Accidental Winton photographer beats field of thousands

Droughtmaster breeder Luke Carrington wins coveted calendar cover spot

Photos
Luke Carrington's cover-winning photograph, taken in the Koondi shearing shed, Corfield, NW Queensland.

Luke Carrington's cover-winning photograph, taken in the Koondi shearing shed, Corfield, NW Queensland.

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He's not about to give up his day job of breeding top quality Droughtmaster bulls and Merino sheep but Winton's Luke Carrington can now add photographer to his resume.

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He's not about to give up his day job of breeding top quality Droughtmaster bulls and Merino sheep but Winton's Luke Carrington can now add photographer to his resume.

A personality-plus shot he took of his team of working dogs posed on top of some wool bales in the Koondi property shearing shed will be the cover photo of the 2021 Elders calendar.

Titled Iconic Australia, it won the popular vote over 3500 other entries entered from around Australia.

What's more, it was a spur of the moment shot taken with a mobile phone.

Mr Carrington, who is involved in the family properties that run Merinos and the Rondel Droughtmaster stud 100 kilometres north of Winton, took the photo on a whim.

"One afternoon, I took them for a run and I went past the shearing shed," he said. "I just told them to sit up on the wool packs and they all behaved and participated so I thought I'd take a shot and see how it turned out - it was even better than I expected."

He said the characters of the Kelpies - Peacemaker, Mustard, Evie and Milo - shone through in the picture.

"Milo's pretty cool, calm and collected and the big red fellow on the end, Peacemaker, is a bit more high maintenance," he said. "He's a smart dog with a strong personality and a bit of a larrikin too."

It was one of two photographs of the dogs submitted by Mr Carrington's wife Jayna on his behalf and he said it was the first time his photographs had been shared publicly.

"I don't share things like that on social media even - I probably should do," he said. "It's a pretty good feeling to be told your photo's been chosen over 3500 others."

The win is a bright spark in a tough year.

Mr Carrington said the 177 millimetres of rain that fell in January was followed by a wave of grasshoppers and then little else aside from a 15mm dousing in the last week.

The 1200 Droughtmasters and nearly 6000 Merinos on the properties are being heavily fed.

"It's not real good - we're feeding a lot of hay, palm kernel and DDG pellets, so we're looking for rain, that's for sure," he said.

Photographs from three other Queenslanders - Blackall's Maddie Brown, central Queensland physiotherapy student Abby Edmistone, and Darcy Schmidt from Kaimkillenbun - will feature on monthly pages inside the calendar.

Ms Brown's subject, Frankie Hick, is no stranger to the world of photography - a dramatic shot of her as a two-year-old on her family's drought-stricken Hughenden property with a storm blowing in, taken by her talented photographer mother Lindy Hick, featured on the cover of Queensland Country Lifein February 2018.

The picture, titled White Linen and featuring Frankie swinging off a gate in the evening light, was taken when Ms Brown, who entered the photograph under her maiden name of Maddie Sealy, was doing a family photo shoot earlier this year.

"It was late in the afternoon and the boys were well and truly over it," Ms Brown said. "They were driving back in one car and we were shutting the gate, and Frankie was happy to pose for a few more shots."

She said the recognition that Elders liked the photograph enough to include it in the final 13 and make it the March image was very flattering, especially as she has only taken photography seriously as a business proposition this year.

"I've always appreciated a good photograph but I only realised I could do a good job of it lately," she said, adding that wedding photography was the latest addition to her resume of couples and family portraiture.

For Abby Edmistone, photography has been a stress relief and still will be, even as her perfectly posed Brahman cows were announced as the December calendar image.

The 21-year-old has been studying physiotherapy at CQUniversity in Rockhampton and is about to graduate, so getting back onto her family's Dingo property and all its horses and cattle is a welcome break.

"The picture for the calendar wasn't even purposeful," she said. "We were at a trough and the cattle were all coming in to water - they just lined up perfectly."

Getting the email that the photograph was one of those chosen for the national calendar was very exciting.

"I didn't even expect to place," Ms Edmistone said.

The calendars will be available from Elders branches later this year.

The story Accidental Winton photographer beats field of thousands first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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