Every year the PPA (Professional Photographers of America) invite the best photographers from around the world to compete in their annual photography competition, the International Photographic Competition. Competitors are allowed to enter up to 4 images to be judged by a panel of elite judges. This year, the 2016 photography awards were especially good to me…

Of the four images I entered into the competition, all four were awarded merits. When I received the news I was humbled. A few days later, I received this in the mail along with a congratulatory email.

I guess the judges really appreciated the work I submitted. It is a complete honor receiving these prestigious 2016 photography awards. Even one award from the most respectable photography competition in the world is humbling enough. Receiving an award for all four images I entered is a prestige I am most thankful for.

Ah, but enough talk, I’m sure you are more interested in seeing the works that won the awards than hearing me rambling on. So, let’s get to it already…


It was a cold but still evening as the sun went down far from where I was staying. As the darkness crept in, so did a soft rolling fog. It wrapped around the mountains and came to rest in the valley around this small cabin. Although my feet were covered in ice from wading in the water, the scene itself was completely magical and I felt no cold. Instead, I was grateful for the opportunity to be there and be witnessing such an amazing sight. To me, this capture is as magical as any from that trip.

This image took top honors, being invited into the Loan Collection from the Professional Photographers of America. It’s an image that was  shot in Canada along with two more images below.

Winter Warmth

This is another special image to me. On more than one occasion I’ve been out photographing amazing places. Places that are highly photographed by some of the world’s most talented shooters. This was one of those locations. But this is not the landscape that is so often photographed. The popular shot is 180 degrees from where my camera was pointed.

There were other photographers shooting that scene, and as much as I wanted to shoot that image, this one was so much more enticing. The fact that no one else was photographing it made it even more appealing. The favored sunrise shot was worth missing out on in order to capture this even more incredible landscape!

Celestial Cinema

I knew right when I saw this little Ice cave, it was going to be a long day. I knew the view was going to be amazing after the sun went down, and if I could catch some stars in the sky, it would be more than amazing. Luckily, as the sun went down I opened up my aperture to a wide enough setting to capture both stars and the fading light. By framing the icicles around the mountain cliffs, and with that subtle milky way showing up in the background, the image ended up being better than I could have imagined!

il Furore

Finally, this image from Italy, was a shot 15 years in the making.  Well, sort of.  I first shot it 15 years before this with a state-of-the-art (at the time) 3.3 megapixel camera. I got stopped so many times on that trip as no one in Italy had seen a digital camera before that.  Or at least it seemed that way.  On that trip I left with one decent photo.  This time I was determined to come back with something even better.  This shot, with the eruption happening at just the right time came out as well as I could have dreamed.  I’m so thankful that the planning and hiking it took to get to this location, not to mention the volcanic activity, all came together for an epic night of shooting!

So, there you have it.  These images have all earned distinctions at the highest levels of the industry and I am honored that a jury of my peers deemed these among the best of all submissions. Even though the PPA is one of the most prestigious photography associations in the world, this was only the first competition I entered this year.  I have several other images in different competitions.  All of which I feel confident will help garner a few more awards this year. However, even if they don’t the 2016 photography awards I’ve already received from the PPA and the International Photographic Competition make me extremely humbled.  I hope you enjoy these images too!