Lumix pits pro against amateurs

Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds G-Series cameras claim to let anyone shoot like a pro and now there’s an online competition running to prove it.

The company has teamed up with communications firm Tango to pit the prowess of one anonymous professional photographer against the skills of two rank amateurs using the same Lumix gear.

Both the pro photographer and the team of two amateurs, one a builder and the other a university student, have been given ten briefs to shoot and both sides have submitted the best shot from each to be voted on in a blind test online. Read the rest of this entry »

Camera Phone Photographer of the Year: Prizes Revealed

While our Camera Phone Photographer of the Year competition has been running for a few months already Sony is providing prizes so exclusive that we couldn’t even reveal their full details – until now.

Each month entrants to the camera phone competition will be in the running to win a Sony Xperia U, one of the first Sony Mobile smartphones to hit New Zealand.

Part of the brand new Xperia NXT series, the Xperia U combines powerful Sony entertainment in a stylish and compact design that users can personalise inside and out, retailing for $399.

To help develop your mobile photography even further the Xperia U boasts a 5MP camera with unique fast capture, HD recording and Sony technology to capture 2D and 3D panoramic images.

It also features a 3.5-inch Reality Display using Sony’s Mobile Bravia Engine, a 1GHz dual-core processor, xLoud and 3D surround sound audio technology and is upgradable to the Android 4.0 operating system.

Each monthly champion automatically progresses to the final round of the competition, where the title of New Zealand Camera Phone Photographer of the Year is on the line, as well as the Xperia U’s big brother, the Xperia P.

The more powerful half of the Xperia NXT series, the Xperia P features a full aluminium unibody design and  4-inch WhiteMagic display technology from Sony for the first time on a smartphone, retailing for $649.

The Xperia P bumps imaging power up with an 8MP camera backed by a 1 GHz dual-core processor and easy HDMI and DLNA connection to view your images on a nice big high definition screen.

Other bells and whistles include new Near Field Communication (NFC) abilities, operating system upgradable to Android 4.0 and easy connection with a range of Sony devices, including TVs, laptops and tablets.

So get a wriggle on, get your submissions in for this month’s round and you could walk away with one of these exciting new smartphones from Sony Mobile – click here for full entry details.

Pictured: Sony Xperia U (above), Sony Xperia P (below)

Get ready for Nikon Photo Day

One day each year all lenses in Auckland are on alert, for 24 hours the city becomes one big community photo shoot for Nikon Auckland Photo Day.

On Saturday 9 June this year everyone with access to a camera is invited to take part in this year’s event as part of the Auckland Festival of Photography.

One of the cornerstones of the Festival, the annual Nikon Auckland Photo Day is a public competition, encouraging Aucklanders of all ages to get involved in taking a photo that reflects Auckland through their imaginative eyes.

“Nikon Auckland Photo Day reflects the diverse stories of the city through the camera lenses of those who live, work and play here.  The region has hundreds of photographers of all abilities out taking photos on this day.  The competition is open to absolutely everyone” says festival spokesperson Elaine Smith.

“We are very excited to have partnered once again with the Auckland Festival of Photography. Nikon is about being at ‘The Heart of the Image’, and capturing real life on camera,” says brand manager for Nikon, Meg Luff.

“Working with the Auckland Festival of Photography enables us to encourage photography enthusiasts of Auckland to express themselves and become involved in the Art Culture of Auckland,” she adds.

The Festival is pleased to announce a fresh way for the community to participate by voting for their favourite in this year’s competition with a ‘People’s Choice’. This newly established digital interaction encourages the public to vote for their favourite image from this year’s shortlist.

Those who have already picked up D-Photo 48 will already be in the know for this exciting thanks to our Insider’s Guide to the Auckland Festival of Photography; it should be noted the top 30 images taken on the day will score prizes, not just the top ten as erroneously stated in the magazine.

Nikon Auckland Photo Day runs for one day only in Auckland on Saturday 9 June. First prize is a Nikon D7000 kit with 18-105mm lens.

Head over here for more details, including all prizes up for grabs. Below is a selection of last year’s winners.

© Mareea Paterson, Boy Sees Light – First Place

© Jocelen Janon, Fish To Live - Second Place

© Peter Denniston, The Rat Cage - Third Place

© Suresh C Patel, Thanks For Coming - Fourth place

© Sandrina Huish, Forgotten - Fifth Place

© Joanna Morrison, Saturday Morning Brekkie In Bed - Sixth Place

Travel perks

Last year D-Photo ran our first Travel Photography competition with a chance to win a trip to participate in a weekend workshop with the Queenstown Centre for Creative Photography, flights and accommodation provided by Canon New Zealand.

Chris Fawcett’s quirky shot of ornate Versailles, France earned top spot in the competition (see D-Photo 44), securing a place for the photographer at Mike Langford and Jackie Ranken’s Otago-based Autumn Colours workshop.

This four-day experience involves roaming through the ruggedly beautiful Skippers Canyon and Macetown areas in four-wheel drive vehicles, chasing down some of New Zealand’s most sublime landscape opportunities.

Fawcett says the event was a mix of different types of sessions that all helped him try out new techniques and gain valuable insights from two of the country’s best.

