THE Australian Society of Travel Writers have announced the winner of the 2015 Travel Photographer of the Year award.
The awards, held at Ayers Rock Resort in the Northern Territory, named Jocelyn Pride as Australia’s best travel photographer.
Pride, who has been a travel writer and photographer for four years, was recognised for three photos taken in Zanzibar and Alaska for the award, sponsored by Nikon.
Castaway was taken at Pemba Island in Zanzibar and published in International Traveler magazine.
“I was up early walking along the beach at Fundu Lagoon, a ridiculously beautiful eco luxe resort hidden in the African jungle,” she says.
“As I watched the cumulus clouds gather in the background, a dhow appeared in the distance. I framed the shot hoping like crazy the dhow would come into view.
“Zanzibar is full of intrigue and raw beauty. I like the way the calmness of the sea juxtapositions with the threatening sky and the local fishermen are just cruising along. The pastel colours add a different feel to the African landscape.”
Hideaway, taken at Winterlake Lodge in Alaska, was published in Luxury Travelmagazine.
“Winterlake Lodge fulfils the Alaskan dream — a backcounty lodge carved out of the forest accessible only by floatplane,” Pride says.
“One morning we paddled the lake looking for moose. As I looked back at the lodge, the overwhelming beauty of the scene nearly made me tip the kayak. I took photos from every angle (while my husband did the paddling) and was so engrossed that I missed the moose standing on the bank behind us. I love this photo because I’m completely drawn to Alaska.”
Flyaway was taken in Alaska’s Inside Passage and also published in Luxury Travel.
“We were in a small boat and I watched this bald eagle sitting in the treetops for what seemed like hours,” Pride says.
“As I was on the long end of my lens, my camera was getting heavier by the minute. A clue when eagles are about to take flight is that they poop. Patience was eventually rewarded as the eagle pooped then flew right past the boat. He was definitely on a mission and so was I — motor winder on overdrive as I held my breath to keep the camera steady.
“I love this photo because, as the symbol of America, this eagle represents strength, power and determination. The way the light caught the end of the feathers was a bonus.”
The other three finalists were Mark Daffey, Kara Murphy and Lee Atkinson.
Daffey, who has been a travel writer and photographer for 20 years, was a finalist for three photos published on news.com.au — Reflection Time, High Dune and Slow Boat to Halong.
Reflection Time was taken at Umiam Lake, outside Shillong in the Indian state of Meghalaya, and published on news.com.au.
“I took the shot from my hotel balcony at dawn,” Daffey says.
“I’d arrived at the hotel late the previous night and hadn’t had a chance to see the lake because it was pitch black outside, so I set my alarm early and was lucky to witness this fisherman in his canoe with the reflections of dawn shimmering on the surface of the lake. It’s a simple shot that grabs your attention and holds it. Your eyes linger on the lone canoeist, but the three distinct reflection pools contrast beautifully with the diagonally silhouetted lines of the banks. The trees at the bottom of the shot add to the composition. “
High Dune was taken in the Dubai desert, where “dune bashing” in 4WDs is a popular pastime, and published on news.com.au. Daffey says he likes how the photo shows the vastness of the desert.
“It makes the dunes look endless,” he says. “I’ve got action shots of 4WDs and quadbikes zipping around the dunes but this was a moment when they were having a break. I often look at this shot and wonder why they chose that particular spot in such a monotonous landscape.”
Slow Boat to Halong was taken in Halong Bay in Vietnam and published onnews.com.au
“During a day cruise around the bay, I climbed to a lookout point on an island peak,” Daffey says.
“It was just after midday when the lighting was drab so I added a tobacco grad filter to colour the sky and give the composition some oomph. I like the diagonal route of the ferry at the bottom of the picture. It adds a point of interest to the photo.”
Kara Murphy has been a travel writer for more than ten years, often taking photos to complement her articles, and has been focusing on underwater photography for the past two years. Her finalist photos were Turtle Party — Southern Great Barrier Reef, Joyful Lady Elliot Turtle and Three Mermaids in Fiji.
“I took the two turtle images while snorkelling in the Lady Elliot Island lagoon, on the southern Great Barrier Reef,” she says. “This green turtle approached me one morning in 2013, and I captured the turtle party scene about a year later. I love that the lone turtle looks so happy. While probably just a typical swimming motion, the upward direction of both flippers conveys joy and enthusiasm — he even looks like he’s smiling. And I love the peaceful invitation of the turtle party image; I want to join them and lose myself in that beautiful environment.”
While the images, published on Travel2Next.com, capture a specific moment, Murphy loves that similar moments happen often in this location. “Turtles approach regularly, and I almost always witness a congregation of juvenile turtles in the lagoon’s outer reaches,” she says.
The third image depicts fellow ASTW members snorkelling near the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in Savusavu, Fiji, last November.
“This was our first snorkelling adventure here, and we thought a group shot would be fun, so I snapped a few as soon as we entered the water,” Murphy says. “This one, published in Showboats International, is my favourite. I love the middle subject’s confident pose, which expresses the exhilaration and freedom many of us feel when submerged in the ocean, exploring its wonders. And I also appreciate the image’s balance — how the other subjects appear a bit more hesitant.”
Lee Atkinson, who has been a travel writer and photographer since 1991, was a finalist for three photos published in her book, The Big Lap.
Buchan, East Gippsland, was on the outskirts of the town in Victoria at the end of the first week of a 10-month road trip around Australia.
“I snapped this image of a track heading into the hills of the Victorian high country very early one summer morning,” she says. “I like it because it sums up the endless possibilities of the road trip ahead of us.”
Kakadu Sunset was taken in the Northern Territory national park in late August, which is burning off season across the Top End when the smoke produces amazing light shows at dawn and dusk.
“It’s also the tail end of the dry season, and the waterholes and billabongs are shrinking, so wildlife, particularly birds such as these egrets, congregate at the water in great numbers,” Atkinson says. “It’s one of Australia’s great wildlife spectacles. I like this photo because it looks so serene, but in real life it was incredibly noisy as all the birdlife was squealing and squawking. It’s a quintessential Top End scene, but it always reminds me a little of Africa when I look at it.”
Pinnacles Desert was taken in Nambung National Park near Cervantes, north of Perth on Western Australia’s Coral Coast.
“Thousands of huge limestone pillars rise out of a stark landscape of yellow sand in The Pinnacles Desert, which has to be one of most accessible deserts you in the country — you can drive through it in a 2WD on day trip form Perth,” Atkinson says.
“We’d just been caught in a thunderstorm, which produced the interesting light. I love the surreal, almost lunar-esque, aspect of the landscape.”[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]