On 10 April 2021, Scarborough Beach came alive with the Brazilian Beach Carnaval. Dancing. Drumming. Music. Food. Lots and lots of happy people. We expected a big celebration and that’s what we got. Note that the Brazilian word for "carnival" is "carnaval" and their native language is Portuguese. This is important to know if you're a grammar nazi.
The warm and sunny weather was the perfect setting for a beach party. While numbers were restricted this year due to COVID, that didn’t hamper the celebrations. It was my first time at the event and I went with a group of photographers. We arrived at 2pm, just in time for the kids' carnaval. Having registered for our free tickets beforehand, the entry process was straight forward, without long queues as we anticipated. That was a pleasant surprise.
Another pleasant surprise was the music that was playing as we entered. The photographers smiled to each other while being welcomed by the sounds of children’s music, sung in Portuguese. It was a magnificent soundtrack as we explored the grassed area outside the auditorium. There were many food trucks with a diverse mix of Brazilian and international foods. The mouthwatering smells whiffed through the air, harmonising beautifully with the music and colours of the carnaval. As well as having great food, the trucks looked stunning with amazing art works and Brazilian flags. It is clear that a lot of effort was made.
Strolling around, we came across a foam making machine. Interestingly, there was also a food truck selling fairy floss, which looked a lot like the foam from the foam making machine. However, I was assured that the fairy floss was not made of foam. If it were made of detergent, the fairy floss could have been germ-free and COVID safe. If only they'd thought of that as a safety precaution.
The photographers reached the auditorium at 3pm, just in time for the dance session. The dancing was incredible, the dancers shaking their spectacular costumes to traditional Brazilian music. As part of the show, there were dance demonstrations where audience members were invited to have a go. The participants were obviously having a great time and it was fun to watch. While I was preoccupied with taking photographs, I became inspired to try Samba dancing one day. As a “non-dancer,” this is a big deal for me.
Lots of dancing - I'll be using these photographs to learn the moves.
Before we knew it, people were gathering to watch the grand parade. As they aligned the street, the COVID marshalls strolled up and down, managing the crowd. At the same time, I strolled up and down, managing my view by looking through the spaces between people. Being a somewhat shorter person, this was not a new experience and I knew how to get a glimpse of the action.
The drums were beating louder and louder as the parade came nearer and nearer. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. Jingle Jingle Jingle. Jingle. Boom. Boom. Boom. Jingle. Jingle. Soon we could see the dancers, drummers, colours, costumes, happy people dancing everywhere. It was clearly a joyous occasion. Suddenly, disaster struck.
As soon as the parade came near us, my camera battery ran out. Speaking of bad timing. It started flashing red, maybe it was trying to flash in time with the beating drums. Thankfully I had a replacement battery and changed it in record time. Phew! Just in time for us to watch the parade make its way across the grass and back into the auditorium.
The entertainment continued for a few more hours, partying hard into the night. Brazilians certainly know how to put on a good show. The carnaval was a lot of fun and I'm keen to go back next year. Hopefully by then I'll know how to dance the samba.
The smell of hot chips whiffed through the air as I bounced enthusiastically across the boardwalk. I was on my way to meet the other photographers, embarking on our latest adventure at Hillary’s Boat Harbour. I was super-excited about the prospect of meeting a Hillary.
We had gathered outside The Breakwater Tavern, which was already full of people. Music boomed from inside, setting the mood for our adventure. The event was eagerly anticipated, following a two-week hiatus. In fact, one of the photographers had trekked for hours from Baldivis on public transport. It was a huge step outside of his comfort zone, venturing into the northern suburbs and entering unfamiliar territory. He must have felt like Edmund Hillary climbing to the top of Mount Everest, which is very fitting being at Hillary’s. Fortunately, the adrenalin rush of completing such a trek outweighed the exhaustion and he was keen to continue with us.
