Last August I had the pleasure of attending a Photography Workshop which was run by Chantel McAlister of Chantel Renae Photography and Pip Williams of The Real Deal Photography held in country NSW at a place called Deepwater. Up until this workshop I had never heard of Deepwater much less travelled out that way. I have followed Chantel and Pip's photography careers for a long time and couldn't wait to meet them in person.
Deepwater is approximately 4.5 hours from Brisbane so I invited some family members on a little road trip for the weekend. Friday night was spent at the Tenterfield Tavern & Motor Inn where we enjoyed a fantastic pub meal, played some keno, listed to a great band, chatted with the locals and the pub owner even shouted us some drinks. Everyone was very friendly and we only had to walk about 20 metres from the back of the pub to our motel room at the end of the night so it was very handy.
Saturday morning we got up early, had some breakfast and stopped by the Tenterfield Saddlery which was made famous by Peter Allan's song "The Tenterfield Saddler". We took a few photos and then we were on our way to Deepwater Station which is a little over 50 kms away. Once we arrived we were met by Chantel & Pip and we hugged like old friends. It's funny how this happens when you get to know someone online first and then you meet them in person, it feels like you are old friends. Normally you meet people first and then find out about them however online...it's the other way around, you know about them first and then you get to meet them. They were both as down to earth and friendly as you can get.
When all the participants for the workshop arrived we gathered in the Cook House at Deepwater Station and introduced ourselves and spoke a little bit about why we had come all this way to do the workshop and what we hoped to achieve from it. The Cook House is a cosy cottage with a big comfy lounge suite, a wooden fire place and a big farmhouse table and a little country kitchen. We all had a cup cuppa and then Chantel was up first with her workshop in the woolshed. It was my first time ever stepping foot in a woolshed and I loved the history of this place, from the beautiful timbers, the wool, the wicker baskets, the pockets of light and a building steeped in Australian history.
Chantel told us a bit about her story and how she came about teaching Photography Workshops in outback Australian woolsheds. Chantel is married to a shearer and has a son and she herself is a respected Masterclasser. She loves wool and everything about it and is now running full time Beginners Photography Workshops in woolsheds across Australia. Check out her website to see where the latest workshops are running and/or if you are on a property with a woolshed and would like to host a workshop get in touch with Chantel. Chantel talked through her process and camera set up along with lighting in woolsheds and we got to walk around and practise in such a beautiful historical woolshed. The weather was absolutely freezing so we were all rugged up with jackets, ski/ugg boots and big woolly scarves. The temperature was freezing however the winds made it feel so much colder even with my 3 layers of clothing on to keep warm.
After the morning session we headed back to the Cook House and Rashelle [our amazing hostess] from Deepwater Station had made a huge batch of pumpkin soup to warm us all up. It was served with some fresh cream and sourdough bread and was so delicious. A perfect lunch on a cold windy winter's day which was enjoyed by all.
After lunch we headed back into the woolshed to take some photos of Chantel's husband Jason who was modelling for us as well as being the sheep handler.
Later that afternoon we went back to the Cook House which had a lovely fire going and we enjoyed a nice grazing board of cheese, dips, crackers, fruit and nuts while we listened to Pip talk about her family photography business. She told us how she got started, why she takes family photos the way she does. Her "why" was very emotional and touched all our hearts and you can tell she is very passionate about families having beautiful photos that show love and connection. Family memories that show how much your kids are loved is such a precious gift for them.
We then spent time photographing our beautiful host family from Deepwater Station followed by delicious pizzas at Deepwater Brewing.
They were champions posing in such windy and cold conditions with 14 photographers in their face. Below is one of my favourite photos I took of the whole family. Stay tuned for part 2 blog post about this wonderful workshop.