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As the coolest event of the year in Sydney, I find a little bit surprising that Sydney Festival is neither hosting any photography competition, nor making the theme of any. Highly prominent (it lasts for three weeks, attracts approximately 500.000 people, features around 80 events and involves upwards of 1000 artists from all around the world), I’d say launching a photo competion, such as ‘The Best Photo of the Festival’, ‘The Best Photo of That’, “The Best Photo of the Other One’ it would be a huge hit.

I did some digging, and it looks like photographic competitions were never of much interest for the festival’s organisers. Two years ago, the University of Sydney, as partner of the festival, launched the 2011 Sydney Festival ‘Feed Your Mind’ photo competition. Dedicated only to uni staff and students, the competition asked for images representing how these one were feeding their minds on campus.

First prize was won by Inga Topolnicki with a whimsical composition, with a strong renascentist scent:

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Second prize went to Madison Roland-Evans for an inspirational, pensive image:

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A documentary photo of study practice brought the third prize to Kristi Pupo:

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Talking of Sydney Festival as a photographic competition theme, I could find only one such example: the 2011 Sydney Festival Competition organised by T-Dimension. However, it seems it wasn’t very popular, and, considering the five photos shortlisted, the quality standards were rather law (although I welcome their initiative, I reckon bigger efforts could have been put in promoting it):

T1Photo by Besan Dabeet

T2

Photo by Mathefani Arifin (Athe Arifini Photography)

T3

Photo by Melanie Aslanidis

T4

Photo by Warwick Kent

T5

Photo by Platini Ying Hang Lee

The last photo represented the winner of the competition, as well.

Remember mentioning how cool is Robin Nichols? The Centre for Continuing Education at Sydney Uni  offers a new course taught by him – this time a ‘live’ one. The course is 7 hours long, it focuses on iPad photography and it lasts for only one day – 25 January. If you are interested, you should hurry up! (The cost is of $225)

However, the course is pretty basics (it teaches you how the Apple iPad and the iOS5 platform work, how to transfer pictures and videos into, how to use the iPad’s internal camera settings, and how to buy, add and use some apps). It looks to me like nothing you haven’t already learnt since the day you bought your tablet.

But it would be a good opportunity to meet Robin, have a good chat, find out some insights on phonetography or general tips on shooting.

However, I’d like to seize the chance to underline that not only the smartphones won terribile grounds in photography, but also the tablets. Although I grant them the beautiful, big screens with displays of superior quality (just think about the iPad with a retina display! using big screens or wall projections to check out the quality of some photos doesn’t make a lot of sense now), I find them difficult to handle (yeah, it’s the big screen again!)

The Centre for Continuing Education at Sydney Uni offers a new course on photography: Learn Photography Online Course: The Complete Guide to Photography Basics The course will run between 4 March – 1 August (5 months), includes 12 assignments, and promises to teach you heaps on: the anatomy of a camera, features, image stabilisation; camera parts, device terminology, accessories; exposure; understanding exposure; shutter speeds, aperture and ISO and their creative use; focussing techniques and more – which makes it a total hit for a beginner! The tutor is Robin Nichols (great photographer – check out his blog) who has a great experience in teaching (a blog on his workshops and photo tours here – you might one a keep an eye open for future opportunities!)

However, the class is 100% online (if there is any personal attention span that you are aware of which might affect your online learning capabilities, think twice). The price is also a little bit up for an online class: $450 AUD.

Check out here a tutorial sample to know what to expect: