Photography by

Gavin Thompson

2014 Year Wrap Up

Night Flames


Well I sit here wondering where last year disappeared too and have just realised that nearly all of January has disappeared from us in such a short time too. Last year was such a whirlwind, that I had very little time to sit down and post images or write my blog and update my Facebook Photography page that I had created back in 2013 and had every intention of doing this weekly. Sadly I failed! This year I promise to at least do this monthly on here and more regularly on Facebook which I have just finished linking it back to here, so hopefully there will be more content for all my loyal readers.

I suppose I had better get into doing a wrap up of 2014 seeing that's the title of this article. Last year I joined the Port Adelaide Camera Club as most of you would know. Looking back this was the single best thing that I have done, which has improved my photography further than I would have dreamed of. It was a bit daunting walking in off the street to a club where I knew no one. Credit to the fantastic club members for the environment that they have created at PACC as they made me feel right at home the moment I walked. It was great being able to talk with like minded photographers who have the same passion as I do.

The previous year I was fortunate enough to be able to witness the AIPP award photos being judged so it gave me some insight to how the judging process worked and how to present images for judging. When the competition calendar was released I scoured through my images looking for suitable entries for the upcoming competitions. In hindsight it may have been better to have gone out and taken images especially for the competitions as I learnt from the judging process.

On my first competition night I was full of nerves. I was dubious about having my work critiqued as I had rarely shown my work to anyone previously. I learned quickly that you have to over come the disappointment of being told that your image isn't the winner that you thought it is. Then having a judge tell you what else you have got wrong really does get to you. You then realise that you need to listen to the judge so that you can improve by not making the same mistakes and having to hear all of the critique over again next month. My first night was one of mixed emotions The two categories that were being judged were Nature and Open images. In the nature category I managed to score two merits and was over the moon with the result. With the Open category I didn't fair so well.

The following month the categories were "Through the window" and "Open" again. This time I went out and set up a scene and shot this specifically for the competition. I had also gone out and looked for specific through the window shots and managed to produce some good shots. I also did the same for the Open category were I had spent several nights at the same location trying to obtain the image that I was after. Competition night rolled around and judging commenced when I scored my first ever Distinction for an image name "Please Come Home". This was the image that I had set the scene up for, so that it told a story. I was ecstatic with the result for the effort that I had put in. To add to the night I then scored a further two Merits in Through the window and then had Please Come Home judged as the top image in print.

Open was judged next with a further Merit being gained for Night Flames. This validated for me that if you work hard for the image that you are looking for it pays off, as this was the image that I had spent the several nights trying to get and the results speak for themselves.

For the remainder of the year I managed to score a further seven Merits for the following images, Cressy Cove (Landscape), Boxy, 431 and The Old (Architecture), Light Me Up (Our Port Adelaide), Planet Burra (Creative), Wave Off (Open). In addition I also managed a further two Distinctions for Balinese Dancer (Open) and 1289 Mega Watts (Reflections).

The final competition night at Port Adelaide Camera Club (PACC) is Photo Of The Year for Digital and Print. We have three external judges attend the night to judge all the photos that have gained Merits and Distinctions through out the year for qualified members. This is the biggest night for the club and there's a lot of anxious people waiting to see how they did. This year the club change things a bit and had the judges score it silently so no one knew the results until presentation night a month later.

It was a long month waiting to see who had taken out the top awards for the year. During the month I kept asking myself, would one of my 14 images that I had for judging score well? I knew that I had some tough competition as the calibre of work produced by PACC members is high and there are some fantastic photographers at the club. As luck would have it I managed to score Three Distinctions from the judges for my image Night Flames to take out Photo of the Year (Print). I then managed to have a runner up with Cressy Cove for Photo of the Year (Digital). Was absolutely knocked over with the result for my first year at the club.

If I though the year couldn't get any better, I had a feature article done on me by the SAPF (South Australian Photography Federation). The article can be found here http://sapf.org.au/?p=5997

I've also had 1289 Mega Watts featured on the Banner of the SAPF home page and then Night Flames exhibited with the other winning images at the Semaphore Library. These are all firsts for me, as if you had told me a year earlier that I'd have images being shown I'd have told you that you were dreaming.

Probably the biggest thing that I have taken out of last year is, surround yourself with people who share your passion and that will make you strive further and drive you to your goals. PACC is a great place for this and they have a great attitude and are extremely sociable too. Last year I made many new friends from within the club. Last year I also learnt if you want to do well in photography, visualise what you want for your final image and work for it. At the end of the day if the judge doesn't like it you'll still have an image that you like and you'll know that you worked hard for it. Also don't take one judges comments to harshly as photography is a subjective thing and one judge mightn't like your work. But then you may have three judges that love it. Just remember Night Flames only scored a Merit (9) the first time!