now THAT is how you do summer, australia

melbourne (and i am assuming australia in general) is under constant extreme water restrictions. i am expecting a little official looking man with a clipboard and a stop watch to show up in my bathroom one day and time me brushing my teeth. they mean business down here directly on the surface of the sun.
so we got rain water tanks this past year. we can go and check the levels and feel very proud of ourselves for gathering every drop of those 6,000 liters. and while i feel all hippie earth mother when i water my backyard worm compost farm from that collected water, there is one real reason i wanted them installed.


i introduced these little australian children to how i spent my summers in virginia today and they LOVED it. even if both of them called it a “spwink – lah”.








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  • ingrid - So much awesomeness!!!! Love it. December 16, 2009 – 2:07 amReplyCancel

    • Kim Chance - Love those!! Please post a new video of Gem with her Aussie accent. I can't wait to hear it 🙂 December 17, 2009 – 10:40 pmReplyCancel

  • Janet Palmer - Awww I remember sprinkler afternoons! Definately something from an Aussie 80’s summer finishing school and spending days in the water, and permanently having wet feet covered in grass 🙂 and here I was thinking i’d never see it again! Awesome go the rainwater tanks :)))December 15, 2009 – 9:08 pmReplyCancel

  • Amber - My favorite summer past time as well, 21 and I played in a sprinkler last summer lol. And Brisbane is now under water restrictions as well, another thing I'll have to get used to it seems, lol. December 16, 2009 – 2:08 amReplyCancel

  • Pete A. - love those!! December 16, 2009 – 2:13 amReplyCancel

  • Hanna - ooh! i used to do that all the time. nowadays i spend my time in an air conditioned house. with stage four water restrictions in place where i live, its even considered "bad" to water your garden.
    cute pictures. i can hear the genuine laughs through the computer.
    xx December 16, 2009 – 2:14 amReplyCancel

  • Shani - Wow. These are amazingly fun. I love a good sprinkler photo!! 🙂 December 16, 2009 – 2:22 amReplyCancel

  • Tweets that mention now THAT is how you do summer, australia | commercial kid photography . rachel devine - daily life photoblogging . sesame ellis -- - […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rachel Devine , Photo Addicts. Photo Addicts said: #photography now THAT is how you do summer, australia – melbourne (and i am assuming australia in general) is under… […]December 15, 2009 – 9:38 pmReplyCancel

  • Lawrence - Brilliant!!!! A perfect summer's day. December 16, 2009 – 2:39 amReplyCancel

  • Ellen - Gorgeous photos though this is totally not just a US thing to do in summer. I grew up every single summer under the sprinkler. We spent hours doing it. Best fun included trampoline as well. It is so sad that we have such bad water conditions these days. Kids miss out. Thanks for sharing! December 16, 2009 – 2:45 amReplyCancel

  • Angela Wright - Rachel these are amazing!!!! I think these get my vote for best of Gemma 2009. December 16, 2009 – 2:45 amReplyCancel

  • Stacy W. - LOVE these!!!December 15, 2009 – 10:20 pmReplyCancel

  • Siobhan - I know what you mean! My eldest son (nearly 12) experienced the wonders of the sprinkler, when he was little, but the other 2 (9 & 4) have never had the joy! When I was little, we had this great sprinkler called a "rainwave" which projected water out of holes in a row, which went back & forth – it was the best sprinkler to have around my part of Melbourne! My kids hardly even know what rain is! December 16, 2009 – 3:20 amReplyCancel

  • Rachel - I have promised myself this summer that my daughter will get to experience this. I did it as a kid, every weekend and many weekdays over the christmas break- it was also an Australian summer staple at one time, before all this water restriction business. Since our local restrictions allow us to use our hose after 4pm, she'll get to do it every now and then, I just wait until the late afternoon and she can go for her life (she's too young to last very long, so I don't feel too bad about it).