Our first stop was the Boat Harbour. Given that the light was very bright, it was challenging to take a decent photograph. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but photograph a boat called Kalamari, before the photographers decided to head back towards the boardwalk.
It was a lively, festive atmosphere around Hillary's. There were several milestone birthdays happening at The Breakwater, including 30th and 50th birthday parties. We could hear the champagne popping and could see the gigantic silver balloons. Next door, the Old Wild West was going wild. During our stroll we encountered many seagulls dancing on the top of boats and on top of dolphins. Even the dolphins were dancing for a good cause, on a wishing well with a sign saying, “where dolphins do good turns for charity.” In the distance I couldn’t help but notice a boat called Wishful Drinking.
As we walked to the other end of the harbour I was distracted by The Go Party Bus. There was a line of very excited partygoers boarding the bus, ready to continue their partying elsewhere. Meanwhile, others were boarding the choo-choo train which was having its own party. The train circled around and around and around and around, playing the coolest music in town. The first song we heard was Baby Shark. After a while it was playing Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Clearly it was getting dizzy from all the circling. Either that, or the party on board was THAT good. The ear worms were having a ball. If the choo-choo train songs didn’t get stuck in your head, there is always the classic song Under the Boardwalk.
The choo-choo train was clearly steaming. After sunset, its lights glowed while it continued to pump out steam into the night. The boardwalk was far from being a bored walk, instead being the place to board buses and trains. All aboard at the boardwalk! Toot toot!
The photographers got carried away with conversation and became dizzy watching the choo-choo train. Consequently, some didn’t take as many photographs as usual. On a personal note, I am devastated that we didn’t get to meet a Hillary. Once it got dark, we decided to embark on our separate journeys home. The Rockingham adventurer wanted to return to his abode before sunrise. This time he didn’t catch the train, leaving it to choo-choo around Hillary’s. By the time that train finally runs out of steam, Santa Claus may already be in town.
On Sunday 6 March, the Western Australian Social Photographers embarked on an adventure to the Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe 2021. I could feel the wind tangling my hair as soon as I stepped out of the car. Fighting with the wind, I put my hat on and started walking towards our meeting spot at the famous Indiana Teahouse. Once we had all arrived, the photographers were faced with the difficult decision of where to begin. We decided to follow the seagulls, just like the wise men following the Star of Bethlehem.
Our seagull GPS turned into chaos when more and more seagulls kept appearing and disappearing. They were having a fun day interfering with our navigation and photobombing our shots. One seagull even pretended to be a sculpture and another headed straight for the Indiana Teahouse.
We cruised through the sandy plains like the ships of the desert, admiring the sculptures while dodging people and seagulls. At one point we said hello to a dog on a leash. I tried to take a photo and it nearly licked my camera. There must be something special about my camera because animals have tried to lick it on several occasions now. Maybe it’s just me.
From a distance, I saw a line of fellow travellers who were standing next to the guiding light of a seagull. Just like us, they seemed a bit disorientated with their bodies facing in different directions. I guess it confirms a flaw in the seagull GPS, because even the seagulls couldn't decide which direction to go.
Turning our heads in a different direction, we couldn't help but notice a very pretty structure with plenty of reflecting surfaces. The photographers decided to take a group ‘selfie’ shot through the mirrors. It felt like Christmas, because the sculpture was exquisitely decorated with enormous handprints and what looked like a generous slop of ice-cream. Aside from the group 'selfie,' I took my favourite photo of the day at the same sculpture. After that we continued our snapping until sunset, the time when camels go to bed, and when seagulls are replaced by real stars.
Sculpture by the Sea, Cottesloe is one of my favourite events in Perth and our outing was enjoyable. There is so much to experience and although we were snapping away for three hours, I didn’t get to see all of the sculptures. That’s probably because I got distracted by the seagulls and got carried away taking photographs. I plan to return over the next week to explore some more.
Writer and Photographer
About my blog
An honest and often humorous recount of my photographic experiences. There is always a story, regardless of the photographs taken.