Photo Contest Awards
Jan 15, 2013

When the doors opened at the Exposure Photography Show, the best Canadian Forces images of the year were on proud display. Over three days, thousands of photography enthusiasts visited the CE Centre gallery in Ottawa, admiring the quality and creativity of Canadian Forces Photography Contest winners.

Photographer of the Year – Novice: is awarded to the contestant who receives the highest total of points in the Novice classification, with two place finishes and a third place finish Ordinary Seaman Rommel Billanes from CFB Esquimalt is presented this award from Colonel Terry Wood, Director Aerospace Equipment Program Management (Fighters and Trainers).

Contest organizers Personnel Support Programs and Canadian Forces Imaging Services hosted the annual Photography Contest Awards Ceremony in conjunction with the trade show to showcase the military community’s artistic talents.

At the ceremony on November 16th, prizes were presented for best Military Life photograph, Best in Show, and Photographer of the Year for Novice and Advanced categories. Cmdre Mark Watson, Director General Personnel and Family Support Services, also made the draw for the grand prize raffle of a trip to Whistler, BC, and announced OCdt Stephanie Paquette as the lucky winner.

One of the night’s most decorated photographers, OS Rommel Billanes won Novice Photographer of the Year for his top-three finishes in the Portrait, Animals and Open categories. From a heartwarming portrait of his smiling daughter to a nature photo of a soaring seagull, for OS Billanes photography is a creative means of self expression.

“Through photography, you see the world in different perspectives,” he said. “You become aware of the world you live in, and the way you interact with it.”

To help celebrate his success, OS Billanes was joined by his wife and daughter for the evening, a reunion made particularly meaningful since the family is living apart while OS Billanes is posted to Victoria.

Capt Zacharie Charbonneau was another of the night’s big winners. A pilot by trade, Capt Charbonneau acts as the unofficial photographer for his unit at 15 Wing Moose Jaw, frequently photographing life on the wing, and capturing images of Canadian Forces aircraft from the ground and from the sky.

Capt Charbonneau’s photos won first and second place in the Advanced Military Life category. His image of three recent flight school graduates reflected in a pilot’s helmet was the top entry in the field.

“I often take more formal photos of grads when they get their wings,” said Capt Charbonneau. “This was something more fun. These three were great friends – their expressions really make the shot work.”

At the close of the ceremony, the Deputy Minister of National Defence Award was unveiled. Lisa Scale, a photographer and military spouse from Toronto, Ontario, took home the prestigious honour. Her photograph, “Profile of Courage”, was a stirring portrait of MCpl (ret) Paul Franklin, a veteran who works to improve the lives of amputees.

After receiving their awards and prizes, the photographers took the chance to connect with one another, members of the Canadian Forces leadership, and event sponsors at a special reception. They enjoyed the chance to talk about their passion, share their favourite images with one another, and discuss the techniques behind their winning shots.

“Congratulations to all of the winning photographers,” said Cmdre Watson. “Many thanks to our presenting sponsor, Bank of Montreal, and all of our contest sponsors for their support in making this year’s contest the most successful to date.”

Visit for
a full list of the winning images.
© FrontLine Defence 2013