Well, my feet have barely touched the ground since last night at the annual MPA Awards for the London & Essex region. The Master Photographers Association is the UK’s only trade body exclusively for full-time professional wedding, portrait and commercial photographers.
Admittedly I did enter a fair number of images, but it was worth it! I came away winning four categories, getting second place in five categories, two third places, as well as some Merits! I was blown away, and absolutely delighted! The competition was judged by one of the country’s top judges Hoss Mahdavi who is a distinguished Fellow of the Master Photographers Association. The awards evening at the Old Plough House in Bulphan was attended by some of the top Photographers in the region that came from as far a field as Norfolk, Suffolk , Hertfordshire, Essex, London and Kent to compete.
Here are my winning images, starting with the Classical Potrait category:
This was the winner of the Events category:
The Pets section was awarded to this image of a beautiful horse:
Finally the Pictorial and Illustrative Art winner was this image:
I’ll be posting a few more images in due course, but I hope you enjoy these!
At the end of March I did my first newborn shoot that I obtained from the Click Group. It went very well, I got to my clients home at around 11:30am on a Friday, which, coincidentally was when Mia was exactly a week old – to the minute!
All the shots were taken using available light in the back of their lounge. All I used was a black background, a baby cushion that is perfectly shaped for laying babies onto, and a piece of black velvet. From the telephone conversation I had with the new mum, Trish, I knew that she wanted to have a fair number of black and white images, which the black background lends itself to.
After a couple of hours we were all done, little Mia was wonderful, even though she could keep her milk down too well, and she did what all babies do when their time comes to relieve themselves!
When I sat in front of my computer to view the images, I saw that we had actually come up with some wonderful shots. So I contacted the Click offices to find out when the deadline was for their annual Photographer of the Year competition. I was told that it was that same day! So I had to work fast. I prepared a four images from Mia’s shoot, sent them off to the lab, and had them hand delivered to Click’s HQ on the same day. A big thanks to PDQ imaging for that!
A few days later, I got an email from Click asking for high resolution files of two of the images I had submitted! That was great news! I had 2 images from my first shoot with the Click group in the top 20 images of the year for the whole group!
When I attended the Awards ceremony on the 1st April I was awarded the Runner Up prize! Not bad for getting something done in such a hurry, and so close to the deadline!
I’m sure you’d like to see the images, so here they are, the first image is the one that got me the runner up prize:
This image also made it to the top 20:
This final image captured the tenderness between mother and daughter beautifully:
So, that was a great start to April, hopefully I’ll go one better next year Click Photographer of the Year!
Great News! Today I found out that I’ve won a Gold award in the Events category of the SWPP Monthly Awards. It was taken recently at the London Fashion Weekend event at Somerset House, London.
Here is the image:
Needless to say I’m quite proud of myself. Its only the second month I have entered my work in this particular competition. I love the symmetry of the composition, and how all the “lines” within the image leading the viewer to the perfectly posed model.
Last month I got a Highly Commended award in the Children’s section with the following image, it is one I was already commended for by the MPA:
This has a chance of being reviewed at some point in the future to a Gold by the judges if they deem it worthy of being upgraded. Either way I’ll happily settle for a Highly Commended!
Panikos is very proud in having won the “Groups” category in the London Portrait Group quarterly awards this evening (5th December 2011). The winning image was of a lovely family with their 12 year old son and 4 month old daughter. It was all presented in a beautiful mahogany frame. This was the winning image:
It was commended for its relaxed pose, pleasant expressions and solid composition.
A second place award also came Panikos’ way in the form of the following image:
This image was taken earlier this year. The judge for the evening Gary Italiaander who was the Harrods photographer for a few years loved the “feel” of the print, it had a smoothness of texture that he really liked. Of course a big well done to all the other winners tonight, but I must say, I feel quite proud of my achievements too!
So a very rewarding evening was had at the Pin Wei restaurant in Kings Langely
Last Tuesday 22nd November, I was called by Judi Guy from the North London Hospice for a favour. She asked if I could spare some time the following day to cover a wedding! I asked for some details and agreed to photograph Annette and Karl’s wedding. She told me that everything had to be done very quickly as it was a last minute decision by the couple and that they’d love to have the whole thing recorded by a professional. I really had to do it, I couldn’t say no!
It was probably one of the most emotional weddings I’ve covered, with so much support being given freely to the couple from all concerned. And yes, I did give my services completely without charge! The whole hospice was buzzing from all the excitement of the wedding, and just seeing everything falling into place as if had been months in the planning.
So here are some of the images, begining with the preparations in the room,
Meeting the groom,
Getting the rings from the ringbearer
All this prepared with barely a days notice!
And a little relaxation at the end of a very, very happy day!
So after this, it was all systems go at the office, with lots of editing and retouching to do to get the images ready to give to Karl and Annette that very same evening! Finally at after 11pm I called the lovely Anita Brien, who also works at the North London Hospice, to come and collect the disc with the images, together with a DVD that I put to music, with all the images from the wedding day! Definitely the quickest turnaround for a wedding that I’ve ever done! But it was worth it!
