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Somerset Museum Rag

Epson Victorian Professional Photographer of the Year 2015

The 2015 Epson Victorian Professional Photographer of the Year competition has been running in Melbourne at 1140 studios. Moab Master, Joshua Holko, won multiple categories, the highest scoring print and the overall title of 2014 Epson Victorian Professional Photographer of the Year last year. It is a competition Joshua thoroughly enjoys from the capture to print. 

Congratulations to Joshua Holko for scoring Silver in four landscape photographs and three of his Science, Wildlife and Wild Places photographs in the 2015 AIPP Awards.

All of the prints were printed on Holko's all-time favorite stock for fine art photography prints, Moab Somerset Museum Rag

Arctic Fox Snow Storm – 89 Silver with Distinction Award Science, Wildlife and Wild Places Category

Dune on Fire – 86 Silver with Distinction Award Landscape Category

The AIPP National and State awards are two of the few remaining competitions to actually judge the finished print and they do so using a panel of judges all deemed experts in their respective genres and accredited as Masters of Photography through their years of success in this arena. 

Joshua Holko will now be headed to the South Island of New Zealand for his 2015 Masterclass Workshop.

Travel Photographer of the Year- Wild and Vibrant

Congratulations to Moab Master, Joshua Holko, for winning the 2014 Travel Photographer of the Year award in the Wild and Vibrant category after a two month journey in South Georgia Island, Patagonia and Antartica. Joshua Holko used Somerset Museum Rag for his prints. 

"Travel photographer of the Year is one of the few remaining competitions that still judge the printed image and it is a massive thrill and honour to have won the Single Shot Wild and Vibrant Category with one of my Polar Bear photographs from Svalbard in the Arctic. 

The winning photograph has subsequently been featured by the UK Daily MailNational Geographic Itlay, The GuardianThe UK Telegraph, the German news website Spiegel Online and more. Winning Travel Photographer of the Year in the Wild and Vibrant Category has topped off for me what has been a truly incredible year in the competition arena. The standards in these competitions are incredibly high and it an immense honour to win the category."

-Joshua Holko


Somerset Museum Rag Goes Big!

This Epic Sense of Scale Antarctica by Joshua Holko scored a Gold with Distinction award and was selected to be included in the prestigious Nillumbik Prize. During his recent Antarctica expedition, Joshua Holko was fortunate enough to come across an iceberg of truly monumental size near Antarctic Sound. The winning photograph at the Victorian Epson Professional Photography Awards measures 24″ x 100″ inches and was printed  on Moab Somerset Museum Rag paper. It will go on display next week from June the 5th at Montsalvat Art Gallery in Eltham.


Victorian State Print Awards Goes to Joshua Holko

Congratulations to Moab Master, Joshua Holko, who scored 6 highly coveted Gold awards including two even more coveted Gold with Distinction awards. All of these photographs were printed using Moab Somerset Museum Rag Paper and his Canon IPF6350 printer. Joshua also took out multiple category wins, highest scoring print award of the year (also on Somerset Museum Rag) and the top title of Victorian Photographer of the year. View Joshua Holko's blog for all of his amazing award images in his polar and sub polar photography expeditions. 

Collaborating with Photographer Robert Farber

First-time sponsor of Art Miami, Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, will showcase its range of printing solutions for the fine arts industry at CONTEXT December 3 -- 8 at the Midtown Miami complex. One of the most important annual contemporary art events in the United States, Art Miami showcases the best available artworks of the 20th and 21st centuries in collaboration with 125 of the world's most respected galleries. Additionally, Art Miami's sister fair CONTEXT is dedicated to the development and reinforcement of emerging and mid-career, cutting-edge artists.

At the Canon booth #E13, award-winning photographer Robert Farber will showcase a collage of his most impressive images and share insights and personal experiences for working with the output devices. Show attendees can interact with Canon's latest artistic printing solutions -- including the imagePROGRAF iPF6450 printer, which features enhanced color management capabilities and the PIXMA PRO-1 printer -- a powerful, high-quality professional inkjet printer that produces stunning color prints and dynamic black-and-white images. All of the images will be printed on Moab's Somerset Museum Rag. Robert will also be giving out 16x20 sized images.

