This year the Cleo x Billabong range was inspired by the Pandanus trees in Byron, the tropical flowers of Bondi and the spectacular sands of Whitehaven so we thought where better to celebrate two iconic brands than in our very own backyard. The A team (consisting of the same crew I took to Bali last year) joined me on one of my favourite annual projects; the Cleo x Billabong photoshoot.
The Whitsundays is made up of 74 islands all sheltered by the Great Barrier Reef; one of the seven natural wonders of the world. There are no crashing waves and the waters are pretty perfect for sailing and leaving surfboards behind.
Our first port of call was Daydream Island, which provides the quintessential tropical holiday full of lazy days by the many pools, mini golf, watersports, boat trips and indulging at the all you can eat buffets. I think as soon as I stepped onto the jetty I relaxed a little; careful wallabies roaming the grounds, tall palm trees and happy tourists on golf buggies greeted my view. I soon snapped back into work mode as we hastily dropped our bags off and started a full recce of the island to figure out the best places to shoot for lighting, backdrop and general aesthetic.
The next day we were picked up by the majestic Derwent hunter; a beautiful 70 year old wooden tall ship that we sailed on in search of one of the world’s best beaches; Whitehaven…After a pretty hair raising 3 hour journey, the sight of the white sand and swirling turquoise waters was enough to forget about the gale force icy winds and rocking boat. Oh and anchoring next to Johnny Depp’s film crew who were planting palm trees on the beach was also pretty exciting, until we realised he probably doesn’t have to be there for that part.
We shot the gorgeous and incredibly talented Steph Smith for a very panicked and rushed 2 hours on Whitehaven and hardly had a moment to take in just how beautiful it was. The wind had completely died down on the way home so we took some time to relax and soak up the setting sun. The next day we shot editorial for Cleo magazine and had some fun using the crew as extras dressed in flamboyant shirts, and zipping around on jetskis. It’s pretty hard working for a brand you love…. All in all it was a fun few days and we got some great shots that truly encapsulate the Cleo x Billabong vibe.
Until next year