I’m Melbourne born-and-raised, though I spent much of my childhood at our family house in the High Country. I initially studied graphic design at Swinburne University before following my passion in photography to the Photography Studies College. I had the wonderful opportunity to assist photographer Sharyn Cairns for a few years, which has propelled me into the industry, and I haven’t looked back!
I’m still Melbourne-based, however I love any opportunity to shoot interstate and overseas. A few of my favourites places over the past few years have been a travel feature in Tasmania, Oman, and today’s feature: on the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
I first travelled to Spain in 2007 on a year-long backpacking trip, which also took me through Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia), Portugal, Spain, London and Canada. With camera-in-hand, I was young and free and ready for an adventure. I found just that.
I fell in love with Granada and the Southern coast of Spain, and had always wanted to return… This desire was strengthened by the many wonderful things I had heard about the Camino de Santiago. When my close friend Holly and I decided on an active holiday, it was the top of our list!
Although this walk originated as a religious pilgrimage, people take it for many reasons. You definitely don’t have to be religious! It’s an incredibly rewarding way to see the area.
For me, the biggest challenge were some body ailments. I had sore feet, leg cramps, and a slightly dodgy hip (I always knew this would be the case as it’s constantly something I work on at home). Then, there was the lugging of my heavy camera gear, which I couldn’t go without! I chose to only take one lens (24-70mm) and one camera body, and most days I would carry it in my arms the entire time. As I was on foot, it was harder to ‘chase the light’ as you can with a car, however shooting was a lovely way to take in the smaller details along the way. Looking back, it’s all just about good training, management and shoes! I will do more prep next time.
One of the most rewarding aspects was to be able to spend my entire day walking. It’s an active meditation and I often find that my biggest ideas and realisations come about when I walk. Another highlight came at the very end of the trip – I got engaged the day after returning home to Australia (I think I’d get in trouble if I left that detail out!).
It really is a special mix of people that find themselves walking hundreds of kilometres across a country, with locals there to guide them on their journeys. We were humbled daily by the kindness of strangers – directing us back on course, picking us bags of peaches, tending to our sunburn and blisters, buying us local dishes they think that we would like, or sitting with us to go through a Spanish menu when we were struggling to read it!