Photography by

Gavin Thompson

March Competition Wrap Up

The PACC March competitions were held last night at our local club rooms with another great turn out. This month I decide only to enter in the open category only as I have had a busy month and ended up running out of time to be able to shoot what I wanted for the Vintage category. I had 3 images in digital and 3 in prints for Open. The digital open category was judged first up and missed the critique on my first two images as I was busy compiling the print entries into the correct order for judging. With my third entry "Flame Trees" I only scored a 6. The Judging scores were from a low base so I wasn't too disappointed. I found out later that "Morning River" had scored an 8, finishing 4th and my portrait entry "Maddi and Mallory" scored a 7 and finished 13th.

The Vintage category for digital and then prints were judged and there were some great entries that we were being served up so it was an entertaining night to check out some great photos. The Open print category was the last one to be judged. My entry "Colours of Parsons" was one of the first ones up for judging and was rather surprised that It scored a 10 without any hesitation. The last two of my entries "The Rocks" and "After Glow" both received 8's which was good for the scores that were being handed out for the night and both finished equal 9th in it's category. Check out the above link and click through it to have a look at the great photos that did well last night and don't forget to like the photos that you like as the photographers love getting feedback on their photos.

Before I forget, I'm in the process of putting together some instructional videos on post processing so when they are ready I'll announce those right here so check them out when they become available.

Cheers from me until my next blog post or video and don't forget to check out my Facebook Page

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

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!

February Competition News

It's been a few months since my last update and thought it was time to devote some time to my Website. It's been a busy couple of months also, as I had decided late last year to join the Port Adelaide Camera Club. I was very nervous leading into my first ever photo competition as I normally don't show my work to anyone. My partner had been prompting me for the last year or so to start showing more of my work and by joining the club it was going to force me to do that. What made me more nervous was knowing that my photos were going to be judged by some tough critics who are looking for faults within a photo.

The lead up to it was intense, trying to narrow down so many photos into a total of 8 pictures with 4 in the Nature category and 4 in the Open category. After printing off a selection of photos and laying them out on the floor I began the task of whittling each category down to the required four photos for each category. I then had to decide which two were going to be submitted in printed and which two for projected for each of the two categories.

Leading up to competition night I was second guessing myself if I had selected the right images. Then the judging started and hearing the comments about the other photos leading up to mine being presented was making me even more nervous. Then the moment when they appear. I will say the outcome of the first meeting even surprised me. I managed to score two 8's and two 9's in my first ever competition.

The above photo (Fairyland) scored a 9 in Printed Nature. Considering this was shot around three years ago I was extremely happen that it did so well. These little guys just magically appear every year under our almond tree and only last the morning. Normally the grass is damp and having to lay down to capture this shot was well worth it now. Each time I look at this photo I can image little fairies running around under these.

The next photo (Pondering) also scored a 9 but this time in Projected Nature. This was a more recent shot which was taken on my holidays at Christmas time down at Ross in Tasmania. I love this photo as the duck was completely relaxed as I took this photo. The colours of his feathers are just gorgeous. The spot where this was taken was just off to the side of the Historic Ross Bridge. It's a beautiful spot and we ended up sitting there for an hour or so just relaxing.

I'm so glad that I have now completed my first ever photography competition and I'm now looking forward to showing more of my work now. If any of you are interested in coming down and taking a look at the Port Adelaide Camera Club please feel free to come on down and take a look. We meet the first and third Tuesdays of the month from 7:30 PM onwards in the Basement of the Uniting Church, Cnr Charlotten Ave & Commercial Rd, Port Adelaide. More details can be found on the clubs Facebook page which can be found here. If you do come down, say hi to me, as I'm only to glad to talk shop to other photographers.

Is Film Photography Dead?

Today I watched a great little video titled "Long Live Film" by Indie Film Lab. If any of you want to watch it, it can be found here on YouTube

While I was watching the video it got me thinking about my photography and the way I shoot. There is definitely some merits to shooting film and I suppose the biggest thing to take out of this is to slow down and think about what you are wanting to shoot and making sure that you have the shot that you really want before squeezing that shutter button instead of snapping away and shooting fifty shots before you get the picture that you want. Not only do you get a better picture but think of the time that you wont have to spend in front of the computer monitor having to deal with the other forty nine images that you created for that one picture that you wanted.

The other thing that I took away from this video was about staying in the moment. I like so many others have been guilty of this. How many of you out there, when shooting digital have taken several shots only to stop and then review your images to only then miss a spectacular moment that you could have caught if only you hadn't been looking at the LCD screen on your camera? Hands up on that one, as only the other day we had a massive electrical storm unfolding with lightning strikes happening all over the place. I'd set up with the camera facing towards the ocean and had fired off several long exposure shots. Started to review what I had captured only to miss the one moment that I had staid up for to capture. This also applies to when you're shooting portraits or weddings. Instead of spending time staring at the LCD you can be building rapport with your client which can only be a positive as it can only help when it comes to focusing on getting that shot you want.

The other off spin from shooting film is that along the way you may end up creating some great images with great tonal range and texture. Film has always had that romantic quality about it which I love. I for one will be shooting more film after watching this as it will help in developing some good habits which can only help in creating better images and as one of the photographers that was interviewed said "People act like film is so difficult. Think about it, your grand mother use to do it. How hard can it be!"


Hi and welcome to If you have found this site, chances are you are into photography like me. There is nothing better than being outdoors with nature and having a camera in hand to capture some of life's beauty. Over the next couple of weeks I'll be bringing this newly created site which is still a shell up to scratch. There is still a lot of editing to be done and once completed I'll be publishing it all here. I've taken several steps this year to further my photography, one of which is by joining my local camera club which has some fabulous members. I'll be documenting my travels with the club so hopefully some of you would like to take the journey with me. This journey may be in the form of a monthly podcast or at minimum a blog entry. Anyone interested in joining the club can also contact me for details ( and I'll point you in the right direction as we do have a lot of fun. As I said earlier I have taken several steps this year to improve my photography so another one of the steps has been to completely rehash my website and use this to gather public opinion of my photography work. I look forward to your comments. Anyway I must go now as I have got a lot of work still to be done and a lot more editing to do. Thank you for dropping by and happy shooting.


Gavin Thompson