And so, in October 2015, the journey began again. Another 40 weeks until the birth of our second, a boy called Leo.

      That same year, I quit my office job of 7 years to work full-time on my website Shotkit, and as a wedding photographer. As if having no steady income wasn’t enough of a challenge, we also decided that now would be a fine time to commence renovations on our entire house, meaning packing everything into storage to live in a small shared apartment in Manly.

      To say it was a challenging time for Elissa would be an understatement. Me on the other hand? I was loving being a stay-at-home-dad living next to the beach, playing with Harry all day! 3 days a week we were best beach buddies, then the rest of the time I spent pretending to be a backpacker at the local Internet cafe ‘at work’.

      There’s not a day goes by that I don’t appreciate this life we’re living. Being able to spend everyday with Harry as he grows up really is a gift, and as annoying as he can be, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Fingers crossed we’ll be able to do the same thing with Leo.

      Here’s the story of how Harry got a baby brother, as told by me and my cameras*.

      *for the geeks – I used a Nikon D750 with 35mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.4; Olympus OMD-EM II Mk II with 17mm f/1.8; Fujifilm X100S.

      Harry aged 1.5, blissfully unaware that mummy had just started baking him a brother..
      When you only have one, you can’t imagine how you could possibly love the second as much…
      Living in a tiny shared apartment meant makeup, eating and working were all done on the sofa. Harry and his light fingers were always close by to provide an additional challenge…
      Quick trip up to the Gold Coast to visit Elissa’s family. The bump’s starting to show…
      First ultrasound. Does Harry sense something?!… or probably just working out how he can get his paws on that cool-looking toy…
      Always a relief after a scan to know that the baby’s healthy. That’s its umbilical cord by the way – we didn’t know it was a boy at this stage!
      Morning sickness.. although not half as bad as the first time around.
      GoldHatPhotography_0001
      Poor Elle and Nim having to put up with Harry my terrible communal living skills for 9 months!
      At a friend’s wedding I shot in Maleny, Elissa was one of the guests.
      About to find out if Harry was going to have a new sister or a brother…
      Pretty much sums up Harry’s interest in the events!
      It’s a constant battle to find something nice to wear when you’re pregnant. Elissa got one use out of this little number before she grew out of it!
      Manly Dam where we went so I could test fly a drone. I had to wait until Harry was asleep as it scared the crap out of him!
      We didn’t get quite as many laps in the pool in as the during first pregnancy since Harry always kept us on our toes. And if you’re wondering, that’s Peppa Pig poking out the top of his trunks…
      It’s a mystery what children this age are thinking. Harry didn’t really take much of an interest to his mummy’s bulge…
      A family trip to New Zealand arranged around a wedding I shot in Auckland. I dragged Harry and Elissa up One Tree Hill to scout where I’d be shooting the next day. NZ’s sunsets are the most incredible colours.
      The huge volcanic crater of Mount Eden in Auckland. I was constantly impressed how much Elissa could walk/climb despite having put on 18kgs of belly!
      The top of Mount Eden.
      It’s always a gamble when you hand your confusing dslr to a stranger for a family shot! This guy did quite well!
      From Auckland we did a short road trip to the Coromandel Peninsular. This is halfway there, where we stopped so I could take a pic of the LOTR-worthy backdrop. Side note: I’ve never seen LOTR.
      We decided to splash out on our accomodation in the Coromandels. This bridge was part of the garden in our ‘luxury bush retreat’. Check out their site for an aerial shot of the amazing villa we stayed in.
      In all these photos, Harry looks like a calm, quiet, well-behaved baby. It’s lucky I don’t shoot video…
      Experimenting with my Nikon 85mm f/1.4 lens. For camera geeks out there, try stopping it down to smaller apertures – the quality is incredible.
      Again with the 85mm. Harry is either on or off. Running or sleeping. No in between.
      With my first 40 weeks project like a cloud over my head, I was constantly aware that I had to document this journey too. However, with Harry in the mix, getting the shots I wanted wasn’t always possible. This is one of the rare times we had 5 mins to ourselves and Harry was sleeping near enough to an incredible forest in our back garden.
      Back to the reality of shared accomodation in Manly, mattress on the floor in a tiny room. Manly in the summer though as a stay at home dad – I couldn’t complain!!
      Window light with the Fuji X100S. I’ve put this frustrating camera up for sale so many times, but always change my mind at the last minute when I remember how good the image quality can be.
      FINALLY after 9 months we were back in our newly renovated house. It was far from complete though, but with only 3 weeks to pop, we had to barge our way back in despite the saw dust and power tools.
      Our first and last attempt at a boudoir shoot. Making your partner look and feel sexy in a cold room when she’s a few days away from giving birth wasn’t an easy task…
      We got there…
      in the…
      end.
      Then I remembered I was supposed to be doing a maternity boudoir! Cue belly shot.
      It’s sad to think that you can never give the same attention to your first child after you’ve had the next. Side note: we now have the coolest bathroom EVER. Thanks Trina.
      The day before you know what. In the background, a clothes line full of nappies. Later on this day I went to my favourite shop (Bunnings!) to buy a bigger clothes line. Shit was about to get REAL!

      And so, at 11.30pm on Wednesday 13th July 2016, Elissa’s labour started. I’d been asleep for an hour by this stage – apparently when Elissa woke me up, my first words were “I need to get my camera.” Such a supportive partner!

      I’ll shut up now and let the pictures do the talking. Everything took place between midnight and 7am, hence the darkness.

      Leo, like Harry, beat the 5% odds and was born on his due date. As another strange coincidence, Leo was born at 6.45am, Harry at 6.45pm.

      We probably need to start playing the lottery… although with our life as it is now, we feel like we’ve already won it.

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