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Tolkein Rock, Awatere River, Middlehurst, New Zealand
Phase One A-Series, 150MP IQ4, 23mm Alpagon lens, f5.6 @ 30 seconds, ISO 50

I'm still working my way through this image, but its genesis might surprise you! While working with our photographers on the recent Middlehurst Art Photography Experience, Tony Hewitt and I pull out our video cameras and phones to shoot a little behind-the-scenes for future promotional clips we never seem to finish! The sun had disappeared and it was getting quite dark when I looked down on the tiny screen of my Osmo Pocket. If you know the video camera, you'll also know how small that screen is.

However, looking at that screen, all I could see was the ribbon of blue water and the sky. The landscape was in deep shadow and looked really dramatic! Although I'd packed up my gear for the night, I couldn't help myself but take another couple of photos.

The correct exposure for the highlights at f5.6 was 2 seconds, but using the new exposure averaging feature in the Phase One IQ150 back (it's similar to the feature found on the latest Olympus cameras), I took around 30 seconds worth of exposures, blurring the water still more. And given the incredible dynamic range of the IQ4 back, there was still lots of information in the shadows!

But I'm not quite sure I'm finished. The colour palette is a little strong and although I have tamed the blues in the water several times, maybe they should be tamer still, or maybe I desaturate the wonderful yellows in the Middlehurst hills? I'll live with it for a little while and see how I feel!

If you'd like to see a large print of this image, come along to the AIPP's Australian Professional Photography Awards at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney (10-12 August - entry is free) and check out the LaCie stand. And while you're there, spend an hour or two watching and listening to the judging. It's an experience that could transform everything you think you know and understand about photography - and just maybe you'll understand why so many of us are addicted to the experience.

And don't forget to enter our own Better Photography Photo of the Year 2019 awards. Entries close 15 August and every entry receives a judge's comment designed to help improve your photography! It's also great fun! Click here: