Silver haul trebles at this year's state professional photography awards

I've trebled my level of success in the AIPP Queensland Professional Photography Awards!

Following on from earning my first Silver last year in what is essentially a peer review system, enabling industry benchmarking, in the 2015 edition I've had three of my photographs judged Silver.

Highlighting my creative ability across numerous genres, I'm proud to say all four awarded images over the past two years have been in different categories: Commercial photography last year; this year Landscape photography, Illustrative photography and Travel photography.

Abstract of the sails of the Sydney Opera House

An abstract composition of the Sydney Opera House, which I've titled Sails and which garnered comments along the lines of "impressive given all the photographs of that subject to shoot something original", earned Silver in the Landscape photography category.

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A 2.5-second exposure within the historic Spring Hill Reservoirs in Brisbane, having gained access during last year's Brisbane Open House event, led to the Illustrative photography category Silver award image titled Supernatural Portal which is so named because it conjures a sense of paranormal activity.

The wavy light trail helping to create the somewhat spooky vibe was intentionally captured by timing the exposure with movement of people through an intense pool of light generated by a spotlight set up to help illuminate the space for the public tour.

Bellagio water fountains and the Las Vegas Strip at night

The third image awarded Silver, this time in the Travel photography category, was this black-and-white night cityscape of Las Vegas Strip captured from an elevated position.

Photographed from the viewing platform of the Paris Las Vegas hotel and casino's half-size Eiffel Tower replica and titled Vegas Nights, the 3.2-second exposure was not an easy image to create. It was shot with my Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens squeezed through a small hole in the security fence, only one leg of the tripod firmly stabilised on the floor and the other two strategically positioned through the grill of the fence.

To ensure a stable platform for the long-exposure capture and get the shot, I additionally had to battle against tourists bumping the tripod as they jostled for position to get a better view of the sprawling city below them.

By AIPP rules, entries in the Travel photography category must be single-capture images with no retouching that materially affects the authenticity of the document. (Conversion from a colour image to black-and-white is allowed and although doing so with this image wasn't initially obvious, given Las Vegas is such a colourful city at night, I think it really works and I feel the decision has been vindicated by the award.)

Camera technique and print quality are considered to be important, with the judges also paying special attention to composition, light and camera angle.