Category Archives: Competition Entries

Success with Reflections

Each year the six photographic clubs in the Wellington area have a print competition. The host club sets 10 topics and each club submits a single image. I have entered images for selection in most years, and have normally had at least one selected by the Hutt Camera Club. This year was no different and I submitted images in two categories.

The judging was held last night and I was thrilled when my entry in the “reflections” category won, with the judge raving about the image.Reflections

Afterwards the images attracted a lot of attention and I received a lot of questions about how it had been produced.

When I had seen the category “reflections” I knew that I wanted to create something quite different. A very similar  topic was used in 2011 and that time I used a mirror as well. (you can read about that one on this link).

Fortunately just down the road from work is an unusual shop selling a wide of mirrors. It is set out more like an old curiosity shop, and so i knew that it would make a great location. The shop describes itself as a gentleman’s destination shop so I knew that I wanted a particular look for the person. Fortunately I knew that Wellington wedding photographer Jason Naylor fitted that bill, and he agreed to take part.

We had to wait a couple of months to get a time that was not so chaotic for him and the shop owner. We will given full run of the shop after it closed to the public. My daughter assisted with helping set up the mirrors.

The image was lit with a single strobe placed immediately in front of Jason firing into my 7 foot parabolic umbrella. A Lumecube was placed on a light stand just behind him (camera left) to add a little separation.

The shot as presented is pretty much straight out of camera. Photoshop was used to set the tone of the image along with a little dodging. The fifth mirror was a little bit of a mistake however I quite like how it adds a little bit to the image.

Double Success

Last night we received the results of the second round on the 1026 Hutt Camera Club Ladder competition. The set topic was “hidden” and I had entered one image from my shoot with Wellington, and a second image shot specifically for the competition. I was really happy when it was announced that my first image received a “honours” but absolutely over the moon when the second one got the same mark.

Hidden in the Light
Hidden in the Light

The other side of the lens

Over the last two weekends I have had the situation where I had stepped out from behind the lens to be in front of it. I do this occasionally because as a portrait photographer I do not feel that you can really produce the best if you can’t feel what it is like to be the subject.

Last week it was at a portrait field trip associated with the Photographic Society of New Zealand annual convention in Queenstown. That was a relatively simply shoot.

However yesterday it was a completely different affair as I helped out Upper Hutt photographer Mandi Lynn who was working on some images for entry into the upcoming professional body awards.

I was turned into the victim of a zombie attack. This involved half an hour of makeup and the application of a lot of blood. Some of the positions that I had to get into were not the most comfortable but the end result looked really good. I can’t wait to see the final image in early June.

Photographer Mandi Lynn and me along with the two youngest zombies.

Merit in first competition for 2016

Last night was the judging of the first club competition for the year. The theme was “alternative view” and so I decided to enter the image I had taken of Kat. I figured that this was not the normal way that a portrait would appear.


It would appear that I was right as the judge awarded it a “Merit”. This is the second level down from the top mark that can be awarded, so I am really pleased with the result.

Representing New Zealand

This week i got some great news. I had submitted an image for consideration of being selected to represent the Photographic Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) in an international competition run by the Federation of International Photographic Art (FIAP).

PSNZ was entering an “Open Colour” section and had chosen to base a set on “Autumn Colours”. It needed to select 20 images. I anticipated that most people were going to submit landscapes so I submitted a portrait of Kat amongst the leaves.

Kat_FIAPAs I understand it there was a very high number of entries and so I was really pleased to be selected amongst them.

The shot was taken over a year ago and you can read the full story behind it on this post.

Success in first Club competition of 2015

I was pleased with my results in the first judging of the Hutt Camera Club 2015 Ladder competition receiving a Merit and a Commended. This post is about the Merit image that I had entitled “Mummy”


When the topic of “The Street” was announced I decided that I wanted to do an image of a small child on a large street to show lowliness. I wanted to shoot it against a street that had large buildings on each side which would have further emphasised how small the child was. However in order to be safe I intended to shoot the street and the child separately and then composite the two together.