    Such FUN shots! Especially love the ones of the girls jumping! December 16, 2009 – 3:37 amReplyCancel

  • jodi - these are so fantastic!! December 16, 2009 – 3:39 amReplyCancel

  • Jordan - They looked like they had a fun time in the “spwink – lah”. I always liked swimming in a pool more then sprinklers maybe thats because I did not have all that grass December 16, 2009 – 3:46 amReplyCancel

  • Anna Loo - WOW! Amazing pics! And the Australia in summer is really so hot.December 15, 2009 – 10:47 pmReplyCancel

  • victoria67 - AMAZING pictures (even though you are professional they still are so beautiful) !!!
    that is too cute that they are wearing goggles while playing in the sprinkler…..
    it is too funny that sprinklers are something foreign to them….in Australia! Learn something new everyday 🙂 December 16, 2009 – 3:47 amReplyCancel

  • nicole - Some of the cutest summer fun photos I've ever seen! December 16, 2009 – 4:05 amReplyCancel

  • DawnK - Great pictures. I love all those water droplets and it makes me sad that I never photographed my children running through a sprinkler. It's freaky seeing kids in bathing suits and water, when outside my house it's so cold. 5 degrees to be exact. Brrr. December 16, 2009 – 5:13 amReplyCancel

  • Nicole - These photos are SO great makes me want to get outside and try this for myself. December 16, 2009 – 5:14 amReplyCancel

  • Julie - These are incredible! I don't know how you do it! Did you manage to keep the camera dry? December 16, 2009 – 5:22 amReplyCancel

  • Lori - Those are perfect! December 16, 2009 – 5:34 amReplyCancel

  • Mandy - this post makes me insanely jealous of your current weather conditions and makes me long for my childhood and a slip-n-slide! December 16, 2009 – 6:28 amReplyCancel

  • Virginia Peach - EEEEEPS! I remember doing that in our front garden back in England. No such thing now though- they're equally strict about summer water there too. No sprinklers allowed. It's the law. December 16, 2009 – 7:12 amReplyCancel

  • Michelle O - Just magic Rachel!! It made me very nostalgic for what summer in Melbourne used to be like … non-stop sprinklers and the extra special afternoons with friends who had a slip'n'slide. I regret that our kids won't have that same freedom. December 16, 2009 – 7:43 amReplyCancel

    • sesameellis - we just need a little more rain and then alisa, tom, clover, kieran and gemma can all have a blast! December 16, 2009 – 7:49 amReplyCancel

  • mark photo buzz - Those are too cute!!! December 16, 2009 – 8:47 amReplyCancel

  • sheila L - these are gorgeous!. yay for you!. these two will never forget this. December 16, 2009 – 1:24 pmReplyCancel

  • Karen Linnell - oh, i miss summer! it is 7 degrees here.
    do you mind if i ask you to post your camera settings?
    i love these images! December 16, 2009 – 1:32 pmReplyCancel

    • sesameellis - i just posted them in the reply to another comment. sorry, i forgot to put them in the post. December 16, 2009 – 9:34 pmReplyCancel

    • Karen Linnell - thank you for sharing the settings. i am really thinking about getting the 90mm tamron macro. we jut got two new puppies. an early present from santa to the 4 children. i am going to try and channel erin vey : )

      i am also going to get an icon up. i can't stand the grey, creepy announymous figure December 22, 2009 – 8:49 pmReplyCancel

      • sesameellis - the only complaint i have with the 90mm tamron is that it is slow to focus… December 23, 2009 – 8:45 pmReplyCancel

  • MonikaPoland94 - OMG! Gemma is sooo cute! I love this kid! 🙂December 16, 2009 – 9:20 amReplyCancel

  • heleen - such amazing shots, you outdo yourself everytime. Love your uplifting, positive and happy story and the photos with so much negative space and all those drops, sharp and blurred, are awesome! December 16, 2009 – 3:34 pmReplyCancel

  • vicki - I’d love to know what your settings wereDecember 16, 2009 – 10:36 amReplyCancel

    • sesameellis - d3 with the tamron 90mm macro lens
      iso 200
      1/400s f/4 (on most) with -1ev to help not blow highlights December 16, 2009 – 9:32 pmReplyCancel

  • robyn - I grew up in Virginia (and still live there now). My mom's summer water activity of choice for us: a baby pool on the back deck. 🙂 December 16, 2009 – 4:12 pmReplyCancel

  • Sarah - I love how the cloud of droplets looks almost like snow in a couple of the shots. December 16, 2009 – 5:07 pmReplyCancel

