Life with Half a brain

Thank you to everyone who has read my diary over the past 10 days and supported me on my Ultimate Work Experience Program. When I first found out I was going to the US to do this project I was stunned. I actually didn’t even think it was real until I was standing at the airport with a plane ticket in my hand. Over the past 10 days I have met some amazing people, been given some awesome experiences and have had memories made that will last my lifetime. I’d like to single out some people and companies that made it extra special:


To Canon Australia for giving me my very first ‘real’ camera – my lovely Canon 750D – I have not stopped playing with it since I got it, I’m amazed at how good all my photos look and how simple it is to use. You are really setting me up for life by helping me create great photos.

To Wacom Australia for giving me the amazing graphics tablet that I’ve had fun playing with over the last week and a half,  Kayell Australia for the Manfrotto tripod which has helped me immensely as it has steadied my shots and to Tether Tools for the  additional equipment that has enhanced my photography experience.

To Accor Plus Asia Pacific thank you for putting mum and I up in the most lovely hotels in Sydney and also in Los Angeles and San Diego. We have had some of the best sleeps of our lives on your amazing hotel beds and the great rooms and views have helped make my trip all the more memorable.

To Adam Cubito from The Sebastian Foundation because you’re the one who read mum’s email when she sent it months ago and believed in my story – thanks for the surprises and the constant tricking in a good way (I wont forget Cheese, Listen and The Letter A ever – you know what that means), thank you for driving us around and showing us the sights as well as being there for emotional support. Thanks for making mum and I laugh and cry several times too – tears of joy though. Thank you for organising everything that made this trip awesome. And thank you to The Sebastian Foundation for believing in me!!!

To Karen Alsop from Story Art Australia – where do you start? Your passion and inspiration for me – you can’t buy it and I want to be just like you. The way you speak to people, the aura you have, has inspired me and I hope that I can continue to grow just like you have. Thank you also for showing me that behind every picture there is a story and thank you for helping get other people on board to make this project truly inspirational. Thank you also for making me an honorary member of your family, I loved hanging out with your kids and your hilarious husband Stuart.

To Jerry and Melissa Ghionis, I can’t wait to share a bagel with you again! Your energy and personality made the first day of my work experience a memorable one and I was just blown away by your generosity – you gave me so much both in products – the Ice Light and Reflector was incredibly generous as was your  advice and I will be forever grateful. I’ll especially cherish the wing statues you gave me – they mean so much. When I set up my studio space or gallery they will be on display there and will always remind me of you both.

To Sue Bryce – wow you really surprised me, I really wasn’t expecting it. You showed me the glamorous side to my career and gave me and my mum our first real mother daughter pamper session getting our hair and make up done by professionals and then having our photos taken by you. I felt so beautiful. Your smile is unforgettable and thank you for being so warm and friendly with me. I can’t wait to see the photos you took.

To Rick Rose and Zach Sutton thank you for opening your studio up to me and showing me around. Zach thank you for taking my headshot and showing me the lighting tips and tricks I needed and thank you also for letting me take yours. I hope you liked it! Rick thank you for sharing your career advice with me, how to work with corporate clients and also for taking me upstairs to your roof and showing me a 360 degree view of Los Angeles – even though mum is afraid of heights it was still brilliant to see.

To Ben Von Wong thank you for taking time out in the middle of a shoot to hop on a Skype call with me and talk to me about creative photography.  I’m sorry if I seemed a little quiet, I was still dealing with jet lag and the shock from the massive day before. You taught me a lot about social media and photography and how to think outside the frame. I am setting up my Instagram account as soon as I get home!

To Guy Sebastian for frightening the life out of me by surprising us at lunch at FatBurger in Los Angeles. I was stoked just to receive a video message from you after Adam told me you were in another country. But to have you surprise me in the flesh and talk to me about photography and creativity and to go through some of my photos was awesome. Thank you also to you  and Jules for starting The Sebastian Foundation and allowing me and others out there to realise their dreams and have life-changing experiences.

To Alec Watson thank you for being very patient with me and being an excellent teacher – you showed me how to use natural light in photography and also how to work with models. I’m still amazed at how the photos came out – and really learnt a lot from you.

To Sussan Mourad – aka Miranda Kerr – your beauty was not only outside but also inside – you were kind to me and showed me how to work with models. Your advice will stay with me the next time I work with one.

To Colin Smith thank you for driving all the way down from Orange County to San Diego to show me drone photography and risking your drones in the windy weather. The photos and videos you took were inspiring and it was incredible to see photography from a higher perspective.

To Laurie Rubin thank you for being so nice to me – you are a gentle spirit and I really liked talking to you about your passions in particular how you photograph animals. Your story about taking a photo of a baby lion and how you’ve charted his growth was awesome and showed me what a lovely person you are. Thank you also for the Premium ViewBug membership I can’t wait to login and enter some competitions.

To Westcott for providing lighting equipment and green screens for the photo workshop – I loved seeing the results of green screen photography and having my picture done. If only I had known I wouldn’t have worn a green dress haha.

To Peter John from Epik Films thank you for always being there to capture golden moments throughout my work experience trip. I can’t wait to see the video!! I look forward to making you a plate of maple bacon when you visit mum and I in Cowra.

To Brian Bird thank you for paying it forward and pledging your support to me by giving me a day tutorial in Lightroom and also paying for a year’s membership to Adobe Creative Cloud for me. I can’t wait to learn from you.

Thank you also to all of the photographers who donated their items to My Digital Photographers Pack, Karen Alsop, Kelly Brown, Von Wong, Jinky Art, Jerry Ghionis, Connie Lawson, Colin Smith, Brooke Shaden and Annie Murray. As well as Tether Tools, Canon, Kayell Australia, Wacom Australia, EIZO Australia, Canson Infinity, Photobiz Xposed and ViewBug. 

Thank you as well to all of the people out there that bought the pack – your contributions helped me further my career and made my trip extra special. So a big thank you.

If I’ve forgotten anyone else I am incredibly sorry – but please know it’s a big thank you from me and my mum. This was the ultimate welcome into the photography world and I cannot wait for the next chapter of my life to officially begin as a photographer and to see my photos in print. You have helped me realise that there is no limitation to my ability even though I’m living life with a half a brain I am stronger, smarter and more empowered than I have ever been and I am now realising my dreams.

Guy’s song Angels Brought Me Here is true – angels did bring me here and it’s now my new theme song to my exciting new life that lies ahead.

You can follow my story from now on on the Karley’s Angels Facebook page 

Karley’s Ultimate Work Experience Program would not have been possible without the help of the following companies:
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