Author Archives: MKPhoto

I am a fine arts landscape photographer based in the Southern Highlands NSW. My business is MKImages.

Success in 2015 NSW AIPP Print Awards

This year in the NSW Australian Institute Professional Photographers (AIPP) Print Awards I decided to enter both landscape and illustrative categories.  I attended the live judging and was blown away to receive so many awards for my prints. I have never achieved a gold award before, so you can imagine my excitement to get two!

The results summary is:

Landscape – Gold, Silver with Distinction & Silver awards

Illustrative – Gold & Silver with Distinction

However, what I was not expecting was that I due to my results over multiple categories that I was awarded 2015 NSW AIPP Creative Photographer of the Year. I also was finalist for the Illustrative Photographer of the Year too!

Wow! a huge result, which now puts pressure on me to see how I fare at the Nationals later in Melbourne later in the year…

Gold - Landscape

Gold – Landscape

Silver with Distinction - Landscape

Silver with Distinction – Landscape

Silver - Landscape

Silver – Landscape

Gold - Illustrative

Gold – Illustrative

Silver with Distinction - Illustrative

Silver with Distinction – Illustrative


The local paper (The Southern Highlands News) also ran a nice article about me:

Courtesy Southern Highland News 3rd June 2015 © Fairfax Media 2015

Courtesy Southern Highland News 3rd June 2015 © Fairfax Media 2015

Success in the 8th International Colour Awards – Press Release



LOS ANGELES 22nd April 2015 – Professional  photographer Mark Kelly of Australia was presented with the 8th Annual International Color Awards of three Nominee title in the category of Nature & one Nominee title in category of Fine Art at a prestigious Nomination & Winners Photoshow webcast Saturday, April 18, 2015.

The live online gala was attended by over 8,000 photography fans around the globe who logged on to watch the climax of the industry’s most important event for color photography.

8th Annual Jury members included captains of the industry from Christie’s, Paris; Frieze Art Fair, London; DB Agency, Milan; Clair Galerie, Munich; Edinburgh Film Festival; Art Beatus Gallery, Hong Kong; Gup Magazine, Amsterdam; and Eyestorm, London who honored Color Masters with 541 coveted title awards in 33 categories.

“It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 7,358 entries we received this year,” said Basil O’Brien, the awards Creative Director. “Mark’s exceptional images entered in the Nature and Fine Arts categories, represents contemporary color photography at its finest, and we’re pleased to present him with the title of Nominee.”

INTERNATIONAL COLOR AWARDS is the leading international award honoring excellence in color photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in color photography.


Nominee Color Awards - Fine Art

Nominee  8th Color Awards – Fine Art Category

Nominee 8th Color Awards - Nature Category

Nominee 8th Color Awards – Nature Category

Nominee 8th Color Awards - Nature Category

Nominee 8th Color Awards – Nature Category

Nominee 8th Color Awards - Nature Category

Nominee 8th Color Awards – Nature Category

Eucy Spawners

After an early start on Wed morning & the hearty bacon & roll & lunch pickup at Adaminaby I headed off to Denisons for a squizz. The usual crowds are up the top end, which I avoided, but also a significant number of cars at the bridge & right down at the rapids closest to the lake.


The howling downstream wind was horrendous, & giving me so much grief trying to cast that I crossed a muddy river which apparently had risen overnight by about 8-9″ due to torrential overnight rain. I fished the bridge pool & was super-excited to hook a 5lb hen within 5mins of the session. Unfortunately I dropped it at the bank when my globug got hooked, & the fish rolled off. Although slightly annoyed at myself I was not overly worried as I thought this is going to be a hot session after hooking a great fish first up. Despite fish moving through the pool I could only hook momentarily before dropping them. This pretty much continued all day. In frustration I thought I would have a squizz at Secret Creek. Mark & Roy told me to try the upper section so I scootered along until I started spooking big spawners. Long leaders & gusty wind is not a good combo & I spent more time sorting out tangled flies. Unfortunately it was not other fishos that get dropping in front of me, but bloody fat gutted pelicans!! There were at least half a dozen sitting in the water, & as you came around a bend they would slowly take off & skim about 2m off the water & fly upstream. I did this for about 300m & every time I thought I would get to clear water, another bloody pelican would be there. Gave up & dropped downstream closer to the lake to see if any action there.



Reports were that Sat & Sun were gang-busters, but Mon & Tues nothing! The rain had def triggered a run, but fishing patchy with either none or 15-20 depending on which sweet spot you happened to be. Interestingly most fish caught on nymphs.


