I do realise we are now well into winter but the pear tree outside our bathroom window has only just turned its leaves to scarlet red so I am holding onto autumn for a little while longer. The daffodils I planted in May are just about to bud and our pomegranate tree is now completely bare after we ate all of its fruit last month. Autumn is such a magical time for me that I do think it is my favourite season.

This autumn however will always be remembered after everything ground to a halt in April as I discovered I had at least one ovarian tumour and that my blood tests were telling my doctors it was ovarian cancer. Even writing those words now gives me a chill as I remember how it felt in the doctors office. We had travelled to Paris (where my symptoms first appeared), enjoyed our 5th year anniversary, made plans for the dreams we wanted to conquer next and this tumour that was some 15cm diameter had put my life in danger and our dreams in limbo. We sat in the car in silence on the way home and as we entered the door I collapsed into my husbands arms at a complete loss as to what to do next.

Grant called the list of gynecological oncologists to find one that could see me as soon as possible and I took my bible, sat outside and read through my tears, pleading with God to not abandon me. I read Psalm 91 and as I got to passage 2 and told God that I trusted Him, the words caught in my throat and I couldn’t stop crying. I repeated it over and over again, “He is my God, and I trust Him” until I could say it without fear of what would come next and truly place my life in His hands. The next day I was in another waiting room and then scheduled for surgery in 3 weeks time to remove the tumour and at that time a biopsy would be taken and I’d know the severity of this cancer.

There are so many things I want to share about those 3 weeks that it is difficult to know where to start. Firstly I was physically uncomfortable with a large tumour in my body that made it difficult to drink or eat but the worst was that my life was in limbo. I couldn’t make plans for the next month let alone the following year and that was such a humbling moment. Being at peace with not knowing if I’d have to have a hysterectomy or chemotherapy or the extent that this tumour had affected or infected other organs in my body was so hard. I had lost complete control over my life and my plans that I had and I knew there was nothing else I could do but wait, be content with what I had and have faith in God’s plans.

I have now had my surgery where the tumour and my right ovary were removed along with an equally large cyst on my left ovary. I did not have to have a hysterectomy as the tumour was biopsied and found to be a low risk borderline ovarian cancer. Thank you God! I can not tell you the elation I felt hearing this news! The best explanation I came across in explaining what this means is that ovarian cancer develops when the cells grow uncontrollably on the surface of the ovary and they can then spread to other organs. Borderline ovarian cancer comes from the same type of cells but its growth is more controlled and much less aggressive. Its like the cells are still making up their mind about what they want to do.

A borderline tumour is not malignant, normal or benign and I do have to have regular check ups with my oncologist for the next 5 years but I am here and I am healthy and I don’t think I will ever take that blessing for granted again. My family and close friends gave me so much strength to push through these past few months and I can’t thank them enough for all of their prayers and warm hugs as they told me everything would be ok.

So after convalescing for the past 6 weeks and letting my body heal, I am now enjoying the crispness of autumn and the spoils that come with it and it will always be a visual reminder of this journey in my life.

The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honour them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16

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  • Nicole Paul

    Oh Angela, what a journey. I’m glad you have now been given a clean bill of health. Thanks for sharing, your story may just help another xxReplyCancel

    • angelahiggins

      Thank you so much Nic! That was definately one of the reasons I wanted to share my journey xxReplyCancel

  • Emilia

    Thank you for sharing Angela, so glad to hear you are ok and healthy! Best reminder to go book that overdue Pap smear appointmentReplyCancel

    • angelahiggins

      Thank you Emilia! Definitely keep on top of those things 🙂 I’ll be pretty meticulous from now on 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Amy Ovans

    Angela, Im so sorry to hear of the dreadful news. What a courageous woman you are to tell most of your fans and friends of something so personal. I hope for nothing but a clear bill of health and happiness for your long life ahead of you. Its great to see such support and know your certainly not alone. Much loves to you xReplyCancel

    • angelahiggins

      Thank you Amy! Your words are so beautiful and I can’t thank you enough! xxReplyCancel

  • Trish

    Praise God! Thank you so much for sharing this journey and do take care of yourself. Sometimes God gives us these things to remind ourselves of all that is truly important in this world, I’m so glad you’re well xReplyCancel

    • angelahiggins

      Yes Trish!!! Its been such an incredible journey and I completely agree with you xxReplyCancel

  • Tali

    Hi Ang,
    Thank you for sharing such a personal experience. Sending you all the love and strength that you need. Its amazing the curve balls life throws at us but your positivity is a gift not everyone has and something that inspires everyone around you.
    Tali xReplyCancel

  • Christina Bowyer

    Thanks for sharing your story!
    I’m so pleased to hear your recovering well after your frightening experience.
    Much love to you and your family!
    Your strength and kindness will conquer anything!
    You truely are the finder of lovieness in every situation xx CReplyCancel

    • angelahiggins

      Thank you beautiful! Your words are so lovely and I can’t thank you enough xxReplyCancel

After meeting each other as teenagers, it took a number of years in between working in the mines and building a house with Billie before Jason found the right moment to ask her to be his forever. And then when Billie won a trip to Fiji, Jason knew that this would be the perfect opportunity.

