Well after what appears to be an extremely long absence shooting other stories and working on my upcoming exhibition in Sydney in the Headon Photo Festival I am back and in the mood to take some great photographs of the local surroundings.

And what better time of year than this to organise an impromptu day long photographic workshop in the visually blessed Snowy Mountains region of Australia?

For all of you who wish to celebrate the brillance of the summer wildflowers in the high country by taking home a photographic memento of the experience I invite you to join me in a journey of discovery of the Alpine region on Sunday 15th January.

With the perfect long days, soft light and mild temperatures what could be more pleasant than a drive to one of the many beautiful wilderness walks in the area carrying a pack lunch and a camera?

With years of experience in teaching photography I can help you get the best out of your camera equipment and create the best images you possibly can.

Starting at one of the many walking tracks in the Alpine area we will discuss what particular interests, expectations and goals students wish to achieve through the course of the day and examine each individuals photographic equipment.

After completing the walk and photographing particular areas of interest, while discussing the best techniques for creating atmospheric images that best describe and capture the experience the student has had the class will be invited back to a thorough review and critique session of the photographs at the beautifully appointed Hogben’s Hut.

Students will meet in Jindabyne at 9.30am and travel to one of the walks in their own transport. The class will conclude at sunset at the Hut. For more details, what to wear and what to bring please email lisa@lisahogben.com. Course cost excluding transport or lunch $140.00 per person. No concessions.


Yesterday in the Snowy Mountains of Australia the sky at sunset was ethereal…there is no place in the world where I have ever experienced the range of effects lighting the landscape as I have here…Its so awesome in the real sense of the word that I stood gobsmacked and meditative at the incredible variety and movement in such a still landscape…

Now for most people that last sentence would hardly make sense…movement and stillness in the one landscape?

Well for anyone that has seen Michelangelo’s half carved ‘Four Warriors’ emerging from the marble at the Accademia in Florence, they would know that it is possible to capture that sense of monumentality and energy and movement in a fixed medium if you are a genius…

But what if you are not a genius? Where do you start to try to translate something as fixed and unmoving, yet as changeable as an ocean wave as a Snowy Mountain landscape, into a work of art?

As a photographer I could merely look at the myriad highlights, shadows and tones of the mountain landscape that were constantly changing in front of my eyes and just gasp at its incredible beauty…It was sometime before I realised that I would run out of time and if I wanted to attempt to take a photo that might capture this feeling that I had better go and grab my camera.

But where to start? The vista that I was confronted with was so broad that it was difficult to determine how to make it fit into my viewfinder. I shot twelve photos all up and eleven missed the point completely. In my desperation to photograph this feeling I twisted my head left and right, marched up and down so that I looked like a madwoman and then finally, staring at something I see everyday, I watched the light turn it into a miracle.

Thats the twelfth shot above…

I have desaturated it to emphasise the contrast and the tonal range because I find colour can be quite distracting but I am going to put a colour version below…I have cross processed the film if you are wondering how I got that colour effect and I feel it gives it a kind of painterly effect, like those posters we used to have at primary school of the great Namatjira’s work…maybe they have seeped into my bones…after all the central desert is so similar in spirit to here…

So the question is what do you think best portrays the Snowy Mountains landscape? Do you like the black and white or the colour version of the ‘Three Sisters’?

I have to say thank you to the Spirits, Ancestors and Elders of this Ngarigo Country for yesterday…Ski-ing powder at the Golf Course and Funnel Web at Thredbo is the greatest gift anyone could ask for…

I think the song says it all…

(And wow how is Tom Jones?)

To go and grab a copy of todays Weekend Australian Magazine…Go and get one and check out the ‘Heart of The Nation’ section in the rear, it features quirky and unusual shots and today features one of my favorite images that I took of a Snowy Mountains local in his element.

Todays featured shot on ‘Its A Hard Life’ is an incredibly beautiful image from the back country. This photograph was taken just outside Charlotte Pass on a beautiful sunlit afternoon. It has been published in TIME, seen worldwide on the CNN website, exhibited in Sydney and Melbourne and I have sold a number of copies.

If you would like to improve your photography or take it to the next step then time is running out for you to register your interest in our weekly workshops which begin on Tuesday 2nd August and will be held at the SMGS Library. Please look at our Photographic Workshops page for further details. Its a rare opportunity to be taught by a complete professional with many many years of editorial and commercial experience at the cutting edge of publishing and multi-media.

Classes are filling fast so send us an email or give us a call by Tuesday 2nd August and we will book you in…

For further information contact  Lisa at lisa@lisahogben.com or 0458 727 324. 