"As photographers, we look to tell a story or convey a message through the power of an image," said photographer Robert Farber. "Canon's imagePROGRAF and PIXMA PRO printers help showcase this story by delivering high-quality, archival imaging capabilities and creative applications that can enhance moments we've captured through our lens. I'm looking forward to engaging with other professionals at Art Miami to hear some of their latest inspirations and discuss the potential that lies with Canon's fine art printers."

Joshua Holko wins big at the APPA


We're taking the opportunity to repost Moab Master, Joshua Holko's blog describing his four Australian Professional Photography Awards

"Once  a year the annual APPA Australian Professional Photography Awards are held in Australia. This year they were conveniently held in my home state of Victoria. The event is sponsored by Canon Australia and is run by the AIPP Australian Institute of Professional Photography. Widely regarded by many as the toughest photographic competition in the world today APPA remains one of the few world wide competitions where the finished ‘print’ is judged (in the vast majority of categories) by a panel of professional photographers who are each considered experts in their chosen specialities. 

...This year I was thrilled to receive two Silver with Distinction awards and two Silver Awards for two photographs from Antarctica and two from Iceland respectively. Each of these prints was printed on my personal favourite paper – Moab Somerset Museum Rag"

Click here for the full blog post and images

Shooting Icebergs from a Zodiac

This article was written by Moab Master, Joshua Holko

One of the most exciting and enjoyable aspects of a photographic trip to Antarctica is the opportunity to climb into a zodiac with like-minded photographers and spend countless hours cruising amongst the spectacular icebergs and glaciers that line the Antarctic Peninsula. For the photographer with a penchant for icy landscapes it just doesn’t get any better, and the opportunities are virtually limitless.

Cruising in a zodiac is one of the best ways to photograph icebergs since it puts the photographer at sea level, enabling wonderful perspective opportunities that are impossible to achieve aboard a large ship. Zodiac photography also provides you with the opportunity to get very close to even relatively large icebergs, thus enabling you to create dramatic photographs through the use of wide and ultra-wide angle lenses. If your zodiac driver is keen and fearless enough then in many cases you can even get close enough to touch some of the more stable icebergs (as I did on several occasions). If you are super keen then you may even be up for a polar plunge, as one member of my group recounted from a previous expedition.

During my last Antarctica trip I spent over twelve hours cruising in zodiacs with other photographers, which provided ample opportunity to not only photograph icebergs, glaciers and penguins, but also to place other zodiacs and people in the frame to provide a sense of scale and context to some of the photographs. I normally work very hard to exclude the hand of man in my landscape photography, but in several instances it provided the perfect counter point to complete and balance the frame.

Whilst the idea of wrestling with camera gear in a pitching zodiac on Antarctic seas with ten other photographers all jostling for position might sound like less than ideal shooting conditions, the reality is quite different. A zodiac provides a relatively stable shooting platform and can actually comfortably accommodate up to ten photographers (with equipment), a dedicated driver, and still provide ample room for everyone to shoot simultaneously. I never felt cramped or uncomfortable and was successfully able to share the space available with those around me. Usually those on the side closest to the subject kneel on the floor of the zodiac with their arms resting on the pontoon. This provides a very stable platform for handheld shooting. Photographers on the far side of the subject can then stand and shoot over the top of those kneeling in front of them. The zodiac driver would always do a few passes, thus enabling everyone to get the shot from several vantage points. Because a zodiac is a small boat and is constantly moving, it is important to keep shooting whenever the subject is in frame since the composition is constantly changing. There is very little time to properly compose a well-considered frame before the angle of view has changed. Instead, the challenge becomes one of selective editing later on.

