On Sunday I lost my Instameet virginity and it was everything I had hoped for; exciting, nerve-racking and rewarding. I have been wanting to go to one for so long but there has always been something standing in the way, whether it be for the fact that I wasn’t able to get access to my sister’s car, being called into work at the last minute or surprisingly a bad dose of social anxiety. Well last weekend, I made sure I put it all behind me when I found out about Ozshot’s first ever Qld Folk Instameet just an hour and a half drive away from me at Snappers Rock. I posted on the Facebook event page, requesting a lift and within the hour I had received multiple offers. The kindness of strangers right? Now you might think one would be mad to jump into a stranger’s car, let alone a stranger’s van, (because duh ‘stranger danger’) but as I have gotten older I have been so much more willing to risk it for the biscuit, and this biscuit was damn tasty and extremely worthwhile.
Sarah (@thisissarahs_photography) picked me up from my place at 1pm in her decked out van and with snacks at the ready we began our drive down the coast to Snapper Rocks. There was something so seemingly beautiful about the drive. Before 1pm we were just two strangers, alike you and I, alike the person waiting before you for their morning get-me-up coffee and alike your best friend once was to you those many years ago, but within the minute we were connected on this incredible level all because of photography. This got me so thrilled for the afternoon that was ahead of us – I was just itching to get out there and meet fresh faces. We had left plenty of time to cater for traffic, wrong turns (and yes, we missed our turn off even though Sarah is practically a local) and a coffee hit, but somehow with the 30 minutes spare we were still racing to get down to the rocks in time (which was probably due to deciding to get acai bowls to go along with the coffee #noregrets).
According to Facebook the event started at 3pm, but it wasn’t until 3:30pm that most had arrived. We gradually broke off into smaller groups and got into our groove. I will admit, it took some time to warm up to the idea and to work out how to photograph other people when they are trying to do the exact same, but eventually it became second nature with most people tending to match up with those that shared similar photography styles and techniques, making it a lot easier to get the balance between being the photographer and the photographed.
I paired myself up with Jackie Dixon (@hellojackiedixon)- a bright eyed, bubbly girl that was radiating with so much natural beauty and had come to the Instameet on her lonesome. Alike with Sarah, Jackie and I clicked within moments of meeting each other, whether it was for the fact that I loved her skirt she was wearing or that we shared a similar sense of positivity and joy for life. We took turns in photographing each other, sharing creative ideas and embracing the splendour of the sun that was happening right before our eyes.The very beautiful @hellojackiedixonCome 4:45pm, we had all scrambled down the rocks and towards the beach to photograph the sun’s vibrant reflections on the wet sand (passers-by probably thought we had all originated from the jungle). I asked Jackie to go out and twirl in the distance, creating the most beautiful dreamscape with the moon dimly lit above her and the Gold Coast scrapers hazy in the background. There was a solid 15 minutes where I just couldn’t stop photographing the gradual descent of the sun, but I eventually took some time out so I could really take it all in without being distracted by my camera.Once the sun snuck behind the horizon, the steel wool twirling began. The contributors at Ozshot Mag had prepared at least a dozen sets of steel wool so we could all get some unique night shots and have the help needed from the professionals to improve the photographs one after the other. I didn’t end up taking any photographs of the steel wool for a few reasons, with one of those being that I had struck up conversation with Alex Spurway (@spurwaya), a Brisbane creative sponsored by Canon that I had serious Insta envy over and well, still do. I asked him question after question about his success on Instagram and felt so blessed that he was so willing to share and help me on my own journey.
As day turned to night, we had run out of steel wool, people were slowly dispersing off the beach and well, I was frozen head to toe after having the waves crash over me in process of taking a feet photo and was very ready to get back into the van to get into some warm clothes (and eat the Malteasers we had saved). Before saying my goodbyes, I made sure to add the majority of people on Facebook so we could plan to meet up again and writing this a week on, I am thrilled to say that I have actually kept in touch with those that I exchanged details with and have already arranged to meet up for an adventure this coming Sunday.
A huge shout-out to Ozshot Mag, the contributors at Qld Folk and their sponsors for putting together such an impressive afternoon that is still bringing me so much joy and fulfilment. I can’t wait to get myself down to the next one – fingers crossed it’ll be an astro shoot!
All the love in the world,