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Sanbis Resort, a short banana boat ride from Gizo.

If I was to recommend a relaxing holiday in the South Pacific to someone who wanted to get off the beaten track a bit and experience Melanesian culture (as it is, not how it’s dressed up to be for tourists, he adds), I’d head for the Western Province of The Solomon Islands where you could expect some superb snorkelling and diving, postcard-perfect islands to explore, more fresh lobster than you could possibly eat, and the opportunity to enjoy the friendly, simple life of a Melanesian village.
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I’m just finishing up a shoot in the Solomon Islands for its national tourism authority – the second stage in a project to build an on-line promotional photo library for the destination.

All up, it’s been a productive shoot. The great weather, some stunning island backdrops, professional talent and a distinctive traditional culture to photograph made my job a lot easier.

I’ll follow up shortly with my recommendation for a top paradise island experience I discovered in my wanders, for those planning to visit the country.

Otherwise, here’s a short preview of some of the pics (below).

Next Stop: Tahiti…. then the Cook Islands and Saudi Arabia….(after some publishing duties and a break from five back-to-back assignments, he adds).   

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Note: All the photographs posted on this blog are low resolution to allow for slow download speeds throughout the South Pacific.

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Sunset in the Solomon Islands (1000 iso @F5)

One of the many virtues of digital photography is that you can shoot to specific post production techniques you’ve mastered (at least in your own mind, he adds).
In this photograph (above), I knew I wanted more than the safe option of just a silhouette of the kids jumping which I could have got by simply focusing manually and exposing to the sunset. View full post »

Blog noseJust watching Ben sewing the turtle-shell Nalor (nose ornament) through his septum and plunging two rods through his nostrils (above) was enough to make my eyes water.
I’m doing a 10 day shoot in the Solomon Islands where the priority of the first stage of the assignment is to capture some culture shots that distinguished the Solomon Islands from their Melanesian competitors (Vanuatu, PNG and Fiji).  Having just returned from the Santa Cruz islands in the south where I shot these pics, I’m now back in Honiara – albeit briefly. Tomorrow I leave with talent to the destination’s more popular playing grounds of Gizo and Munda in the Western Province.

I’ll post a preview of the shoot when I come back through in about a week.

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By the end of October, I’ll know whether this photograph I captured has won the $25,000 first prize in the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photographic competiton.

It’s a big call (me versus the world sort of thing) but I love the emotion of these young buddhist monks playing in a Myanmar monastery. Each monk’s expression carries an emotion – elation, envy, determination  and encouragement – right down to the tiny surprised eyeball of the monk on the right. I love it; it’s one of the few personal photographs I have mounted in my own home.

And the competition is calling for submissions based around “The Challenge.”

So, I figger it has a pretty good chance (and $25,000 would get me that new equipment I’ve been looking at).

It’s the third time I’ve entered a photographic competition in my 15 year career. On the two other occasions, I won a national photographic magazine award for the best travel photograph and the best documentary photograph. So this is a whole different league.

We’ll see.