New Camera, where do I start?

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This is a question I am often asked.

We upgrade either because our old camera died or because we want a camera with more options or some lovely person buys us a fantastic gift, but suddenly we are looking at something that seems to talk a different language to the one we are used to.

My first instruction is going to sound really basic and overwhelming at the same time, but keep reading.

Firstly, read the manual….I know it’s huge or only online or full of goobly gook.

So read one section or chapter at a time, holding the camera as you do. Look at where it tells you each function is and find that before moving on. This is an excercise in familiarizing yourself with something new. You may not remember where everything is, but you will know where to go to find it.

Affter the first instructions on where things are and what they do, read one section at a time and then go and try it. If it is talking about the different programs, set up a scene, it can just be a chair on the deck and take a photo of this using all the different settings, go and load them on he computer and go through them looking at the difference in each.

I would suggest you keep working through your manual, even if only a section each week, read it and then put it into practice. This will familiarize you with this particular cameras features and abilities

Having done this, especially the first bit, I would suggest you look at taking a course. The reason you have upgraded or got a new camera is usually connected to the fact that you want to take better shots. Just as buying a new oven will not make you a better chef, buying a new camera will not make you a better photographer, however with the right tools you can let your craft shine, but first you need to learn that craft

I have been a photographer for over 20 years and have done numerous photography courses and training and yet I am still constantly learning. You want a course ideally that is affordable and where you will receive feedback from pro photographers or coaches, so that if you get stuck you don’t end up getting frustrated, instead you get help.

There is a course I would highly recommend, it is run by Digital-photo-secrets and is called “The Dash”

I took the course myself to see if it was one I would recommend and was amazed at how much I learnt. I am now one of the coaches for this course. Why this course, firstly it is affordable at as low as $19/month. Each month is a course In Itself and you have the option of a coach. This option costs a bit more but is a lot, lot less than it would cost you to hire a photographer even for an hour. If it is more than you can afford then ask family or friends to give it to you as a gift. Doing the course without the one on one of a photo coach is still very worthwhile.

Am I just promoting what I am involved in? No, the reason I work with the students in this course is that it is a course that works for people who are just starting out right through to the professionals. You will be amazed at the change it will bring to your photography.

NT Wildlife park


The course also offers three levels for each challenge, beginner, intermediate and advanced, so there is something for everyone.

Whether you opt for this course or a different one, I encourage you to do a course that will hone your skills or teach you the skills in the first place if you are new to photography.

What if I don’t have the time or the money?  Don’t worry! If you have a camera, even if it is just a phone you can go out and start taking pictures. Photography to me is one of the healing arts, if you are in pain, lonely, at a loss of where to go in life or anywhere in between, grabbing the camera and going outside has a real healing quality. It helps us to forget ourselves and just be. Even if you can only go to the back yard, you will be amazed at the world you will discover.

So I would encourage you to get out and play, even if you only use the automatic or scene settings to begin with, get out there and start to discover the joy of photography. If you want help or some motivation and direction have a look here. I would be honored to walk part of your photography journey with you. If you have any questions please feel free to ask

Unexpected changes

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Sometimes life gives us lemon, this is a great time to learn to make lemonade. My husband got some sandfly bites in Darwin and by the time we got to Kununurra we should have gone and seen a DR, but men being men, he didn’t want to, so we treated them with tea tree and silver and they appeared to be clearing up. We spent a few days camping out before we got to Roebuck Roadhouse and caravan Park about 35km out of Broome and decided to stop for a couple of days. It was lucky we did…to cut a long story short….he had a sore leg and tracklines running up to his groin and a raging temp. I took him to the hospital and that is where he stayed for the week, he had septis cellulitis, which is where all the cells are infected. He spent 4 days on IV antibiotics then oral antibiotics. This was his leg.

cellulitis from a sandfly

colins leg












So for all you stubborn men and women who put off seeing a DR to the lat minute, DON’T!!! I don’t think he was ever coming out with food like this and the great nurses and Drs at Broome hospital.

main meal and dessert


rock cake

cake and tea











Naturally I spent each day at the hospital, but managed to slip out at lunchtime and go to the beach and we were staying out at Roebuck Road house so got to get some trucks as well. So I still have some pics for you.

truck in dust at sunset sign blur number

peace and tranquility

Broomes famous cable beach ©2014 Photography by Julia K Harwood













When life rains on our parade and we are far from home and friends and family, what do you do? I would encourage you to let people know, let your family and friends know through social media and email and talk to the people where you are staying. We all need support at times like this and if I hadn’t reached out to others I don’t know how I would have survived. I would like to say a big thanks to everyone who commented, rang, emailed or texted us, it really does make a difference and a special thanks to Von and Max our neighbors at the caravan park who were waiting for me every night when I got home to check that I was okay, who gave me cuddles when I was upset and helped me to keep hoping for the best. And to finish off what is a trip to Broome without a stairway to the moon.

moon rising at low tide