Caravan Travel Photography Workshop 2015 – Puglia

Caravan TPW 2015 flagsmall new 10-17th june 2015


I am super excited to announce that the second edition of the Caravan Travel Photography Workshop will be held in beautiful Puglia in June 2015. This year we have added an extra day and night so you can squeeze one more day out of beautiful Southern Italy.

Join my ‘caravan’ on a road less travelled to the boot of Italy, in the beautiful region of Puglia. A journey to the Valle D’Itria region that will make your heart sing and take your Travel Photography skills to a new level. Puglia was once the road that linked Rome to other Mediterranean civilizations and has a tradition of rich culture, history, agriculture and a knockout cuisine.

Seven incredible days of tuition and travel, photographing beautiful Martina Franca, Cisternino, Ceglie Messapica, Grottaglie and Masseria Cimino whilst learning the essentials of interiors, portraiture, life photography, landscapes, cityscapes, food and still life.

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Travel has been part of my photographic journey and I have invested the past 13 years of my life learning how to capture photos with soul and to craft a story with a photo.

Learn my methods of taking travel photos with emotion, how to tell your story of a place in a unique way, create your own style so you can stand out from the crowd, how to master natural light and to take authentic portraits in a yet to be discovered part of Italy.

Each day we will spend up to 2-3 hours on the theory of a particular theme of travel photography in the classroom and on the streets and the rest of the day on location capturing images. Each participant will be encouraged to send a small portfolio of images to be critiqued prior to starting the workshop and to present their favourite 10 image on the last evening.

You will have an experience of a lifetime and walk away with confidence in your photography and a beautiful travel portfolio.

Full details here 

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain




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Great Coffee In Paris

coffee paris carla coulson

All images of Fondation Cafe and Broken Arm and the adjacent area in the 3rd Arrondissement Paris

For those of you who haven’t been to Paris for a while something really exciting is happening here.

Although the Parisians can boast some of the most beautiful cafes in the world, with every detail looked after from the cane chairs to the marble table tops, mostly there is one important ingredient missing… good coffee.

But thanks to a battalion of Aussie’s and French coffee enthusiasts the face of coffee in Paris is changing for the better. Phew…

Since I have started my Paleo way of eating coffee has been off-limits, it’s the one thing I miss, dream about and so lately after 8 months of living without coffee I have started having one coffee a week.

So you can imagine how special it needs to be…

Here’s where I go:

Fondation Cafe

16 Rue Dupetit Thours

Paris 75003

Fondation cafe is run by a team of cute boys and they do coffee as though we were sitting in a cafe in Bondi – good. Milk’s great too..The cafe is small and modern and you can choose from a range of cakes and cookies or sandwiches. They open early!


Cafe Coutume

47 Rue Babylone

Paris 75007

A French/Aussie combo started this cafe and were at the forefront of Aussie’s doing great coffee in Paris. Not far from Le Bon Marche in the 7th these guys take their coffee very seriously. Bare-bones decor and yummy things for a light lunch. Coffee and milk 5 stars!



19 Rue Lucien Sampaix


Ahh Holybelly, this is the ultimate “I’m missing my Aussie cafe breakfast’ place! I love Holybelly, eggs like you were in Sydney, coffee like you were in Melbourne, friendly staff and a cute space to boot….

KB Cafe

53 Ave Trudaine


The French guy that owns KB took a trip to Australia, walked into a Bondi cafe, couldn’t believe the coffee and remained for a couple of years. On his return to Paris he opened KB Cafe in gorgeous SOPI (south Pigalle) and has a stream of devoted customers each day. If you are in the area and hankering for a good coffee or a great green tea drop in and say hi.

Ten Belles

10 Rue de la Grange Aux Belles


Owned by a Frenchie who guess what?.. worked as a barista in Australia… Cute modern space in cool corner of Paris. These guys are serious about their coffee. Thomas worked at the Caféothèque (who roast their own beans and was a forerunner in the Paris coffee scene before the Aussie connection turned up). Light food and to die for coffee.

So my dearest friends, if you are coming to Paris your coffee experience no longer needs to be dull.

