Ruby In The Landscape – Windorah Red

There is something special about the outback and we loved our trip to Windorah this year.

Just a little red dog doing her thing in the outback!


“Windorah Red”       

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190 Bowery

Having a local show you around their favourite hang outs when travelling is priceless. More than likely, you will be able to discover hidden gems and visit quieter areas which are not frequented by mobs of tourists all looking for their ‘postcard’ shot.

On a recent trip to New York I explored little known areas of Central Park, travelled on the free cable car which traverses to Roosevelt Island and provides a stunning view of Manhattan, and walked the High Line, which gave me another different perspective of Manhattan.

When my friend asked if I wanted to go check out a place which was known for cool graffiti, of course I said yes. The graffiti was indeed awesome, but it is only just recently that I learned a fascinating fact regarding our visit to this location.  The graffiti building was ‘190 Bowery’ and the owner of the building was none other than Jay Maisel, one of my photographic idols.

Jay has run his legendary photography workshops from 190 Bowery for many years. The price of $5000 for a week with Jay has not been a deterrent as his workshops are highly revered and are always sold out way in advance.

Strong composition, colour and gesture are all symbolic of Jay’s images. After watching a documentary by Jay, I am always conscious of thinking about ‘gesture’ when creating my own images.  “Even the landscape has gesture” he said.

My friend and I spent about a half an hour taking images of the graffiti and little did we know, that an announcement was shortly to be made advising that the building had been sold and would soon be demolished to make way for condos……as if New York has a shortage of those!

Graffiti evolves as new artists make their statements and these images will take pride of place in my photographic library as being part of history, and part of the landscape of 190 Bowery and former home of Jay Maisel.

WARNING:  There is an F Bomb word in an image below.  Look away now if it might offend!

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“190 Bowery”      © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Red Shoes”      © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Boogie Woogie”      © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Hero”      © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Banksy”      © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Batgirl”      © Sue Thomson 2014

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“The Wolf”      © Sue Thomson 2014


Further news articles on 190 Bowery:

New York Magazine 2008 – ‘A Great Buy – The 72 Room Bohemian Dream House”

The Daily Mail 9 February 2015 – “190 Bowery Sells For 55 Million”


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Once a living being, the ocean takes it in, polishes and shapes it, tumbles it around like a washing machine, and then spits it out, sometimes thousands of miles away.  Trees become mysterious objects such as dinosaurs, knarly hands and little worms.

Perhaps my imagination is a little vivid, but hey driftwood is cool!

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“Knarly”      © Sue Thomson 2014


“Driftwood Worm”      © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Moonrise over Bribie Island”      © Sue Thomson 2013


“Tyrannosaurus Rex”      © Sue Thomson 2014


“Upended”      © Sue Thomson 2014


“Low Tide at Maine”      © Sue Thomson 2014

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“The Hand”      © Sue Thomson 2013


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The Absence of Colour

One of the most exciting times of being a landscape photographer is during sunrise and sunset at an awesome location, when the sky has the potential to erupt in magnificent colour.  You just cant wait to get home, download the images, relive the adrenalin and hope it matches what you felt and saw.

Once the romance of the colour explosion is over, the images can be viewed objectively.   I like to take a few weeks to do this, because sometimes little gems will appear and outshine the diamonds which jump out during the first cut of processing.

I like to look carefully at the structure and lines of the landscape that I had chosen to frame at the time of capture.  Sometimes I am disappointed with my efforts, but I know I did the best I could at the time with my ‘seeing eye’, and I always try to learn from opportunities missed.

I am a big fan of black and white images and absolutely adore the work of Michael Kenna and Clyde Butcher and truly believe the essence of the landscape can sometimes be enjoyed more, once colour is removed from the image.  A black and white image of a landscape reduces it to its purest form of shape, structure and texture.  It then becomes an interpretation of reality by the artist.

On my recent trip to Haast Beach in New Zealand, the colours which presented in the sky, were singing right off the richter scale!   Now that I have had time to sit and ponder these images, I have processed a selection of seascapes in black and white. 

