How I Edit My Photos: Apps & Programs 2018



One of the most commonly asked questions I get asked on Instagram is: What program did you use to edit your photos?

I love helping out others who are trying to get into the travel blogging game so I always make sure to answer every question I get! I've been getting the question a lot more as of lately so I've decided it was time I did a proper blog on what apps I'm currently using. A lot of these apps I've found through Q&A's with creators I admire like Renee Roaming, Hello Emilie and Tara Milk Tea.

If you are looking to step up your editing game, then here's a list of my top editing apps/programs that I feel are definitely worth a download.

Light room (Desktop & Mobile)
Over the years I've tried many editing programs (paid & free) and none of them could compare to Light room. It's the go to editing program for most photographers and for good reason. It has the best tools and features. When you first download it, it can look a bit daunting but it doesn't take long to learn how everything works. I recommend checking out tutorials on Youtube, that's how I learned the ropes. I use the desktop version for major editing and then the app for small touch ups once I transfer my photos to my phone. Light room is a subscription and will cost you around 28 AUD- but if you're serious about your blogging it's worth the price.

A Color Story
If you are looking for a quick editing solution then I recommend the A Color Story app. It has all the tools you'll need for basic editing as well as some great filters. The filters in particular come in handy if you're trying to set up a theme with your IG account.

VSCO
VSCO is great for editing photos however I've been using it lately for video editing. It's a great solution if you want to make your Iphone videos look more cinematic and professional. The video filters work similarly to LUTS in Adobe premiere. If you post lots of video it's definitely worth checking out.

Unfold
Now this app isn't really for photo editing but instastory editing...I've been using it so much I had to mention it. If you are interested in creating more eye catching instastories then definitely download this free app. Their templates are incredible!

UNUM
Lastly, UNUM- again this isn't an editing app but it's one I use every day so had to give it a shout. UNUM is a feed planner app. If you've been wondering how people get such perfectly themed feeds? They're probably using some sort of feed planner app. UNUM lets you upload your photos in the order you intend to post so you can see how your feed will look in the future. Your top 6 photos are the first thing a person sees when they go on your account so you want to make sure it looks appealing so they'll hit the follow button!

If  you have any questions about any of the apps mentioned send me a message. To see more of my travel photography, follow me on Instagram!

Review | Testing out the new Sony RX100M6

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The Sony RX100M6 has only been out a few months in Australia and I was very lucky enough, thanks to the Sony Australia team, to get my hands on one. Over the last month or so I've taken it travelling with me and have been quite shocked with the results I've gotten. I've always shot with a DSLR so it was nice change to have a small, lightweight option- especially on long hikes!

If you are in the market for a quality compact check out my review of the Sony RX100M6 as well as a few shots I took using this new camera.

Design
The RX100M6 has a sleek, stylish pocket friendly design. It's tiny, so tiny in fact it can fit in the palm of your hand with ease. I'd say one of the smallest compacts on the market. It's also very lightweight which combined with its sleekness can make it rather easy to drop. If you need a bit more traction an attachment grip can be purchased for around $20 AUD.

Features
  • ZEISS® Vario-Sonnar T* 24-200 mm2F2.8-4.5 high-resolution zoom lens
  • Approx. 20.1 effective megapixel 1.0-type stacked Exmor RS™ CMOS sensor with DRAM chip
  • BIONZ X™ image processing engine for superior detail reproduction and noise reduction
  • 0.03 sec6 AF response with 315 focal-plane phase-detection AF points (fastest AF on the market)
  • Up to 24fps7 continuous shooting with AF/AE for up to 2338 shots
  • UHD 4K video at 30p and 24p, 1080p slow-motion capture
  • 3in touchscreen LCD
  • WIFI enabled
  • USB charging

Price
The RX100M6 price starts from $1,699 AUD. This price tag makes it one of the most expensive compacts on the market, no doubt. However, for that price you get a powerful compact camera jam packed with some pretty amazing features like the incredible zoom range and super fast AF.

Conclusion
If you are dead set keen on a small compact camera and don't want to settle for anything but the best then the Sony RX100M6 is the way to go. The combination of its fast AF, great video, sharp images, and super wide zoom range all in small, light weight frame truly make it one of a kind in the compact market!