Photography from zodiacs does require some additional and necessary equipment, including thermal clothes, waterproof jacket and pants, self inflating life jacket, and rain covers for camera equipment. One of the biggest challenges is protecting camera equipment from salt spray, sleet and snow. During several of my zodiac sessions we were buffeted by high winds whipping up spray as the zodiac moved through the sea. We also experienced heavy snow, driving rain and sleet. During several trips I had my camera equipment completely soaked and was very glad of the weather sealing of my 1-series Canon cameras, which operated flawlessly. Several Canon 5D MKII cameras were not so fortunate and succumbed (albeit temporarily) to the harsh, wet conditions. I recommend carrying at least one cloth suitable for drying the front element of your camera lens and a separate bag in which to keep it dry.

In terms of positioning I found it generally best to sit toward the back of the zodiac to avoid the worst of the salt spray that is inevitably thrown up at the front of the boat. However, there is no free lunch at the rear either, where the fumes of the outboard engine’s exhaust can become somewhat nauseating after a period of time and gave me a headache on more than one occasion.

The choice of lens when shooting from zodiacs is an important consideration in your planning since it is quite difficult to swap lenses without ending up with a camera full of salt spray, rain or snow. In fact, even swapping out small SD memory cards can be a challenge in a pitching zodiac whilst wearing cold weather gloves. On top of this, Antarctica is an incredibly dusty environment and it is a good idea to try and minimize lens changes, or at the very least find a sheltered place to do so. I chose to shoot with both my 1DS MK3 and 1DMKV cameras, as I wanted to utilize prime lenses for the majority of my shooting and dual camera bodies gave me an additional focal length option without having to change lenses. I primarily shot with the 24mm F1.4L MKII and 17mm F4L TSE and occasionally with the 70-200mm F2.8L IS. I am comfortable shooting with prime lenses at the wide end and found these two lenses excellent for the task. Most photographers chose to shoot with zoom lenses when on zodiac excursions since they provide for increased framing possibilities. A zoom lens such as a Canon’s 16-35mm or Nikons 14-24mm will provide for more flexible framing.

A few tips if you are planning your first photography foray on a zodiac in Antarctica.

-       Be sure to visit the bathroom before you climb on board. It’s amazing how the call of nature can hit you when you are in the middle of the Antarctic Ocean on a boat full of photographers keen on anything but heading back to the ship so you can relieve your problem.

-       Don’t forget to put on your life jacket before you queue up to board. It’s amazing how difficult it can be to put on a life jacket over bulky thermals and wet weather gear whilst in a narrow ship corridor and juggling cameras.

-       Carry a couple of dry lens clothes in an easily accessed waterproof bag for drying the front element of your lens. Use rain covers to protect your cameras.

-       Carry spare camera batteries and spare memory cards in an easily accessed waterproof pocket. There is nothing more frustrating than being on a zodiac with a flat battery or full memory card.

-       Wear sunscreen. Even in overcast conditions the reflected UV light off the icebergs will cook you in a very short space of time. The ozone layer is very thin over Antarctica.

-       Wear plenty of warm clothes. Sitting on a zodiac, it is very easy to become chilled to the bone if the weather is poor or the wind is up. It is easy to remove a layer if you get too hot.

-       Be considerate of those around you before you stand up or lean in front of someone else. Space is limited on a zodiac and everyone wants to take great photographs.

-       Zodiac drivers are often keen photographers themselves and will do their best to put the zodiac in the best possible position for shooting. If you need to get closer or further away you can ask, and I have found they are usually very accommodating.

-       Never carry loose pieces of paper or plastic. Antarctica is a pristine environment and it would be very easy to lose these items to the wind.

-       Above all else, have fun. Shooting from zodiacs is an incredible experience and it’s important to put the camera down occasionally, have the driver switch the engine off and just appreciate the silence, rugged and raw beauty of Antarctica.

Andy Biggs and Joshua will be announcing a new expedition to Antarctica in late 2013 in the coming months. If you would like to register your interest to be one of the first to be notified when the trip is announced you can email either Andy or Joshua at or


Aussie Moab Master

We're excited to announce the addition of our very first Australian to the Moab Master program.  Joshua Holko has appeared a few times in this blog recognizing his award-winning work.  

