Nic Duncan, Artycool Imagery – Wedding and Portrait Photographer » Blog and recent photos

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Station life

At the end of last month, I was fortunate enough to venture back to Warroora Station in Western Australia’s north-west, to photograph shearing time. I normally head up there with my family to escape the south coast winter for a few weeks each year. We camp on the coast and get seriously back to basics, cooking on the campfire and washing in the ocean, so being there this time was a very different experience. Apart from having a roof over my head, a real bed and running water, there was the relentless south-westerly wind that is typical for this time of year, along with the higher temperatures. It’s the kind of weather where at the end of each day you think you’ve caught the sun only to discover that it’s a red dust coating that washes off in the shower.
As I prepared this blog post I became aware that there’s a lot of sky in these images! With the hills and the big trees down here in Denmark, our horizons are closer and smaller. Head north and you’re reminded that Australia is indeed a vast, sunburnt country.
Whether it’s on a small farm or a sprawling outback station,shearing is one of those special times when everyone pulls together and becomes part of the family, living, working and eating together. Even the young station kids (the Bush Chooks) get stuck in and work hard, mustering, drafting, drenching, feeding orphan joeys and lambs (including Lucky Lucy Lambington, pictured), and love every moment of it. And they play equally as hard – as generations of sheep station kids could tell you, there’s hours of fun to be had leaping around on the bales of wool, the playground expanding and changing daily as more sheep are shorn and wool is pressed.
Straddling the Tropic of Capricorn and covering over a quarter of a million acres, Warroora Station is extremely conscious of the environment, and proudly so. The owners only have a quarter of the stock that they are allowed to run and they rotational graze wherever possible, and there is an ongoing coastal revegetation project. Most of the damage to the land is caused by vermin such as goats, and this year, thankfully, that problem seems to be largely under control as hardly any have been seen. Wild dogs however are still a major issue across the country – as well as being a problem with livestock, they are vicious destructors of native wildlife (kangaroos being their preferred diet). Witnessing this first hand was heartbreaking.
There was a sense of completing a full circle with this little adventure. When I came travelling to Australia in 1988, I ran away with some Kiwi shearers and ended up working on Mia Mia Station, right next door to Warroora…just a few hundred kilometres down the road! That impulse decision was one of the pivotal moments of my life, as I spent the next few months exploring remote parts of Australia and the US with the shearers (that’s when I ran away with a cowboy…but that’s another story!), before getting a job on a sheep station way down at the bottom New Zealand, never to return to my life in England. I confess to loving the sights, sounds and smells of the woolshed during shearing:-)
I must just mention the shearer’s cook, Chris – I have never known shearers and roustabouts to be served such amazing food. Chris was whipping up everything from Tahitian raw fish salads to chocolate mud cakes, and in his spare moments, he would be found creating beautiful pieces of jewellery on the verandah of the shearers’ quarters.
Thanks so much to Marty and Muriel, Sasha, Eva and Nolan for welcoming me into your home, and to Leonie and Lesley for feeding me so well. See you next year! x

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November 14, 2014 - 7:45 PM

Cassie Sullivan - These are fantastic Nic. Brilliant story telling and each image would stand on its own beautifully too. Thanks for sharing x

November 18, 2014 - 6:55 AM

Glenn Stephenson - What an amazing journey- to be transported into this world of station life in northern, coastal Western Australia via the images you have shared here.
I worked as a roustabout in 1992 up around Yalgoo station country for a few months – your images brought back a lot of memories of that time. The hard sweaty, smelly work of the shearers, roustabouts and presser- bailing up, bringing up the sheep into the yards and sitting around afterwards having a few beers and rolling a few Champion Rubys to relax at the end of the day – inevitably, someone pulls out a guitar:). It’s an incredible life that I think, for most Australians, would be completely foreign.
I love how the whole family gets involved around shearing time – it must be so exciting for the kids – they looked like they were having a ball.
Looking at your work, I could almost smell the country – the colours, textures, the heat the sounds…all of it makes up the station life experience and as you mentioned, the food would’ve been incredible.
Apart from what we all ‘do’ from day to day, it is ‘experience’ that makes up a life and to have lived a ‘whole’ life, we must fill it with experiences such as yours.
Thank you for sharing these Nic, they are a beautiful document of life in a world that could only truly be appreciated by those that are living it.
Cheers,

G.