More details about the wedding from the Hospices own web site can be found here: http://www.northlondonhospice.org/what-we-do/latest+news/specialweddingdayatnorthlondonhospice
If you’d like to see the full Video, please click on this rather long link! “http://static.animoto.com/swf/w.swf?w=swf/vp1&e=1322759445&f=e9c8pFSQ00TtDknAcEf1tw&d=326&m=p&r=240p+480p&volume=100&start_res=480p&i=m&options=”></param><param
And although Panikos’s name isn’t mentioned, he also managed to make the Front Page of the Enfield Independent and the Barnet Times with a few of these wedding images!
Here are some more images that I took on my recent trip to Canada. I was very surprised to see such beauty at such high altitudes! The colours in real life were stunning. All of these flower photos were taken high in the Rocky Mountains:
The above solitary Bluebell was taken in Kananaskis, close to some famous ski resorts, you can see the morning dew glistening on its petals.
This Indian Paintbrush was just a few steps away for the Bluebell. Apparently it was a good year for theses lovely flowers. So many people were saying they hadn’t seen so many in bloom for years.
The next flower was photographed at the Devonian Botanical Gardens about an hours drive from Edmonton. Its is quite unusual as there is no green in it at all! If someone knows what it’s called please let me know!
The following three images were taken in the gardens in front of the Fairmont Hotel right beside the wonderful Lake Louise. They are all types of poppies. The first image has a very strange “thing” attached to it. Whatever it was looked very hairy, was as light as a feather and fell off the flower as soon as it was touched! I thought it might be some sort of caterpillar, but I’ve never seen anything like this before! Any ideas?
The next two are just plain beautiful!
The next photo was taken at Moraine Lake. I was busy taking phoos of the striking scenery there, when right behind me were these beautiful patterns on the rocks. They are different types of lichen. Lichen is strange stuff, a kind of mixture of fungus & algae & grows on rocks and trees. Whatever it is, it looks cool!
Here are some insects I came across. The first image is of a spider that spun its web
between a few blades of grass on the floor. The only reason I didn’t step on it
was because it sparkled like diamonds on the floor with the beads of dew that
had rested on its web, and it was TINY! The whole web was barely more than 2
inches (5cm), and the spider itself, hanging up side down beneath its web was no more
than 2 or 3mm long! I had to get my special close up lens to get this shot.
The next two images were also taken at the Devonian Botanical gardens, the dragonfly was flying around by the lake and I managed to capture the shot while it was resting on a leaf. The butterfly was inside a temperature regulated greenhouse though, so not really a true Canadian citizen, but beautiful nonetheless!
There are lots more images, but I suppose I’ll have to get writing a book to fit them all in! So, that’s it for now, there will be more soon though!
Further to my seven Merit Awards for the MPA National Awards, I was particularly pleased to get an Award of Excellence in the hotly contested Children category. It was an image also got me a runner up position in the London Portrait Group quarterly competition a few weeks ago. This was the image:
The full Press Release from the MPA said the following:
Enfield based photographer Panikos Hajistilly has reached the final in a major national photography award.
Panikos was presented with an Award of Excellence for reaching the final in Children category in the 2011 Master Photography Awards. Panikos beat-off stiff competition to make the final cut, with other leading photographers from across the world all striving for recognition in the awards.
Hundreds of professional photographers from around the world were joined by
representatives from the major photographic companies at the glittering Awards
ceremony held at the Hilton Hotel in Newcastle.
Following on from Panikos’ recent success in winning the 2011 London & Essex Landscape Photographer of the Year, as well as three more Awards of Excellence in Pictorial & Fine Art Photography, Panikos now adds the title of 2011 Master Photography Awards Finalist to his growing list of awards.
Based in Winchmore Hill, Panikos specialises in Baby, Family, Wedding and
Landscape photography. He has also generated thousands of pounds of much needed
funds for schools with a very simple scheme that any school can take up.
The Awards, run by the Master Photographers Association (MPA), is one of the most prestigious within the photographic profession. Membership of the association is restricted to full time professional photographers who must qualify to the minimum required Licentiateship standard. The organisation exists to promote and maintain
standards of excellence and professionalism within the photographic industry.
MPA Chief executive, Colin Buck was delighted with this year’s entries and paid tribute to Panikos’ success: “All submissions were judged on the same criteria – artistic merit, good use of lighting, composition and print quality. The standard of the entries this year was possibly the best ever, with a record number being awarded merit prizes. Being a finalist in our awards is a huge honour for any photographer and I’m delighted for Panikos. I’m sure this feat will help them further their careers. They are a credit to the
Association and a credit to their profession!”
For further information on Panikos, please visit www.panikosphoto.com or call 020 8447
So, my visit to Newcastle was not in vain! In fact its given me the desire for more awards & that’s what I hope to get next time!
I was fortunate enough to go to Canada in the summer where I witness some of the most breathtakingly beautiful sights I’ve yet experienced! What a truly outstanding place it is. I hope you’ll agree with me that there are some real marvels of creation in this vast land.
