Almost Weekly Photo

Finally A Few Of The Legends

Peter Adams, Katoomba, NSW. The photo was considered to irreverent…

Grant Dixon's Winter Light

Tasmania continues to produce a proud tradition of landscape photography…

Bhutan's Remote Phobjikha Valley

Early morning, Phobjikha Valley overview, BhutanPhase One XF 150MP, 110mm…

Refine, Refine, Refine

Foyn Harbour Weather Study #3, Antarctica 2020Phase One XF 150MP,…

Gold Award by Pedro Jacque Krebs, winner, Revealing Nature category, 2018 Better Photography Photo of the Year Award

I have yet to get four gold awards at the Australian Professional Photography Awards. Every year, I pack away four gold prints and hope the judges agree with me.

They never have!

No matter how experienced you might be or how many awards you’ve won in the past, entering photography competitions remains an important part of my development as a photographer - and it can be the same for you too.

My co-judges, David Oliver and Tony Hewitt, are also AIPP Grand Masters of Photography. They also enter APPA every year. And we have a little wager on the side with the lowest scoring photographer buying lunch for the other two.

As judges, we think it’s important to know what it feels like to win and to lose. We all know what it’s like to get an entry with no award. We also remember what it was like to get our first bronze and silver awards. And the excitement doesn’t change with experience.

We’re realistic that winning a category or the overall competition is a matter of luck because we have no control over how good other entries might be. However, we can judge our success by how many silver or gold awards we get. At our level, we expect to get silvers (unless we’re testing something different, which is shorthand for saying we didn’t even get a silver)!

But what about you? How did you go last year and can you do better this year? If you get bronze awards easily enough, then perhaps your challenge is to get four silvers? Getting lots of silvers? Then welcome to the club in trying to get lots of golds. And if you do find the secret, please remember to share it with me!

Entries into the 2019 Better Photography Photo of the Year Awards close on 15 August 2019, so there's still time to enter - and who knows, you could be part of the $17,000 prize pool too! For more details, visit now!

Many photographers have the aurora or Northern Lights on their wish list and there's no doubt it is an amazing experience. David Evans, the editor's 'partner-in-crime' for the International Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards, is not only a consummate landscape photographer, he's an expert guide through the colder climes - especially Swedish Lapland.

Says David, "When you're right under the aurora oval and you get a Kp 6 or 7 (the image above was a 6), then it isn't about camera trickery - it really is as bright to the naked eye as in this photo! Well, almost!

"The biggest challenge is the movement of the aurora itself, when it's dancing and moving about quickly. You don't want it to be too blurred. As such, this was underexposed deliberately at 6 seconds and ISO 1600 to freeze it as much as possible, without getting too much noise. I used a Pentax 645Z with a 28-45mm lens and then brought up the shadows in Adobe Raw Converter. To finish I added a bit of lens correction in Photoshop.

The raw file before processing - underexposed intentionally so as not to blur the aurora too much.

Full details of David's photo tours in January 2020 are here: and there's a photo gallery there as well. Check it out!

Walrus with pup, Storoya, Svalbard. Phase One XF 100MP, 240mm Schneider lens, hand-held.
Printed on an Epson SureColor P10070 and Canson Rag Photographique
Highest Scoring Print, 2019 AIPP NSW Epson Professional Photography Awards, sponsored by CR Kennedy.

Last night, Peter Eastway was awarded the 2019 AIPP NSW Epson Professional Photographer of the Year, sponsored by Epson. He also won the 2019 AIPP NSW Professional Nature Photographer of the Year, sponsored by Olympus, and had the overall Highest Scoring Print in the Awards, sponsored by CR Kennedy.

"I'm delighted", said the enthusiast Eastway! "It's been quite a few years since I've won a category, let alone the PPY. There are so many great photographers coming through that I no longer have any expectations about prizes, although I continue to strive for an elusive four gold awards."

The AIPP in partnership with Epson deliver the professional photography awards in all Australian states and territories, attracting over three thousand entries from professional photographers and students. It is followed by the AIPP's national Australian Professional Photography Awards which will be held in Sydney this August. Photographers can enter up to four prints in a category and each print is presented separately to a panel of five judges who give scores. An aggregate of 80+ is a Silver while 90+ earns a Gold award. Only 2 to 3 percent earn Gold. The highest three portfolios of four prints are then re-assessed to determine the category winner and then the eleven category winners are assessed again to determine the overall Professional Photographer of the Year (PPY).

This year, Eastway earned a Gold with Distinction (a score of 96), two Golds and a Silver with Distinction (85). "Not quite there yet", Eastway smiled, "but I live in hope!"

"People ask what makes an award winning print - what makes the judges sit up and take notice? I wish I knew! It's a combination of an interesting subject, something that excites the judges and that has emotion. Then you need to add in the highest quality photographic technique, both in capture and post-production.

"In the nature category, there is a limit to what you can do to the file. The images must be single capture and you can't clone out things or introduce new elements. It's 'straight' photography, but you're still allowed to interpret the file in terms of exposure, contrast and colour. However, perhaps the most important part of the process is transferring the image to paper - making the print.

"I'm a proud Epson ambassador and I use a large format 44" Epson SureColor P10070. I'm also a Canson ambassador and my entries were printed on either Rag Photographique or Platine. I felt the thousands of penguins at St Andrews looked better on the slightly glossy Platine surface, while the walrus and pup worked beautifully on the matte surface of Rag Photographique.

"In my studio, I have over 50 'test' prints which were stepping stones to the final result. I make a print and pin it onto a wall opposite my desk and live with it. I try to analyse it like a judge and then I make adjustments - lightening areas here, darkening them there and so on. Many people wouldn't notice the differences, but under the bright lights of the judging room, those subtle differences can mean one or two extra points - and that could be the difference between 89 and 90!

"I've been entering the awards since 1984 and the process of working up my best images every year has been crucial to my development as a photographer. I know what it's like to get crap scores from the judges - it hurts! And when you get good scores, it's a great feeling, but you need to keep it in context - judges are just expressing an opinion and there are lots of other great photographers out there, vying for the same awards. I've been very fortunate over the years to win quite a few, and while there's an element of luck for the big prizes, it's the hard work we all put into our entries that improves our craft and raises the overall standard of professional photography in Australia."

"I'd also like to thank the AIPP Awards Team, headed by Sue Lewis, that makes the awards happen, all the volunteers behind the scenes, the state councils for hosting the events, the judges for giving up their time - and the entrants for creating the amazing energy. If you're in Sydney on 10-12 August, come along to Royal Randwick and watch the APPA's being judged. It's free and whether you come for an afternoon or all three days, the education and experience can be life-changing - in a good way!"

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