PS. I love the champagne toast on the beach at the end…so much to celebrate in a beautiful part of the world :)

November 25, 2014 - 9:48 PM

Alma Cooke - Your photos brought a real sense of the place, where my son is now working and living. As an Irish mother, whose son has gone to the other side of the world, it is so hard to imagine what it is like, because it is so different to our part of the globe, so thank you so much.

November 26, 2014 - 6:56 AM

Nic - Thank you Alma. Hopefully Wes will have a lot more photographs to share with you soon :-)

November 26, 2014 - 6:58 AM

Nic - Thanks Glenn. The sunset walk on the beach was a perfect way to celebrate the end of shearing.

November 26, 2014 - 6:58 AM

Nic - Thanks Cassie – how lucky was I to have this amazing opportunity to do some storytelling :-)

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Zoe & Raymond {wedding}

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My first Denmark wedding of the new season was an elegant yet relaxed affair full of love and laughter, with both the ceremony and the reception at Pepper & Salt Restaurant at Forest Hill Winery. (Do check out their new website!) Ray and the guys got ready on the top of Mt Shadforth at the Birches, while Zoe and her bridesmaids got ready close to town at Blue Escapes.

Zoe’s beautiful dress by Aubrey Rose, and the bridesmaids’ dresses by Bariano. Hair by Amanda Martyn and make-up by Rochelle Heal. Flowers and styling by Zoe, with wedding co-ordinator Rachael from Pepper & Salt (and A Southern Affair) helping to bring everything together. Silas Masih created culinary magic and won himself lots of new fans in the process, and the wedding cake was made by Sherbert Bakery in Maylands.

 

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Michelle & Mark {engagement}

What a perfect way to start the new wedding season. It was an early start to get to Mark and Michelle’s farm in time to take their engagement photographs before they went to work, but totally worth getting out of bed at 4.30am. Looking forward to photographing them again at their January wedding:-)

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As featured on…

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Thrilled to have these two gorgeous celebrations shared on a couple of wedding blogs. Original blog posts here: http://www.nicduncan.com/anna-darren-wedding/ and http://www.nicduncan.com/jo-tony-wedding-festival/

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Sally & Colin {wedding}

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Both born and bred in Denmark, Sal and Colin’s families have known each other for a long time…in fact, Colin’s Dad, Tony was the doctor who delivered Sal as a baby! That sense of place and belonging was very much part of their wedding day, especially when we went across the inlet to the old fishing shack to take some photographs. Not only was it where Colin proposed to Sal, but it was where Sal’s Dad proposed to her Mum years earlier:-)

Celebrant: Kate Thomas; Styling: Eclectic Events; Reception: Castelli Estate; Sal’s bouquet by Cathy Pegrum (Hot House Flowers)

April 22, 2014 - 11:32 AM

Gemma Richardson - Absolutely breathtaking photos Nic!!! So, so beautiful. Sal and Col must be stoked! Makes me want to get married all over again ;-) xo

April 22, 2014 - 10:43 PM

Kate Thomas - Thank you Nic for your attention to detail, you have captured the pure magic of Colin & Sally on their day, surrounded by all their friends and much loved family. Kate Thomas.

April 23, 2014 - 8:24 PM

Sue Sinagra - These photos are absolutely amazing Nic, so beautiful. And Col and Sal, you are such a gorgeous couple and it shows just how happy you are. Just stunning.

May 3, 2014 - 9:46 AM

Will Taylor - I just looked through the pictures and gave a big sigh.
Breathtaking,
I sincerely wish you happiness and a good life together

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