“We had some straight camera technique instructions, we had time to critique our own and other photographs and we had time to discuss design and see some of Mike and Jackie’s work. However most of the time was out and around at Macetown and Skippers Canyon taking photos.

“It was great to take photos then be able to critique them and discuss technical aspects with two very knowledgeable professionals.”

In the master photographers’ own words, the workshop has been designed to encourage photographers to ‘take risks, to be inspired and energised, to be more open and expressive in your photography’.

“We consider the process of making images to be more important than in some cases than the product. You should leave this course knowing yourself a little better; and your camera and tripod will be your best friend.”

It’s an education that Fawcett certainly found rewarding, counting lessons in filters, contrast settings and white balance as well as beginning understand the elements of design as his most valuable.

“I learnt a way of looking at making photos – I did not expect to have to re-think how I was taking the photo, but this will be a great thing to take in to the future,” explains Fawcett.

“[Jackie and Mike are a] combination of being extremely talented and yet good teachers. In my experience this is a rare combination.”

Below are a few images Fawcett created while on the workshop, which he says he would highly recommend to any photographer.

AggriCalendar seeks submissions

Capture a piece of iconic New Zealand agricultural lifestyle and you could not only see it published in a calendar but win Canon gear and D-Photo subscriptions for your trouble.

Agricultural supply firm PGG Wrightson is currently seeking submissions for its annual calendar competition, with a cash prize of $1000 and Canon 60D single lens kit worth over $2100 going to the overall winner.

There are also 11 further prize packs of a one-year subscription to D-Photo and a $500 PGG Wrightson voucher, plus a Peoples Choice winner will score a Canon 600D twin lens kit and have their image featured on the calendar’s cover.

At a later date entrants and the public will be able to vote online from a selection of finalists to decide the Peoples Choice winner.

The contest is divided into the following categories – images, which must reflect a rural setting, can be entered into one or more categories: Read the rest of this entry »

Print right

Getting your favourite images from screen to print can be a trickier prospect than it might initially seem, especially if your looking to produce something that’s up to scratch for photography competitions. Award-winning photographer Jackie Ranken is here to share a few points to consider when creating your own, hopefully award-winning prints.  

This article is an extension of Jackie’s look at the new Canon Pixma Pro-1 A3+ photo printer, published in D-Photo 48 on sale May 28.

Printing my own images is important to me, because it allows me to be spontaneous and responsive with my photography from the beginning to end. I believe that images become photographs only once they are printed and the benefits are that once printed it will last between 100-200 years. It is only in this final state that its visual impact is final and complete.

That is why we have ‘print awards’. It’s an integral part of our visual communication. Having my own printer allows me to celebrate my photography in the best possible way, there is nothing like getting back after a days shoot, printing a favourite image, pinning it up on the wall and having a glass of Chardonnay with Mike as we debrief. This is what being a photographer is all about, showing your work.

I will outline the results and the procedure I use to print my images for competitions and limited editions. I am going to suggest to you a printing technique I use to find the most appropriate paper and profile for the image (without using too much paper or ink). This article is not about colour management but you do need to understand about colour spaces and colour profiles to get the best out of your printing.

Start with a colour balanced and profiled monitor. I make a colour chart by making a collage of a range of my own images. I try and include a wide range of colours and tonal ranges that I like.

Before I print a full A3 or A4 image I will make a test print by selecting a strip of the print and dropping it onto a blank sheet (in Photoshop). If needed I then make consecutive test strips below that first strip. If the first test is not suitable I can make changes to the way the print is rendered, (Perceptual vs. Relative Colormetric) and/or allowing the printer to control the colour vs. Photoshop and/or create a custom ICC profile from the software supplied.

I own my own Xrite i1 Profiler and am able to create custom profiles that created a slightly more accurate print. If you buy your printer and paper (from a New Zealand company) they may create a custom profile for your favourite papers at no charge.

When printing full prints it’s important to write notes on the edge of each print, identifying what paper it is and what setting was used. When you have a series of the same image printed on various papers you can make valued judgments and see what papers work best with various types of images.

For instance, glossy papers tend to make the colours and the image jump off the page, where as, when you view a matt printed image you tend to sink into it. It’s an aesthetic that needs to be considered because it has an emotive effect. Choose the best paper to suit the communication.

For more of Jackie’s work head to her website

Getty searches for iconic New Zealand

Getty Images is on the hunt for images capturing iconic instances of life in New Zealand and, with help from Canon New Zealand, have a stack of gear to giveaway for the effort.

The competition, entitled Grab NZ, invites ‘anyone with a camera’ to submit up to ten images that show an authentic vision of life in New Zealand.

The three top images will win a share in $5,500 worth of Canon equipment, with a grand prize of a Canon 7D single lens kit, as well as the opportunity of being invited to be a Getty contributor via the agency’s Flickr page.

First place and runner-up, who will score a Canon 600D twin lens kit, will be selected by a panel of industry veterans, including photographers Norrie Montgomery and Hannah Johnston, creative director Tony Bradbourne and Canon’s imaging brand manger, Rochelle Mora.

A third prize will be awarded to the most popular image as votes by fans on the Getty Images Facebook page, winning a Canon PowerShot G12.

Images should be submitted online by June 1, with winners announced on June 21.