Tag Archives: Landscape

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

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

Just Because You Push A Slider – Should You?

When I first posted this image I got a lot of interest, so I decided to share my thought process and steps I completed.

This shot of the city skyline was pretty boring, given the weather at the time. I had gone to Bradley’s Head for a meetup with some members of the Landscape Photographers Network. It was supposed to be a long-exposure sunset shoot, but the prevailing weather has other ideas! After chatting with Dean, the shoot coordinator I thought that I would get a few “warm up” shots to begin. With a wide-angle shot I needed some foreground interest so I included the  sandstone wharf.


Final image

Final image

Step 1 - Original image

Step 1 – Original image

Step 2 - Add extra contrast & check overall exposure

Step 2 – Add extra contrast & check overall exposure

Step 3 - Crop image & open up shadow details

Step 3 – Crop image & open up shadow details

Step 4 - Adjust colour balance by making warmer & shift colour hues of yellows toward green.

Step 4 – Adjust colour balance by making warmer & shift colour hues of yellows toward green.

Step 5 - Apply graduated filter to sky to make darker and shift colour to match sandstone.

Step 5 – Apply graduated filter to sky to make darker and shift colour to match sandstone.

Step 6 - Use brush to change water colour hue more green & increase brightness.

Step 6 – Use brush to change water colour hue more green & increase brightness.

I used Capture One image processing software, but I think you could achieve a similar result in Adobe LightRoom, Apple Aperture etc.

After these preliminary edits I would generally export a 16bit file in .tiff format to then make more refined changes in Adobe PhotoShop. In this case the image is still a “work in progress”

#bradleyshead #phaseone #captureone #sydney

Is It Better to be Stubborn or Determined?

Just as I got the shot, I realised I was going to get wet! No time to put on the wet weather gear, I just grabbed my trusty fold-up umbrella & held it low over my camera. The wind was blowing the rain pretty much side-ways and perched high on Malabar Hill on Lord Howe Island there was no-where to shelter.

Earlier I was sitting among the Banyan trees and Kentia palms trying to figure out how to best capture this amazing forest. The trouble is for the most part it is very messy and chaotic. With our eyes we are able to filter out the clutter, but our camera does not. This is the challenge. I could see all these wonderful forms and textures, but when I looked on the back of my camera it did just look as good. So feeling a bit frustrated I just found a nice clear spot and sat down.

Maybe I had dozed off, I certainly was tired after all the 4:30am starts, but I became aware of subtle sounds in an otherwise almost silent environment. Wood hens seemed oblivious to my presence and happily scratched around the forest floor within arms reach. I looked up and immediately saw the shot of the Banyan tree I had in mind. The location I had chosen favoured the morning light, so I locked that spot away for the shoot for the next day.

The day before our group had climbed to the summit of Malabar and it seemed I was 20 seconds too late with all my shots. If I went one way the light was not as good by the time I relocated. Yes, in hind-sight I maybe just should have been more patient and waited – however, it is impossible to sit still when you see amazing light, you just have to try to capture it. Also, those places that were beautifully lit up were actually one-off occurrences, so waiting int the one spot would (on this occasion) not have worked.

So sitting in the forest on a fairly sunny, but windy day I was wondering if I should bother lugging all my camera gear to the top of Malabar again? A sensible person would have probably thought, just walk back to the resort if you hurry you might just make it back for afternoon tea. Determined to try to get some shots that I missed the day before, I headed off to the Malabar Hill trail head.

It is a steady climb up the well-defined track. The walking guide suggests it is a class 4 walk, but carrying too much camera gear and a tripod for the second trip feels otherwise.

When I reach the summit the light is just bright sunshine, and fairly uninspiring. I can see the thick band of cloud hanging on the horizon as it has for the past few days. This band of cloud has been problematic. No sunsets or wonderful late glows but the light just shuts off, like someone flicking a switch. Feeling totally uninspired and maybe thinking that the afternoon tea might have been a better option I look around to see what are my shooting options. I am actually a bit early, so I decide I will push on and head off to Kim’s lookout. When I arrive there the wind is blowing so hard, it almost knocks over my tripod. I am sure glad I a good grip of the camera strap. The light still is horrible, so I get a quick shot looking down the western edge of the island and head back to Malabar.

