It’s a feeling like no other – gathering with people who you have never met before. It’s a mixture of excitement and nervousness to start a conversation, reach out your hand and introduce yourself.
Sometimes the conversation speeds off with ease and all uncertainties are quickly forgotten. Other times, conversation is slow to start, nurtured with each new question and answer until two people can find a commonality. These commonalities bring smiles to our faces, relaxes the imaginary walls and creates bonds. These were exactly the kind of experiences and bonds we created the night of the OzShot and The Seek Society Campout.
Some came as long-time friends, others were complete strangers. We all drove several hours to gather over a common interest – the love for photography and the outdoors. The love of spending time reconnecting to nature. The love of capturing a feeling, a moment, a visual story for ourselves and for others to enjoy.
The start to any campout begins with setting up anything one may need overnight. We secured a location, set up a makeshift village from our tents and brought in fire pits. The Seek Society
generously brought five tents for attendees to enjoy which made up the centre for our small tent city. Easy and swift to put up, the 4 metre tents were ready for their tenants in a short matter of time.
Once we saw the sun creeping towards the horizon, many of us jumped into action as many photographers do when they sense the golden light approaching. The sun was setting and th
ere was no time to lose. We were venturing out in search of beauty and creativity, armed with a camera and our own vision of the world around us.
Any traces of shyness ebbed away to make room for those visions to become reality. Excited voices started shouting out directions as we rushed down to the base of the lake and spread out across the field: “Can you be my model?”, “Quick, stand over there”, “Turn to look at me”, “Now look away from the camera”, “How about that spot instead?”. Each one of us trying to capture the vision, the best shot, the unique perspective no one else has imagined.
The crew trickled back into camp – some preferring only to shoot during golden hour, others staying out until the sun dipped behind the mountains. Silhouettes ambled through the tall grass to get the last of the blue hues before the lake was swallowed up by darkness.
As the cool chill of evening settled around us, we gathered around the fire pits with only the flames, the smiles exchanged between new friends and the clothes on our backs to keep us warm. We chatted as the Milky Way appeared just to the side of us. We will stay here until it moves into the optimal position over the lake. Until then, we eat, share drinks and stories, play card games and put down our mobile phones.
We chat about the things that we can all understand. The things that brought us together in the first place. We go around the circle and learn about th
e moment where it began for each of us: the journey to photography. We are all different ages, we all come from different backgrounds but we have similar stories. Some started shooting with their grandparent’s cameras, others with disposable Kodak’s and yet others with an iPhone camera. We all started somewhere and it had led us all to this exact moment shared together under a starry sky at Lake Moogerah.
As it got colder, guitar music was requested and two ozshotters came to our aid. They hummed and freestyled and sang Hotel California while the fire crackled and the Milky Way made its way across the sky.
Eyes heavy with sleep and bodies’ unwilling to move away from warmth, we gathered our camera equipment once more. This time to capture the glimmers of light twinkling down on us from far away solar systems.
Tripod, check. Torch, check. Settings, check.
In the stillness of the camps around us, we ventured out to explore the limits of our gear and our own imaginations.
However, once the cold started biting our fingers and toes, the light of the campfire beckoned us back to camp. Crawling into the sleeping bags with the Londonderry tents blocked out the wind and protecting us from the elements that night, we drifted off to sleep. We rested our heads not knowing what new adventures the next day’s light would rouse us for.
Meeting new people takes a level of confidence and courage to venture outside the comfort zone of established friendships. However, those that do are rewarded by meaningful conversations that lead to meaningful relationships. Even if the first interaction does not spark, we tend to learn something from each new person that crosses our paths.
As the founder of OzShot, Jess Lowis, said while we sat around the campfire – “I was inspired by the people around me to start OzShot and now it’s the community that is inspired by Ozshot.” It’s a beautiful circle of inspiration that keeps giving. It’s a community that creates, inspires, learns from each other and destroys monotony together.
Join us on the next OzShot x The Seek Society campout! Date TBD.
Email us here if you require a bell tent village for your next event Australia wide.