The Fluffy White Stuff

There is no such thing in Australia as a White Christmas. We are in Summer at the moment and just to close to the equator for weather that is even remotely close to cold enough (unfortunately). But, all is not lost for the snow bunnies amongst us. With just a little internet wizardry from my blog host and in the spirit of a good European and North American Christmas we now have a little taste of the fluffy white stuff we know and love – Snow! Happy White Christmas! (and bah! humbug to hot weather!)

ICP International Conservation Photography Awards

The International Conservation Photography Awards (ICP Awards) is a premier worldwide photography event focused on conservation and the environment. The biennial juried photo competition, along with awarding cash and merchandise to selected photographers, includes an online exhibit, a 3-month museum gallery exhibit at the prestigious Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle, Washington, publication in a national photography magazine and other printed communications, and a slide show for use in community outreach and global on-line entertainment/education.

The ICP Photography awards are currently accepting entries for 2010 and I have for the first time decided to enter into a photographic contest. I will be submitting four photographs into the landscape category (I have not yet decided on the final four). My primary motivation for entering is the opportunity to assist in raising awareness for both environmental preservation and landscape photography as fine art. I am also a long time supporter and follower of the ICPA’s founder  – Art Wolfe. Art Wolfe’s photography has been inspirational in my own work. His Travels to the Edge series is remarkable and recommended viewing for anyone who has an interest in the wilderness and photography.

ICP Mission

  • To harness the potential of amateur and professional photographers around the world who are not yet involved in environmental and cultural conservation.
  • To recognise and reward excellent on conservation photography
  • To educate, inspire and motivate the public through a photographic exhibition that will create a sense of urgency and move people to take action.

History and Purpose

Known for his passionate advocacy of the environment, nature photographer Art Wolfe created a conservation-themed photo contest in 1997 as “an event for the advancement of photography as a unique medium capable of bringing awareness and preservation to our environment through art.”

The 2010 International Conservation Photography Awards is a continuation of Art Wolfe’s vision and has become a biennial (every two years) international event.  Each year the ICP Awards strives to increase its reach and influence to photographers from around the world as well as to diverse audiences who will be inspired by the work.

More than just a competition, 75+ of the juried photographs will be exhibited in 2010 via a new partnership with The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, a development that continues to raise the bar for this program.

New Zealand – Last Light over Cook and Tasman

Nothing else quite says ‘Alpine’ like the last rays of sunlight reflected on snow capped mountains. With temperatures plummeting to a frigid -19 degrees Celsius as the sun dipped below the horizon this was one of the last frames I reeled off from the small mountain helicopter before we returned to base for the evening (for some serious thawing out!). This photograph includes Mount Cook (on the right) and Mount Tasman (on the left) as well as the Fox Glacier and for me captures the essence of New Zealand’s grand Alps. To be at an altitude of eleven thousand feet over the Alps in a small helicopter with the doors off in the dead of winter with perfect weather and light is remarkable to say the least.

Mount Buffalo – The Castle

It’s December and it is now summer here in Australia – my least favourite time of year for photography. Autumn and Winter are my preferred seasons for landscape work. I far prefer the cooler weather and the snow and ice of the alpine regions to the blazing heat and humidity of the Australian summer (I should live in Scotland!). During Autumn and Winter the air is usually cleaner and the light tends to have a more transparent quality to it that lends itself very well to landscape photography. Looking back at some of the photography from the cooler months of the year this one jumps out as one of my favourites.

This photograph was taken at a location known as ‘The Castle’ at Mount Buffalo in the Victorian alps at sunrise. The location is not often visited as the walk in is fairly steep and arduous; particularly in winter. This is not the first time I have photographed here but it is the first time I have been lucky enough to get really beautiful light in combination with a lovely hoar frost. Combined with the reflection in the icy pool and the wildflowers this is a photograph I like very much.

New Zealand – Ice Spire

One of any glacier’s most unique and remarkable structures are it’s seracs and Fox Glacier was and is no exception. Its crevasse  and serac field is littered with unique and unusual ice formations. This natural ice spire caught my eye as we skimmed over the glacier in the small mountain helicopter. I focused my attention on it trying to capture it from just the right angle to show its precarious stance and unusual flutings. These ice formations are often very unstable and dangerous. Pound for pound glacial ice weighs about the same as concrete so these formations are really only accessible safely for photography by helicopter. I photographed this with a 24mm wide angle lens to capture enough surrounding ice to keep the spire in context. The sense of scale gets somewhat lost in a small jpeg – but you could have driven a semi-trailer through the ice cave with ease.