Eyes Wide Open Posted by Kara Rosenlund - 9 April 2015 Kara Rosenlund is a professional photographer, adventurer, storyteller and lover of all things Australian. Here she gives some valuable advice to ensure we all capture a unique and authentic island experience for ourselves. I have seen and photographed a lot of Australia, yet Hamilton Island is one of my all-time favourite destinations that I can’t help coming back to. The island has a vibrancy to it which is balanced by a generous sense of untouched raw beauty which you can’t help but want to bottle, photograph and save for later. Just between you and me, sometimes I even find the island’s jaw-dropping beauty overwhelming, especially when it comes to capturing and sharing my own experiences with friends and family back home via social media. For me, the key is to capture and share your own personal travel journey, a journey unique to you. When looking back at your photographs you should be able to “feel” the holiday that was; from the small delicate details and finishes in the hotel room, to the jasmine wafting in the afternoon air while sipping a lychee martini. I like to gently encourage people to lose those cliché postcard expectations or pressures you may have about photographing the perfect holiday — you can always pick up a handful of sunset postcards on the way out — the true essence of your holiday photographs should embrace telling your own journey, your story. Start the journey at home. When are the holiday spirits the highest? Just before you begin your holiday. When I’m sharing a journey with my social media audience, I actually like to start the journey at home, just before I leave. This way it really feels as though friends and family are embarking on the trip together with me. Open your bag. Are you ever curious as to what your friends pack on holidays, or what’s in their bags? I am and I know I’m not alone. There is nothing I love more than to see personal details and touches in shots. Somehow it feels intimate and special, like a whisper of a conversation. Open your bag and share some of yourself. When on holidays, open your bag and share some of yourself. Photo credit: Kara Rosenlund. Make an opportunity of every experience. It is a ritual of mine when visiting Hamilton Island that I always ensure I choose a window seat on the plane, purely so I can take shots out the window. I like to make an opportunity of every experience. There is nothing more exciting and which sets the tone of your holiday more than seeing the small dotted islands enveloped by every shade of sea blue as you fly in. I still get the goosebumps. Feel It. Always try to make a bit of time to “feel” the holiday. To sit in among the elements and silence your thoughts and hear the sounds of nature: the water gently lapping, the fronds of the palm trees rustling in the breeze, the tingling feeling of blushed sun-kissed skin and the cool salt water …Ok, that’s enough feeling! Quick, grab your camera now and capture the moment: you will forever be taken back to that moment in time, again and again. When on holidays, open your bag and share some of yourself. Photo credit: Kara Rosenlund. Visual feast. Who doesn’t love food? My gosh, I adore food and all the details that go along with sharing a humble meal. Hamilton Island offers so many diverse opportunities to try different culinary influences. Shoot and share your gourmet grazing time with those at home, making it a true visual feast. The small things. Never be afraid to photograph the small things, as those small details help communicate the quieter and tender tone of your story. Whether it is a shot of a tabletop at qualia’s Long Pavilion or a generous full frame of inviting tranquil aqua water, the small things are what linger in your mind and that you will yearn for once back at home. The unique beauty of the tabletops at Hamilton Island’s qualia. Photo credit: Kara Rosenlund. The best is you. I often get asked for advice about the best cameras on the market, or the best lenses … everybody wants the best of everything. I always tell people the best camera is your eyes, they are unique to you, they have no budget and they see the world through your own perspective. You could have the best camera in the world, but if you don’t “see” the world, then you have nothing to capture. Always be aware of what your eyes are attracted to and start capturing it. The flat lay. It is about documenting what you are doing at that moment in time and allowing your friends and family at home to feel part of your holiday. I like to do this by shooting some of my images from above in what the industry calls “flat lay” — lay all of your bits flat on the ground and shoot down on them. You just can’t help but fall into this style of shot. Allow friends and family at home to feel part of your holiday with a flay lay style shot. Photo credit: Kara Rosenlund. The unexpected. I won’t lie, I slept in — I was on holidays, you know! — so I missed “the sunrise” from One Tree Hill. Instead I dashed out to my balcony at the Reef View Hotel to photograph this sunrise, where unexpectedly the golden rays of sunlight danced across the sky straight into my camera. Sometimes the most unexpected vantage points give you gold. Lead, don’t follow. It’s a simple statement, though it does require confidence. When everyone is shooting the glorious sunset at popular viewing spots, saying goodbye to the fabulous day that was, it can sometimes feel a little crowded. I always wonder how anyone’s shots will look any different from each other’s. When this happens I like to turn my back on the classic shot and instead capture my own shot. For instance, the afternoon glow in the opposite direction of the sunset. This way you will always find your photographs capture a diverse experience that’s unique to you. Turn around and see what photograph may be right behind you. Photo credit: Kara Rosenlund. Follow Kara’s Australian journey on instagram: @kararosenlund This article first appeared in Hamilton Island’s REEF Magazine. About the Author Kara Rosenlund is an Australian lifestyle photographer, stylist, adventurer and author. She is passionate about Australia and how we all live within its vast surrounds. Working in the both the freelance editorial and advertising capacities, with a unique blend of photography and styling, Kara is a regular on Hamilton Island, shooting a wide range of the island events, interiors and the landscapes. Back at home in Brisbane, Queensland, she lives her life in a timber and tin weatherboard cottage, thriving on the casual lifestyle it offers and the joy it brings, shared by a small flock of loved pekin bantams chickens.