Thurs I decided to have an early start, as the river would be full of fresh fish, & the previous day most of the fish were actually caught just after daybreak, & then went quite for most of the day! Given that a couple of the guys from the lodge had done ok down towards the lake I thought I might go & join them. Yes, on daybreak it was definitely happening. I looked downstream & most guys were hooking up! The river had dropped a bit & was a bit clearer too.


I ran into one of the guys from the lodge & said I was having no luck, but found out that everyone was really loading up on splitshot to get down in the fast moving water. He gave me some splitshot & within 5mins I was on. I went a bit hard on this fish as it was at the top of some rapids, but also so I would not have to push through the gauntlet of another half dozen or so other fishos. In hind-sight I should have just let it run as one of the guys downstream said it was easily 5lb!


There was one sweet spot that I saw a guy pull out 15 fish from, with guys either side only catching the occasional fish. I moved upstream & noticed a couple of large fish “porpoising” in one spot & decided to give them a go. Within 10mins I was hooked up. This fish just swam upstream when I hooked it.  I just love when you snag the bottom, & then the bottom swims off! After going too hard on the previous fish, I am definitely going easy on this one. It has me steadily following it up & down this pool & it is either foul-hooked or a huge fish. After about another 10mins I get a glimpse of a log with fins!! Maybe not the magic double figure but 8-9lbs easily. It has snavelled the hot glue globug. I am still applying steady pressure only & the bloody hook pulls. I sit down still shaking I wonder what went wrong 🙁


One of the guys from the lodge walks downstream & joins me. Turns out he is an electrical engineer & does a lot of contracting work in the Qld UG mines, so we get on very well & have a lot in common. Pretty much rest of the day we take turns to land fish until around lunchtime when the fishing has shut down & a lot of the anglers have bugged out to relocate. Still feeling crook with the man-flu, especially in the disgusting wind the day before, I decide to head back to the lodge for some lunch a rest & regroup before the afternoon session.


After lunch I went back to find even less guys at the bottom stretch so decide to see if my spot is free.  There is one or two guys below & he started catching fish & within about 15mins there were a dozen or more guys in that stretch of water… I stay where I am. I land a few more fish & end the day with again hooking something that does not realise it is hooked & continues to swim upstream. I apply a bit of pressure & the leader parts half way – must have had a bloody casting knot or some other line damage. Again BIG BIG fish but did not get to see it. The guy from the lodge joins me & drops another big fish for no apparent reason, was hooked up for at least 10mins & just applying steady pressure. All fish seem to be on globugs today.


A great day none-the-less & fish until dark & get back in time for 6pm dinner – not sure why so many are camping! Maybe not as many fish, but think the average size is definitely up to previous spawn runs.


Friday I got up at 5am but the rain was beating against my window & the wind was howling again & I felt too crook to go fishing so wimped out & went back to bed. I reckon Friday could have also been a good day, as there would have definitely been more fish running, but I was happy with my Thurs session & needed to be ok to drive home safely.


After fishing with some shop hot-glue gun eggs, & also knowing that one of my friends has been experimenting with the same, I think this is going to be my new “secret weapon” spawn fly…

All fish were returned to the water after a quick photo 🙂





Success in the International Loupe Awards 2014

I have been lucky this year with various photographic competitions. In the  International Loupe Awards I received 5 x Bronze Awards in the open Landscape Category.
I had actually forgotten to enter when I noticed the ominous email warning entries closing at midnight!

Hoping to try some of the newwe “Blurrygraphs” I have been working on, I submitted a mix of images that have been very successful for me this year as well as the Blurrygraphs.

Interestingly some of the images really polarised the judges, with at least 2 images having 20 points between the highest and lowest scores!.


2014 International Loupe Awards-Bronze


2014 International Loupe Awards-Bronze


2014 International Loupe Awards-Bronze


2014 International Loupe Awards-Bronze


2014 International Loupe Awards-Bronze


2014 International Loupe Awards-Bronze

Success in the 9th Black & White Spider Awards – Press Release



LOS ANGELES  24th October, 2014 – Professional photographer Mark Kelly of Australia presented with the 9th Annual Black and White Spider Awards One Honorable Mention & Five Nominations in the category at a prestigious Nomination & Winners PhotoShow webcast Saturday, October 18, 2014.

The live online gala was attended by photography fans around the globe who logged on to see the climax of the industry’s most important event for black and white photography.