  • Gustavo - Those pictures are so awesome i can't even describe it….i want a sprinkler now. December 16, 2009 – 6:17 pmReplyCancel

  • Caroline - Does Gemma speak with an Australian accent now? I love the water pictures! December 16, 2009 – 7:39 pmReplyCancel

  • Trude - Such fun photos!! Living in southern California, we've had rain barrels for going on 10 years now. Not that we get that much, but when we do, we use that water for watering the plants and dog bowls and such. Makes you feel good about doing your part, right? 🙂 December 16, 2009 – 9:39 pmReplyCancel

  • Harika75 - Sooo AWESOME!! Gosh you capture every moment with so much life 🙂 When I was in Oz recently, I said to Mum that we have to get a sprinkler for Ella to experience. You shouilda seen the death stare I got 🙂 Have fun fun fun!! December 17, 2009 – 12:52 amReplyCancel

  • Tanya - these are just awesome. love every single photo. so much magic there. December 17, 2009 – 1:53 amReplyCancel

  • HayleyB - This is exactly how I spent my Summers as a child too! I would still like to play in the sprinkler even though I'm not so little anymore. With such strict water restrictions in Australia, I am always shocked when I go overseas and see people "wasting" water. I guess it's not really wasting if they have such an abundance of it… I remember a few times when I still lived at home where my mum was quite resourceful with saving water; we used to have to stand in a giant bucket while we had a shower so that she could collect the water to put on the garden!! Anyway, go you with the rain water tanks! If I ever don't live in an apartment, I'm definitely getting some. December 17, 2009 – 8:16 amReplyCancel

  • What online activities can I play related to sports? | Super Sports Store - […] now THAT is how you do summer, australia | commercial kid … […]December 17, 2009 – 4:45 amReplyCancel

  • kasandra - these should be ads to encourage people to install water tanks … send them to the people who install water tanks! December 17, 2009 – 2:01 pmReplyCancel

  • Ambra - Haha, it snows here. (I live in The Netherlands). This is so funny to see December 17, 2009 – 2:29 pmReplyCancel

  • sarah wheeler - I love these! Talk about wonderful, fun photos! They make me wish it was summer here. Beautiful work. December 17, 2009 – 3:05 pmReplyCancel

  • julia - fabulous water photos. December 18, 2009 – 1:25 amReplyCancel

  • Misty - God these are just perfectly fantastic. Which lens did you use? December 18, 2009 – 3:29 amReplyCancel

  • Photography Links Weekly: 12/18/2009 | Your Photo Tips - […] those of us north of the equator it’s been a bit chilly.  Need some summer time reminders?  Hmmm…maybe a winter house in Australia is in order.  No more winters would please my […]December 18, 2009 – 12:23 pmReplyCancel

  • traceyclark - this is the best series! found you via twitter. your work is amazing! December 18, 2009 – 11:31 pmReplyCancel

  • Michele Raphael - Incredibly amazing and beautiful photos and incredibly amazing pure kid joy. What a great afternoon! December 21, 2009 – 4:07 amReplyCancel

  • Corinne S. - Fantastic. Gorgeous. So tangible. Can you post EXIF notes? December 22, 2009 – 6:45 amReplyCancel

    • sesameellis - i think i posted some of the info in the comments? i will go back and check. December 22, 2009 – 7:18 amReplyCancel

  • Photography Techniques - […] those of us north of the equator it’s been a bit chilly.  Need some summer time reminders?  Hmmm…maybe a winter house in Australia is in order.  No more winters would please my […]December 24, 2009 – 1:05 amReplyCancel

  • Shannon - Most Aussies have already made bongs out of their garden hoses, rather than doing something illegal with them. Like watering the garden. January 1, 2010 – 10:19 amReplyCancel

  • now THAT is how you do summer, australia | commercial kid … - […] Here is the original post: now THAT is how you do summer, australia | commercial kid … […]January 27, 2010 – 11:37 pmReplyCancel

  • Summertime Essentials: Childhood Redux - […] | tipi | sprinklers | marshmallows | water balloons | picnic | […]March 19, 2012 – 7:22 amReplyCancel