The beginning of June saw the announcement of the 2017 Sony Alpha Awards, which showcased the very best of New Zealand and Australian photography shot using the Sony A (Alpha) camera range. Celebrating its second year, the awards received over 1500 entries from professional and amateur photographers vying to be recognized for their captivating imagery. Professional photographers Craig Parry and Mark Galer selected the winning images across the eight categories, crowning Rotorua photographer John Ford the winner of the Nature category, as well as the overall Grand Prize winner.
John described his shoot: “My wife, Catherine, and I are sheep and cattle farmers just south of Rotorua, and I took this image early one morning this April when I shifted our main mob of ewes into a fresh paddock. After opening the gate for the sheep, I went up to the top of the hill and waited for them to spread out over the paddock as the sun came up on my right. I must have taken about 50 photos altogether, and this image is the best of them. It is a panorama of three photos taken on my Sony A6000 with the 18–50mm kit lens ... I stitched [the photos] together and adjusted shadows, etc. in Lightroom CC. It is a classic case of ‘f/8 and be there’, and the small size and convenience of the Sony A6000 made this easy.”
Each winner across the eight categories was awarded $2K’ worth of Sony A camera products. John, the Grand Prize winner, received $3K’ worth of gear. In addition, he will also be embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime overseas photography workshop with Sony Global Digital Imaging ambassador Craig Parry.
John said of the experience, “It was a huge thrill to win the Nature section of the Sony Alpha Awards and for Sony to fly Catherine and I over to Sydney for the awards evening, and ... absolutely amazing to then be picked as overall winner. After my family, my two passions in life are farming and photography, and to win this competition with an image taken on our farm was just perfect.”