I am enjoying these images now, more so than at the time of capture when the colour fuzzed up my brain and there was little opportunity to savour the beauty of the moment due to the fast changing epic light.

I hope you enjoy them too.


“Ocean Edge”       © Sue Thomson 2014


“Retreat”       © Sue Thomson 2014


“Ten Seconds”       © Sue Thomson 2014


“Spill”       © Sue Thomson 2014


“Haast Beach”       © Sue Thomson 2014

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Little Fish Are Sweet

There is a certain fascination with little fish in New Zealand and watching and learning from the whitebait fishermen in the Haast area, and tasting this delicacy, was one of the highlights on my recent visit to the South Island.

Legend has it that the best whitebait are caught on the wild West Coast of the South Island which is an incredible area of wilderness.  Word soon gets out when the whitebait are running and each spring, you will find hundreds of fisherman trying their hand at catching the tricky little devils as they make their way upstream from the sea.  The little whitebait swim close to the river’s edge and are quite elusive.  Big runs often follow floods, a few days after the water clears, and usually in the daytime on a rising tide.

Strict controls have been put in place by the Department of Conservation to control whitebaiting due to declining catches. Fishermen must have a licence, can only use one net, and must be within 10 metres of it at all times.  A variety of nets are used to catch whitebait, and they can be fixed screens, or hand held.

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“West Coast Whitebaiters”       © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Inside the Net”       © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Setting The Net”       © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Claire”       © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Help Is Golden”       © Sue Thomson 2014

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“Dressed To Fish”       © Sue Thomson 2014

The beautiful West Coast landscape is simply breathtaking.   Dotted along the river banks, are funky retro caravans or baches (shacks) and are used as whitebaiters take up residence for the season.  In next week’s blog, I will be sharing images of these quaint little abodes.

Whitebait fritters or patties are the most common way that the little fish are cooked. Eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, and whitebait are added together and spoonfuls are then fried in butter or oil. The fritters are often eaten between slices of buttered white bread. I had mine with a salad and oh yes, little fish are sweet!

I hope you have enjoyed the blog.  I will be sharing more of my New Zealand images this month on FACEBOOK , so hit the LIKE button if you would like to see them.

I also look forward to sharing more of my documentary work with you this year via the Getaway Images  BLOG.

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A Jig at the Big Dance – 2013 Australian Professional Photography Awards

Social media is currently going crazy with news and wahoos as a result of the most important photography event on the calender in Australia, the Canon AIPP Australian Professional Photography Awards.

It was my first year as an entrant and I travelled down to Melbourne to soak up the atmosphere, learn, be inspired, and rub shoulders with some of the finest Australian and international photographers.  I did all of that, and more, and what an incredible experience it was!

For three days, I sat glued in my chair watching some amazing images being judged.  As the panel chair said “next print please’, my heart skipped a beat and hoped that mine would spin around.  When it didnt, I was able to relax and marvel at the thought process and craft that had gone into the image being presented.

I was very pleased that I was achieved a Silver Award for my Autumn Blur image which was created in Queenstown earlier this year.  It was taken late in the afternoon and the golden light was streaming through the trees.  The image was achieved in camera by using a slow shutter speed and panning upwards.   My other two images scored respectfully at 77 and 78 and both of them had support from judges scoring them in the silver award range.  Scores in the 70s are regarded as a good standard of professional practice.


Autumn Blur

Tony Hewitt took out the big gong, taking out both the Landscape Photographer of the Year and the overall 2013 Professional Photographer of the Year titles.  Here is a link to the category winners.  The gold and silver galleries should be posted on the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) website soon.

So what did I learn?   Well, in my humble opinion, the type of image rewarded is one which has to be super special, it needs to be something new, one that will evoke an emotional response, convey a sense of place, or one which will challenge a judge to interpret the story or meaning.  In short, turning up to capture  amazing light at sunrise or sunset for a landscape shot just wont cut it.  All types of images were awarded, from the very simple and perfectly executed, to more complex images where judges were challenged to interpret what the picture conveyed to them.

