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love letters

'The Church of the Open Sky'


As expressed by an inspirational Australian filmmaker of mine, Nathan Oldfield, the term, the church of the open sky is ‘a sea-soaked celebration of the exquisite preciousness of being alive’. I was tossing up between surfing and music, as both excite new things in me. Surfing for me is a new unlock of divine behaviour within my world. It depicts the very lifestyle many people want to lead; healthy, happy, sun-soaked, and an overarching tranquillity of being amongst nature whilst being active.

harvey surf.jpg


Victoria was the place where the beauty was easily captured. Clean and fun right-handed waves that invited the crowds to indulge in the happiness playground. The first image of surfers dancing on waves, suggests the art form surfing offers. It is a creative platform that illuminates personalities and character in the crowd that looks like ants huddling for food from afar (on good days). The second image is my boyfriend Harvey.  He is a groovy canvas that has surfed since he was a ‘grommet’, a term stamped on young surfers getting into the lifestyle. The hat in the photo was purchased prior to that surf and encapsulates the new trend that was once tabooed amongst surfers.

Getting the shot

The location was a photographers dream. Picturesque mountains paralleled with turquoise waves and cream like foam for the whitewash. The sand made that skidding sound as you attempted to get that shot. Regardless of the 10-degree temperature at the time, I felt nothing but giddiness being behind the lens. The first picture was taken at Winky Pop; the next break around from the famous surf competition beach, Bells Beach. Lots of surfers leaving the water laughing at my hardcore postures in attempts to get the right shot. The second image was shot at a locals secret, named Johanna beach, a turn off The Great Ocean Road. My mouth actually dropped as I became in view of the mountains among water. Only my eyes can ever explain the beauty I saw that day. I felt so lucky to be alive.

Editing ordeals

The editing process of the second image started with an increase of vibrancy to pop the colour more. The background looks beautiful with his eyes, so I really tried to make that prominent. Then continued to crop the image to have more of a central focus on Harvey, keeping in mind the rule of thirds. I didn’t want to distract from the natural beauty that innately comes with surfing and so I left effects and creative flares to a minimum. I added radial and linear gradient more so on the side of his face, to increase the beautiful afternoon sunlight that is already hitting his cheekbones and the background.  As he stands in front of the camera post surf, there are no necessary touch ups added to the face. I wanted raw and candid beauty. I was tempted to add a grain effect to add an authentic old-school vibe but opted against as the detail serves as an added character and the nature of surfing.

Both images harmoniously marry the church of the open sky lifestyle and the happiness it brings all walks of life to share one enjoyable experience. It paints two perspectives in which you are welcomed in on. It allows its viewers to embrace the pretty essence life represents.

Rebecca Wilson