Improving Your Image Through Visual Communications

Journalist - Photographer - Writer

Thursday 23 June 2011

APS National Digital Photography Competition 2011

By Darren Stones

The Australian Photographic Society is again conducting its popular national digital photography competition in 2011. I have been a member of the society since 2000 and again look forward to competing in this competition.

This year I have entered 10 photographs. Four images in the Open section, two in the Nature section, and four in the Photojournalism section.

Open section:
Nature section:
Photojournalism section:
All images can be viewed in this slideshow and by clicking on the links.

As a photographer, I believe it is important to enter photography competitions each year as it provides an opportunity to share images with fellow photographers and the public.

A flat $20.00 fee entitles entrants to enter all categories. Check the competition website for further information. Entries close June 30. If you decide to enter, good luck!

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Success at the 54th Grenfell Henry Lawson Festival of Arts Photography Exhibition 2011

By Darren Stones

Photography Exhibition Coordinator Denise Yates said on the Grenfell Henry Lawson Festival of Arts Facebook page: 'WOW!!! was the comment from our judges at the amazing quality of prints entered in the photography competition. As one judge said, "I never expected to see such an incredible standard of work!" Thank you to all who entered. Reports will be with you shortly, lots of good feedback from both judges on each print.'

Judging and volunteering
Judging for the 54th Grenfell Henry Lawson Festival of Arts Photography Competition and Exhibition 2011 has concluded. Professional photographers Holly Bradford and Seth Buchanan judged this year's competition.

Photography exhibition coordinator Denise Yates called to inform me of my success in this year's competition and I am grateful for the time she is dedicating to the festival as a volunteer.

Photography competition awards achieved:

Science and Nature category
White-faced Heron - Runner-up award

White-faced Heron, Merimbula, New South Wales, Australia IMG_7539_Merimbula
White-faced Heron by Darren Stones
Science and Nature category

Photojournalism/Documentary category
Surfing at Jan Juc - Highly Commended award
Glen the Shearer - Highly Commended award

Torquay, Victoria, Australia, surfing IMG_7119_Torquay
Surfing at Jan Juc by Darren Stones
Highly Commended
Photojournalism/Documentary category

Hay, New South Wales, Australia, The Long Paddock, sheep shearer IMG_5837_Hay
Glen the Shearer by Darren Stones
Highly Commended
Photojournalism/Documentary category

Landscape category
Point Lonsdale - Highly Commended award

Point Lonsdale, Victoria, Australia IMG_5230_Point_Lonsdale
Point Lonsdale by Darren Stones
Highly Commended
Landscape category

National competition and exhibition
I am thrilled to have achieved these awards in what is a highly regarded national competition and exhibition. I am most grateful to judges Holly and Seth for acknowledging my work.

Journey to Grenfell
In a couple of days, I will be making the 690-kilometre journey to Grenfell to enjoy the photography exhibition and to view the fine work of my peers. Whilst at the festival, I will also be visiting the Grenfell Men's Shed, watching the Guinea Pig Races, and viewing the photography of members of the Grenfell Camera Club.

Festival information
The 54th Grenfell Henry Lawson Festival of Arts begins on Friday June 10 and runs through to Monday June 13, 2011. It is a unique Australiana-style festival that displays high quality works of Australian artists.

Must say, I am really looking forward to this year's festival. Hope to see you there.

Festival website:

A beaut Australian Festival by Darren Stones
Article published in the Grenfell Record 25 May, 2011.

Friday 3 June 2011

Exhibiting eight photographic prints during the 54th Grenfell Henry Lawson Festival of Arts 2011

By Darren Stones

The 54th Grenfell Henry Lawson Festival of Arts begins on Friday June 10 and runs through to Monday June 13, 2011. It is a unique Australiana-style festival that displays high quality works of Australian artists.

With the major focus being on the arts of painting, photography, poetry, and short story writing, the festival will proudly award four bronze statuettes in recognition of the finest work in each of the four categories.