The awards international Jury included captains of the industry from The Royal Photographic Society, FoMu Fotomuseum, Aeroplastics Contemporary, Torch Gallery, Stockholm City Museum to Fratelli Alinari in Florence who honored Spider Fellows with 298 coveted title awards and 957 nominees in 14 categories.

“It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 8,508 entries from 73 countries that we received this year,” said Basil O’Brien, the awards Creative Director. Mark Kelly’s five exceptional images entered in the Professional category, represents black and white photography at its finest, and we’re pleased to present him with the following Awards.”

  • Honorable Mention in Architectural | ‘Dark MOFO ‘
  • Nominee in Fine Art | ‘Its Raining’
  • Nominee in Fine Art | ‘Spectra Light Tower’
  • Nominee in Nature | ‘Cape Bruny Lighthouse’
  • Nominee in Still Life | ‘Skull’

You can view the 9th Annual Winners Gallery at

BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS is the leading international award honoring excellence in black and white photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in black and white photography.

Contact: Mark Kelly

Honorable Mention in Architectural

Honorable Mention in Architectural

Nominee in Fine Art

Nominee in Fine Art

Nominee in Fine Art

Nominee in Fine Art

Nominee in Nature

Nominee in Nature

Nominee in Still Life

Nominee in Still Life



Canon AIPP Australian Professional Print Awards 2014

This is Australia’s premier photography competition where prints are judged by best photographers. The awards are recognition of standard of work submitted to Australian Institute Professional Photography (AIPP).

I was very happy to achieve:

  • 2 x Silver with Distinction Awards
  • 2 x Silver Award
Silver Distinction - 'Gold Tapestry'

Silver Distinction – ‘Gold Tapestry’


Silver Distinction – ‘Brushstrokes’


Silver – ‘Feathers’


Silver – ‘Skippers’

Penrose Yacht Has Sailed Away

Recently there was a comment posted byLeonie to ask if I knew where the yacht had gone, as she recognised the locale from my photos. Today I thought I had better go and have a look. Although it has been nearly exactly one year since I photographed the mysterious yacht I found my way to the site with ease, as I had previously created a trail and way-point on my bushwalking GPS.

Yes the yacht was gone!

I got out of my car & had a quick look around, thinking that it is not the sort of thing you just pick up – especially this end of the forest with narrow tracks. I notice some drag marks & relatively fresh tracks, like some sort of excavator had recently been down one track. I head off slowly down the track, the gouge is pretty easy to follow.

You hardly have to be Hercule Poirot to deduct that something heavy has been skull-dragged along the edge of the track.

About 500m along there is a recently cleared area and from the tire-tracks I reckon this is where the yacht was put onto a low-loader.

I am disappointed I did not make the effort to re-shoot the yacht, as it is just so unusual. I guess that is a lesson – never put off til tomorrow, what you can do today…

If you have any further details I would love to hear from you.


Gouge marks on the side of the track

Gouge marks on the side of the track

Definitely something heavy has been skull-dragged along

Definitely something heavy has been skull-dragged along

Looks like low-loader tire tracks

Looks like low-loader tire tracks

Possible loading site?

Possible loading site?

All that remains is part of the handrail

All that remains is part of the handrail

#southernhighlands #Penrose #yacht

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Out of My Comfort Zone

Those that know me know that I love to photograph the landscape – preferably without people in view! Last weekend as part of Head On Photo Festival, I participated in two workshops run by Ben Lowy. For those who are not familiar with Ben Lowy’s work he is best known for his coverage of war zones & popularized the concept of using an iPhone for journalism.

Out of my comfort zone - 01

Out of my comfort zone – 01


The first, which was really a warm up session, was an afternoon shoot in Luna Park with only an iPhone. I am used to shooting with a iPhone and editing with Snapseed, so apart from trying out a new camera app the main challenges are shooting in bright light. The next one was a 1am to 4am session in Kings Cross. Our objective was to approach strangers in order to get street portraits.

Out of my comfort zone - 02

Out of my comfort zone – 02


You will think I am just a country bumpkin, but I don’t think I have ever been to Kings Cross at night, & certainly not wandering around with a camera. I am definitively out of my comfort zone.
There has been a lot of publicity about alcohol-fueled violence, and we are walking into the main area of Kings Cross right at lock-down. The place is buzzing. The nightclubs appear full & lots of people are walking around. There is a considerable police presence with at least 2-3 officers on almost every corner, as well as pairs walking up & down the street.

