Almost Weekly Photo

A Little Sharpening Still Helps

Glacial Textures, Iceland. Phase One XF IQ150, f3.2 @ 1/2000…

Are Aerials Still Cool?

Glacial Moraine, Iceland.Phase One XF IQ150, f3.2 @ 1/2000 second,…

Always Inspiring!

Remnants of a flood, Wendover, UtahNikon D850, Nikon AF-S 70-200mm…

A Grand Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Detail Phase One XF 100MP Trichromatic, 110mm Schneider…

Do I enter photo competitions, or just judge them? I certainly still enter. Why? I enjoy the process. Do I always win? Hardly ever. So why do I enter? Because it pushes me to make better photographs.

Enjoying the process is so important. And the results of that process are, in my opinion, better quality photos whether you win or not.

Some photographers don't enter competitions because they're scared of failure, but in my mind, not entering because you're worried about how you might do is already failure. That's not a good excuse - especially since the photos are judged anonymously and people will only learn about your successes! I realise there are other reasons for not entering and that's up to you. And of course, I will have a more successful photo competition if I convince you to enter. All true!

But I practise what I preach because I believe in the benefits, even after entering competitions for over 30 years.

The image above scored fourth in the Celebration category in the recent Silver Linings Awards run by the AIPP. There was some brilliant photography entered and you can check out the results here: https://aippawards.com.au/silverlining/sla-results/

The image is a composite of a festival in Trashigang, Bhutan. The actors are monks dressed up in the most incredible costumes and a slow shutter speed was used to create the blurs. A series of images was taken with the idea of putting them together into a composite that reflects the animation and congestion of what are usually very intensive, two or three day events.

And for the record, I entered quite a few photos that didn't make it into the semi-finals or finals. 

So, no first prizes! Am I disappointed? Definitely not. The aim of entering photo competitions shouldn't be to win the prizes - although if you do, it's very nice. The aim is to meet a standard which, in the case of the Silver Linings, was to be a semi-finalist or finalist.

For the Better Photography Photo of the Year awards, the aim is to earn Bronze, Silver or Gold awards. Bronzes are your first test and if you find them easy enough, then challenge yourself and go for silver! There's still time to enter - details below!

Christian Fletcher and Carwyn have been producing a great podcast for around 12 months now and there's some excellent listening to be had, if you can forgive Christian's poor joke selection. Actually, there's no need to forgive him, we all just laugh at his uncensored sense of humour. One wonders what his wife puts in his coffee to keep him under control! Or maybe we wonder what she should put in his coffee...

I was listening to a LightMinded podcast with Les Walking this week. Dr Les lives in Melbourne and his photography workshops are now all being done online, including one on 3DLUT Creator. Now, for those of you in isolation, here's a little project to look into. 3DLUT (Look Up Table) Creator is all about tone and colour and it does things you can't do in Photoshop, Lightroom or Capture One. It's the latest secret sauce, you can Google all about it and there are plenty of YouTube videos. Or, you could sign up for one of Les's online workshops - which is what Christian said he was going to do on the podcast. What a great idea! So I've signed up for next week and although this means the August course is now full, Les has others later in the year. Check out https://www.leswalkling.com for more information.

In addition to listening to Les, you can also listen to an interview with me where we talk about photo competitions and whether they are worth entering. Naturally I loved the opportunity to talk about photo competitions because the Better Photography Photo of the Year award is running and is about to close!

If you're interested in some great podcasts, here's the link: https://www.lightminded.com.au/podcast or you can Google LightMinded and Christian Fletcher.

Long Reef, Sydney
Phase One A-Series, IQ4 150MP back, 70mm Alpagon, f11 @ 1 minute, ISO 50

Our thoughts go out to our Victorian photographers and friends in isolation. We've been thinking of you. As a Sydney-sider, I realise I'm lucky because I can still walk down to the end of the street and take photos like the one above, simply because I see the weather changing. In fact, the sky was so good I took a few extra sky shots which I plan to drop into other views of Long Reef with which I'm struggling, but that's another story.

What do we do in isolation? What do we do when it comes to limited travel opportunities? None of us can go very far at this stage and in the future, we may be required to do two weeks isolation when we return to our home countries - so that may mean longer but fewer expeditions. Then again, as I listen to the Coronacast on my ABC Listen app (I know, I'm showing my age), perhaps a vaccine will solve our problems. I'm sure it will - this state of affairs won't be forever.

So, if you're in Victoria, maybe you can photograph your backyard or shoot some still lifes? What about revisiting existing files and seeing what you could do with them. Perhaps you have a great landscape and a lackluster sky - why not drop a new one in? Don't know how? Luminar 4 software will do it automatically or you can learn a little about layers and Photoshop. You have plenty of time! And if you don't take landscapes, why not drop a new background into a portrait you've taken. Composites might not be your thing, but challenge yourself to learn something new and make the most of a bad situation.

For readers who have some mobility, maybe it's time to look at your local town or suburb. As shown above, interesting weather can transform a landscape or maybe you can document street life and the different ways we now interact?

I think that's the beauty of photography - the fact that there's always something you can photograph and do. I think it would be much more difficult to go through these times without a passion like photography.

Here's hoping everyone is okay!

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