“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” Khalil Gibran




Please share if you mates are coming Paris and need a good coffee!

Theatrical Portraits + Shooting Tips

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All photos copyright Carla Coulson

There is nothing I like better than two gorgeous gals rocking up in Paris with suitcases bursting with clothes and theatrical ideas in their heads.

What a treat it was to shoot this job. This fabulous mother and daughter were bunkered down in the beautiful L’Hotel just a couple of steps from the Beaux Arts on the Left Bank.

L’Hotel is were Oscar Wilde famously passed away so Oscar had to be a part of the fun.

As I shot this mother roaring with laughter with her daughter I thought what a special bond they have and what a treat to doing something as fun with your glam mum in Paris. Brava Mel!

Stay tuned at the bottom on the post for shooting tips on how I shot these pics.

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Carla Coulson portrait paris oscar wilde l'hotel paris

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All photos copyright Carla Coulson

How I shot these Photos..

I am a huge fan of two light looks. Natural light and dramatic flash.

Where the natural light was beautiful I took advantage and used large window light.

The room was fabulous and I have learnt in Parisian hotels the bed moves! So to create extra shots I moved the bed to the other part of the room and added the sofa under baldachino.

To create different scenes we kept moving the furniture.  To have the studio look in the top images I selected a simple part of the room as a backdrop and used the light fall off between my subject and the background to create a little drama with the darker background.

The flash shots..

These pics were taken in a room with no natural light.

I set up my Nikon Nikon SB 910 on a Light Stand and I added my Gary Fong Diffuser
to the flash and pointed it directly at my subject, front on just slightly tilted down towards their faces. I used a set of Wireless Transmitters  to fire the flash.

All images were shot on my Canon 5D Mark II with a 24-70mm Lens

In post-processing I added a vignette to these images in Photoshop.

I hope you enjoyed this little bit of Parisian fun..

“Sensitive people faced with the prospect of a camera portrait put on a face they think is the one they would like to show to the world… Every so often what lies behind the facade is rare and more wonderful than the subject knows or dares to believe.” Irving Penn




Please share if you like this..

Portrait Winner – Lisa Chiodo From Renovating Italy

Carla Coulson portrait Lisa Chiodo renovating italy paris

All photos copyright Carla Coulson

I feel as though I have known Lisa Chiodo for years.

We have been following each others blogs and lives since Italian Joy landed on the shelves in 2005.

Recently Lisa hit the road with her husband and children to go live a dream in Italy, renovate an old house and live a new life….and we get to live it vicariously through Renovating Italy.

Lisa’s name came out of the ‘cat’s biscuit dish draw’ at the same time as the beautiful Gabriella Pirisi’s name (you can see her shoot here) for a portrait in Paris with the whole sheebang including final edited files and fine art prints in a GORGEOUS linen box tied with a big, fat bow. On a whim I decided to give-away two portraits with the whole SHEEBANG…

Carla Coulson Lisa Chiodo Renovating Italy Portrait Paris1

Lisa was a joy to shoot as was her daughter Carina.

I felt a great responsibility photographing Lisa after see her video and reading this post when she won. I wanted to enhance her natural beauty without changing her  relaxed style. I ask every woman I shoot to tell me a little bit about themselves and what they want to come out in the photos and Lisa’s 5 words kept running through my mind as I was shooting her..

“Freedom, Sensuality, Joy, Movement, Adventure”

 “I want photos full of laughter, movement and showing my spirit of adventure. I’d love something that anyone who knows me could say “YES that is Lisa”……for my children to see how I see myself rather than just nagging Mummy, tired Mummy, I want this for them to keep, to record me, that I lived, so that future generations, grandchildren, great grandchildren will get a sense of who I am from these images” 

So it was with these two beautiful women with a shining connection between them, on a beautiful sunny day in Paris and with these words we created these photos.

I hope it’s the ‘Lisa’ her friends and family know and love!! … Continue Reading

Auto-Immune..Going, Going Almost Gone

Carla Coulson Loc Boyle

Me by fab photographer Loc Boyle

I have been meaning to write this post for the longest time.

