Prints That Win: Alabaster Aster

For Dover, Ohio classic portrait artist Christine Walsh-Newton, working with people is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a photographer, so it would seem rather curious that her Sunset Award-winning print, “Alabaster Aster,” is something as simple – yet geometrically stunning – as a flower. “Working with people is great, I get to interact with them, but as a photographer, you don’t always have 100% control,” Walsh-Newton says. “Sometimes I just want to chill. Photographing flowers is sort of a means of meditation for me.”

Adding more meaning to her choice is the history of the Fuji Mum (in the Aster family) that is the subject of her winning piece. It was part of a bouquet given to her by her husband for their 19th wedding anniversary. “I rarely shoot flowers, unless it’s for my own entertainment, but I thought this would make for a great image, especially in black and white,” she says of “Alabaster Aster.” “I like to use alliteration for the titles of my flower pieces, and alabaster is a much more descriptive word than ‘white’, it was perfect for this selection.”

Prints that Win: Playing Card

Playing Card by Robert HughesAlmost a year ago we profiled the surreal digital art of Elaine Hughes, who won a Sunset Print Award for Dream World. This year, Elaine’s husband, Robert, enters the fray with his Sunset Print Award-winning image entitled Playing Card.

As noted in last year’s profile, both Elaine and Robert have focused their photography toward digital fine art. In the case of Playing Card, Robert says he photographs objects and scenes that might be interesting as part of a surreal digital scene.

He comes up with a concept and calls up other pieces and parts to create an interesting whole. For Playing Card, the focus is (surprise!)… a playing card. It’s a card he picked up at the Flamingo Hotel in Vegas some years back and photographed.

Add a couple of patterned backgrounds and part of a Christmas ornament (the legs of the flamingo), do some Photoshop magic, and Voila!, a print that intrigued the judges so much it scored a 100 at the Professional Photographers of Ohio competition.

Robert has varied interests, and magic is something he dabbled in as a teenager. He’s also an accomplished blues guitar player, currently on a world tour with his band Teeny Tucker. This combination of creative endeavors feeds his photography and digital fine art.

“I usually have some deep psychological meaning behind my work, but this is just a playful image,” he says. “I photograph elements that I store away in the back of my mind. I may be working with an image and remember that I photographed something that would work well. Images tell me what they want to be; I try to be open and listen. If we listen hard enough the image will tell us what it wants to be, and this was one of those.”

Sunset Print Award: Enter to Win Big Prizes at These Upcoming Competitions

Sunset Print Award
Photo by previous Sunset Print Award winner Jeff Dachowski, M. Photog., Cr., CPP, C.Ph.

The Sunset Print Award is being presented at print competitions across the U.S. Though 12 competitions are already completed, there are still about a dozen remaining that you can enter for a chance to win a Sunset Print Award.

Winners of the Sunset Print Award at each competition receive a crystal trophy, a lapel pin, and a $250 gift certificate for Sunset-branded inkjet media. Sunset Print Award winners at each competition receive an additional prize, an iPad Mini, if the winning image is printed on Sunset inkjet media. Entries do not need to be printed on Sunset media to qualify, but must be inkjet-printed.

Each winner in the regional and local competitions is then automatically entered to win the Grand Prize in the national Sunset Print Award competition. The Grand Prize winner receives airfare for two to Sarasota, Fla., with lodging at Lido Beach resort for three days and two nights, a $500 Visa gift card and national recognition. Second and third place winners receive a $500 and $300 Visa gift card respectively.

Following are the competitions being held through the end of March. For a full list of upcoming competitions (there are a bunch of them in April) and more information about those competitions, go to

Professional Photographers of Ohio, Lewis Center, Ohio: Print submissions are due by Monday, March 17, and the convention, called Photo Blast, runs from March 20-23 in Lewis Center. Click here for more information.

PPA Southeast District, Atlanta: Print submissions are due by March 19. District judging will be held in conjunction with the Georgia state convention in Atlanta, March 27-79. Click here for more information.

Professional Photographers of Michigan, Livonia, Mich.: Entries must be in the print room by 6 p.m. on Friday, March 28, with judging beginning the next morning at 9. The PPM March Madness convention runs March 28 through April 1 in Livonia. Click here for more information.

GPPA Print Competition, Atlanta: All entries must be uploaded by March 20, and the convention runs March 27-29 in Atlanta. There are two opportunities for Sunset Print Awards, through both the PPA Southeast District (see above) and the GPPA Print Competition. Click here for more information.