I took some shots in Featherston Street Wellington one morning while trying to ensure that I dodged the traffic. Around where the old General Motors plant was in Upper Hutt there is a new industrial area that has all of the roads laid out but as they have never sold any of the sections is blocked off so there is no traffic

The little girl is named Aubrey and she is the daughter of Ali, a model I have shot on a number of occasions. I met her just before Christmas and found her to be a very smart and articulate 2 year old, so I had figured that she would be great for the shoot.

Now there is an old adage that you should never work with either children or animals and this certainly came into play.

Aubrey woke up from her afternoon nap in a bad mood and by the time she arrived at the location it had not improved much. Unfortunately when we arrived we also found 5 police dog cars at the gate as they were using the area for dog training. While they were all under control and well away from where we were shooting Aubrey did not like the look of them at all.

I decided to shoot anyway so Ali carried her down the road, put her down and then quickly walked away. The shots were taken in a single set as by this stage Aubrey was heading towards the sort of tantrum that only 2 year olds can throw.

I ended up not putting the composite together as I thought that the image was strong enough without it, and given that it got a Merit then the judge agreed.

North Shore Salon Success

The North shore Salon is a major national competition run each. This is the second year that I have submitted images and I was super stoked when I received the news this afternoon that my image “Breaking dawn” had been given a “Highly Commended” Award in the Open Colour Section. I also received an acceptance for my “Role of the Model” in the same category.

Breaking Dawn
Breaking Dawn
Role of the Model
Role of the Model

Success at Central Regional Salon

The Central Region of the Photographic Society of New Zealand (PSNZ) basically covers the Lower half of the north island. I believe that the boundary is just below Taupo but it does include the East Coast city of Gisborne.

This year I entered both a print and a digital image into the Open Category of the salon, and had another image included in the Hutt Camera Club’s print set. I am really stoked with the results.

Because my Club was hosting the conference I actually got to help out with the judging session so was on hand to hear the comments of the judges who actually had no idea who had shot the images.

My print of the “Late for the Ball” image really resonated with the judges and it scores a merit and came third in the competition.

The print of this image actually looks better than the digital version
The print of this image actually looks better than the digital version

The  story behind the image can be found on this blog post.

My “Waiting for the model call” image was included in the Club set with the overall set coming second in the category. The story behind this image can be found on this link.

The final hanger shot is quite different from the earlier version
The final hanger shot is quite different from the earlier version

Finally my image entitled “The Fall” got an “Acceptance” in the Digital Category. Not as high as I would have liked but the standard of the images in the section was very high.

The fall
The fall

This image was actually a late substitution. I had intended to enter the hanger shot into the category but when it was selected for the Club entry I was under the impression that it could not go into an individual competition. Unfortunately by the time that it was discovered that this was allowed, it was too late.

The success has spurred me on to enter the images into consideration for NZ Camera which is the actual print publication of PSNZ.

Double success at final club judging

Last Tuesday was the final judging of the 2014 Ladder competition and I had two images entered. I was very pleased with the results as both images received “Merits” (which is the second to top score an image can achieve).

The set topic for the round was “From beneath” and I submitted this image taken at the old brickworks in Melbourne.0218_L4_S_EncasedClimb

For the second image I decided to enter my “Late for the Ball” into the Open category.Late for the Ball_Small

Very pleased with the overall results, however they were not good enough to actually win the competition.

Mixed results in Creative Focus

The Creative Focus Competition is a nationwide competition organised by the Pukekohe Camera club that has an aim of promoting photography that pushes the boundaries of traditional images both in terms of in camera techniques as well as post processing. The competition is in its second year.

Last year I entered four images and all four received acceptances, so i had high hopes of being able to repeat that process again. I entered four image again in a category they referred to as “fusion” however the more common term that should have used was composites.

This year I was not as successful having only two images (shown below) being successful. At first I was disappointed by this but then I learned that they had received twice as many images as the previous year. This meant that their rejection rate had to considerably higher as all the successful images are printed in a book after the competition.

Autumn Goddess

The stories behind the image can be found in Autumn Shoot and Late for the Ball articles Late for the Ball_Small