I know many of you are in the same auto-immune boat as me although you may have a different auto-immune condition such as fibromyalgia, vitiligo, sarcoidosis or one of the hundreds of auto-immunes see here (staggering).

I have received loads of emails and questions from my original posts here and here about my progress with my new way of eating and my wholistic approach to Graves Disease, Alopecia Areata and Lichen Sclerosous.

Before I go on, I am not recommending anyone on medication to stop. If you want to change your diet you need to do it with the supervision of a good naturopath or Functional doctor.

One of the stand-out things I have found about auto-immune conditions is that we are surrounded by them, it seems degenerative disease is our generations gift for eating way to much processed food, living a fast lifestyle and not listening to our bodies and not taking enough time out. Ask a friend, family member, work colleague and you will be surprised who is suffering.

I have tried to quantify this diet and my lifestyle changes since January by having regular blood tests and the results have been overwhelming. So overwhelming I kept going.

As a reward after my recent holiday I had a blood test and the news was so fab I wanted to share the results with you.

Thyroid problemResolved!!! When I started this diet back in January my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) was almost nonexistent. In December 2013 my TSH was 0.005 and as at Mid August it was 2.240 (so in the range it’s scary). Do the math (cause I am a photographer and not very good at it) but that is a massive jump. See comprehensive test results at the end of the post with monthly moves..

Auto-immune Antibodies – Down from 11. 9 in December to 4.8 in August. They need to get under 1.75 to be home free (in remission) so not there yet but getting closer

Alopecia Areata – Hair growing in all 3 bald spots. Gawd this makes me happy. Lovely little black and grey hairs 3 inches long filling all three baldies!

Lichen Sclerous – Prior to March I was still having problems with Lichen Sclerosous. I ended up in this private forum and discovered Oxalates. A word I had never heard before and one that has changed my life. I added a Low Oxalate diet to my Paleo Diet and I believe going on the Low Oxalate diet was the thing that hastened healing of all three auto-immune conditions.

Is the Low Oxalate diet fun? NO, but neither is Lichen Sclerosous or any of the others AI’s. I had almost instant results once I started this and then my thyroid values moved enormously so I have a sneaky feeling Oxalate is the new black. I think Oxalates are to blame for auto-immune as much as Gluten.. And I never believed in detox symptoms till I met Mr. Oxalate..

Without a doubt cutting Gluten and processed foods out was the first great step I took but discovering the Low Oxalate Diet was the second one.

There is so much great information out there and I will try and share as many links here as possible but all Auto-immune disease stems from a leaky gut so the important thing is to heal your intestine and then your body will heal itself. World expert Dr. Alessandro Fasano explains it here

Snapshot of Auto-Immune

  1. Leaky Gut – We all have compromised digestion thanks to years of processed foods and food intolerances. Sarah Wilson explains it simply here
  2. Inflammation – Is the root of all auto-immune and most disease. Things that cause inflammation are sugar, coffee, refined foods, alcohol and processed foods. Dr Mark Hyman explains it here 
  3. Food Intolerance –Weakens the immune system..seems a large part of the human race is allergic to lactose and gluten.. more info here
  4. Give your system a break – By taking away irritating foods and flooding it with nutrition from whole foods and supporting it with complimentary holistic treatments such as acupuncture, massage and shiatsu.
  5. Get Moving – One of the best anti-imflammatory of all time, you don’t need to run or go to the gym. Walking is great.
  6. Practice deep relaxation – Such as yoga, meditation and long walks
  7. Be patient – Let your body heal itself naturally.. We took a lifetime to get into this situation its going take time to get out of it.

Carla Coulson greens

The Way I Eat

No Gluten

No Dairy

No Coffee,

No Alcohol,

In general no grains or legumes but I do eat rice a couple of times a week

No Sugar (sugar is in everything once you read the labels) this includes almost all sauces

No processed food, this pretty much knocks out everything on the supermarket shelves

Organic fresh fruit and vegetables, a small amount of nuts, organic eggs and meat and wild fish (I eat meat once a week)

Good fats, such as avocados, organic butter, cold-pressed olive oil and coconut oil – this is really important.. I have learnt fat doesn’t make you fat. I have never eaten more fat in my life and it has had no impact on my cholesterol only my waist (it’s thinner).

