August 28 - September 3, 2016: Issue 278

Blaze Roberts

Blaze surfing at Palm Beach - photo by Fee Roberts (mum!).
Blaze Roberts is a lovely young lady we've seen grow taller. Her passion for photography has emerged during the last few years and produced results professional photographers remark on, saying Blaze has 'a good eye'. 

Proficient in Surf Photography Blaze is also undertaking developing her skills in Sports, Nature, Landscapes, Action and Portraiture. 

A daughter of Peter Roberts, known for his surfing and for being one of the judge always attending BL's Blast Off, Blaze has been in or near the water since before she was born. It should come as no surprise she has a passion for surfing too!

This week we get to share a few small insights into an inspirational Barrenjoey High School student who is making others happy through doing what she loves and sharing the results.

Blaze is also Artist of the Month for September 2016 - we're sure her great photos will inspire many to get out there and get into life this Spring.

Where were you born?
Mona Vale Hospital

Where did you go to school?
Avalon Public and now Barrenjoey High School.

BL’s Blast Off, when was the first year you went in that?
I’d always been going to them when I was really little (dad Peter Roberts is one of the judges each year) but I never entered until I was 9 or 10. 

Why did you take up surfing?
It’s hard not to in this family, dad’s always surfed.  You can’t really live this close to the beach and not surf.

Do you go surfing with your dad?
Yes. He can be tough on me in the surf, won’t let me have any waves. I have to fight for my own waves. But I do really enjoy surfing with him.

What do you like the most about surfing?
I like that it’s really social, I get to hang out with my friends. It’s really fun and being at the beach, it’s such a good vibe. All surfers are nice and really easy-going.

What is your favourite break?
North Avalon. I’m a member of NASA.

Do you do a lot of photography for NASA?
Yes. When I first got my camera I started taking photos of friends and then started doing Events – Blast Off and NASA surf comps and just went on from there.

What other types of photography have you done?
I did a photo shoot with a girl that I know for her portfolio, so that was portraiture.
I also went down and took some photos of the Polo by the Sea match when that was here last time.

Me with my photo I entered in the Royal Easter Show photography exhibition.

Weren’t you recently part of the June Storm Photography presentation at Avalon Bowling Club?
Yes. I was asked to be part of an Exhibition of photos from the June Storm of 2016. That was pretty cool, they chose 10 or 11 photographers and they all showed their 10 best photos from the storm.  

Mine were all surf shots of the big swell with people surfing. There were a few wipe-outs amongst them. Some of these were also used in a little documentary Coastal Watch did about the June Storm. They have also used one of my photos in one of their ‘Line-up of the Day’ posts and more recently in their tribute to Midget Farrelly. 

Is it good seeing your images being placed where they will be seen?
Yes. It’s great to be able to capture something that shows what happened and share that with others.

What have you been photographing since then?
I recently did the Living Ocean boat trip where they’re gathering whale data. That was really cool – I got to go whale watching. I’d never seen whales that close.
This was definitely different. I thought it would be really easy to shoot the whales but it wasn’t; the boat is rocking and they’re coming up and down, I didn’t have a tripod, it was hard.

Are you doing any study to learn more about photography?
I did a Photography Course at school last year but I’m not doing Photography as one of my subjects at the moment. I think I’ll do it in year 10 as an elective.

Were you interested in photography before you got the camera?
No, I’d never done it before, I had no idea. It was really random, I was 12 and decided to save up, I didn’t let anyone else buy it for me, mum said she’d buy it for Christmas and I said, ‘no, I’m doing this myself’. 
Then I bought it and started taking pictures and found I really like it.

People say you have what’s called ‘a good eye’ – how do you decide to take a photograph of something, are you looking at framing, light, or...?
I just take it, it doesn’t seem that hard to me. Until people pointed that out I didn’t notice it. I do notice that some people are not good at it, mum takes bad photos, but when I do it I don’t think it’s that hard at all.
I just love it I guess.

Do you think you will pursue this and go into film work or do more photography courses?
Maybe, but I like to just sit at the beach, listen to music and just do my own thing while I shoot. I sit there for hours and just shoot my friends.

How many pictures do you take in a session?
Anywhere between 200 and a thousand. I did that on the storm day when I was sitting there for about six hours. It was hard to edit these and choose some for the Storm exhibition as all of these were good photos (in what they captured).

Do you have a website?
I used a Facebook page to publish these – Blaze Roberts Photography
I also have an Instagram account as well.

If someone wants you to come and take some photos of their event, their birthday party or soccer match, are you up for that?
Yes. I’ve done a few footy games and a few parties. Surf photography is what I enjoy the most though. 

What’s the best thing for you about doing photography?
I like making people happy when I give them their photos. People really enjoy seeing photos of themselves – I know myself, as a surfer, you don’t often get a lot of great photos so when you do it’s really exciting. I’ll continue photographing the NASA comps. And other comps at the beach.

Let’s have some fun – what’s your favourite food?
I’m really obsessed with banana bread right now; I love making it. And strawberries, I’ve loved strawberries since I was born.

What do you like doing for fun?
Surfing obviously is my favourite thing to do but I also enjoy bikini swims in winter – it’s been so warm lately. Also skating, I skate quite a bit down at North Av car park and friend’s ramps. I go the High Performance Centre at Cromer every week for skating, they’ve got a ramp there. I love it so much.

Tom Carroll and Blaze.

Have you heard Skating has been announced for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics?

Will we see you getting a gold medal there?
Hopefully. That would be great!

What are your favourite places in Pittwater and why?
Palm Beach, because it’s really beautiful and there’s so many things to do, so many places to see – the whole beach, Barrenjoey headland, the lighthouse, the estuary side, the rocks, jump rock.
North Avalon too of course. 
I did the Mackeral Challenge a while ago and paddled over to Mackeral from Palm Beach and then ran up to West Head lookout and back again. I’ve done that a couple of times now and it’s really fun. The run was harder than the paddle as it’s a hard hill through bush and you’re soaking wet, your shoes are squelching.

What’s your ‘motto for life’ or a favourite phrase you try to live by?
Well, at this stage, it’s something like ‘don’t be a follower, do your own thing’. 
You need to be strong and independent, focus on what makes you you and have a bit of initiative.
Blaze on the Living Ocean Whale Research Boat. Photo by Robbi Luscombe-Newman