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To the snow // Canberra children’s portrait photography

It’s almost embarrassing to admit this… I’ve lived in Canberra for fifteen years and this weekend was my first trip ‘to the snow’. I’ve never really liked the cold (although I’ve gotten better at dealing with it over the past fifteen years, as you have to in Canberra), and most people I know are already experienced skiiers, so the prospect of doing lessons on my own and then falling over and hurting myself a lot has never held any appeal (can you blame me?!). But then I found out about tobogganing and tubing, and discovered you can do a pretty cheap weekender to Selwyn Snowfields, which is about an hour from Tumut or Cooma, and so off we went.

We hired some gear from Canberra before we left, stayed in a dodgy motel in Tumut, suffered bad coffee and noisy heating, and had an absolute ball!!! Toby was fearless and once I got over the I-left-my-stomach-at-the-top-of-the-hill-and-I’d-like-it-back-please sick feeling, I became a toboggan demon. I lost count of how many times Toby and I went down together, me holding onto his toboggan with one hand and mine with the other, and him screaming at me to let go so he could do it by himself. We stacked so many times: facefirst, sideways, on top of each other… and came up laughing every time (bar one, lol). These first few shots were taken by hubby, and no, I had no idea quite how funny my Russian earflaps looked coming down that hill until I saw the photos.

Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia

On Sunday morning, we headed to Yarrangobilly Caves; another first for me and Toby. I’ve been scared of caves since I was a teenager–a teacher and two of my classmates died in a flashflood in a cave in Tasmania. It felt good to overcome the fear, and it was a pretty cool experience, despite the cave juice that kept dripping on me at unexpected moments–ewwww!

Back out in the light and I went a little nuts with the camera. Sometimes the combination of my incredibly adorable little boy and perfect light is a little too much for me: I shot 220 frames in 20 minutes.

Despite being a generally cautious and careful child, Toby has always amazed me with his adaptability to different environments. I love these images because of how comfortable he is, in amongst these huge rocky mountains… finding ways to amuse himself in quite a self-contained way. Even when I suggested he climb to quite a precarious spot, he made himself at home, and sat there singing happily away to himself for quite a while.

Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia

After we left the caves, we headed home via Cooma, and somewhere along the Snowy Mountains Highway, we stopped for a final play on a hillside in the snow. Another 420 frames in 45 minutes, and you won’t blame me when you see what the light was doing, not to mention the absolute joy on Toby’s face as he pegged snowball after snowball at me and his Dad! We were all entirely inappropriately dressed for playing in snow, but didn’t care a bit. The sun kept us warm and it was just too much fun. Yes, my camera got hit by one of Toby’s snowballs, despite my thinking I was the nimblest snowball avoiding photographer ever, and yes Toby copped one in the face from his Dad (but don’t worry when you see the pic–it looks nasty, but I promise you he came out laughing).

Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia
Portrait photography by Katie Kolenberg, Canberra ACT Australia

This post contains some of my favourite images of Toby of all time. I am ever-enchanted by his physical and emotional expressiveness, and although it is increasingly harder these days to get him to connect with the camera, there are still so many moments when I know he will look to me and give me that perfect second I need capture each one of his moods. I will never tire of photographing him; my beautiful, intense, playful, hilarious and favourite muse in the world.

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Chrissy Torney - Oh wow. Toby you are so handsome. Love the rock series and the snowballs!

Gemma Higgins - Oh his face, so happy! great images (love the ones of you!!! like a child on christmas!)

Kirsty Aksentiew - WOW Katie such a gorgeous story and an amazing adventure and kick arse photos. LOVE it

Jess - LOVE them all Katie, and I can hear your amazing laugh as you toboggan down that slope, with your dog ears flapping!!!! xx Gorgeous and FUN!!!

Hope Copeland - I literally laughed out loud when I read ‘cave-juice’. I’m the same with ‘bin-air’ when you put the lid down on the wheelie bin. It’s gross. I love this series and the one where Tobes get hit in the face is just downright hilarious! The light with the cave series is gorgeous!!!

alyda - oh he is so super cute!! these photos are so amazing :)

Jay - These are gorgeous. Looks like you had a lot of fun and your write-up made it even more real.

liz arcus - love love love !!!! this is what life is about :-)

Tracy - Such fun! I really adore the one of Toby walking through those trees that frame the road.

claire - the last few of toby and adrian having a snowball fight just made me cry, memories of building snowmen and playing in the snow with dad are some of my dearest from childhood.

sounds like a wonderful weekend.

Louise - I’ve been to yarrangobilly, but not the caves. Eiew, caves. Dark, confined, and yes, cave-juice! Yuck. And the snow would have been absolutely perfect for snowball fights, all soft and fresh. And in the sun, it’s always perfect. !

Angie Baxter - Such gorgeous images Katie! He’s so happy :) x

Marsha - Such gorgeous, gorgeous images. Just beautiful. x

Bec - Amazing photos Katie. It is an honor and thrill for us to see how Toby has grown and changed over the years. If we look back at some of your original posts it is hard to believe how grown up Toby seems now. You’re lucky to have that record – and so is he. Bec

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