And Time Is Running Out…

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 or 0458 727 324. 


But We Love The GoPro!

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!

But The View At The Top Is Incredible…

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.

But Just Remember To ‘Bendz Zee Kneez”…

Photography and ski-ing have a lot in common really…

I mean everyone knows that old joke about ‘bendz zee kneez’ when you are ski-ing but its pretty important to bend them when you are taking photographs as well. Bending your knees when you have a camera in hand can lead to all sorts of new visual terrain and creative image making.

While sports photography in general and ski photography in particular is often really quite straightforward it can require special equipment and skills that not everyone possesses. Some of the most spectacular types of ski-photography require the photographer to trek into back country wilderness equipped with specialised lenses and lighting and this is just way beyond the means of most keen snappers.

So how can you turn your precious ski-ing moments from just more than ubiquitous photographic wallpaper on Facebook into something that could be printed and hung on a wall to savour for all time? Well lets begin with the angles…

Photography is 90% composition and 10% inspiration….the best photographs always have a natural sense of grace which can generally be attributed to their compositional strengths, in fact there are some rules that can guide you to improve your composition but the very best photographers generally have an innate sense of what those rules are and then try and break them at every opportunity. Real artists show us a different world through their eyes and often can take an ordinary photographic situation and can turn it into an extraordinary image.

But what has this to do with your wish to capture and create a great photographic memory of little Annabelle who is ski-ing down the slope by herself for the first time? Well if you look at todays picture you will see that this is a very different photograph of ski activity than most of us are used to.

Though in many ways it adheres to many of the very conventional compositional rules that are commonly used in photography.

In this case the frame is broken into three horizontal sections by the outline of the safety net.  This kind of structuring of the image into three sections is known universally as ‘The Rule Of Golden Thirds’. It is used to create a more interesting image but is dependent on the placement of other objects inside the frame.

Of course to make this image it was absolutely crucial to bend the knees. Taken from a standing viewpoint this image would not have been as interesting as it would simply have been an amorphous photograph of a jumble of people ski-ing Front Valley at Perisher.

Without the inclusion of the safety net there would be no specific subject and this is important to give the viewer a clearly defined idea of what they are meant to be looking at. In this case one can see that the safety net pulls the necessary information into clear focus, this is about novice skiers making their way down the hill.

This photo was taken with a standard lens and a just short stroll to the bottom of the ski slope.

So next time you are on the hill with young Sarah or Jack and you want to make a photograph that is memorable but not a big deal to capture,  just remember ‘bendz zee kneez’ and you might find a whole new world open up for you…

But You Can Always Take A Photo

So if you had the chance to be a published photographer what image would you like to see in the space above?

At ‘Its A Hard Life’ we really want to see what you guys out there are pointing your cameras at… whether thats a gnarly free ride ski shot or pics of your favourite four legged friend.

Each Friday will we feature a photograph taken by you that says something unique about the Snowy Mountains region. After we select it we will contact you and find out a little bit about why you shot it and what it means to you.

Later on in the 2011 Snow Season ‘Its A Hard Life’ will be offering full day photography workshops and we will select the photographer who submits the best image to participate free of charge.

So here is your chance to attend a photography workshop given by ‘Its A Hard Life’s’ esteemed photojournalist Lisa Hogben, who has worked for TIME, The New York Times, The Australian and The Sun Herald and won innumerable photographic awards. Hogben has also been a highly regarded mentor and teacher at The Australian Center for Photography and North Sydney Community Center and has shot a feature length documentary ‘Beautiful Music’ on the exploits of the Sydney Street Choir in the Northern Territory. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally at The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, The Australian Center for Photography and IndexG Gallery in Toronto to name a few.

So hurry up and start snapping, at ‘Its A Hard Life….’ good photography makes us smile!

Please submit entries via our group site at Flickr with all your relevant contact details or email us via our contact page.

But You Can Always Change Your Face!

Well maybe not literally but Riana Begg certainly knows how to transform young faces with face paint.

Her four year old model Leah Bottrill from Jindabyne  was concentrating on her metamorphosis from cute Snowy Mountains kid to Snow Angel at the Banjo Patterson Playground this morning.

The ‘Touched By Olivia” Foundation, headed locally by Louise Williams held a rally at the playground and invited Member for Monaro John Barilaro and Jindabyne Mayor John Cahill to attend in an effort to increase awareness of the community need to provide more adequate facilities for the growing population of younger children.

Nothing quite like a visiting “pollie” to get things moving though… new bark had been laid yesterday under the existing playground equipment.