Moreton Bay photographer takes out top prize in national competition

Published 12:00pm 20 September 2022

Moreton Bay photographer takes out top prize in national competition
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

A Moreton Bay photographer has claimed national recognition by taking out the top prize in this year’s Heritage Bank Photographic Awards.

Kallangur photographer Graham Bowden was named the inaugural winner of Graham Burstow Memorial Award for his striking composite image Flight of Fancy (pictured above).

Mr Bowden’s winning image of egrets is composite of series of shots taken on the shoreline between Newport and Scarborough.

“I know this is a great spot to shoot sea birds,” Mr Bowden said.

“I was down there on a calm and beautiful day and was watching the egrets take off and land.

“They were doing this so many times that I was able to set up my camera and get the aperture right and set it onto burst mode, so when they took off, I was able to take multiple images.”

When he returned home, Mr Bowden uploaded the images and edited them in Photoshop Elements.

“The resulting raw images were processed and six were selected and carefully blended using layers and masking in Photoshop Elements to produce the finished photograph,” Mr Bowden said.

“It’s a style of image that I enjoy creating and in my mind’s eye I could already see the possibilities as I watched this bird’s antics.”

The Graham Burstow Memorial Award honours the memory of Chief Judge Graham Burstow, who was an instrumental part of the Photographic Awards since they first began 34 years ago.

Mr Burstow passed away a few weeks ago, but not before the judging.

He awarded Mr Bowden’s image a perfect 10/10 score - a rare occurrence from a highly respected member of the photography community.

“When I got an email to say that I had won the Graham Burstow Memorial Award and had received a 10/10, I just thought oh wow,” Mr Bowden said.

“Because I am not part of any camera clubs, I didn’t know who he was, but when I Googled him and found out all the impressive things about him, like how he was an Order of Australia Medal recipient, I couldn’t believe someone like that could give an amateur photographer like myself an outstanding score – I was just astounded.

“What makes this award even more special is that I am the first person to win the Graham Burstow Memorial Award, and that I am the only person to have won the award from Graham himself.”

Mr Bowden plans to have his winning photograph framed.

A keen eye

Speaking to Moreton Daily, Mr Bowden said he always enjoyed having a camera, but didn’t get into photography properly until 2014 when he bought his first DLSR camera.

“I like to take photos of almost anything,” Mr Bowden said.

“I like to take a lot of photos of birds because most photographers know they can be a bit of a challenge, especially when they are in flight.

“I also like to do landscapes, and I take photos at motorsport events.

“The only thing I don’t tend to take a lot of photos of are of people.”

Mr Bowden has also entered several other photography competitions in the past, including the Brisbane Ekka where he won third prize, and had some commended and highly commended pieces in the Australian Photography Magazine monthly competitions.

Celebrating professional and amateur photographers

The aim of the Heritage Bank Photographic Awards is to encourage and celebrate the art of Australian photography.

Now in its 34th year, the Heritage Bank Photographic Awards were open to all professional and amateur photographers.

With no cost to enter, this competition encourages photographers all over Australia to explore their surroundings and capture their own little piece of history.

With a massive prize pool of over $50,000 across a range of categories and awards, this competition is one of the most lucrative in the country.

More information about the awards can be found here.

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