically roll out of your tent and onto the beach- which is amazing for accessibility.

The campsite also offers a pool, with a nice little playground (swings and jungle gym) at the pool. The pool is large, with a slide going into the pool. The kiddos loved the slide, and spent most of their time actually at the pool, going up and down that slide. But it was super hot- and I found being in the pool very frustrating because of all the splashing and whatnot on the slide- and the pool isn’t big enough to escape it. The pool is pretty central to the entire campsite, though it’s a BIG campsite. There seems to be a room next to the pool which has table tennis and whatnot- but it seemed old and grimy to me, so I only ventured in once to use the loo. Next to the main pool, is also a small kiddies pool, which is great for the non-swimmers- but obviously they still need to be watched! There was also a volleyball net at the pool- though the net was a bit worse for wear.

There is also a little shop at the campsite which offers basic items- though a bit on the expensive side.

Lots of kids had bikes with them which they rode around the campsite (the roads are gravel though, so not suitable for skateboarding).

There were LOTS of caravans, and LOTS of tents. In typical South Coast style, the campsite does border a train- so throughout the day, and at night, the trains are passing (and why do they feel the need to toot at 3am, I’ll never know)… but again, this is typical South Coast.

Overall we enjoyed the stay. I’d say that the next time I would definitely plan in advance, and get one of the shadier sites. I also really think that they need to inject some money back into the campsite and upgrade some of the facilities.

 

Games on the cell phone after setting up tent:

 

This boy! He’s such a character!

 

Going for an evening spin:)Hudson is actually on the campsite below ours- but it’s shows how exposed these particular sites are… but look at all those trees behind him!! Next time I’m booking one of THOSE sites!

 

I know everyone says he’s a duplicate of his father, but yet he’s very much himself. And sometimes, just sometimes, when no-one else is looking, I see a *little* of me in him. He’s such a great great kid!

 

Well, hallelujah! I made it IN a picture. Pictures taken by Josh. I should mention here, that Josh has taken these pics with my Canon 5D Mkiii, on full manual settings, and using back button focusing! I think he’s pretty awesome. He shows such potential with photography- he really is very very good. He frames well, has a relatively steady hand (it’s a heavy camera!), and seems to get it right so often. So who knows? Maybe he’ll take it up as a hobby one day 😉

 

 

The beach at Rocky Bay really is exquisite!

 

So at high tide, Hudson stuck to the sandy bit… and sitting behind me for added protection LOL. Behind him you can see what I mean by how some sites practically spill over onto the beach… but I think some tree or hedge protection is a must, especially in the summer months!

 

MacNicols, Bazley:

We’ve camped at MacNicols a few times, and have also been lucky enough to stay in a friends Plet. Most of the campsites have shade, and are all pretty much grassed. They are caravan friendly campsites. The ablutions are clean and well maintained. Some of the campsites even have private ablutions, which, with my dislike of public facilities, is a huge bonus to me! The resort also has wooden cabins. We’ve stayed in a cabin before. They are well maintained, are clean and well stocked. Just a little out of the way of everything (which some people may actually love).

MacNicols has a little playground with swings, a small climbing gym, and two trampolines. The kids love the trampolines. Heck, I love the trampolines (I’m going to claim that as my exercise for the week… it’s a serious workout jumping around on those things!). The roads throughout Bazley are tarred, which means they’re great for riding bikes and skateboards (which is my kids preferred mode of transport). There were also kids riding skooters and the like. They’ve recently added some speed humps, much to my kids dismay- makes skating at high speed a non-entity, which I suppose is precisely the reason they had them put in. There is also a second playground near the river, which has a sanded volleyball court as well.

Just below the top playground are the two swimming pools. The pools are large and very well maintained- in the time we’ve been going there we’ve seen the pool upgraded in a variety of ways a number of times. And I love that about MacNicols- they’re always putting money back into the facilities ensuring they are well looked after.

And then there’s also the river, which you can take a boat upstream and attempt fishing, or just eye out the birdlife. MacNicols does have a beach near the campsite- it is unfortunately across the railway line, and the break is a bit rough, so I don’t like taking my little kids- but for the big kids, they enjoy being roughed around, and there are lifeguards on duty. However, when staying at Bazley, you can get access to a little private beach which is just a few minutes drive away. That beach is stunning- it’s got a section of beach which is great for surfing, for swimming, and then also lots of little rock pools for the little guys.  It’s worth the trek.