Out of my comfort zone - 03

Out of my comfort zone – 03


We are in a group of a dozen people so whilst I am a bit nervous, I at least feel that we have safety in numbers.

Out of my comfort zone - 04

Out of my comfort zone – 04


The first lap of Darlinghurst Road it is hard to decide what to take photos of, so many things are happening & this is such a foreign landscape for me!

Out of my comfort zone - 05

Out of my comfort zone – 05


Today nearly everyone is a photographer.
Hands up if you have a phone that is capable of taking a photo!

Out of my comfort zone - 06

Out of my comfort zone – 06


You have just confirmed that there are lots of people out taking photos. Did you know that just last year alone there were more photos taken then in the entire history of photography!

Out of my comfort zone - 07

Out of my comfort zone – 07


As photographers we need to be making images, not just taking images.

Out of my comfort zone - 08

Out of my comfort zone – 08


So it’s a case of hurry up & slow down. Find a suitable location. This will be our backdrop. Check the lighting. The lack of light & mixed light sources can play havoc with camera settings. Next watch & wait – a person might walk into our scene & create just the right composition. We are making conscious choices to make the image.

Out of my comfort zone - 09

Out of my comfort zone – 09


Don’t get over-excited, remember the basics like no poles sticking out of people’s heads, or hands or feet cut off. If your subject is wearing 7inch high-heels, get them in the frame. Make sure the subject is isolated. If you are talking to them, get them to move & pose as you suggest, or change your shooting position to avoid distracting backgrounds.  In most cases half a step either way, or raising or lowering the camera can make a huge difference to whether an image is successful or not.

Out of my comfort zone - 10

Out of my comfort zone – 10


Apart from social media – you know when you post a photo of your morning coffee & write “awesome morning coffee” our images don’t come with descriptions or have us there to explain to the viewer what the photo is about.

Out of my comfort zone - 11

Out of my comfort zone – 11


How do you show your words? Think about what your caption might be & use that as a guide. So if your caption is “lonely sad man” how would depict this. You have to think about the composition, is he smiling in a group? Have you used bright colours. Or, is he up close & filling the frame?

Out of my comfort zone - 12

Out of my comfort zone – 12


What if you stepped back & he is quite small in the frame, he is surrounded by darkness & a single street lamp highlights just him. The image is gritty & desaturated. Even just these descriptions – what image is forming in your mind? Which do you think conveys the caption “lonely sad man”??

Out of my comfort zone - 13

Out of my comfort zone – 13


There is no right or wrong – A lot of times how we communicate visually is very personal, & I just want you to think about it. You could say that successful art asks questions, successful journalism answers questions.

Out of my comfort zone - 14

Out of my comfort zone – 14


Something else to contemplate is to shoot each project like a book, some consistency in the narrative, so that the style, look & format work together. So if your images are bright & very saturated then a gritty high contrast black & white image will not fit (despite it being a dramatic stand-alone image)

Out of my comfort zone - 15

Out of my comfort zone – 15


It’s great to get out of your comfort zone & do something completely different. I learnt lots made some new friends and had fun – what more could you want!

Out of my comfort zone - 16

Out of my comfort zone – 16

Out of my comfort zone - 17

Out of my comfort zone – 17

Out of my comfort zone - 18

Out of my comfort zone – 18

Out of my comfort zone - 19

Out of my comfort zone – 19

Out of my comfort zone - 20

Out of my comfort zone – 20

#headon #headonphotofest #benlowy24hour #fujifilm #xt1 #mkimages

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May Madness

Wow – what a month – it has definitely been May Madness!!

This is a “snapshot” of what I have been doing:

  • Bruny Island workshop
  • Head On South Slideshow Bowral – first presentation
  • Finalist in the Landscape Category of Head Photo Festival
  • Ben Lowy 1pm-4pm iPhone workshop at Luna Park
  • Ben Lowy 1am-4am street portrait workshop in Kings Cross
  • NSW AIPP Print Awards (four Silvers in the landscape category)
  • NSW AIPP Finalist Landscape Photographer of the Year
  • Head On South Slideshow Bowral – second presentation


I will compile some albums so you get a better idea of what I have been doing.

These are my images submitted as prints to the NSW AIPP Print Awards. Nothing on-screen compares to viewing an actual print!