Wyoming Professional Photographers Association, Casper, Wyo.: Print submissions are due March 24 and the convention runs March 30 through April 1 in Casper. Click here for more information.

Good luck, get involved and get recognized! Check with each competition to verify submission deadlines, judging dates, submission/entry rules and more.

And be sure to visit for more information about the Sunset Print Award, a full list of upcoming competitions, the Sunset product line, and more. If you have any questions, contact a LexJet customer specialist at 800-453-9538.

Prints that Win: A Bridge to Remember

Black and white photo printed on Sunset Photo eSatin Paper

A bridge can be a metaphor for many things. For photographers, it’s about bridging the gap from capture to print.

Award-winning pro photographer Darrell Moll did just that, both literally and figuratively, with this stunning black-and-white image of a bridge over Cape Cod Sound that commemorates people who have passed on.

Moll bridged the gap between capture and print, ultimately capturing the judges’ attention at the recent Professional Photographers of Ohio conference. The print scored a 96 – the competition’s highest score – garnering a LexJet Sunset Award in the process, as well the People’s Choice Award, and numerous other accolades.

Moll judged the competition in Michigan the previous week, and says: “The LexJet Sunset Award is quickly becoming the most coveted award you can win for an image.”

Printed on LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper by Michael Timmons, The Portrait Gallery, Vassar, Mich., Moll says competition printing is not something to leave to chance. Though Moll prints his own work regularly, he prefers to use Timmons’ expertise for competition prints. “Since I’ve been working with Michael for competition prints, it’s ridiculous how many awards I’ve won. Printing definitely has an impact on scoring at competition,” he says.

“What good does it do to have all this expensive equipment and use the best techniques in the field to make it look as nice as we can and then just send it to the printer and print it on anything? Why not use a RIP and the best media and ink we can? I print everything on LexJet paper; it doesn’t do any good to do all the right things and not follow through with a calibrated monitor and the right print media. It’s the final step for the finished product, so you leave nothing to chance,” says Moll. “Michael [Timmons] thinks eSatin has the best white point of all the papers he’s tried, and I tend to agree. It doesn’t get blocked up, it sets the ink very well and dries nicely. The finished product is what it’s all about, and in this case it was the reproduction of the subtle gradation of tones and light. With really good black-and-white printing there’s a luminescent quality that comes through; the eSatin paper lends itself well to that and a lot of other subjects. It’s the nicest everyday paper you can use.”

Of course this would be all for naught if not for the photographer’s talent to capture the moment properly and at the right time. Moll was on Cape Cod shooting a wedding and would venture out super early each morning (5 a.m.!) to see what he could see and capture.

He ran across this bridge and all the elements were in place: early morning light, fog and still water. He set up with his Canon EOS 5D Mark II with a 24-105 L series lens and graduated neutral density filter to darken the top of the horizon and show more detail in the foreground. He captured the scene at f16 for four seconds at 100 ISO.

Everything was perfectly in place, and Moll knew right away that this scene would render best in black-and-white. “I made sure it was tack sharp after I shot it before I moved onto another subject. The last thing you want to do is go back home 700 miles from the shot and realize you weren’t sharp,” he says.

Two Chances to Win a LexJet Sunset Award at Ohio and Georgia Photo Conventions

Photo competitions in Ohio and GeorgiaThis month, professional photographers have two chances to win LexJet Sunset Awards in the print competitions at the Professional Photographers of Ohio (PPA Northeast District) and Georgia PPA (PPA Southeast District) conventions.

LexJet Sunset Award winners get a beautiful trophy and a gift certificate. And if the award-winning image is printed on LexJet media, winners in these two print competitions also get an iPad.

The PPA Northeast District, hosted by the Professional Photographers of Ohio, runs March 14-18 at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio. Entries for the Print Competition are due on Thursday, March 8. Entries will be judged March 15-16 and awarded on March 17. Click here for more information and competition rules.

The PPA Southeast District, hosted by the Georgia PPA, will be held March 31 through April 3 at the Athens Classic Center & Athens Hotel Indigo in Athens, Ga. Entries for this competition are due by March 28 and awards will be given on April 3.  The LexJet Sunset Award winner in the offical District competition gets a $200 gift certficate and an iPad, if the winner is printed on LexJet Paper.

There’s also a LexJet Sunset Award up for grabs for the Georgia PPA members-only competition, which comes with a $100 gift certificate and must be printed on LexJet paper. For more information and rules, click here, and click here for the scoop on the Georgia PPA members-only LexJet Sunset Award.

Good luck, and if you have any questions, contact Tom Gruss at LexJet:, or call 941-906-3377.