Added to that, one of the things we really love is the activities that MacNicols offer for the kids. Every day they have something going on, particularly in the holidays. They have dodge ball at the hall, or crab hunting at night. The offer Bingo evenings in the hall, and then “game viewing” through the sugar cane. They have padkos evenings at the pool, and then special occasion parties.  Or volleyball at the beach. That’s just naming a few I can remember. And then added to that, they also have tea and scones twice a day at the pool. I find the kids really are able to be entertained because of what’s on offer.

The downside was that this time we went there weren’t a lot of kids around- and my kids are particularly social, so we did get a bit bored (and I admit I was too lazy to venture on my own with all four kids to the beach, so we mostly hung around at the pool).

The shop at MacNicols is also much better priced, and as such, shopping at the store you don’t feel like you’re being robbed!

 

Jude’s feet are nearly the same size as mine. He’s not even 5!

 

He is going to be a seriously handsome man with that gorgeous skin, and beautiful eyes!

 

Sometimes you just have to get in there and have fun with the kids! Fat and all!

 

That, is apparently how you’re supposed to wear a cap!So I got my kids to vote on it, and unanimously they voted Bazley as the better option. I can’t say I won’t try Rocky Bay again, but MacNicols at this stage gets my vote too.

If you haven’t tried either, give them each a go. And then let me know which you prefer?

(On a side note, Luke actually was WITH us this holiday… but that boy can be a hermit sometimes so didn’t make it into the pictures!)

This lady

For the last 6 months, I have had this wonderful lady, Cara Nel, assist me with my newborn shoots. It was kind of an internship or mentoring agreement, in that she assisted me, but the off-set was that she would get to learn from me.

Well, today I want to honour that lady. She has given so much of herself over the last few months. The time that she has given to this period of learning, is an investment in herself, and in her business. That takes a huge sacrifice, and I believe is part of the difference between success and failure. It’s one of the biggest mistakes I see in wanna-be-entrepreneurs: they fail to INVEST in themselves. And part of investing in yourself comes out of a BELIEF in yourself. As my husband always tells me: “if you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will”. And that’s been her willingness and sacrifice over the last few months, and I believe it has paid off for her.

But, and this has been the biggest surprise, it’s been so much more than just her learning. Over the last 6 months, Cara has been a huge blessing to me. Huge. She has encouraged me and challenged me. The irony in all of this, is that I have grown in the process of teaching her to grow. Isn’t there such an amazing lesson here to learn? We spend so much time honing in our own skills, and perhaps even investing in ourselves. But then, the second failure, is that we then HOLD onto that learning. We hog it, as if it were our own to begin with. We keep our secrets ours, we dare not tell lest others then become better than us. But what I have always known, but have now experienced first hand, is that when we extend out a hand, and help others, we in turn help ourselves.

There is nothing glorious or noteworthy about hanging onto our gifts and our talents. When we learn to share, and GIVE, the irony is that we gain so very much more.

Cara, thank you. Thank you for your patience, for your kindness and generosity (I am notorious for not drinking enough water, and example of her wonderful heart of generosity, but also her awareness, is that she bought me a LARGE water bottle that I can carry around with me lol). Thank you for your humility, for the laughs, for the friendship. I cannot say enough how much I am going to miss having you around at every shoot.

And while I will still have an assistant from 2016, it is with much sadness for me, that Cara spreads her wings, and has officially started her own photography business. I know there are great things in store for you. Remember to believe in yourself, to always learn, to use your gifts and talent for good, to always remain humble, to remember your roots, and to always keep your (fantastic) sense of humour.

And I got to photograph her special family as well- and here are some of those great shots.

These two kiddos. Love!

How many faces can Cayden pull in 30-seconds? (even more than this!)

When in dress. Must. Twirl.

And be sure to keep an eye out for Cara’s photography business, Starlight Photography.

Now go forth and conquer:)

Nel family

Meet Ava. She was so good for me. And she’s my assistant’s niece, making the shoot all that more special. Such a pretty little girl.. we had a ton of fun.

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