His recent photo Blue Berg won the prestigious Gold Award at the Australian Professional Photography Awards.  The upcoming issue of Color Magazine will also be featuring his work in a four-page spread.  And next month the International Aperture Academy will be featuring Holko as their photographer of the month.

We were impressed by his overall body of work (not to mention his favorite paper being Moab). Holko prints all his exhibition images on Somerset Museum Rag, which "has a gorgeous, sensuous texture that is a delight for the senses."

Welcome to Moab-country, Joshua.  

The Golden Image

It's rare to find photo competitions that still accept hard-copy prints as part of their entry applications, so you can understand our excitement to learn that the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPA) requires images to be submitted only as prints to their APPA annual competition.

We were doubly-excited to learn that one of the Gold winning prints was produced on Somerset Museum Rag!

Australian nature and wilderness photographer, Joshua Holko, took Gold (and three Silvers for additional images he submitted) for the image to the left titled ‘Blue Berg', which was photographed in Iceland last year.

"The APPA awards are somewhat unique these days in that all judging is done of actual prints by a panel of highly experienced photographers (rather than by submission of digital images). The craft of the print is as important as the image itself and its fantastic to be a part of such an event. All of my prints were made on my absolute favourite paper Moab Somerset Museum Rag. Photography after all “Is all about the Print.”

Congratulations, Joshua, from all of us (up) here at Moab!

Exhibition printed on Somerset Museum Rag

The Australian based landscape photographer, Joshua Holko, has a new photo exhibit up at the Source Photographica in Melbourne. The exhibition was printed solely on Moab's Somerset Museum Rag paper and consists of prints up to 44" x 60".

After trying all the 100% cotton papers on the market, Somerset Museum Rag became his favorite paper. "Its simply gorgeous and in fact has replaced all the previous papers I was working with. I am now printing exclusively on this paper."

We couldn't have said it better ourselves. Click here for more info about Joshua's work.

WPPI 2011

We just completed another WPPI (Wedding & Portrait Photographer's Association) show and we're exhausted. The convention center at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas was packed all three days with many photographers making a point to visit our booth to see the new Lasal Exhibition Luster 300 paper. We think it's safe to say they were not disappointed.

We had a gorgeous 44" print using an image courtesy of Moab Master, Chris Lalonde (see above). Everyone was blown away by all the detail in the deep, dark blacks.  If you want to give it a test drive, get your free sample to experience this extraordinary new paper.

We also showcased Somerset Museum Rag 300 using a stunning wedding from Moab Master, Jim Graham. The paper continues to receive awards for best new fine art paper (the latest from the Professional Photographer's Association).  If you've tried it, you'll know why everyone's talking about Somerset.  If you haven't tried it, click here to request a sample.

We also exhibited with our Museo buddies who presented their popular 100% cotton artist cards and the awesome Silver Rag.  

Thanks to all the Moab fans who visited our booth.

Somerset Museum Rag wins Hot One Award

We're pretty excited to announce that our very own Somerset Museum Rag 300 won a Hot One award from Professional Photographer magazine. Details will be published in the March issue of the magazine and will also appear on their website.  

Anyone who's ever printed on Somerset Museum Rag knows what an amazing paper this really is. Haven't tried it yet?  Take it for a test drive on us. Simply send us an email (include your address) and we'll send you a sample.

Northwest Digital Fest

Gear up for the 7th Annual JVH Digital Festival in Bellevue, WA, this Friday, November 12th.  See the latest large-format digital printers, RIP software, digital print makers and of course, Moab.

The full-day event is packed with speakers, presentations, a contest - and even free lunch. 

Swing by the Moab table to see the new Somerset Museum Rag and pick up a free sample book.  RSVP here for this free event.