I was particularly impressed with the way the judges critiqued the images.  They articulated the reasoning behind their scores during challenges and conveyed respect for both the artist and their fellow judges whilst doing so.

I really enjoyed networking with other photographers and continue to be amazed at how supportive the AIPP and its members are at encouraging newcomers to the industry.

In conjunction with the awards, the biggest Digital Show in the Southern Hemisphere was held at the venue, the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.  There was no shortage of expensive camera equipment to look and touch and I enjoyed spending time at the Kayell stand learning about the the different Canson art papers available.  During the judging, it was interesting to see the different choices that photographers had made to print their images on for the competition so that they could achieve a look and feel which suited their images.

I would have liked to buy a big whopping Canon lens but my modest purchase at the Digital Show was a book on plastic cameras, which hopefully will help me make my bad photos look good!  There is a comp run by the Soho Gallery in New York every year that I hope to enter one day.  It is called the Krappy Kamera comp and embraces all things not quite right !  I love the mystery and intrigue of these type of images and hopefully my plastic Holga that I won whilst attending a photography workshop in Santa Fe will finally be unwrapped and unleashed.

Finally, a big thank you to the fellas at Living Image Fine Art Printing, Darren Jew and Andrew Merefield, who ensured that that my images were beautifully printed and matted for APPA.

Big congrats to Darren for taking out the Science, Nature and Environment category for another year.  His image of a little humpback calf is simply gob-smackingly awesome.  It scored a Gold with Distinction and the capture has me mesmerised everytime I look at it.

Melbourne put on its usual charm for the weekend, with weather ranging from four degrees to sunshine and rain. I loved the charisma of the trams, the old buildings, the vibrance of Southbank, and of course, the marvellous coffee!


Flinders Street, Melbourne

The whole APPA experience has inspired me to be more thoughtful and creative about my photography and I look forward to lining up next year for another dance at the big jig!

Next print please!

Jumping Tarpon – Most Viewed Image

The Getaway Images website has now been live on the internet for almost two months.  During this time I have been madly learning geeky IT skills such as monitoring website and blog visit statistics.

Google Analytics tells me that “Jumping Tarpon” is currently the most viewed image so far, so I would like to share with you some information about how this image was created.

Some of you may have been thinking ‘what the hell is that?’ when you were looking at the thumbnail!

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Jumping Tarpon

Last year, I was fortunate to visit the Everglades, Miami and Florida Keys.  The image of the tarpon was taken at Robbie’s, in Islamorada in beautiful Florida Keys.  Visitors come from around the world to witness the spectacle of the tarpon feeding and to enjoy the laid back lifestyle of this part of the world.

Islamorada consists of six islands and is situated between the saltwater wilderness of EvergladesNational Park in one direction, North America’s only coral barrier reef and the deep blue waters of the Florida Straits in the other.

Life is pretty relaxed down in the Key’s, palms sway in the breeze, hustle and bustle is non-existent and the folks are very friendly.  You get the feeling that the place has been forgotten in time.

Large schools of tarpons,  known as ‘silver fish’, prowl around the edge of the pier at Robbie’s in anticipation of being fed bait fish which you purchase by the bucket to feed the tarpons.  Large numbers of up to 100 congregate and excitedly thrash around when they can see food being tempted just above the waters edge.  Let me tell you….these fish are big!

Sitting on the sidelines, beautiful Brown Pelicans like this chap, look on in amusement in the hope of also getting a cheap feed.

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Brown Pelican

On a technical note, “Jumping Tarpon” was taken by me hanging out over the side of the end of the pier, which is how I have got him at eye level.  At one stage, I was fearful that a tarpon would think I was a tasty morsel!   I used my Canon 50D camera with a 70-200 F2.8 lens at the following settings:  Aperture F5,6, shutter speed 1/1000 and ISO 400.

If you would like to see more of my images from Florida Keys, please visit the Florida Keys Gallery on