Its been a while......

What a better day than international women’s day to get back into my blog.
It really has been a while.

At the end of last year I was part of an amazing women’s project where 125 Dunedin women were photographed to celebrate 125 Years of women getting the vote in New Zealand.

I took part in the project along with the wonderfully talented Sinead Jenkins. We were commissioned to take 125 environmental portraits of these amazing women who had been nominated to take part.

I had every intention of doing a blog on each and every women but have decided to share a few blogs exploring what I learnt in the process about myself and my shooting style.

I did have a little bit of a identity crisis at the beginning as I was completing the shoots in my own time away form my work at Kelk Photography. I found a sweet spot between my more creative portraits and my classic style at Kelk.

Themes kept popping up as I carried on shooting.

Reflections was one of these themes and I know Sinead photographed quite a few of her own reflection shots.

Consideration………. Contemplation………..Reflection

Creative Photo Challenge 1: Make a mess

I decided to sign up for the Lindsay Adler (Creative live) 'Creative photo challenge'.
She will be posting a challenge every two weeks to make you get out and use some photography techniques that you usually wouldn't.

The first challenge was make a mess, my first attempt was not a great one, with only about a tablespoon of cornflour I was't really committing to the project (also my camera battery went flat). 

I bought a feather pillow and a piece of floral fabric from Spotlight and went home to experiment. I had no idea what to wear! but after emptying my wardrobe I found a soft grey tulle skirt and put it round my neck! that will do! I teased my hair up and chucked a few hairpins into and I was ready to go.

I decided I wanted to shoot everything on my new Olympus OMD 10 and I want to try and do all of the challenges as self portraits, I really enjoy doing self portraits. I had never tried one on the Olympus and couldn't connect both the flash trigger and cable release at the same time. I had completely forgotten that I can use my Iphone as a remote but now know for next time.

I really wasn't all that excited by my result and had rushed it all a bit. I was so stoked with the feedback I received especially from peers. Has given me a great confidence boost for the next challenge now!

If you would like to vote for my image you can do so here: Vote Just scroll down till you see my image and press on the heart. Bring on the next challenge!

Hidden Mother

Hidden Mother_Nicola_Wilhelmsen

The tittle to this blog seems to be quite appropriate for me lately as I have been hiding from this blog for some time. I had the best of intentions of posting on it regularly but my life is the busiest it been! I've recently dropped a little bit in my work hours so I'm hoping that that time can now be used on more personal projects, and this blog of course.

I haven't even gotten around to posting about my Iris awards this year. I wanted to concentrate a little on one of my entries this year 'hidden mother'. It was sort of an idea that was left over from my images last year, It has the same style and treatment. Although this time I added silver to the edges to take the distressed look even further.

It started out with myself under the sheet but ended up changing around with Alex (my husband) as Ada acted differently to each of us. I honestly can't figure out who is under the sheet in the final image, its quite hard to tell.

I had this idea ages ago I wanted to do one of these images as I have seen some quite funny ones on Pinterest. I wanted to do one where the sheet covering the 'mother' blended in with the background and flooring. So I used the same sheet for all of it, I photographed the sheet as a background (out of focus) and also as the flooring separately, then merged them into the final image with Ada. I did decide in the end to do a tighter crop so no longer needed the floor.

Its kinda creepy kinda funny which is why I like it.

It received a Silver award at the NZIPP Iris awards this year and there were no comments from the judges, but I would have loved to have know what people thought about it.
Please feel free to comment.

Here are some other images from the process.

from my helm

Its weird, I keep forgetting that I have a blog of my own now, I always feel like I have to post work that looks like all my other work. But I realized after my first non work weekend in a while that I should be posting more photos that I take around my home.

To be honest this was the first weekend in while that I actually wanted to take some
photos at home too!
I have also been avoiding being in front of the camera too which is a bit sad really as there are not that many photos of Ada and myself together.

So we finally had a lovely weekend off (husband included yay!) and had a bit of fun!

And of course it wouldn't be a fun day at home without a few tears!
(all because she wanted to look at the photos on the back of the camera)


529 Days


Its been 531 days since our daughter Ada was born, during those 531 days I have breast fed her for 529 of them.
It was time to move on, she is growing up and doesn't need her mothers milk any more. When I originally started breast feeding I thought I'll give it 6 months and see how we go. I had gone back to work at around 4 months and continued to pump while I was at work, so I thought I'd give it a month or so and see how we go.
It kept working so I kept going. I made the decision that 18 months would be my cut off. So here we are my nearly 18 month old is officially off the boob! I have my boobs back (or whats left of them!)

