Summer Challenge, presented by LaCie: Winners announced
Australian Photography is delighted to announce the winners of our inaugural Summer Challenge photo competition, presented by LaCie. Dharma Bendersky won the Umbrella challenge, Tracey Killen won the Mirror challenge and Beth Baker won the Time Out challenge.
The Summer Challenge was created to encourage creativity and help photographers hone their skills and sharpen their portfolios over the summer months.
Judge Mandarine Montgomery described Tracey Killen’s winning Mirror entry ‘Up is Down’ as, “a clever study of nature and industry co-existing in colour harmony”.
“The scene jumps out with pops of hot pink and traffic-light yellow on the building, tones that are echoed in the clouds – lending a harmonious relationship between an unattractive man-made structure and the natural world around it.
“The mirror reflection is captured perfectly in its stillness and a single roadside pole stands sentinel to the scene. Rather than using the rule of thirds, the composition is bravely balanced by the central “horizon”. The leading lines of the clouds draw our attention back to the buildings cushioned harmoniously between water and sky.”
Commenting on the technical difficulty of capturing the photo, Montgomery said:“Photographing a landscape with a high dynamic range is very challenging as the sun is almost always blown out with clouds too bright to show any detail. Tracey has controlled the highlights very well in the clouds to maintain a good level of detail and tone in both the highlights and shadows.”
As the winner of the Mirror category, Tracey has won $1000 plus a LaCie Rugged SSD 1TB and a LaCie Rugged 2TB USB-C Portable Rugged Drive, with a joint value of $578 RRP, thanks to major sponsor LaCie.
Second in the Mirror category goes to Paul Wesley with ‘Genevieve’, while third goes to Phil Woodhouse with ‘We reflect what we project’ (you can see second and third place images at the end of the story). Both will receive 12-month subscriptions to Australian Photography magazine.
The most conceptually open of the three categories, entries submitted in the Time Out category were as diverse as they were creative.
One of the tougher categories to assess, the judges eventually settled on Beth Baker’s ‘Blinkers’ as the winner.
Beth writes of her image, “We took the liberty of exiting the house while our adult children hosted a party. When we returned, we put on our blinkers and enjoyed a splash in the pool. Their mess, their problem!”
“What's not to love about this photograph?” asked Montgomery. “The sparkling blue water draws you into this relaxing scene. We have all done something similar, putting work aside to indulge in something more enjoyable.”
“Capturing the scene, a couple of steps back from the pool and thereby keeping the plant in the frame on the left, gives it a voyeuristic element, as if we are peaking into a private moment, while also strengthening the feeling of visual depth. Perfect positioning of the man makes it easier to see his blissed-out expression in the window’s reflection.”
Competition judge Charli Savage also praised Baker on the entry’s composition, sharing, “The depth of field and leading lines pulled me into the scene, along with the juxtaposition of the hard lines of the architecture next to the loose lines of the reflective water in the swimming pool and the clouds in the sky.”
Second in the Time Out category goes to Amy Marshall with ‘The sprinkler is on’, while third goes to Saurabh Khullar with ‘Companionship’ (you can see second and third place images at the end of the story). Both receive 12-month subscriptions to Australian Photography magazine.
There were many different variations on the Umbrella theme in the Summer Challenge, but it was Dharma Bendersky’s image 'Bondi Sunbakers' that caught the judges’ attention.
“What makes this image so appealing is the level of detail – everywhere you look there is something to entertain the eye,” commented judge Anthony McKee.
While at first glance it looks like the aerial was shot with a drone, it was actually captured from a helicopter using a DSLR and a zoom lens.
“The long lens gives the image a flat perspective, which exaggerates the natural patterns we humans create when go to a beach and stake out our own little place on the sand,” said McKee.
“The big question judges regularly ask themselves when we review photos is, ‘could I live with this image on my wall?’ This image would not only look great on a wall, but it would also be a terrific reminder of why we love Aussie summers so much. Well done, Dharma.”
As category winner, Dharma takes home $1000 and a LaCie 1big Dock 4TB drive valued at $550, thanks to sponsor LaCie.
Second in the Umbrella category goes to Thavy Tra with ‘Colour my World’, while third goes to Victor Hawk’s ‘Feelings of Flight’ (see below). Both receive 12-month subscriptions to Australian Photography magazine.
We’d like to thank our amazing sponsor LaCie, without whose support we simply couldn’t run The Summer Challenge. We would also like to thank our judges – the incredibly talented Mandarine Montgomery, Charli Savage and Anthony McKee.
To all the photographers who entered this year, thank you for sharing your work! We hope you enjoyed the experience of shooting the challenges and entering your amazing images.
Our new Summer Challenge will return in December 2022.