Monday, 28 July 2014

Country SC Championship Highlights

 I like the Country Champs. The vibe is different. There is great team spirit as mostly the teams are there together for the most part of the day. They get into the event too, painting nails, parading mascots and some even wearing coloured wigs to brighten the mood as they cheer on their teammates.
Lots of our old favourites were there including Jarrod Poort, Ryan Leonard, Meg Bailey, The Coopers, The Woolleys, The Freemans and The Gilroys. Such elite athletes are wonderful to watch but just as fun are the younger swimmers.
Jarrod Poort
Ryan Leonard
Jenna Freeman
The younger swimmers have so much energy and enthusiasm. It is lovely to watch them. The photos too are priceless. I have photos of my own swimmer from when she was doing the fly and breast at 8 years old. We giggle at them now in comparison to her more recent photos were her technique has greatly improved. 

For me, the fun part is capturing the emotion. The concentration behind the blocks. The nervous warm up. Holding the stomach to stop the butterflies. Sometimes, you can literally see the swimmer run the race through in their heads.


Thursday, 17 July 2014

Here's What I Know - Last Day of Being 45!

With my birthday approaching, as it seems to do more and more rapidly each year, I find myself taking stock. What have I learned?  What advice would I give to my children?

Some might possibly find enlightenment in my experiences. Some may smile gently shaking their head from side to side with a knowing "girl, you haven't learnt anything yet"!!

Gosh this is a big one. I tried so hard to be acceptable to my family, my friends, my husband that I'd assumed a pseudo identity. After a while, it became tiring!

High School was painful. I found myself hiding in the music room, playing piano for an hour rather than sit with the rough group and pretend I was tough or the clever kids and fain intelligence. Graduation day was such a relief for me.

I entered the workplace with great enthusiasm only to find that it was worse than high school. Climbing the ladder, some people do not care who they crush on the way up. That is when I decided to go into business on my own. My profession is my safety net. Any eccentricities can be put down to the fact that I am a "creative". That is fine with me.

You get me and I make no apologies for it! You may take me as I am or choose not to be my friend....likewise, by the way.

Many an hour I sat on my window seat wondering where my real parents were. I just had to have been adopted. My true parents surely would not have treated me this way. When my brother and sister wanted to run away from home, I helped them! Who could blame them.

Yes they smoked with the windows up with a car full of kids. They threw wild all night parties. They slapped us. (we used to compare whose whack left the most impressive indents). They threatened to send us to boarding school when we didn't behave. Finally, the ultimate parental textbook "how to mess up my children" maneuver, leaving us when things got tough. But they also taught us valuable life lessons like how to use your children as slave labour and how to embarrass your kids in front of the entire school by crocheting you a beret instead of opting for the bought one.

Truely though, they were responsible for some of my most prized qualities and for that I am grateful. They were young, without positive role models and without a textbook. They did their best.

So my childhood wasn't ideal.

My brother was a Schizophrenic, Manic Depressive mess. He tried to kill me on a couple of occasions but mostly just savagely beat me.

Ultimately, he was placed into an asylum after I found him lying on the floor in the fetal position moaning incoherently like a baby. I'll never forget it.

He was killed shortly after his release from the asylum. Motorbike accident. My dad asked if I would be the one to tell my mother. I just knew she wished it had been me.

My dad never recovered and died of a massive heart attack at the age of 49. My mother has been slowly smoking herself to death since.

It gets much more challenging but I won't bore you with the details. What I will tell you is that all of these events have made me a strong, determined woman who is excited about living each and every day. I jump out of bed in the morning because I do not want to waste a minute. I am who I am because of my experiences and I embrace it.

Every day, I figure I have two choices. I can mope around and feel sorry for myself or I can get on with making the best of my life. Give back to the world. Maybe I can make a difference. I choose the latter, mostly.

Some days, I choose to mope. I'm normal after all. I allow myself these days (usually one) and tell myself that everything will be OK tomorrow and it always is.

