Ruby In The Landscape – Dune Frenzy

What is an Australian Kelpie, who lives in an urban townhouse, to do when she has the opportunity to explore a red sand dune in the outback?

Why………stick her nose in the sand and go crazy……..of course!

A cow grazes peacefully in the background.

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“Dune Frenzy”       © Sue Thomson 2015

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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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Ruby In The Landscape – Centre Stage

Ruby is an integral part of my landscapes now.  She is great company when I travel to locations in the dark and wait for the light.  She loves to explore and kick up her heels and whilst I have always intended for her to be a small part of the image that I create, sometimes she just cant help herself…..she has to be centre stage!

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“Centre Stage”      © Sue Thomson 2015

You can see more of Ruby In The Landscape here

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Ruby In The Landscape – Wait

She knows what beckons on the other side of the sand dune, it excites her greatly, and yet she waits. 

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“Wait”       © Sue Thomson 2015

She can hear the pounding of the ocean waves, she knows that at this early time in the morning, no one will be on the beach and she will be able to run freely to her hearts content.  She knows that when she is done chasing waves, she will be able to wade into the warm ocean and swim to sooth her aching muscles, and yet, she waits.

She waits for her master to give the release word and let her know that it is OK for her to go ahead. 

An Australian Kelpie develops an intensely loyal bond with their master.  They are one of the most enthusiastic and tireless working dogs on the planet.  It doesn’t matter whether they are working on the land, or living in an urban environment and learning obedience, agility or tricks, they will give their all to their master, without complaint, and with love and devotion.

Little Ruby has been busy strutting her stuff in the show ring shows during 2014, earning her Australian championship title, and taking out the national pointscore for No. 1 Australian Kelpie in her class.

2015 will bring her debut into the agility ring, a few more shows for fun, and more images  to be created for the Ruby in the Landscape series.  

Ruby is looking forward to planning and sharing some special shoots this year with you.

Woof woof!

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The Magic of Woodfordia

There are not many places where in the space of a couple of hours, you can learn all about renewable energy, be chased by an eight headed monster, listen to jazz and blues, take part in yoga and tai chi, and taste the most insanely awesome organic donuts on this planet.

There is lots of peace and love at the Woodford Folk Festival, an annual music festival held just outside the country town of Woodford in Queensland.  The festival is one of the biggest in Australia and takes place over six days and nights.  It boasts more than 2000 performers who happily delight the very chilled crowd.

As in past years, the rain came down again but did not dampen the enthusiasm of festival goers.  An colourful array of gum boots, ponchos and umbrellas only added to the vibe of the festival.

If you haven’t been before, do yourself a favour and put this festival in your little black book to attend.

Did I mention those insanely good organic donuts!


                         “Sharing a Poncho”       © Sue Thomson 2014


                                     “Oblivious of Butterflies”       © Sue Thomson 2014


                                      “Bubble Mayhem”       © Sue Thomson 2014


                      “Rainy Day Fashion”       © Sue Thomson 2014


                              “Floral Overload”       © Sue Thomson 2014

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Ruby In The Landscape – Best Seat In The House

Community halls and showgrounds are the lifeblood of small country towns.  Folk travel from all around to gather and join in festivities such as the yearly agricultural show, rodeos, exhibitions and meetings.  A catch-up over a cup of tea and a lamington or a scone always goes down a treat.

Recently, Ruby and I took a drive to Allora, a small town in South Eastern Queensland on the Darling Downs.  It is best known for rich agricultural land, fields of sunflowers, and magnificent heritage buildings located in the main street.

Ruby checked out the grandstand at the showground and quickly found the best seat in the house.

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                                     “Best Seat In The House”       © Sue Thomson 2014

These grand old heritage buildings can take a lot of upkeep to maintain and I was pleased to be able to recently contribute to a fund-raising campaign aimed at restoring the 110-year-old grandstand at Camperdown Racecourse.   A fabulous documentary book called “Camperdown and It’s Cup” has been created by Andrew Chapman, Noel Butcher and Jaime Murcia and all proceeds from the book sales are being donated to restore the grandstand.  The book is a great read and  the images are amazing.

Ruby is currently busy planning her next adventure into the landscape, so be sure to follow one of the links below to see where she will be heading next.

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Ruby In The Landscape – Blending In

Yesterday we went for a wonderful walk in the fog.  Ruby was excited to sniff and smell all the new things which had been brought to life from the rain. We ended up at a small creek surrounded by pine trees and watched the magic of nature as the sun rose and the light filtered through the trees.  There is always beauty close to home.


“Blending In”       © Sue Thomson 2014

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Ruby In The Landscape – The Melaleucas

“ Which of my photographs is my favourite?   The one I’m going to take tomorrow”. Imogen Cunningham

I have always loved this quote by Imogen Cunningham, a wonderful pioneer for women in photography.  It makes me think of the adventures to come today, tomorrow, next year, and the years beyond that.  And so it goes with Ruby In the Landscape, where will we go next!

