Penelope’s Top Photo Picks


It gives me enormous pleasure to welcome my lovely Twitter friend Penelope Beveridge, aka @penelopephoto as my guest with a compilation of her most popular images.

I recently asked Penelope who is an award winning professional photographer, which were the top images that she had produced during her career and she not only came up with these amazing examples but also her personal description of the how and why behind each one.

If you would like to find out more about Penelope you can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and at her Penelope Photo blog. All of the images can be viewed in their original size at Penelope Beveridge Photography.

Update 24th of August 2011 – Penelope has received 10 awards in the New York International Photography Awards for 2011. Her ‘Mad Hunters Tea Party’ was awarded second place in the Special – Digitally Enhanced category. In honour of this Penelope has asked me to add the image to her Top Picks!

Special Award Winning Pick! –  Mad Hunters Tea Party

Mad Hunters Tea Party was inspired by the Alice in Wonderland’s crazy Mad Hatters Tea Party.  I have been shooting in the Hunter Valley for years and have fallen in love with this place.  Only an hour and a half north of Sydney, The Hunter Valley is an adults “Disney Land”, a playground where over worked and stressed city dwellers can run away and escape for the weekend and enjoy the wine tasting, fine dining, great entertainment and relax amongst the picturesque undulating hills, flats and enduring landscapes – a place where time stops and the fantasy begins.

The image represents the story of the Mad Hatter explaining to Alice, how he and the March Hare are stuck at 6:00 forever and ar always having tea or in this case wine!  Nestled at the foothills of the Brokenback Mountain range is the tranquil little village of Broke where Head Chef for Margan Restaurant, Ian Atkinson decided to escape from Sydney and embrace the Hunter Lifestyle a couple of years ago.

Like the Mad Hatter, Ian is caught up in this beautiful realm – a dream location that has become the source of his inspiration to create delicious food from organically grown produce,  from the restaurants garden,  eggs from the hand fed chickens and match it with Margan’s own wines.  Using the striking Brokenback mountain range and iconic Yellow Rock to provide an impressive backdrop, I have arranged the subjects in a way which shows the characters expression of confusion and emotions of trying to answers The Mad Hatter’s unanswerable riddles and make sense of his nonsensical riddles which, to me, encapsulates Ian’s witty sense of humour and the atmosphere of the area.

1. Storm over Auckland

This image was shot as the rain cloud was drifting in the harbour at Auckland.  One minute there was beautiful sunshine and then I noticed a huge circular cloud engulfing the blue skies.  I knew something special was about to happen and I stood in rain and cold on a mountain and decided to capture this panorama.

2. Distant Lands

This is an emotional conceptual image on migration and travel. Emi Konichi is a beautiful Japanese girl who left her homeland, Japan for love.  She met her fiancé Andre Pipino and made the huge decision and sacrifice to live permanently here in Australia.

The different elements in the composition were all my photography, the pelican in flight and rocks were captured in the South Coast of Australia and the ship was in Botany Bay where Captain Cook landed back in 1770 discovering Australia which started the huge immigration here, some willingly others not.

Emi was one of those willing to start a new life in Australia.  Unfortunately as Japan is a 10 hour flight, with work commitments and getting married soon, she has now become a sojourner to her own country. This has to be the ultimate act for selfless love.  Distant Lands received two honor awards in the International Photography Awards held in New York.

3. AK47 Girl

This is conceptual photography visually speaking about the struggle between man and woman. The idea came from my female point of view rather than the males perspective.  The male in this image, is a wonderful New York Rapper Dancer Will Sanchez and the female is dancer/model Fee Hussain.

I arranged them into a tango like dance pose, where Will has a powerful strong assertion over Fee.  Fee appears to be vulnerable, feminine and surrendering although the twist is the AK47 rifle.  It was a message that you should never underestimate the strength of women.  Featured in PhotoShop Australia Magazine, Vol 1

4. Last Circus

These are images that I have composited together.  I travelled to an area in the desert in Western Australia called the Pinnacles, a fascinating part of the world, a must see if you are a photographer.  It looks like Mars, tall pinnacle sand pillars standing everywhere.  I have taken the ripples of the sand and combined images of the circus, such as the laughing clowns, Ferris wheel and big tent.

The circus was always in town when I was young although today there are only a few left.  The traditional circus is slowly disappearing, evolving and changing into more modern sophisticated productions. This image received two honor awards at the International Photography Awards, held in New York.  This was also the front cover for the PhotoShop Australia Magazine, Vol 1.

5. Dead Communication

The red telephone booths stood like monoliths on every street corner in years past.  It was a meeting place for children were you would talk, romance, play pranks or make phone calls.  It was a necessary form of communication for communities and if they were not working or vandalized it was frustrating.  The analog era has gone and with digital technology came the mobile/cell phone replacing the need for the telephone booth.