This is Mike Bowers and he is the quintessential GoPro!

The shot has been taken on a GoPro system but Mike is also one of the most notable photojournalists that Australia can lay claim to and a Pro in every sense of the word. So much so that even this ski self portrait is perfectly composed!

Mike’s biography is more than impressive…As a photojournalist his development  started out with 14 years in the Press Gallery in Canberra covering five Federal election campaigns and accompanying 3 Prime Ministers on various national and international trips and extended to include tours of duty in conflicts in Cambodia, Kosovo, Bougainville, PNG and The Middle East. He was Pictorial Editor for the Sydney Morning Herald from 2001-2008. Mike was also Chief Photographer for The Sydney Morning Herald before becoming freelance.

Mike is a regular commentator on ABC radio and the host of Talking Pictures on Insiders which airs on ABC 1 and NEWS 24 on Sunday mornings.

He has published 3 books, “Gallipoli Untold Stories, The Big Picture”, “175 Years of The Sydney Morning Herald” and “A Century of Pictures, 100 years of Herald Photography”. He is in the Final stages of his fourth book, “Armageddon, Trouble On A Faded ANZAC Trail” a joint venture with journalist Paul Daley.

So while the GoPro system is easily accessible to most consumers today it takes a master of their art to create a shot as well balanced as this one….Nice to see Mike GoPro!

This a photograph of Bruce Easton from Wilderness Sports crossing the source of the Snowy River that made the front cover of TIME South Pacific in 2007. Bit of an achievement really as I suspect not too many Australian photographers have had their work selected for the front cover of TIME twice.

But this shot, as with the other front cover image that was published, “Australia Says Sorry’ (the story about the Australian people’s Apology to the Aboriginal people) are about things that have been dear to my heart for a very long time. Watch out for the Weekend Australian Magazine this Saturday in ‘The Heart Of The Nation’ section which features another one of my photographs of another local Snowy Mountains character. Thats the best way to shoot photographs … from the heart.

My enduring love for the Snowy Mountains has today become even stronger… when I looked out my window and saw how perfect a day it is, something like the day that this photograph was taken on and realised how incredibly blessed I have been to be able to enjoy the benefits of the area. How healthy and magnificent is this life style.

But life, like the mountains gives and it takes away and today I am deeply saddened by the passing of one of my friends on the weekend from cancer. Its tragic as she leaves behind a six year old child whom she dearly, dearly loved. All I can do is look at those beautiful white peaks and pray that heaven is a place like this one.

So to you Jules… I hope that everyday from now on is a day like today for you… Goodbye my friend… You are always in my heart…

This is a photograph of Seamans Hut of a night time and is one of my favorite images that I shot for a TIME Magazine Special Edition in 2007. It wasn’t published with that story but I have a print of it on my wall that never fails to remind me of the incredible beauty and awesome power of the Snowy Mountains.

Seamans Hut was in fact built in 1929 as a memorial to a skier, Laurie Seaman and his friend Evan Hayes who both lost their lives in a wild turn of weather on the peaks of Targangil (Targangil is the Ngarrigo Aboriginal name for Mount Kosciuszko). And while this image always makes me think of a benign nativity scene, there is no mistaking the potency of the reason for the construction of Seamans Hut.

Yet it is this paradox, between the sweetness of the image and the savageness of the terrain that gives this image its depth. When a photographer picks up their camera and points in a certain direction I believe it is important to comprehend what it actually is that they are looking at. Everyone has a camera now days… so what defines the ‘Art’ of photography as opposed to just more visual wallpaper? And why is photography one of the most commonly used languages in the world?

At ‘Its A Hard Life’ we would love to hear your thoughts on this. What is it that creates that indefinable difference between just a photograph of  something and something more? Have you got a photograph that truly describes the essence of something in the Snowy Mountains? If so we would like to see it and put you in the running for a free place in a one day workshop or private photographic lesson in September in the Snowy Mountains.

To enter, simply upload your photograph to the Flickr Group ‘Its A Hard LIfe’ (access by clicking the icon on the left hand side of the page) clearly marked with the image title and your photo credit. Then send us an email with your contact details and if we decide to publish it we will get in touch and do a short interview with you.

Closing date is the 1st September so get your photos in now. The judging panel will be drawn from the editorial committee of Photojournale and this competition has NO copyright restrictions and NO entry fee.

For further information on the upcoming Photographic Workshops please have a look at our Photographic Workshops From Beginners To Masterclass page.