I sit down and have a bit of a rest for 10 minutes since the sun has gone behind the cloud bank and decide that the light is not going to co-operate so I will get a couple more “record” shots and call it a day. As I finish and pack up my camera I suddenly notice a large rain cloud sweeping in. Not sure where it has materialised from! Just as I clamp my camera onto my tripod the sun breaks through the clouds and illuminates the rain cloud. WOW!! I flick off a few frames and check all is good. However I soon realise I am about to get wet. I quickly get out my fold up umbrella and after wiping raindrops off my lens shoot two more frames before the rain hits. The light shuts down as quickly as it appeared. Turning to shield my camera, the wind catches the umbrella and flips it inside out. Out of the corner of my eye I see a rainbow behind me. Actually it is a double-rainbow! No time to fiddle about I put the umbrella on the ground and stand on it to stop it blowing away. A quick wipe of the lens and fire off 3 or 4 frames. Already the rainbows are starting to fade.

Whew – I reckon this all occurred in under a minute! I have another quick check on the back of the camera and smile to myself that I am glad that made the effort.

I remember reading somewhere “Bad weather = Good photos” I am sorry I cannot credit the author, but how true is this?

How often after a huge storm has light broken through the clouds or as in my case sun shining through rain. This creates magic and dramatic light.

If  I was not determined to try to get that shot, I could have easily just had a rest and not have worried. Sure, the weather could have just been nice and sunny and boring but it wasn’t. One thing for sure if I wasn’t out shooting I definitely would NOT have got anything!

So is it better to be stubborn or determined? I would like to think I am just determined, but I know many (including most of my family and friends) know that I do have a certain “stubbornness” when I set my mind on something, so I guess its ok to be both!

I know I got wet, but I also know I got a couple of great images.

Raincloud passes over Lord Howe Island

Rain cloud

Rain sweeping in

Rain Cloud II

double rainbow Lord Howe Island

Double Rainbow over Soldiers Gap

Lord Howe Island - Ned's Beach

Ned’s Beach Passing Storm

Lord Howe Island

Ned’s Beach

A log exposure of a passing storm from the wharf at Lord Howe Island

Passing Storm


#lordhoweisland #Malabar #rainbow #storm #landscape

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Thrilled With APPA Results

I entered the Landscape category of the Australian Institute Professional Photography (AIPP) Australian Professional Print Awards (APPA). This annual event is the highlight of the AIPP calendar.  The judging of prints was held in Melbourne as part of the Digital Expo at the Melbourne exhibition centre. It was both nerve-wracking and exciting to sit in the audience and listen to a panel of five esteemed photographers discussing one of my prints – especially when one of the judges challenged the score!

Of the three prints I entered I received scores of 87, 81 & 78 which meant I qualified for a Silver Distinction Award and a Silver Award.

This is a link to one of my blog entries that describes the judging process “the judging process

The standard of the entries was very high and I feel extremely proud to achieve a great result!

Tony Hewitt won the Landscape category with a series of wonderful aerial abstracts, and won the overall Professional Photographer of the Year.

Info from the AIPP’s website can be found here

Silver Distinction - Misty Pines

Silver Distinction Award – Misty Pines


Silver -Gnarly Gum

Silver Award -Gnarly Gum


No Award - Tangled Mind

No Award – Tangled Mind

My print on display with other award winners

My print on display with other award winners

#aipp #appa #awards

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Joadja Club Trip

Last weekend the Southern Highlands Photographic Society (SHPS) held a club field trip to Joadja. This historic village is nestled in the Joadja valley some 28 km from Mittagong in the Southern Highlands.

This site is of cultural significance due to kerosene shale being discovered there in the mid 1800’s. At its peak some 1200 people lived and worked in the valley. It is hard now to imagine a huge industrial complex of mines, a bank of retorts and a refinery. The shale was “cooked” in banks of retorts to release kerosene oil. This oil was then refined into paraffin was, kerosene, grease and oils.

Life was tough and the community was by necessity mostly self-sufficient.

