Whenever we hold a meet up of some sort, I often get asked if we do this kind of thing often. My answer is always ‘as often as we can’. Now that is a personal and selfish response of course because the highlights of my limited social calendar are to catch up with my photography friends and do what we do best. There is usually some form of photography related activity – a workshop or a street walk. And of course, there is the social aspect of talking gear, skills, experiences and just talking life. Getting to know one another. Meeting new folk and catching up with seasoned friends. So ‘as often as I can’ is a true testament to this particular photographic group who has a core set of values around community, respect and support.
To meet my ‘as often as I can criteria’, I love nothing more than to organise a get together with local members of the group. A great excuse or opportunity for this is when someone is visiting Melbourne from interstate. Imagine my delight to discover that one of our very few members that are currently living overseas was going to be visiting Melbourne for only a few days. I am referring to Robert Owen-Jones of course. I consider him an international man of mystery as he is currently an Australian living in Morocco. If you have not yet checked out some of Robert’s portrait and street shots in Morocco or more recently in the Sahara Desert, then I highly recommend you do. He is quite simply spoiled for choice for things to shoot.
And so I organised a Fuji X Aus Melbourne Meetup event on our Facebook group page. We had a great response to the event and Robert was very excited at catching up with members of the group. We set up a meeting point at Federation Square and set the occasion for the morning. It was a gorgeous day with patchy cloud but bright golden hour sunlight still in evidence thanks to the high particle count in the air from recent bushfires – please support the CFA! We had an excellent turn out with a total of 12 Fuji X Aus members.
I set a course that took us from Federations Square down to the North bank of the Yarra, and along this path, all the way East to then cross the river on Sandridge Bridge. Once we hit Queens Bridge, we crossed to the North bank of the river again and walked along Flinders Street all the way to Degraves Street. You can, of course, imagine where we headed next. We strolled through the sidewalk cafes of Degraves and Centre Place. From here we strolled up Collins Street and after a quick turn onto Flinders Lane we hit Hosier Lane. We always manage to include Hosier Lane. Granted it is really tourist-heavy, but it is still iconic and quite spectacular.
Being the international man of mystery, Robert had to dash from here to other pressing personal matters. We said our farewells, and it was great to see so many of us had connected during this brief morning get together. We had been on the hoof for a couple of hours at this point, so it was time for a break. We returned to Federation Square and took up residence at an outdoor table at Time Out cafe – the one with the big orange umbrellas. We sat and talked and ate and refreshed ourselves. We continued our conversations and of course the building of friendships with like-minded people.
Before we wrapped up the day, we may or may not have made our way to a couple of camera stores. For me, another great day of activating and enjoying this community ‘as often as I can’. I want to thank everyone that joined our event for the morning and of course for Robert in making the time to catch up. If there is an event running in your local area, I highly recommend you get along. Happy shooting.