I started eating fermented foods 

Most auto-immune diets also knock-out nightshades, I reduced them but still put capsicum in salads and ate the odd tomato.

I Stopped:

Using all perfumes and non-organic body products including hair shampoos, body creams

Flouride toothpaste

Being connected 24/7 to social media and working like a maniac

Got rid of all cleaning products in the house and replaced them with eco versions.

I Started:

Walking everyday for 45 mins (exercise is the best anti-inflammatory there is)

Getting 15 mins of sun where I could (to help with low Vitamin D levels)

Meditating twice a day

Making bone broths to substitute eating meat.

Drinking filtered water

Drinking herbal teas, Rosehip for Vitamin C and Nettle for Iron

Bought an earthing mat for our bed – these videos are interesting

Reduced stress and my workload


These are some of the natural supplements that were prescribed to me by my naturopath. I would suggest seeing a great naturopath for your specific health needs.

Cod liver Oil once a day – a teaspoon



Vitamin B12


Vitamin D3 1000 u

Grapefruit seed oil

Symptons of Auto-Immune:

Chronic tiredness (like falling asleep at lunch)

Heart palpitations (thyroid)

Anxiety (thyroid)

Chronic Candida

Muscle fatigue (I could hardly climb to the 2nd floor without feeling like it was Mount Everest)

Sleep problems (thyroid)

Baldness 3 totally bald spots on my head (Alopecia Areata)

Itchiness and lesions (Lichen Sclerosous)

Brain Fog and a sense of not being here (thyroid)

Itchiness on the front of my shins

Bumps on the backs of the top of your arms


Millions of small pimples that look like a heat rash but were discovered in the middle of winter

There are a million other systems but these were some of mine.

Some Frequently Asked Questions:

Was it difficult to go on the Paleo diet? and how much meat to you eat? No. I have always loved eating well and had previously bought organic food but was almost exclusively vegetarian unless eating at someone’s place and I didn’t want to cause a fuss. I was eating loads of carbohydrates and almost no protein. When I made the switch I found I was rarely hungry and no longer had sugar highs and lows thanks to the whole food diet and eating good fats and protein. I eat pastured raised meat once a week and make bone broths to put in soups and stews. For me the focus is on fruit and vegetables and I eat a lot of eggs.

What was the hardest thing to give up? For me it was coffee, I love coffee and even now my morning doesn’t feel like it ‘starts’ because there is no coffee ritual. In the past couple of weeks on the weekend I make a big deal of going out and finding a great coffee in Paris and enjoying it like it is truly special instead of using it like a crutch as I did before.

Any setbacks? Yes. Once early on when my system was very fragile I kicked off the Graves again by eating lots of sugary fruit (bananas, pineapple and mango together). I did the same thing this summer when I ate an enormous gelato (first one in 8 months) and nothing happened so I ate another one the next day and then thyroid was off and running again with heart palpitations and exhaustion for a week.

How do I handle travel? I travel regularly for work and take my own food stocks. When I worked in the mountains in Italy for a week I took canned sardines, pre boiled eggs, avocados, baked banana bread (I substitute the almond flour with chestnut flour and go light on the honey) and fruit in case I couldn’t access what I needed when I arrived. Guess what? I couldn’t..

Do I eat out? I rarely eat out preferring my own food!!! Gluten is in everything, in Thai sauces and other foods I love. I eat Japanese and take my own gluten free Tamari, chose things like Omelettes or ask how the fish etc is cooked. Have been caught out with batters and breadcrumbs many times.

If and when I go into remission will I go back to eating gluten? Getting off Gluten has been one of the greatest and liberating experiences in my adult life. I no longer need to walk into the local bakery ever again and the bonus has been a slimmer waist and better health. It has allowed me to reconnect with real food and cooking it in a respectful way.