On the floor at PhotoPlus 2010

Day two of the PDN PhotoPlus 2010 show came to a close and 400 lucky (and patient) people walked away with signed prints from Michael Zide, Salvatore Vasapolli, Andrew Darlow and Jody Dole. Our buddies at ClearBags supplied archival Crystal Clear Bags to protect all those signed prints.  Thank you all for stopping by our booth and enduring the long lines.  

The best part of any trade show is to talk to our fans.  We heard tons of stories about why you love Moab, and listened to your suggestions about what you want from us.  We showcased the Entradalopes and Chinle Ice Nine portfolios, and demonstrated new and fun ways to present your work.

But the real star of the show was Somerset Museum Rag.  Our motto is 'you've got to feel it to believe it,' and sure enough, everyone who touched the new Somerset Museum Rag fell in love with its lush and supple surface and its 4th generation coating that produces deep, rich blacks.  

If you were at the show and liked what you saw, then come back for more tomorrow as we round off our Moab Master print signing event with Barbara Bordnick, Jose Gaytan and Ryszard Horowitz.

PDN Wants to Get Friendly With Our Newest Paper

The first reviews of Somerset Museum Rag are in:

From PDN Gear Guide

"These days, 100 percent cotton papers are all the rage because they can give your photos an artful look and feel. In fact, the texture of cotton papers is so pleasing, it's almost a shame to put these prints behind glass.

Moab has added a 100 percent cotton Museum Rag to its venerable Somerset line of art papers and we guarantee you'll want to fondle your photos as soon as they come out of the printer. (Just don't touch the ink until it dries.)

We got excellent dynamic range with superior D-MAX using Somerset Museum Rag; our blacks in both color and black-and-white prints had the most detail of all the papers we tried. At 300gsm, this is a heavy paper that soaks up the ink but without blotching the results. Though matte papers sometimes produce flatter images, color in our prints of classic Le Mans racecars really popped.

Though cotton papers can produce unpredictable photographic results because of their inconsistent surfaces, Somerset Museum Rag is produced by St. Cuthberts Mill in England using a traditional cylinder mould machine which has created an exceedingly smooth texture on the paper. Consequently we'd recommend using this paper for a range of photo prints: anything from portraits to landscapes to macro work."

Moab Photo Symposium

The 7th annual Moab Photo Symposium kicks off today with a keynote presentation by world-renowned landscape photographer, Jack Dykinga.  Every year they take a theme and build the workshops and events around a specific subject.  This year's theme is "Personalizing Space."

Held throughout Moab, the symposium features a variety of workshops on night photography, printing, HDR, portfolio development and many more.  As the symposium occurs in our backyard we'll be there handing out swatch books, showing off our new Somerset Museum Rag, and saying hi to old friends.  For more information please click here.

Final Thoughts on WPPI

As the WPPI show winds down, we wanted to thank all the people who came by to see us  The initial reviews for our new Somerset Museum Rag have been phenomenal.  The word that we heard the most to describe the paper was "sensuous."  Contact us for samples so you can see how beautiful this paper truly is.

Before we sign off and pack up our booth, we wanted to highlight two events happening this afternoon:

Our good friend Christian LaLonde will be leading a Master Class on fine art printing from 3:30-5:30 PST in room #202.  Chris will be printing his images on Entrada on the Canon Pro9500 MKII.

Will Crockett and Sarah Petty will be giving the final night presentation on portrait lighting at 5:00 PST in room 313.  For those not at WPPI, the seminar will be broadcast live online and can be viewed at

See you next year!

New Somerset Museum Rag announced at WPPI

We're blogging live from our booth (#1618) at a very packed WPPI show in Las Vegas. 

We're introducing a new paper we're really excited about, Somerset Museum Rag - a new 100% cotton fine art paper with the most advanced coating yet - as well as featuring our new Chinle Ice Nine portfolios and Entradalopes

We're also showcasing our 100% cotton Rising Museum Board.  Rising is a used by the finest galleries, museums and framers worldwide and is a perfect complement to images printed on Moab papers.