Close to the top of the list has to be Lake Louise. I’ll never forget the first impression I got when I walked to the edge of the lake for the first time, looked to my left, and my eyes feasted on this sumptuous view:
In fact having experienced this for myself, I started observing everyone that walked down the same pathway as I had as they came down to the lake. I carefully watched their faces as one after the other, they looked to the left, appreciated what they were beholding, drew breath and, as if reading from a script, everyone said “WOW”. I think “Wow” must be an international term, as people from the far east, the middle east, various parts of Europe, and indeed from all over the world, came out with the same expression time after time, irrespective of the language they spoke. Here another image from Lake Louise.
Another incredibly beautiful place is Maligne (pronounced Maleen) Lake, with the world famous Spirit Island at the far end of the lake, but in the middle of my photo below.
You can only get to see the awe inspiring vista by boat, as its a very long way down this long and narrow lake. Behind Spirit Island is a part of the lake that’s called “The Hall of the Gods”… what an name, what a place!
Here’s another view if Spirit Island from the side. Notice how beautifully the trees are “rim lit” by the afternoon sun. Magical!
And before you say anything, yes the colour of the lake is that colour! It’s because of the fine particles of “glacial flour” ( the fine particles of rock that are ground down as the glacier moves down the mountain) that wash into all lakes that are fed by glacial melt water causing the lake to take on this amazing turquoise colour.
Our return from Lake Maligne took us past Medicine Lake.
Some strange things happen here though! The water in the lake disappears during
the autumn! This is due to porous rocks & tunnels beneath the lake that
allows the water to drain away, only to fill up again the following spring as
the snows melt. But how lovely it is when its full of water!
The lodge we stayed in in Jasper was on the banks of the Athabasca river, we would often hear the shouts and screams of people doing white water rafting as they sped past the lodge. One evening though the sunset was truly glorious, so while everyone else was playing cards, I was out taking this sort of photo:
A few days later I returned and ventured across the Rockies in to Britsh Columbia (BC), it was interesting that all the BC car number plates had the tag line “The most beautiful place on earth” at the bottom. How true that is! The first thing I noticed about the colour of the water in the streams on the other side of the “divide” (where the streams flow down towards the Pacific to the west, while on the east side of the Rockies (the Alberta side) they flow towards the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans), was that it was so much lighter in colour. The streams and waterfalls had a very pale whitish hue that made them quite distinctive. The Marble Canyon probably had the most colourful rocks of all the falls that I saw there, what you you think?
Can you see what looks like the profile of a mans head looking left at the top of the photo above? You can even make out his “hair style” pretty smart hey?
It was actually very tricky getting these above images, as I had to balance my camera very precariously over the edge of the railings on the bridges. It also seemed very dark 15 or so metres down to where the water rushed through, in comparison the the bright sunny conditions above, but I’ve managed to get the very best out of the colours in the water and the rocks. At the top of the Marble Canyon, you can see exactly what I meant by the light colour of the water in the next photo, this is probably one of my absolute favourites!
The silky look of the water belies the ferocity with which it flowed! Another strickingly impressive waterfall was a few miles further into BC, where the rock formations were so different, yet just as beautful.
Again, I managed to capture this with a slow shutter speed, making the water almost look like a mist rolling down. In fact, the roar of the water as it rushed past was almost deafening.
Well that’s it for Part One, I hope you got a feel for the beauty of the Rockies. More will follow soon.
Not one to blow my own trumpet, but here’s a press release issued by th Master Photographers Association last week:
“London based photographer, Panikos Hajistilly has won
SEVEN merit prizes in major international photography awards.
Panikos’s images are now in the finals of the forthcoming Master Photographer
of the Year Awards 2011. The Awards are run by The Master Photographers
Association (MPA), the UK’s most respected organisation for professional
Panikos now goes forward to the final judging and faces a nervous few
weeks while he waits until the Awards Ceremony in October when the overall
winners will be announced. The Master Photography Awards 2011 presentations
ceremony will be held at the Gateshead Hilton in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne on Sunday
MPA Chief executive, Colin Buck made this comment on Panikos’s achievement:
“It is exciting to reach the Merit award stage of judging as Panikos was
in competition with the very best photographers in the world. There were over
2,500 images submitted this year so to be awarded a Merit prize is a real
success, well done to Panikos, and good luck in the final!”
For further information on Panikos’s photography, visit his website at www.panikosphoto.com to find out more about the MPA go to www.thempa.com”
Two landscape images have already appeared on my blog, but I was especially pleased to have got five portraits through to the next round! I know you’re itching to see which images made it, so here they are:
So there they are! I’ve booked my place at the Awards Dinner, it would be fantastic to see any of my images make it a little further in the competition, but don’t worry, as soon as I find out I’ll let you know!
All credit to Liam for finding such a lovely venue! They reception was held in a wonderful oak barn that has within it all the modern facilities required for the modern wedding. It was black on the outside & oak on the inside (sounds like an expensive chocolate!) but because of the high ceiling never felt hot or stuffy.
So, here are some of the photos. Please feel free to leave a comment if you wish.
Well, I’m sure you’ll agree Sarah looked stunning! And Liam, well, he didn’t look too bad either! A beautiful day, wonderful memories with a lovely wedding album to wrap it all up!