Dead Communication is part of a series that I am producing about the how technology has changed the world and those special things that we have lost to a bygone time.  This image received an honor award at the International Photography Awards in New York. Featured in PhotoShop Australia Magazine, Vol 1

6. Wallaga Lake South Coast of New South Wales

Australia is a beautiful area for landscape photographers.  You need your camera ready and a sharp eye to capture a moment of time.  While I was setting up my tripod, the old vintage Ute was coming down the mountain behind me.  I was in a frenzy with enthusiasm to have my gear ready and not miss the Ute crossing over the bridge.

Obviously, I did manage to set up and shoot a panoramic to show the length of the bridge.  It’s a classic image that appeared to be taken years ago not with a digital camera.  I struggled when doing post whether to remove the power lines in the distance but decided it was a significant part of the past, seeing the power lines. This is one of my most requested images as you can read many stories into the landscape.

7. Bird On A Rock

This one was taken in the early evening after a storm.  I was commissioned to go around the Sydney Beaches and capture the soul of each area.  Every day I would work at magic hour, either very early or in the evenings.  One night while I was relaxing at home, a thunder storm started.  It was in the afternoon but the skies were black.  I thought getting a storm would look great in this series, so I decided to brave the weather and get out there.

The beach was Tamarama Beach near Bondi and in the distance I saw this bird and something in its mouth.  I was slowly nearing the bird and it stopped to look at me and this is when I managed to sit the tripod down and capture the moment.  I have been asked did I photoshop the crab into the image, the answer no, this is how the bird was.  Just a magic moment caught forever.

8. Cyril and his Crew

The Last Supper was an image I did for a photographic competition called Shoot the Chef, run by a major newspaper called the Sydney Morning Herald.  My clients, Gastronomy Catering had a chef, Cyril who I thought a bit ‘Jesus like’ in his appearance, so I called my client and asked if he would be interested in being involved in my idea.  I explained that I wanted to shoot Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper with a modern adaption.

They were supposed to be the caterers of the Last Supper.  I studied Da Vinci, his lines and composition.  I noticed three windows in the original painting so I replaced that with three catering trolleys full of food.  The Last Supper Table was replaced by a stainless steel tables and big salmon fish were pulled out of storage and placed onto the tables.

At first all the catering crew were laughing and getting the right look eventually happened after  4 hours, when everyone was tired and looked solemn.  This is when I knew I had the right moment.  Since winning the professional division, the image has been used at  church sermons of difference denominations, sold to a Catholic School for the Head Masters Collection, bought buy a personal buyer in Hong Kong and has further received 2 awards in the International Photography Awards in New York.

9. The Surprise

A fun personal image.  My favourite model Fee Hussain has beautiful long hair and  I decided I would love to shoot her in a long red elegant dress.  I am not a photographer who likes to shoot without some sense of drama, to me an image has to have the ‘wow’ factor.  So I had the idea that Fee has to be holding balloons in the air.  Getting the balloons to the location was hilarious.  I had them floating around in my car while driving and had to knock a few of them out of my face. On the location we found this lovely avenue of trees in the background.  It was autumn and the leafless trees just added something into the composition.

Happy with the capture of the day, when I got back to my computer starting the post production, my mind went into overload and this is when I decided that a bird flying through one of the balloons would be the final image.  I searched through all my birds image and found this beautiful crane that I had taken in Japan.  I love the long legs and thought that this would be perfect juxtaposition to the long hair and sleek body of Fee.  This image received an honor award at the International Photography Awards held in New York.

10.  Yorkshire Sheep

There’s a funny story how this was captured.  In 2008 I won the Shoot the Chef, professional division for the Sydney Morning Herald.  My prize was a trip for two to London. From London we hired a car to travel to Scotland via the Yorkshire Dales. Breathtaking landscapes green lush and beautiful villages throughout the road trip.  During our travel through the Yorkshire Dales there were many stops to open and close farm gates along the trip.  We didn’t realise how time consuming this would be, especially when you are constantly stopping to photograph another magical scene.

It was a photographers paradise and I was in my element.  I had a urgent call of nature and had to run behind a tree with camera still strapped over my shoulder.  During the ‘zip up’ of my jeans I noticed all these sheep running down the hill to see me.  They stood there looking at me like was a long lost relative coming home. It was hilarious, here I am trying desperately trying to be discrete behind a tree, but these sheep were so excited that I was there.  I just could not let this moment past, regardless of my situation, I grabbed the camera and took the shoot of my new woolly friends.  I receive many emails about this image, it’s one of those images that engages you because of the look of the sheep.

Many thanks go to Penelope for allowing me to share some of her favourite images and particularly for the descriptions. It really does add something to have some background to what was in the photographers mind. Please do let Penelope know if you have any comments using the box below.

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Thank you for visiting The Top 10 Blog.

*All images by permission of Penelope Beveridge

  • Jen333ward

    Wow! Beautiful and Creative! Awesome!