Staring At The Sun, South Cronulla, sunrise, woman, beach, Sydney

My Sunday Photo – Staring At The Sun

This week’s My Sunday Photo is a memorable pre-dawn experience. It is called Staring At The Sun.


I decided to take a sunrise photo at one of our favourite beachside spots, to present to Emma as a birthday present. I woke up (extremely) early, tiptoed out of the house and made the drive to South Cronulla.

When I arrived, it was still very much pre-dawn. I set the camera on the tripod and went about taking some long-exposure shots of the iconic beach and some surrounding buildings. As it came closer to sunrise, I walked across the beach and over to the rocks and man-made pool. The light was constantly changing and I was very much enjoying myself.

I searched around for the perfect spot to stand and I took some practise shots. The sun was just about on the horizon and it was looking like it would be a good show to watch. Thrilled that I was about to capture the perfect moment to have blown up and placed on our dining room wall, I set myself.

Then, out of nowhere a person appeared. She had obviously been out enjoying her early morning walk and, inspired by the incredible scene unfolding before her, she decided to take a photo. However, there were two problems with this: She made the mistake that many of us do, which is to pull out the mobile, point it straight at the amazing sunrise and snap away. The second problem was that in trying to get as ‘close’ to the sunrise as possible, she had inadvertently entered the shot that I had patiently planned.

I can pretty well guarantee that she wouldn’t remember that sunrise (see below) after a while. The moment would be long forgotten for her and the photo on the phone relegated to some backup folder, or lost entirely. Yet there I was, fuming about the spoilt photo that I had worked so hard to achieve.

Staring at the sun, friday photo, Shooting the sun, sunrise
‘Shooting The Sun’ or ‘Nuclear Explosion’. It makes for a forgettable photo.

Thankfully, the woman was on her way soon enough and the show had still only really just begun. I snapped away as the light changed every few seconds and I ended up able to present my wife with a brilliant seascape sunrise that captures my eye every time I look at it.

When I went to process my photos. My attitude towards this particular moment changed entirely (possibly because I had been able to take the photo I wanted to). I realised that I had actually captured a great photo. This woman had added something really valuable to the shot. In her failed attempt to capture a moment, she had wound up the star of this shot. I really wish I had the opportunity to pass this photo on to that woman – to give her the permanent memory of this fleeting moment in time. Perhaps one day she will see it, who knows?

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baby sleeps, Grobag, safe sleep, sleeps through night, sleep

I Have A Confession To Make… (how my baby…

I have a confession to make. It’s a secret I’ve kept quiet for too long.

It’s something I stay silent about when talking to other parents, for fear of judgement, isolation, possibly even retribution. But I can’t hold it any longer. After just over a year of parenting, I’ve finally found the courage to tell everyone…


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Climbing a Stairway to Heaven

There’s a baby who knows that all slides are pure gold, and she’s climbing a stairway to heaven…

Hannah loves a good slide. She has done so ever since she was first introduced to them on our trip to Queensland. Since that first time, her mobility has developed to the point where she can navigate her way up steps, over platforms and onto slides independently.
As Hannah’s mobility has increased, we have gradually withdrawn our support. We have stopped placing Hannah at the top of slides, instead we leave her to find her own way. Hannah’s enjoyment of this process is obvious. She crawls around, explores, climbs, stops and watches other kids, and eventually she finds her way to the top. Once there, she is rewarded with one of her favourite experiences – a slide.
Today we stumbled upon a new playground. It was brilliant, except for one key feature. The way up to the slide. Instead of the usual, safe staircase, there was this…

stairs, climbing, playground, play, equipment, stairway
The staircase of doom

Degree of difficulty… high

It may be hard to fully assess the true level of difficulty that the ladder presented to anyone under the age of two from this photo, but it was high. In fact, my first thought was that it was impossible. I was sure that Hannah wouldn’t even try it, and that we would have to revert to placing her at the top if she wanted to slide.
I placed Hannah down on the soft-fall and watched for a while as she explored the ropes and around the base of the equipment.
Before long, she was at the ladder. She stood, with the bottom rung in her hands. I took it as an indication that she wanted to get up to the slide, so I moved in a bit closer. I was ready to help her after she realised there was no way for her to get up.
Much to my surprise (I really shouldn’t have been surprised, she has a proven history as a climber), she reached up and pulled herself onto the first rung, while holding the second. This was no mean feat – even with her tiny footprint, Hannah’s toes dangled precariously over the edge of the disproportionately thin step. Hannah appeared to feel a little insecure about her position for a few seconds as she fought to gain her balance, but then she appeared comfortable. I hovered behind, the nervous parent ready to catch his child, or help her off when she felt stuck.
Neither of which happened. Up she reached and, in an instant she was another step up.

climbing, stairway, playground, play equipment, play, stairs, baby, toddler, danger
Look at that stretch! Not bad for a 14 month old

The top of the contraption proved to be the trickiest part. Hannah spent a good while standing on the top rung and assessing her situation. There was no obvious way for such a tiny body to heave herself up onto the platform. Too high above, on the sides there were hand holes, but these were clearly designed for children with longer reach. All she has to work with was the smooth plastic platform that stretched out before her.
Eventually, through pure determination, Hannah managed to haul her little body onto the platform. There she sat for a few minutes, soaking it all in, enjoying her new-found perspective at the top of the world.


The Reward

After a while she crawled over to her ultimate reward – the slide. She edged her way onto it and, as she felt gravity take hold, she lay down on her stomach. With a big smile, she let go. A joyous squeal faded into the distance and Hannah was off.
Hannah immediately returned to the ladder, ready for round two. In total, she made her way up the ladder three times, for three slides down. This was not a lot of sliding in the hour in which we were in the park, but Hannah didn’t seem to mind. I could have picked her up and placed her at the top of the slide each time, and had it all over and done in a matter of minutes. However, I truly feel that the way we approached it resulted in a much more worthwhile experience for Hannah.



One Hull of a Dad
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My Sunday Photo – The Joys of Dirt

My first ever My Sunday Photo – The Joys of Dirt

I took this photo on our afternoon visit to the local park, today. Hannah had the place to herself for most of the time that we were there, and she chose to spend a large part of that time playing in the wood chips. Today, she truly discovered the joys of dirt!

Recent rain meant that it was pretty damp below the surface of the woodchips. Hannah soon found that it was fun to play with both the wood and the dirt below it.

As our time in the playground came to an end, we were briefly joined by another little girl. She was about 5 years old. She took an instant liking to Hannah, and Hannah was, as always, infatuated by this older girl. They played together for a little while. mostly on the equipment. Hannah studied her every move. She even nearly followed her over the edge of the fireman’s pole!

It reminded me what childhood is all about – that dirt washes off, but experiences last a lifetime!

My Sunday Photo, playing in dirt, joys of dirt

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toy, doctor's surgery , waiting room

Why I Dislike Gender Stereotyping in Kid’s Toys

When I was five or six years old, I begged my parents to buy me a pink, flower-covered picnic set. I wanted it so that I could have tea parties.

My parents initially seemed a bit worried. They checked with me several times, to see if the pink one was the one that I really wanted. I assured them that it was (the colour had nothing to do with it, the sheer amount of goodness inside, as well as the handy carry-basket was what swayed me). Once they were sure that it really was what I wanted, they bought it for me for my birthday.

I had great times with that picnic set. I set up tea-parties (complete with lukewarm, milky, sugary tea and biscuits) for my parents, for my brothers and, if no-one else was interested, for my toys. The colour of the toy and it’s intended demographic were completely irrelevant. I had fun.

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