now THAT is how you do summer, australia

by sesame on December 15, 2009

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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    { 58 comments… read them below or add one }

    ingrid December 16, 2009 at 2:07 am

    So much awesomeness!!!! Love it.


    Kim Chance December 17, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    Love those!! Please post a new video of Gem with her Aussie accent. I can't wait to hear it :)


    Janet Palmer December 15, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    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 :)))


    sesameellis December 16, 2009 at 2:24 am

    grass covered feet!


    Amber December 16, 2009 at 2:08 am

    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.


    Pete A. December 16, 2009 at 2:13 am

    love those!!


    Hanna December 16, 2009 at 2:14 am

    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.


    Shani December 16, 2009 at 2:22 am

    Wow. These are amazingly fun. I love a good sprinkler photo!! :)


    Lawrence December 16, 2009 at 2:39 am

    Brilliant!!!! A perfect summer's day.


    Ellen December 16, 2009 at 2:45 am

    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!


    Angela Wright December 16, 2009 at 2:45 am

    Rachel these are amazing!!!! I think these get my vote for best of Gemma 2009.


    sesameellis December 16, 2009 at 2:49 am



    Stacy W. December 15, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    LOVE these!!!


    Siobhan December 16, 2009 at 3:20 am

    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!


    Rachel December 16, 2009 at 3:37 am

    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!


    jodi December 16, 2009 at 3:39 am

    these are so fantastic!!


    Jordan December 16, 2009 at 3:46 am

    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


    Anna Loo December 15, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    WOW! Amazing pics! And the Australia in summer is really so hot.


    victoria67 December 16, 2009 at 3:47 am

    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 :)


    nicole December 16, 2009 at 4:05 am

    Some of the cutest summer fun photos I've ever seen!


    DawnK December 16, 2009 at 5:13 am

    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.


    Nicole December 16, 2009 at 5:14 am

    These photos are SO great makes me want to get outside and try this for myself.


    Julie December 16, 2009 at 5:22 am

    These are incredible! I don't know how you do it! Did you manage to keep the camera dry?


    sesameellis December 16, 2009 at 5:27 am

    90mm lens kept me far enough away to stay dry. just.


    Lori December 16, 2009 at 5:34 am

    Those are perfect!


    Mandy December 16, 2009 at 6:28 am

    this post makes me insanely jealous of your current weather conditions and makes me long for my childhood and a slip-n-slide!


    Virginia Peach December 16, 2009 at 7:12 am

    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.


    Michelle O December 16, 2009 at 7:43 am

    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.


    sesameellis December 16, 2009 at 7:49 am

    we just need a little more rain and then alisa, tom, clover, kieran and gemma can all have a blast!


    mark photo buzz December 16, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Those are too cute!!!


    sheila L December 16, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    these are gorgeous!. yay for you!. these two will never forget this.


    Karen Linnell December 16, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    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!


    sesameellis December 16, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    i just posted them in the reply to another comment. sorry, i forgot to put them in the post.


    Karen Linnell December 22, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    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


    sesameellis December 23, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    the only complaint i have with the 90mm tamron is that it is slow to focus…


    MonikaPoland94 December 16, 2009 at 9:20 am

    OMG! Gemma is sooo cute! I love this kid! :)


    heleen December 16, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    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!


    vicki December 16, 2009 at 10:36 am

    I’d love to know what your settings were


    sesameellis December 16, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    d3 with the tamron 90mm macro lens
    iso 200
    1/400s f/4 (on most) with -1ev to help not blow highlights


    robyn December 16, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    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. :)


    Sarah December 16, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    I love how the cloud of droplets looks almost like snow in a couple of the shots.


    Gustavo December 16, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Those pictures are so awesome i can't even describe it….i want a sprinkler now.


    Caroline December 16, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Does Gemma speak with an Australian accent now? I love the water pictures!


    Trude December 16, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    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? :)


    Harika75 December 17, 2009 at 12:52 am

    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!!


    Tanya December 17, 2009 at 1:53 am

    these are just awesome. love every single photo. so much magic there.


    HayleyB December 17, 2009 at 8:16 am

    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.


    kasandra December 17, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    these should be ads to encourage people to install water tanks … send them to the people who install water tanks!


    Ambra December 17, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Haha, it snows here. (I live in The Netherlands). This is so funny to see


    sarah wheeler December 17, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    I love these! Talk about wonderful, fun photos! They make me wish it was summer here. Beautiful work.


    julia December 18, 2009 at 1:25 am

    fabulous water photos.


    Misty December 18, 2009 at 3:29 am

    God these are just perfectly fantastic. Which lens did you use?


    traceyclark December 18, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    this is the best series! found you via twitter. your work is amazing!


    Michele Raphael December 21, 2009 at 4:07 am

    Incredibly amazing and beautiful photos and incredibly amazing pure kid joy. What a great afternoon!


    Corinne S. December 22, 2009 at 6:45 am

    Fantastic. Gorgeous. So tangible. Can you post EXIF notes?


    sesameellis December 22, 2009 at 7:18 am

    i think i posted some of the info in the comments? i will go back and check.


    Shannon January 1, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Most Aussies have already made bongs out of their garden hoses, rather than doing something illegal with them. Like watering the garden.


    sesameellis January 1, 2010 at 10:39 am



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