As winner of the 2008 bronze statuette for photography, I appreciate the continued opportunity and support that the festival provides to Australian photographers. The photography competition and exhibition is open to professional and amateur Australian photographers.

Photography Coordinator
This year sees local professional photographer Denise Yates in the role of Photography Coordinator for the festival. Denise said she has "received some amazing prints so far", and is grateful to those who have entered the exhibition.

Denise said she cannot wait to show the festival visitors the amazing photographic work in the new exhibition venue at 117 Main Street Grenfell during this year's festival.

My Exhibition Entries
This year, I will be exhibiting eight professionally printed, mounted and matted photographic prints as part of the photography exhibition.

Digital Works
Each of my images is professionally printed on Kodak Professional Supra Endura lustre photographic paper by Digital Works in Hallam, Victoria.

Ausdart - Picture Framing Specialist
The professional mounting and matting of my images is the fine work of talented duo Kevin and Linda Chen of Ausdart - Picture Framing Specialist, North Coburg, Victoria. Kevin and Linda are proud to be involved in producing the works for the exhibition and are looking forward to hearing feedback regarding the exhibition.

Each print is mounted on 5mm self adhesive white foamcore and finished with a white mat for rigidity and for exhibition presentation. Each print is for sale at the exhibition for $88.00, and can be framed by any professional framer.

My photographic exhibition images this year include:
  • Shannon Noll performing at an outdoor concert in Melbourne
  • Surfing action at Jan Juc near Torquay on Victoria's Surf Coast
  • A fiery-red sunset at Point Lonsdale on the Bellarine Peninsula
  • Landscape scenery at Perry Sandhills near Wentworth, NSW
  • Sheep shearing at Shear Outback, Hay, NSW
  • Kangaroos grazing in the Kosciuszko National Park, NSW
  • Unique geological feature at Middle Beach, Merimbula, NSW
  • A White-faced heron at the Top Lake in Merimbula, NSW

Festival Friends and Mateship
The various activities and entertainment scheduled during the festival are sure to please locals, and those who travel to Grenfell to experience some friendly hospitality. I will be attending this year's festival, and I am looking forward to catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. The theme for this year's festival is "Mateship".

Further information
For further information about the Grenfell Henry Lawson Festival of Arts, see the festival website.

A beaut Australian Festival by Darren Stones
Article published in the Grenfell Record 25 May, 2011.

Wednesday 1 June 2011

Mental Health First Aid

By Darren Stones

The Mental Health First Aid course is designed to train members of the public to provide help to people who are developing mental health problems and require assistance in crisis situations. The course is not designed to train people to provide diagnoses and on-going professional treatment.

Delivery of the Standard course is over 12 hours, with four topics each comprising three hours.

Topics include:
  • Depression
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Psychosis
  • Substance Use Disorders
People undertaking the course are instructed to provide mental first aid to people who may be:
  • Suicidal
  • Having a panic attack
  • Recently experienced a traumatic event
  • Threatening behaviour
  • Drug overdosing
A range of studies, including randomised controlled trials, have shown that Mental Health First Aid training improves knowledge, reduces stigmatising attitudes, and increases first aid actions towards people with mental health problems.

The course has spread internationally and is now is taught in Australia, Canada, England, Finland, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, USA and Wales.

Each country that implements the course, adapts it to suit their culture and health system. Information is disseminated in a manner best suited to local conditions.

The Mental Health First Aid training course was created in Canberra in 2001 by Betty Kitchener and Tony Jorm. In 2009 there were over 850 accredited instructors covering every state and territory in Australia.

The program is auspiced by the Orygen Research Centre, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne.

Further information:

Mental Health First Aid

Information sourced from:

Mental Health First Aid Manual Second Edition
Mental Health First Aid website

I have enrolled in the Standard course to be conducted in July 2011 at Docklands in Melbourne. Instructor is Joe Zammit, Mental Health Practitioner and Mental Health Trainer at Norwood Association.