Be Boundless with Adobe Lightroom.

"All the stress, noise, and distractions of life are left at the surface. The ocean is the last truly quiet place on Earth."

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As a photographer and storyteller I  capture moments and bring them to life. To do this, Adobe Lightroom is essential. So when they approached me to officially help launch their #BeBoundless campaign on the Lightroom Instagram, I couldn’t think of a greater honour. They invited me to share my unexpected moments to show you what being boundless means to me.

My version of being boundless: A life on the road. A life that encompasses travel and exploring new places with hunger, with my camera in hand. This means giving up the comforts and convenience of home but I consider it a trade for the memories I make and the life I live.

My beautiful friend Anne and I (you might remember our earlier trip to the South Island of New Zealand here) went to one of my favourite destinations in Australia, Tropical North Queensland. The Great Barrier Reef is a place dear to my heart, and the bond between humankind and the ocean is indescribable. Growing up in Australia I feel lucky to live a life enriched and surrounded by such natural beauty.

This is Queensland winter.

Rising with the sun and swimming in the warm ocean, looking back at the palm-lined shores of Castaways Mission Beach. Mornings spent exploring the quiet yet breathtaking beachfront escape. As we bathed in early morning’s soft winter light, idyllically surrounded by the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef and World Heritage Wet Tropics Rainforest. An afternoon spent driving the windy roads through the stunning rainforest, towards the magical Atherton Tablelands for a day immersed in sublime nature. Marveling at the grandeur and unspoiled beauty of Millaa Millaa Falls, Ellinaa Falls, and to feel the sheer power standing underneath my favourite waterfall of them all: Nandroya.

Just a short daytrip from Cairns, we escaped to tropical paradise of Fitzroy Island to discover the reef-fringed Coral Sea Island, where the rainforest literally meets the reef. We spent an indulgent afternoon in awe of the natural scenery and boundless ocean blues, followed by an evening watching the sun set on the boat while resting our tired bones in incredible bath suite at the Pullman Hotel.

One of the overwhelming highlights of the journey up north was an unforgettable doors-off helicopter ride over the best-known coral reef ecosystem in the world. A world so dramatically beautiful from above, it leaves you feeling sincerely breathless. It reignited that fire inside me, the one that now fuels my small role in helping to protect it.

Up in Tropical North Queensland, Anne and I were treated to a full day with the leading Eco Tourism Company in Cairns, Passions of Paradise. Passions of Paradise prides itself on its accreditation as an Eco Certified Advanced Ecotourism operator, who support and sponsor non-profit organisations, offset carbon emissions and educates passengers with on how we can all work together to create a clean, healthy and abundant ocean planet. During our day on the reef Anne and I visited sites such as Hastings Reef, 1770 and Stepping Stone Reef and spent our time co-existing in the magical under water world.

A day that was eye opening and hard-hitting.

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My intention has always to been use my work to create good; using my camera as my tool to provoke conversation. This one starts with education. The Great Barrier Reef will take your breath away but it still desperately needs our help.

So let’s talk about the remarkable ecosystem and nursery for all life in the oceans - the coral reef that sustains us. As mentioned, my love and connection to the ocean is lifelong. In high school I had dreamt of becoming a marine biologist. Though years later I studied fashion at TAFE, I still took photos in my spare time and I still found myself drawn to the ocean. I took my first Great Barrier Reef dive years ago.

I came home from that holiday a changed person.  

I left the fashion design course and worked tirelessly, and with a lot of overtime, I saved up for my first digital SLR. The trip had inspired me to become an underwater digital photographer. A lot has changed since then, but my camera in my hands and my passion for the underwater world remains constant. I‘ve been lucky to scuba-dive in beautiful destinations around the world, and in recent years,  I’ve been practicing free-diving techniques (in my not-so-spare time). But the reef - it holds that special memory for me.

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“Climate change is a global challenge that impacts the Great Barrier Reef through rising sea temperatures, ocean acidification and extreme weather events.”

What can we do? So much.

Climate change is big and its scary but the flow-on effect of things that seem “small” can be the things that make the difference in securing the future of the reef for generations to come. Simple ideas like pledging to go plastic free, thinking about your carbon footprint and how you can reduce it, or getting involved with working with your local cafe to ban single-use coffee cups, stop accepting plastic straws and single-use, disposable plastic bags. Start talking, begin educating, to inspire and engage - our actions have tangible outcomes. The threats to the Great Barrier Reef’s future are real and immediate. We simply, can’t wait for “someone else” to sort it out. It begins with you.

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Photographing this sublime world comes with its own unique set of challenges, most of the time as creatives we find ourselves far outside of our comfort zones, pushing our craft.

During the process of taking on this Adobe Lightroom Be Boundless brief, I thought about all the possibilities and features of Lightroom - bringing worlds and moments to life through my lens for you all. What does it really mean to be boundless? It isn’t just a moment; it is a state of being just outside of the expected. I couldn’t think of anything more fitting than the true beauty of Australia’s world famous Great Barrier Reef.

For all the sleepless nights, anxiety and pressure I feel as a creative, it all too quickly fades away in the boundless energy of nature. This is why I enjoy photography so much - evidence that just once, even for a heartbeat, everything was perfect.

Let’s work together to preserve this world. If my photography can bring awareness to that very heartbeat - it is all worth it.

M. x

 

 

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More here:

Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef

Watch here:

Chasing Coral

Get involved here:

Ocean Conservation, Sea Shepherd. 

More reading:

Recent Nat Geo

ACF

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