"Feathers"-NSW AIPP Silver  Award

“Feathers”-NSW AIPP Silver Award

"Gold Tapestry"-NSW AIPP Silver  Award

“Gold Tapestry”-NSW AIPP Silver Award

"Like Moths"-NSW AIPP Silver  Award

“Like Moths”-NSW AIPP Silver Award

"Dark MOFO"-NSW AIPP Silver  Award

“Dark MOFO”-NSW AIPP Silver Award

The Colour Alchemist

This is a transcript of my Head On Satellite Slideshow Event presentation. The slideshow was a Pecha Kucha style slideshow where we each were allotted a fixed time of only 20 seconds per slide for our 20 slides!

What is beauty? We automatically think of beautiful objects or people and all these are perfect, without fault or blemish. Look in any media related to advertising. Models airbrushed & retouched. Products that jump out at you. Food that looks so appetising.



This is a western way of thinking. There is another way of seeing beauty & that is a Japanese philosophy called Wabi Sabi.



NO – Wabi Sabi is not what you have with your sushi, but it concerns seeing beauty not in perfection but in decay or having slight faults.



Roughly translated – Wabi can be interpreted as loneliness of living in nature remote from society &



Sabi – is to be lean or withered.



One example is fading autumn leaves which are so beautiful, yet so transient. Thus Wabi Sabi alters our view that new wood, fabrics or paper are not as interesting as those that have a character which are evidenced in its patina & wear.



I started photographing some decaying objects that are certainly not beautiful on first appearances, but I could see the potential in the faded colours and textures & this was exactly what caught my attention.



As photographers where do we start? Those that know my work recognise that I am primarily a landscape photographer. So when I am standing in front of grand scene & the light is just gorgeous my normal reaction is to shoot with a wide angle lens & get it all in.



Then after a while I start to notice some of the elements in the scene- that lone tree, that clump of rocks, or the way the river snakes to create a line to lead your eye into the scene.



Next, if I am taking particular care to observe, I notice the way the light is creating patterns on the bark of the tree trunk, or one rock has interesting lines as the light dances across its surface then do I start capturing those details. So it is unusual for me to go straight in close, yet that is what I did!




One of my friends recently referred to me as being a colour alchemist & I guess I am!



I take a little of bit colour here & find another bit of colour there & make those two colours dominate. Or I twist the colours to the cooler temperature spectrum to emphasise the blues, but at the same time I may target just the red tones & saturate them. Sometimes I do the opposite! Other times I will flip the colours by making them a negative.



If I am feeling a little crazy I might even do two of these processes – So I guess my friend is correct – I am a colour alchemist.



There is no right or wrong, I just push & mix colours until I get the look I like. Often the colours that I thought would work from the original image simply don’t, & I end up getting a completely different result from what I originally thought.



Even starting with the same image I will end up with several variations, depending on how I have mixed the colours – AND- in what order!



Its not easy to tell, but some of you may have guessed that these images have been derived from old rusting, scratched & decaying cars that are all laying out in a paddock. The moment I saw the first one I immediately was drawn to the colours & textures. When I started capturing the images I never quite imagined the final result, but during the course of working with the colours & learning to become an alchemist I discovered that in many cases the camera had captured details & colours that I was totally unaware of – which made the journey of discovery even more exciting.



Not content to print these designs on stiff unyielding paper, I have gone one step further & printed ten of these designs onto silk. This is the ultimate transformation – from stiff rusty car panels to vibrant luxurious silk.



As I was leaving the caryard the first time the owner commented that his dad had catalogued the older cars & if I could use his grid system I could probably find out the actual model of car. I revisited the caryard to retrace my steps to find the cars that were used for those 10 designs. I wandered around with my “cheat-sheet” which was the original captured image & the final design. I’m glad I shot in a fairly methodical manner, as it was not always easy to recognise a car by a photo of a 30x40cm rusty patch. For instance, I found the 4th & then the 6th, so I knew the 5th HAD to be somewhere in-between! Often turning around & walking a different direction was all that was required to locate the car I had missed!



After sitting on the caryard office step for an hour pouring over the old catalogue the caryard owner asked me if I liked old cars, because I “sure was going to a lot of trouble” to find out which cars I had taken photos of.

I showed him my reference sheet saying, NOT REALLY – I just like the colours, patterns & textures. He sorted stepped back& just said uh hmm & let me continue thumbing through the catalogue.



This process has been interesting & challenging, but I have managed to transform something that is decaying & most would say quite ugly into something that is beautiful. The transformation of vintage car wrecks is like metamorphosis. The metal skeletons with their patina of rust, cracking paint & years of decay transform into the most beautiful & colourful designs.

Composite Image

The 20 Images

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