Find more info on the RX100M6 on the Sony Australia website, available here.




*AmeriAus was gifted the RX100M6 for the purpose of review. 

Best Photography Locations: Great Ocean Road



The Great Ocean road is Australia's most iconic and scenic road trips!

Driving along this magical stretch of bitumen is an experience that should be at the top of everyone's bucket list. The ever changing Victoria coast truly is a site to behold. This corner of the world is home to some of the most interesting limestone formations as was as some the most unique, & untouched beaches I've ever seen in my life.

After having just completed an amazing 9 day road trip with Jucy World, I've put together a list of top 10 most Instagramable spots along the Great Ocean Road. Check it out if you are currently planning your own Great Ocean Road adventure!

Twelve Apostles
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Starting this list out strong with what is undoubtedly the most popular stop along the GOR. Did you know there are actually only 8 apostles left? Due to erosion this iconic look out is always changing, but it's beauty remains. Pro tip: Visit at sunrise to beat the tour buses.

Loch Ard Gorge
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New favorite beach alert! This place is straight out of a fairy tale.

The Arch

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Another stunning natural monument...Wait until the waves crash through the arch, forming a waterfall, for the perfect shot.

The Redwoods
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Now you wouldn't expect to find a forest of California Redwood trees along the Great Ocean Road I know....But that's exactly what you'll find a little ways inland of Apollo Bay.  Once you step into forest and the silence wraps around you, you'll feel like you've been transported to some faraway place.

Bay of Islands 
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Another fantastic spot to see truly breathtaking rock formations and stunning turquoise blue waves.

Swing bridge Cafe
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You'll no doubt pass through the cute, coastal town of Lorne on your journey along the Great Ocean Road. Why not grab a coffee and a bite at the incredibly picturesque Swing bridge Cafe?

Gibson's Steps
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After climbing down an obscene amount of massive stone steps you'll be rewarded with an awesome up close & personal view of one of the majestic Apostles. Again I recommend visiting early if you're after a solo shot.

Teddy's Lookout
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A trip to the GOR wouldn't be complete if you didn't snap a picture of the magnificent road itself. The best place to truly capture it's beauty (apart from a helicopter tour) would be Teddy's Lookout. This is also a great place to spot Koalas in the wild.

For more info on things to see & do along the Great Ocean Road check out the official website, available here.

24 Hours In The Grampians | Itinerary


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If you're following me on Instagram you know I just wrapped up an AH-MAZING Victorian road trip Jucy! After spending the first 5 days of the adventure exploring every nook and cranny of the Great Ocean Road... I thought it was time to move on to a new destination. So Darrell and I decided to spend the last few days of our trip in the majestic Grampians! It was such a chill and beautiful place to end our holiday.

Breathtaking views, relaxing nature hikes, delicious restaurants & bakeries, award winning wineries...BLISS! We were both surprised to find just how much stuff there was to see, do & eat in this magical region. So, we decided to put together a quick 24 hour itinerary. Hopefully, it will be of use to you if you find yourself in this corner of the world!

Morning
  • Catch the sunrise at Boroka Lookout
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After doing a bit of googling and reading tips online we decided that Boroka Lookout was the best place to catch the sunrise. This lookout is one of the few places in the Grampians that doesn't require a lengthy walk to get to....which is perfect for early in the morning when just getting out of the bed is a struggle...

  • Head to the Balconies
If you are already at Boroka you might as well head to the Balconies given its only a few minutes away. The Balconies is another one of the shorter walks in the Grampians (30 minutes/1km).

  • Grab a breakfast pie 
Since you've had such an active morning you deserve a treat! So head over to the Halls Gap bakery and grab one of their delicious pies or pastries for breakfast.

  • Do the Pinnacles Walk
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If you only have 24 hours and want to do a little hiking then the Pinnacles walk is your best bet! There are two ways to get to the Pinnacles. The easy way is via the Sundial car park (2.1km/45mins to 1hr). If you're feeling adventurous take the Wonderland car park route. Unlike the Sundial track, it will take you through the beautiful Grand Canyon (a smaller cousin of the American one). It requires a lot of rock hopping and a little arm strength but it's an incredible sight!