One night as they were making their way to a restaurant at their resort, Jason suggested a quick walk on the jetty before dinner. Unfortunately the weather for their trip wasn’t perfect and there was more rain than sun but Jason wasn’t deterred. The weather was getting a little cold and sprinkling with rain and as they got to the sand Billie couldn’t go any further because she was wearing heels. Jason lifted her into his arms and carried her over the sand to the jetty and then as they walked to the end of the jetty he dropped to one knee and asked her to marry him.

A wedding in June can be little bit of a gamble but it certainly paid off for Billie and Jason. Unlike the day they got engaged it was with the sun shining on a beautiful autumn day, they finally became husband and wife in front of their friends and family at Caversham House. Congratulations Billie & Jason!!

Wedding Gown: Tuscany Bridal // Makeup Artist: Wanderluxe Studio // Hair Stylist: Koko Blaq Coiffeur // Officiant: Kirk Goodsell // Event Designer: Chandelabra // Cake Artist: De La Rosa // Stationery: Minted // Venue: Caversham House

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The year of 2016 will be one that goes down in the record books. Considering we are only half way through the year this may seem like a big call but its been pretty epic already with amazing highs and extraordinary lows that I just didn’t see coming. As a girl who likes to make plans for everything in my life, the past 3 months has been a learning curve of finding contentment in uncertainty and to be grateful here and now. So here is my list of gratitude today.

Autumn leaves
* Hot cups of green tea
* Pomegranates
New cushions and throws on my couch
* Rainy days
* My husband and family
* Roast chicken
* Cashmere jumpers
* My health
* Grace
* A new perfume
* An autumn soundtrack

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I do have a weakness for beautiful flowers. I just can’t get enough and am forever thinking that the Monet quote “I must have flowers, always and always” was written for me. On a wedding day, I love photographing the bouquet and arrangements as they are such great details for an album layout and is one element of the couples attire that will not last beyond the day. Today I thought I’d share a little of how I go about photographing a bouquet to capture all the dimensions and textures in the best way possible which I try to do during the preparation stages.

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  1. First of all, find the best light. If this means taking the bouquet outside, take it outside. Use natural reflectors such as white bed linen, white curtains or a white wall to help bounce a little more light onto the bouquet.
  2. Choose your backdrop. I will try to track down a neutral coloured chair (or something with more personality if it fits with the wedding) or corner of the room but in a pinch, the wedding dress is always a beautiful backdrop to allow the bouquet to take centre stage.
  3. Position the bouquet and find the “front”. Typically any pins in the bouquet ribbon that tell you that is the back of the bouquet or there might be a bow or broach which tells you that is the front. The florist has chosen the best angle based on their expertise showcasing the best blooms and giving symmetry so go with it.
  4. Get shooting! Shooting wide open is great but I find that with a bouquet it can be difficult to find a focal point with so many depths so shooting around f/2.5-f/4.0 works best depending on the angle. I tend to shoot bouquets with either a 50mm or 85mm lens and shoot a vertical and horizontal of the bouquet first and then focus on some of the closer details and stand out flowers such as these orchids in this incredible bouquet by Katie Cooper Floral Design. I find my style lends to shooting slightly down on the bouquet or at eye level to the top of the bouquet.

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Left Image – EF50mm f/1.2L USM lens (f/2.5, 1/400th, ISO400), Right Image – EF50mm f/1.2L USM lens (f/2.5, 1/320th, ISO400)

For the past 6 years I’ve offered the one album type to my clients from Cypress Albums. The quality has never faltered and they truly are a family heirloom but last year I decided to look for an alternative in price and something a little more contemporary.

These new fine art albums are lightweight and modern and with a range of fabric or leather covers, there is a look to suit everyone. While these albums are printed on paper and my other albums are printed on photographic paper, they are still similar in their layout which I love and I couldn’t resist doing a beautiful 12″ sample album with Nina and Jason’s wedding photographs.

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