AIPP Victorian Photographer Of The Year 2013

*******2013 AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography) VIC Travel Professional Photographer of the Year – Darren J Bennett.********

Darren J Bennett is the AIPP Victorian Travel Professional Photographer of the year 2013.

Darren J Bennett was also runner-up AIPP Victorian Landscape Professional Photographer of the year for 2013

Darren J scooped the AIPP Awards, submitting 12 images and collecting 12 Awards, including the only “GOLD” Award in the Landscape Category, 2 Silver Distinctions and 9 Silver Awards.

Here are the winning travel images.

Darren J.


The Queens Head

Your Eyes, it was your eyes that spoke to me. It was your eyes that touched me, reached inside of me and almost broke me. The voice within your eyes bought me to my knees and saddened me, the tears within your eyes felt like drops of blood upon my face. You see, whatever it was that you were feeling, l felt it with you, l was there with you, l am you.

Darren J.


Aireys Inlet Workshop

Darren J Bennett and Rob Featonby will be running another workshop to Aireys Inlet.

AIREYS INLET (Great Ocean Rd) PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP August 17-18 2013

      Instruction by Darren J Bennett & Rob Featonby
Learn to shoot stunning seascapes along the Great Ocean Rd. A two day workshop designed to take you and your photography to the next level. Aireys Inlet is situated southwest of Melbourne, in between Anglesea and Lorne, beside the Southern Ocean in Victoria, home to the world famous Great Ocean Rd. Come along and photography the famous Split Point Lighthouse under the stars (weather permitting of course) learn to photograph seascapes surrounded by beautiful beaches, amazing rocks stacks and cliffs which come to life with the morning sunlight.
This is definitely a ‘hands on’ workshop, slapping on a pair of waders,  getting in close to the water, feel the energy and rush from being so close to the action. Find out what it’s like to shoot real seascapes with one of Australia’s finest seascape photographers.
Our previous workshop was fully booked within 2 weeks, so get in early to avoid missing out.
Follow the link to my website. You can book through paypal, email me for more payment options.
Darren J.

West Coast, New Zealand.

As l walked towards the light, l felt a strange presence beside me, was it my shadow? it could not be my shadow for that would be dark and heavy, the presence l felt beside me was light and reassuring, like it could whip me off my feet and throw me to the heavens above and l would not fight against it, but rather embrace it. l have felt this presence on many occasions, whenever l walk towards the light.


This image was captured on the West Coast, South Island, New Zealand.

Darren J.


Get to know your seascapes

These examples show what can be achieved through getting to know your subject matter, which means getting to your location early, scouting around the area you intent to photograph and pre-visualizing what type of effect the water will have when conditions and tide flow change.

I arrived at this location a few hours before sunset, knowing that high tide will start coming in around sunset, l killed some time scouting around and looking for subject matter that had potential to create strong visual elements once hide tide was in.

Bearing in mind that this particular location was very flat in appearance (no huge rock stacks to play with) it was important to create dynamic foreground interest through water motion.

The example below attracted my eye with it’s strong lines and shapes,  l had already pre-visualized the type of image and look l was after, than waited for the tide to come in.


Once you have the water motion, than start playing around with your shutter speeds to help emphasise subtle variations in motion. For this particular scene l wanted to achieve more of a streaky kind of motion, using speeds of around 1 to 2 seconds, whilst keeping the cascading water effect over the central rock.

tut4If my shutter speed had been longer it would have created a more ‘milky look’. Move around the scene trying all sorts of different compositions, until you find the strongest dynamics and best visual impact within the frame. With hide tide coming in it’s important to step back and assess the dangers.

Quite often rogue waves can catch you of guard, causing lots of damage to your gear and making it a very dangerous situation for the photographer. In most cases the surface of the rocks will be slimy and very, very slippery, so if you have to back track in a hurry, always take care.

tut2With the water cascading in and out of the giant pot holes, your bound to end up with sea spray continuously hitting you and your camera, be sure to carry a cotton t-shirt to wipe down your camera and filters, make your way to and from the area capturing images then going back to wipe your gear.

To capture this kind of seascape requires lots of water action and that means getting in close. l am often asked how l deal with looking after my gear shooting in these trying conditions, to which l answer ‘l don’t’. If you plan to be serious with your seascapes, your camera gear will suffer considerably, no matter how well you maintain it, if your gear is in good condition than your not getting the shots and your not close enough.

Darren J