Afternoon
  • Lunchtime!
Treat yourself to a delicious meal at Kookaburra Restaurant followed by a sweet treat at Coolas Ice Creamery (after that hike you've earned it!).
  • Vino & Chill 
Spend the rest of the afternoon sipping your way through the beautiful wine selection at Fallen Giants Winery.


Evening
  • Sweet dreams...
Check out Reed's Lookout (in the same area as the balconies) for sunset. Then finish up your day with a lovely dinner at The Views restaurant.

For more information on this beautiful region, check out the official Grampians website, available here. 

How To Survive Living in a Campervan



Living in a campervan has its challenges...

For starters, you're in a small, confined space. So if you've got long legs chances are you won't be able to fully stretch your legs out at night for some time (soz)...There's likely to be very limited storage space and the tiniest fridge...I could go on but I'll stop there so I don't completely scare you off...

All those things aside, the rewards that come with living on the road make it all worth it in the end! First off, you have the freedom to explore at your own pace without having to worry about getting back to your hotel each night. Home is literally where you park! Another perk is you always have everything you need with you- never need to worry if you left something back at the room. Lastly, less time spent travelling back and forth between your hotel = more time to explore. Travelling in a camper is the best way to fully immerse yourself in a destination. It's an incredible experience that I think everyone should try at least once in their life.

If you are thinking of giving van life a go, here are a few of my top tips on how to survive it!


Pack Lightly (no hardshell suitcases)

Like I mentioned before- storage space in most campervans is limited. So only pack the essentials and not too many clothes. You can always use the laundry facilities at the holiday parks. The more stuff you bring the less room you will have for drinks and snacks. So pack wisely! Also no hard shells...you'll most likely have to slide your suitcase under your bed and after a few days [or weeks] of sliding it around your beautiful hard shell will look battered and bruised. Trust me I know from experience- Save yourself the regret!



Only get enough groceries for a few days at a time

If you get all your groceries at once...for starters you probably won't have room in the fridge for it all... But you're likely to pass a bunch of yummy eateries while your on the road that you're going to want to stop at. If you eat out a few times, before you know it you'll be at the end of your trip and still have a fridge full of uneaten food. What a waste! Save your cash and only buy around 2-3 days worth of food at a time.


Stretch & breathe in the fresh air

Living in a campervan can get a bit stuffy so make sure you spend more time out of it then in it. Really the only time you need to be in the camper is to cook and sleep. If the weather is nice take out your fold-able table and chairs and eat outside. You are camping afterall!



Apps are your friend!

Lastly we would not have been able to survive our campervan experience if weren't for apps like Campermate. Before you head out on your trip I highly recommend downloading it. The interactive map will make finding free campgrounds, holiday parks, dump stations, and petrol stations near you a breeze!


Special thanks to JUCY for hooking us up with a Jucy Condo for our Great Ocean Road trip! If you are looking to book a campervan adventure check out Jucy for a super affordable range of quality rental campers, click here.

Date Night With Maxwell & Williams | Recipe






















Ah Autumn... It's the perfect time of year for a cosy, romantic night in with your special someone!

I don't know how things are at your place, but as soon as the weather gets even a little bit chilly here the white whine gets pushed way back to the outer reaches of the fridge, and the red wine gets dusted off and emerges triumphantly from the pantry (or wine cellar if your fancy!). 

After a pretty hectic few weeks (and too much take out) it was nice to have a chill night at home. Pro tip: If you ever find yourself feeling uninspired in the kitchen, start shopping for some new dinnerware. Something about beautifully designed, glossy plates, and gleaming, new cutlery sets always gets me into masterchef mode. I mean if you're going to treat yourself to a elegant new dinner set, you can't just plate up a grilled cheese! You have to go all out!




It was only a few minutes after I had placed my order with Maxwell & Williams, that I found myself rummaging through my closet for my old, forgotten cook books. 