Any health bonuses you didn’t imagine? I have been plagued with headaches my whole life. Since changing the way I live and eat I haven’t had a headache for 6 months and I have lost four kilos. My husband who has had chronic ‘wake you up at night’ Eczema since he was a teenager has lost 12 kilos and his eczema has gone. He wasn’t convinced about the diet till he saw this film. Now he is the world’s number 2 fan (after me).

Where there any times you felt like giving up? There was a day afterI had been on the Low Oxalate diet for a couple of months when I realised there wasn’t a lot of fun in my life at the time. I had read everything I could on diet, I was not only gluten, sugar, alcohol, coffee, processed food free but also free of almonds, sweet potato, chocolate, figs and many other heavenly foods I loved. I was miserable, from that day forward I decided to lighten up and have more fun, have a massage, go to the cinema and forget my oxalate obsession for a while and be kind to myself.

Is it expensive? Yes, without a doubt I am spending twice the amount of money on food that I previously did and wholistic practitioners aren’t covered in the health care system in France. I cart home a shopping caddy full of fresh fruit and vegetables twice a week but being sick is also expensive. I am investing in my health now instead of later and seeing the benefits makes it worth while.

Any Tips on making the change? The toughest thing about eating this way is that you need to be organised and always have food handy. This means thinking and preparing in advance, always having the fridge stocked and something in your camera bag or handbag.

What reactions do you commonly have when you tell people how you are eating? The most common reaction is suspicion. People tend to not believe you and think you are slightly kooky. Try telling an Italian that the pasta they have been feeding their child it’s whole life is causing him/her harm! It’s like saying the very fabric of their culture is turning on them. Much easier to walk away from it than believe it.

Anything else you would like to add? This has been one of the most empowering experiences in my life. Seeing that my body can heal itself with kindness, good food and love is a powerful feeling. We all make such a big deal about eating like this but it’s simply returning to the way our Grandparents ate.

Want to learn more:

The Perfect Human Diet – A documentary that explains the concept of Paleo eating

The Wahls Protocol
– Written by the doctor who had MS and was in a well chair for years) after one month on her diet she could walk with crutches, after 5 months she rode a bike and after 1 year she rode 50kms. This book explains degenerative disease in simple language and gets into the details of what to eat.. Wonderful.

Minding Your Mitochondria – Terry Wahls Ted Talk on diet and disease

Sarah Wilson – Sarah has a section on her blog discussing auto-immune here

Practical Paleo – A great practical guide to understanding your particular auto-immune condition, what to eat and some great recipes.

Nourishing Traditions – One of my favourite books recommended by a dear friend and tells us the traditional ways to prepare foods.. Love this book

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration – If you want to go the whole way this is a study done in the thirties by Weston Price. He travelled the world to find people who were still eating traditional diets untouched by white man’s food. I loved it.

My Blood Results from December to August

Red Means the values are out of the range

TSH – The accepted Range is from 0.270 – 4.20

23/12/2013 – .005

4/2/2014 – .005

22/4/2014 – .770 (woohoo in range)

14/8/2014 – 2,240 (woohoo in range)

T3 – The accepted range is from 0.93 – 4.40

23/12/2014 – 5.6

4/2/2014 – 4.5

22/4/2014 – 2.50 (woohoo in range)

T4 – The accepted range is from 9.3 – 17

23/12/2014 – 20.1

4/2/2014 - 16 (woohoo in range)

22/4/2014 – 12 (woohoo in range)

Auto-immune antibodies – The accepted range is under 1.75

23/12/2014 – 11.9

4/2/2014 – 7.54

22/4/2014 – 6.49

14/8/2014 – 4.86

 If you are wondering why I have gone to the trouble of adding my test results its because throughout these eight months its the one piece of information I couldn’t find on the internet. Nobody had quantified their results and shown their progress although many spoke of healing.

I did this for all of those like me who were searching for an alternative to the doctor’s standard response of ‘its incurable you will have to live with it for the rest of your life.’

I believed it was possible and I can see it is.

Wishing you all good health and happiness.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates



Please share for the good health of those we love..x

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