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Photo of the year 2017

I love taking Still Life images, however this year I havenít focussed on it as much and have found myself wandering down the beach and as you all know - I love my shells! LOL!! Iím always on the hunt for little things to pick up to photograph. I enjoy taking photos of the leaves from the Liquidambar tree (related to the Canadian Maple and this variety is native to Australia and New Zealand). Iíve created a few other Still Life images with these photogenic leaves. Thereís a tree just down the road from me - Iím sure if someone saw me they would be giving me a peculiar look as I carefully selected a few leaves off the footpath where they fell. They really are a beautiful tree to watch change colours with the Winter season approaching. I placed the two leaves on background of white cardboard and set my tripod up so I could directly shoot above the two leaves. I didnít take many photos of these leaves as I already had envisioned my final image I wanted to create. What a time saver!! I then opened them in Nik Collection: Silver Efex Pro2 and tweaked it a little and finished with Levels and Contrast in Photoshop Elements. I then applied a texture to the background and burnt around the edges a little. To add a creative twist I used the Nudge Tool and applied a curve to both of the stems and lengthened them so they would extend beyond the frame of the image.  Nikon D7000 - f18 - 1/50th sec  - ISO 800 - no flash - tripod - 60mm Macro Lens.
"The Great Goat Trek"
Sandra Boles
"Rainbow Bee Eaters"
John Abbott
This image was taken in September 2016 at Point Vernon on the foreshore next to the Osprey Nest, otherwise known as the Pinnacles.

Camera: Canon 5D MKII
Aperture: f/5
Speed: 1/2000th sec
ISO: 125
Focal length: 500mm
Lens: Canon Prim f/4L
On a heavy tripod with gimble head
"Autumn Duo"
Susie Thompson
This image of Kara Tribesmen in the Omo Valley was taken last year (2014) while in Ethiopia. We camped on the banks of the Omo River in tents for 2 nights along with some other keen photographers. This allowed us to get to the Kara Village before sunrise, where these people live in traditional conditions. Stick huts, dirt floors, animal skins and cloth for clothing etc. The only part that is not traditional is the carrying of AK 47 firearms. The goats and cattle are hearded towards the river for water each morning.
The countryside was very dry and the bulldust was prolific. To get an image from this point of view I had to race ahead of the animals and lay flat on my stomach in the bulldust. When they came too close, it was time to get up and run ahead again. We did this for about 30 minutes.
It was certainly worthwhile as I shot a few hundred images in beautiful morning light.
At the end of the shoot it was hard to tell what was the dirtiest, my amazing Nikon Df or me. It was an adrenalin pumping morning that I shall remember forever.
Settings were Nikon Df with my regular trusty travelling lens, the Nikon 28-300mm. This lens has seen quite a few trips around very rugged parts of the world and never lets me down. When given the chance, it is super sharp and is very versatile with a 300mm zoom. I was on aperture priority f7.1, shutter speed was 1/500sec and ISO 800. Focal length of this shot was 112mm.