British Professional Photography Awards 2007

Three images out of the four in the final were mine, so I was hopeful of winning the UK Landscape & Travel category for the third time since 2004. It was a nail-biting moment when the category was announced by Colin & Linda Buck (CEO and Secretary of the Master Photographers Association). There was a brief pause and then I was declared the winner! I remember hearing cheers around the room from amongst the 400 or so Gala Dinner guests as I made the walk through the tables to applause. Two steps up onto the stage and I shook hands with Tony Hadley (ex-Spandau Ballet), who presented me with my Oskar and crystal plaque, and Nick White (Epson UK) who presented me with my certificates for my three Awards of Excellence. Julie & I were guests of Epson UK at their table for the ceremony, as always the hospitality that was extended to us was magnificent. The whole event at the Newcastle Hilton was a brilliant three days for us. My Fellowship panel was the centrepiece of the exhibition and most people wanted to see it, it seemed. It is only the second time that an Associate submission has been judged to be so good that it is worthy of Fellowship, and so I made some history within the Professional Photographic Qualifications Board! I am usually my own harshest critic when looking at my work, but I was rather proud of my panel. I had so many complimentary comments from other photographers, some from people whom I hold in the highest regard for their skill and artistry as image makers. We finally made it to bed at about 4.30am on Monday!

My three successful images are above, the winning image is at the top. It is a winter-sun shot of the Boxing Gloves on Kinder Scout. It involved a bit of chilly hanging around until the low-angled sun caught the outcrop. As it turns out, it was worth the wait, I even managed to get off the hill before darkness set in. Not bad considering that the Boxing Gloves are situated on the Northern Edge and my car was parked by the Nag's Head in Edale! The shot was taken on my Fuji GX617, 90mm lens at f22. The film was Fuji Velvia 50asa and was scanned on my Imacon scanner. The file was converted to monochrome via The Imaging Factory's Convert To Black and White Pro3 which is a plug-in in Photoshop CS2.

The middle shot is of the Langdale Pikes. This was taken on a very cold, wet and windy January day. Julie was not happy as we sat hunkered down behind some rocks near the summit of Side Pike, but I was convinced that the rain would lift and the cloud might break because of the strong wind. Eventually, the cloud did break briefly. As the wind blew the clouds eastwards, some shafts of sunlight swept across the Pikes. I waited until Pike o' Stickle, Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark were lit and then took the shot. Fuji GX617, 90mm at f22, Fuji Velvia 50asa, scanned and converted to monochrome as above.

The bottom image was taken from the summit of Goatfell on the Isle of Arran in March. Although the weather was warm and sunny as I set off from the Co-op carpark in Brodick, it deteriorated as I climbed higher. By the time I reached the summit, visibility was about 4 metres as the cloud closed in. I waited for about 3 hours for the cloud to lift, but it did not lift entirely. It kept breaking, tantalisingly, and then closed down again. Eventually, my patience was rewarded when the re was a break in the cloud that allowed a shaft of sunlight to hit the peak on the ridge leading to Cir Mhor, opposite. Seconds later, the clag closed in again and the light was gone for the rest of the day. Fuji GX617, 90mm at f22. Fuji Velvia 50asa, scanned and converted as above.

My prints were all printed on a rare high-gloss material which I mounted onto 3mm white plastic to keep the images flat. The gloss of this material is so deep that an uneven mount surface will show through the image, so mountboard cannot be used. The print and the plastic mount were then double-matted onto bevel cut mounts. One problem I had with mounting my panel is that the submission criteria stipulate 20x16" mounts. My images from the big Fuji GX617 are all 3:1 aspect ratio and my submission images were sized at 15x5". An image of these dimensions does not sit well within a 20x16, or 5:4 ratio mount. This is the reason I double matted the prints. Two bevels at 1cm apart broke up the expanse of white mount board around the image and gave a better balance.