I selected some pieces from the new, moody Caviar & Caviar Speckle collections. As well as a few accent pieces from the STUNNING collection by Australian artist Nathan Ferlazzo. After receiving these works of art my only regret is that I didn't get more...The best part is that a portion of the proceeds from each sale of these pieces goes towards wildlife conservation! The collection is VERY popular so head to the Maxwell & Williams website, click here, to grab your own before they are all gone. Need a bit more inspiration? Check out my recipe below:


Homemade Pork & Fennel Gnocchi 



Gnocchi:
- 4 potatoes peeled, steamed, and mashed 
- 1 egg, whisked
- Salt & Pepper
- 2 cups of  flour
- 1/4 cup of finely grated parmesan

Tomato Cream Sauce:
-1/2 cup Tomato Paste
- Thicken Cream
- 2 tablespoons Butter
- 2 Garlic crushed
- Salt & Pepper

Olive Oil
Gourmet Herbed Pork Sausages (preferably with fennel, but you can always add later if not)
Basil (to garnish, optional)
Fresh Mozzarella (to garnish, optional)


To prepare the gnocchi, add your mashed potato to a large bowl. Season mash with S&P to taste. Add egg and stir until well combined. Add half of your flour & Parmesan and stir until combined. Add the remaining flour and stir until a dough begins to form. If the dough is too soft or sticky add more flour. Place dough onto floured surface and knead until smooth. Break the dough into 4 pieces. Roll one of the portions in a 2cm in diameter log. and using a knife cut the log into 2cm pieces. Repeat this step with remaining dough. Roll each of the 2cm under a fork. Prepare a saucepan of boiling salted water. Place the gnocchi in the water, but don't overcrowd the sauce pan. When the gnocchi rises to the top use a slotted spoon to remove them. Repeat until finished. 

In a pan drizzled with olive oil add pork & fennel sausage and cooked until done. Remove sausage from pan, add butter and crushed garlic and cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add tomato paste & thickened cream and stir until combined. Allow the sauce to simmer for 20 minutes or until the color darkens and sauce thickens. Remove garlic.

Add gnocchi, and sausage to the pan containing the sauce. Cook until warm. To serve, garnish with fresh basil leaves and pieces of fresh Mozzarella. 

Finally, enjoy with a nice red wine! x

Tips For Visiting Tamborine Mountain


If you are among the lucky few who have managed to secure an extra long holiday then you may be sitting around the house wondering what to do with your free time.

How about a day trip to Tamborine? 

Beautiful wines, artisan cheeses, award winning spirits, and fresh, local produce are what you can expect to find on the mountain. This boutique destination is the perfect escape for those seeking a bit of  indulgent 'me time'. Maybe you're after a more action packed weekend? Not to worry... Tamborine has plenty of thrill seeking activities, nature hikes, and views to satisfy your adventurous heart. 

Here are few tips to make the trip more enjoyable...

TIP #1: Have a DD or book a bus tour.

As I briefly mentioned, there are a number of amazing wineries, distilleries, and breweries on Tamborine. Most, have a cellar door and offer tastings for a few dollars. If you plan on working your way around the mountain one sip at a time, you must have a designated driver. Mountain roads at night can be a challenge for skilled drivers let alone a buzzed one...If none of your friends are willing to take one for the team then perhaps a bus tour is your best option. There are a number of winery tour buses operating on Tamborine. A huge plus is that the tour packages normally include snacks on board, lunch at a local restaurant, wifi and more! 

TIP #2: Wear Comfortable Shoes

Whether you are strolling through the vineyard or hiking to a waterfall, comfortable footwear is a must on Tamborine mountain. The national park is a rainforest so it's often wet and rainy. The hikes can take you through some rough terrain that your favourite pair of thongs may not be equip for. Best to leave them at home.

TIP #3: Bring Plenty Of Water

No matter if you plan on hiking the day away or wine-ing(?) the day away...be sure to pack a few bottles of water to keep you going. You'll thank me later.  

TIP #4 Don't Miss The Sunsets 

After a long, fun day on the mountain wrap things up with a visit to Rotary Lookout or Hang Glider's Launch. It is a known fact that mountain sunsets are vastly superior to all other sunsets...


Words by Chelsea Hawkins. Follow me on Instagram.