I don't go to "work". Everyday, I make food for my family, I love them, I listen to them, I make photographs, I teach, mostly I drive. Here and there and here and there. I'm a taxi. I do laundry, shopping, cooking. You get the drift. I don't complain (my husband would beg to differ). I enjoy all of this. I catch moments for myself where I stop and say, how cool is this. Who'd have thought!

I love myself for who I am, unconditionally. Warts and all. I make mistakes. I cringe, I argh! A lot. I learn. Then I move on. The great thing about this is that it means that I'm not bogged down with hangups. I am free to love everyone for who they are. I understand that we each have something special to contribute. That everyone comes into your life for a reason. You are here for a reason.

I literally crack myself up! Makes me feel giddy inside. Try it! This is me!

Nina Beilby is a professional photographer based in Chatswood, Sydney, Australia. You can see more of her work at

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Friday, 27 June 2014

Fashion Style Teen Portrait with Lighting Setups

One of my favourite portraits to shoot are Teen Portraits. They are happy to break the rules a little and do something a little less conventional, in this case a little more fashion orientated.

We were lucky enough to have the fabulous Mijung Park for Makeup and Hair today. We have worked together quite a bit but usually business makeup so this was fun for us.

We started with a natural look as in the picture above before moving to a more dramatic look.

For this first image, I used a three light setup. Alien Bee 1600 on the lowest setting with a 30 degree grid for the background which is my 50% painted gray wall.

A Beauty Dish to the model's left, almost beside her and pointed down at a about a 30 degree angle. Laying vertically about waist height was a silver reflector to bounce some of the light back up and rid us of some of the shadows.

Camera Settings
Canon 1D X
85mm lens
1/160th @ f5.6


Four small changes make a big difference with this lighting setup. 

I added a giant Octobox with a grid behind the camera to add some fill light into the shadows. 

I moved the Beauty Dish a little more to the models front. I raised the reflector to take care of more shadows and get that "glow" look. I decreased my aperture to cope with the new highlights.

Camera Settings
Canon 1D X
85mm lens
1/160th @ f7.1

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

2 year old Boy - Relaxed Portraits at Home

Definitely Looking Comfortable!!
Little kids are always most comfortable in their own surroundings which is why I enjoy shoots at the clients home. It helped that this gorgeous garden had lots of beautiful chairs, trees and plants to use.

I began my photography life as a black and white film shooter (TMX100 girl) so my heart still goes toward the black and whites. The lack of colour allows the image to be less distracting and the focus on the subject. It also provokes a mood that the colour does not. They also work well in any situation so easy to print and place around the home or office because they do not impose their colour identity on to a room. I still like the colour. It is just a different feel.

The other great thing about shooting little ones is that I get to be a kid again. I get to be playful and have a fun time hanging out. Love it!

Cracks me up!!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

NSW 2013 State Open Water Swim Championships

Held at the Sydney International Regatta Centre, thunderstorms had been predicted but luckily missed us so we ended up having lovely weather after all. Actually, it got quite warm and had I had a break, I might have jumped in to cool off a bit!

11-12yrs waiting to start
Ready, Set, Go.....

Start of the Mens 13-15yrs 5km
A little hectic at the start but it soon sorts itself out. The strong and experienced open water swimmers pull out ahead right from the beginning and mostly maintain this pace throughout.

Some get clear of the pack and find their pace by themselves whilst others stay in a group.

One happy swimmer spots her family!

What really surprised me was how closely the top swimmers stayed together after such a long race. It really was a fight to the end! 

Jarrod Poort and Kane Radford go stroke for stroke for 5km
Jared Poort touches first followed closely by Kane Radford

Boats patrol the lake and watch for swimmers that miss the buoy turn or who may need some help. I only witnessed one or two cases of this.


The awesome Canon Australia kindly loaned me their 200-400mm lens. It allowed me to get really close with a flick of a switch and then pull back when needed. 

It is a pretty big lens but not too heavy. To give you an idea, I am only 152cm (5 feet) tall and 50 kilos (100 or so pounds) and I had to run a couple of km's to the start and back again for the presentation photos and held it all day without getting too tired. Not bad.

You can view all of the images from the Championships including medal presentations as well as action shots on my website. Just click here. Thank you for visiting my blog!