I'm writing this really quickly before I head back to the Chateau on the Park in Christchurch for the final day of what has been an incredibly inspirational NZIPP conference. The conference proper ended yesterday but I signed up for the optional extra Masterclasses today with the two keynote speakers, Peter Coulson and Marcus Bell, and having heard their talks I'm so glad I did. I've absorbed so much information over the last few days and had so may ideas I feel my head is about to explode, but I'm going to cram a bit more into my tiny, tiny brain... In a misguided effort to save money I skipped the Gala Dinner last night but after dinner with Christchurch friends I avidly followed the proceedings on Facebook and it looks like it was an awesome night. My fellow Wellingtonians rocked it - Esther Bunning became a Grand Master of Photography, Terry Wreford-Hann was Commercial Photographer of the Year, Jason Naylor was a finalist for Creative Wedding Photographer of the Year, and Penny Evans was a finalist for Classic Wedding Photographer of the Year. There were plenty of other Wellington successes too but I need to run now! For the amazing galleries of all the winners check out this link. I'll post my winning photos after I get back.

The winning prints will tour NZ so if you're even remotely interested in photography go and see them when they're in your area. They are works of art, and the depth and colour and detail and impact of the prints just can't be captured on the web - some of them are mind-blowing!

Excuse the quality of these quick snaps - I decided not to lug my dSLR to Christchurch.

Richard Wood (Photographer of the Year in 2011) immersed this woman in a milk-filled aquarium for this Gold award-winning shot - talk about commitment! Esther Bunning won Gold in the Creative Portrait category for this composite photo of this wee girl, who had told Esther her dream was to ride an elephant to school.There were lots of gorgeous animal portraits this year. I didn't get around to photographing Karyn Flett's hilarious Gold award-winning dog series but you should take a look at it (Classic Portrait gallery) here. I also loved Laura Ridley's beautiful studies of a hairless grey cat, Nicola Inglis's simple giraffe portrait (Silver with Distinction in the Classic Portrait category) and this Gold photo above from Shar Hays.

Associate of the NZIPP - wahoo!