I reposed this image on Facebook the day I finished feeding, sort of a celebration I guess. I always get such a nice response to this image so thought I would show some of the behind the scenes.
It may ruin it for some but I don't care, the image was not created under the serene circumstances you may think it was. A bit like our breastfeeding journey really, with a bit of a rough start, it wasn't exactly experience I thought it was going to be. They don't tell you that babies like to pull on your hair, stick their fingers up your nose and slap you silly when they feed. Still wouldn't have changed it for the world! Just glad my body could provide for her.

It was a hot day and I had been running around trying to organize this shoot all day. By the time I had gotten into the studio I was flustered, half of my hairdo had fallen out, my boobs were full! and Ada was hungry.
I set everything up in a bit of a hurry, including my $25 backdrop from Ali-express, I just didn't care anymore, I just had to get it done. I had put too much effort in now to pull out. The day before I had picked out two outfits from Mayfair costume hire, I tried the lace dressing gown first. It was quiet musty, heavy and hot to wear! Everything was ready to go, a few tests and we would be away laughing.
That was until Ada turned her head every time the camera beeped for focus and fire off a shot!
Keep going, just keep going! Then the cable release wouldn't fire or focus after getting Ada to latch on again.  After about 40 shots I got it, it was sharp, it was done!
Then I thought I would try the other outfit too, it didn't really fit so I had to turn further around so both my boobs weren't hanging out.

I love this image and can't wait to get it hung on my wall at home. I had so many people comment on it at the Iris awards, I was so happy with my silver with distinction and everyone kept telling me it should have got gold, which is lovely to hear but I can see why it didn't, there is always room for improvement.

It will always mean so much to me this image and it seems to have touched a few other people too and that's what you want your work to do more than anything really!

Enjoy the outtakes! I've kept the reflector and cable release in them, it was pure laziness that i hadn't positioned the reflector and backdrop properly in the first place! And now I can't be bothered fixing all the images. I've left one in colour so you can see the truly horrendous colour of the backdrop. (Ive blurred some bits too as i was showing a bit more than I had intended too)

My vintage obsession

Its pretty obvious from seeing my work that I have a little bit of a fascination with all things vintage. It doesn't stop with my photography style either. I am starting to get a bit of a collection of old furniture in the house and I do listen to some pretty old school music too! Sam Cooke, The Ink Spots, even old Robert Johnson (very old school).

I was recently doing a bit of a clean out at work and came across these beautiful photo mount folders. I have worked at Kelk Photography for nearly 10 years! how is it that I'm just finding out about these beautiful folders now?? Seriously so gorgeous! Look at that textured card, the embossing and gold details! Ugh why don't they make stuff like this anymore?

I'm now on the look out for more stuff like this, so if you see something like this that I can beg borrow or buy off you please let me know.

Now just to shoot something that is worthy of the use of these folders.

Welcome to the helm

I've been thinking about creating a website for my personal work for some time. Now feels like the right time as I have been completing more and more of my own creative work.
I recently became 'NZIPP creative portrait photographer of the year' which was a bit of a shock to be honest, I never really thought of myself as a portrait photographer I was still trying to figure out where I fit in (still am).

I've been working for Kelk Photography in Dunedin for the past 9 years. I have been very lucky to work for Kerry and Barry, they have always been so encouraging and positive, I certainly don't think my work would be where it is today without their support.

To be honest I haven't done much of my own creative work since finishing Art School, ten years ago!! (wow it really has been a long time). Joining the NZIPP in 2012 has really helped me push my work further and entering the Iris awards each year has encouraged me to keep going



So here it is, my first official blog from the helm! Its all about a fluffy little creature called Elvin. Hes the little devon rex kitten in the image I received a gold award for at the NZIPP Iris awards this year.

Our studio is right across the road from a second hand furniture store and I always keep an eye out for little trinkets etc that turn up in the window.
One lunchtime I walked past and saw the cutest little foot stool.  Just seeing that foot stool triggered an idea for a portrait. I could take a photo of my soon to be arriving kitten on that stool, maybe wearing a top hat.
So I bought it.I also found a perfectly sized
top hat and pair of glasses.

Elvin arrived and was so tiny, cute and calm! This is going to work I though!
I gave him a couple of days to settle in before scaring the crap out of him with my camera and lights.
How did I ever think I was ever going to fit that hat between those massive bat wing ears??
Cute idea but there was no way he was going to even let me try either. I had Alex try to just drop in on quickly but Elvin was far to curious about what was going on above his head.
I did how ever manage to get him perfectly on the stool and staring straight at me for a split second, just long enough to get those little whiskers perfectly sharp!!
"Got ya, you little bugger"
I knew I had a great shot of him but was blown away by how well it did. The print was distressed and printed on a very smooth fine art paper. It had the appearance of an image from yesteryear which I think gave it the edge.