Wednesday, July 21, 2010

First Place and People’s Choice at Cave Creek Film and Arts Festival

The Cave Creek Film and Arts Festival is a celebration and promotion of the arts in Cave Creek, Arizona. Each year, there are hundreds of entries in categories ranging from film, visual arts, choreography, original song, poetry, short story and photography. Up for grabs, are the coveted Golden Coyote awards and cash prizes in each category. The photography category was juried by Peter Ensenberger, Director of Photography for Arizona Highways magazine and local artist Atalanta Knathbull. Jerry Sieve Chaired the photography category for the second straight year. This year they also introduced a People’s Choice Award to recognize the Community’s favorite artist across all categories.

At the annual gala held on July 17th, I was honored to be awarded first prize and the Golden Coyote award in the Adult Photography category and the 2010 People’s Choice award. The winning image was titled “Paddles Up” and as an added bonus, I will get a solo photography exhibit at the Desert Foothills Library in Cave Creek. Thank you to all who supported me at the photography showcase and voted for “Paddles Up.”

Sunday, July 18, 2010

First Place at The 2010 Digital Shootout

Another fun time at The Digital Shootout! This year it was on the quant island of Little Cayman. Lots of first time people at the shootout and a handful of us repeat attendees. One of the best parts of the trip is getting to meet so many talented like minded underwater photographers in one place and swap tips and learn from each. It is always interesting to see what new equipment people have bought or made themselves for use underwater.

At the end of the shootout on Friday night, there is a awards ceremony for the photo competition. As you can imagine, Thursday night the bar was empty as everyone culled through hundreds of images shot throughout the week on about 12 dives. This year, I was awarded First Place in the Wide Angle Traditional (No selective photoshoping, just basic processing) for my image titled “Shooting the Cut”. It features Rusty Sanoian of Backscatter cruising through a cut in the wall on an underwater scooter. He is highlighted by the sun shining through the cut. For my prize, I won a 10 day trip to Papua New Guinea (PNG) on the MV Febrina live-aboard. PNG has always been on the top of my list and I hope to take the trip within the next year.

The Digital Shootout is one of the best places to quickly improve your underwater photography skills because of the very approachable experts onsite and the hands-on time in the water. For more information on the shootout and to view the daily blog postings (including all of the images from the contest), visit

It is referred to as a working vacation and this is a sample of the daily schedule:
- Eat (the food at Little Cayman Beach Resort was awesome and the staff so friendly)
- 2 tank dive in the morning with some great dive guides)
- Eat
- Workshops on underwater photography techniques, post process and related topics led by Berkley White and Todd Sloss.
- Optional dive instead of the workshop or dusk/night after the workshop
- Eat and hang out at the bar (the main gathering place on the whole island)
- Nightly picture review on the custom built “Big Screen”
- Review, organization and post processing of images from the day
- More time at the bar socializing
- Catch a few hours of sleep and repeat

Anyone interested in improving their photo skills, trying out the latest equipment, making new friends, doing some great diving and having the chance to win some truly spectacular prizes should attend the next Digital shootout which will be held in Bonaire in June 2011. Maybe I will see you there…