I have visited Joadja now 4 or 5 times and I still see images everywhere! It is not an easy place to capture successful images. There is so much photographic material there, but there are mostly remnants and overgrown ruins of the original operations. The challenge is I think to try to un-clutter the mess. Instead of shooting wide, try going in close and concentrate on details. That being said I have also shot a number of very wide panoramas that I am happy with!

The bright sun just adds to the challenging conditions, especially if the scene has a couple of “hotspots” that spoil the composition.

Joadja is privately run operation more information can be found from their website Joadja Town.


Family Tree

Family Tree

Hiku Rust

Haiku Rust

Retort Pastels

Retort Pastels

Indoor Garden

Indoor Garden

Whomping Willow

Whomping Willow

Blue Danube

Blue Danube

Global Warming

Global Warming

Grab the bull

Grab the bull



#joadja #southernhighlands #historic #landscape #abstract

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Penrose Yacht Club

When I first moved to the Southern Highlands I had heard stories about a steel-hulled yacht in Penrose State Forest. Until recently, I had long forgotten about it. I wanted to check the hashtag for SouthernHighlands and one of the images that popped up was a yacht in Penrose State Forest! I then commenced searching on-line for clues as to its possible location. Despite it being a geocache destination I could not find specific co-ordinates. However armed with a topographic map and cross-referencing various mentions on the web I thought I had narrowed down its location.

Inserting a way-point and a possible route into my GPS I set off with my daughter armed with our cameras to see if we could find it. Despite being reasonably confident that I was on the right track we arrived to an empty intersection. From published photos, this surely was the right place! We persevered up one trail and found two old wrecks. After a quick look we decided to continue our search. After back-tracking we continued down another track and how exciting it was to catch a glimpse of the yacht through the trees!

I am not sure the story behind why they yacht is in the forest in the first place. On the web there are various theories. Whatever the case, this is a large steel-hulled vessel that would require a significant amount of effort to get it there.

What is weird is that periodically it gets relocated!

If you can shed more light on this mystery I would love to hear from you.

Yacht Bow

Yacht Bow

Yacht Stern

Yacht Stern

Yacht Hull

Yacht Hull

Handrail Detail

Handrail Detail

Deck Detail

Deck Detail

Hull Graffiti One

Hull Graffiti One

Hull Graffiti Two

Hull Graffiti Two

Hull Graffiti Three

Hull Graffiti Three

#SouthernHighlands #Penrose  #Yacht

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Beautiful Waiheke – Part 1

Waiheke Island is a beautiful part of the world. In April I was fortunate to be the photographer for Mark & Manon’s wedding. Apart from attending and capturing the event, I was able to spend extra time exploring and photographing this wonderful place. It included a fishing trip with Cliff Fishing for Snapper with soft plastics.

This series of images are the more “colourful” ones, I am working on a more subtle series 🙂


Alien Cloudscape



Brilliant Sunrise


A brilliant sunrise – panorama



Sunrise towards Coromandels


Auckland on Fire

Auckland on Fire



Full Moon Setting 


#Landscape #Waiheke #NewZealand

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Beautiful Hobart Harbour

An earlier post (Spectra Light Tower) showed images of Ryoji Ikeda’s amazing installation as part of the Dark MoFo Festival. Whilst in Hobart I shot several images from my hotel room which overlooked the harbour. Most of the week it was dull rained-out grey, which was not that interesting. I would imaging that the harbour does get wild weather from the south.

However on a couple of occasions the light was right to show off the harbours beauty.

The last rays of light

The last rays of light

Evening Glow

Evening Glow

Winter Morning

Winter Morning

#hobart #harbour #landscape

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Wet Wet Wet

Feeling inspired by my images from my Photographic Scales post, I thought that I would photograph some local waterfalls today. I assumed they would be spectacular given the tremendous amount of rain we have had over the last week. However the mist and steady rain rolling up the valley instead of creating a nice ethereal scene completely obscured the view. A complete white-out. Here are a couple of my consolation images.

A misty Southern Highlands

Belmore Falls Lookout


Southern Highlands Mist

The view of the escarpment is disappearing fast


A misty Southern Highlands

Low visibility in the Southern Highlands

#southernhighlands #belmorefalls #landscapes #mist

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