We have been a little busy of late, hanging out at dog shows, where Ruby has been strutting her stuff in the show ring.   I am pleased to say that she has now earnt her Australian championship.   Of course, this will surely mean that her print sales will skyrocket as she is now putting champion paws in the landscape!

This image was taken a little while ago, at one of the few places on the Sunshine Coast where doggies are welcome.  Despite it being a pretty gloomy day, Ruby enjoyed running across the low tide puddles and chasing little crabs that were way too quick for her and kept disappearing into the sand.

The Melaleucas

“The Melaleucas”       © Sue Thomson 2013

We hope you discover and enjoy a new place this weekend!

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Ruby In The Landscape – Chasing Clouds

It is always a great feeling when you find a new place in the world to explore and photograph.  It is even more special when it is close to home and you have a little friend like Ruby to share it with.

I was intending to get up early and shoot the sunrise on a recent Sunday morning, but I was lazy and didn’t make it.  When I did get up and stepped outside to see that the sky was filled with big beautiful puffy clouds, I just knew I had to go and make a picture.   I dusted off my infrared camera and headed towards a dam I had been meaning to explore for some time.

“Go chase those clouds Ruby”

Chasing Clouds

 “Chasing Clouds”       © Sue Thomson 2013

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Telling Stories

Creating a memorable image takes thought and skill. A photographer has many choices available to them to assist in documenting and capturing moments in time. Light, emotion and inclusion or non-inclusion of elements all help to convey a mood and tell stories.

The results from the 2013 International Loupe Awards are now in and I thought I would share with you my images, their scores and their stories.

Image 1 – “Night Rodeo”
This image received a final score of 87 and a Silver Award. The five judging scores ranged between 73 and 88. The judge who gave it a 73 must have shuddered when he saw it took out First Place. One judge commented that the image was “A nice different take on a normal shot – kudos”. Of course what the judge is referring to is the middle part of the image where the steer wrestler is coming off his horse to catch the steer. I have lots of this type of shot in my archives and it is a common rodeo action shot to capture. In this case, bad arena lighting and positioning helped my cause in capturing this panoramic image showing all the drama surrounding the event.

Night Rodeo Steer Wrestling
“Night Rodeo”      © Sue Thomson  2012

Image 2 – “Media Man In Trouble”
This image received a final score of 82 and a Bronze Award. I actually entered it in the Photojournalism category because of the irony of the bull stomping, not on a cowboy, but on a media man who was recording the action and had turned his back on the arena and thought that the action was all over. He wasnt hurt, but his fancy camera, suffered unrepairable wounds!
The judging scores ranged between 78-89 and I had a judging comment to crop tighter and remove the distraction of the red top. Perhaps if I did this, the image would be stronger from a competition point of view, but I find myself more and more including elements to ‘’tell stories”’. To me, the inclusion of the Chute Boss and the cowboys scurrying to the rails were part of the story that I wanted to tell.  Check out those cowboys peeping through the rails!

Media Man In Trouble
“Media Man In Trouble”      © Sue Thomson  2012

Image 3 – “The Rescue”
This image received a final score of 79 and just missed a Bronze Award. Scores ranged between 73 and 88 and truth be told, it is my favourite image of the four. It is incredibly difficult to take rodeo action shots where you have all of the elements come together. In this image, the horse has four feet off the ground, you can see the emotion in the cowboy’s face, the story is being told of the rescue man bailing out the cowboy, and check out the rescue horse’s eye…..he is doing his job in adverse conditions! The other element that is a spoiler for rodeo shots, is signage in the background which can be mimised by choosing an appropriate aperture on the camera.  Converting the image to monochrome also helps to keep the attention focussed on the action.

The Rescue
“The Rescue”   
  © Sue Thomson  2012

Image 4 – Winner of the Bull Ride
This image received a final score of 78, with scores ranging between 68 and 88. It received two judging comments: “love the emotion, wish it were cropped tighter to show his expression” and “a little crop to lose a bit off the right side would have helped, well seen and well captured”.  I always take on board comments from judges, but in this case, I will keep the image the way it is. The story behind the image, and of course the judges would not have known this, is the cowboy had just ridden eight seconds on one of the toughest bulls. He received top score which won him the big bucks. To me, leaving in the rope signifies that he has finished his ride and the crowd, and his hat are all part of the story. The cowboy is a New Zealander and he was so excited, he was actually doing the haka. You can see that pesky signage in the background here, but with sport and photojournalism entries for awards, you cannot remove or add elements.

Rodeo Haka
“Winner of the Bull Ride”      © Sue Thomson  2012

All of these images were captured at Warwick Rodeo in October 2012.

I hope you have enjoyed looking at the images, reading my award results and the stories behind them.

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