Coalcliff's life ring might be a little off the beaten track for most Illawarra residents but Fiona McLauchlan was willing to make the trek for an award-winning snap.
Ms McLauchlan, from Shell Cove, took out the best planning idea category of the Department of Planning and Infrastructure’s Illawarra photo competition with her moody shot of the life ring.
The picture depicts the life ring in colour against a black and white background of the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge.
Ms McLauchlan told the judging panel about her plan to increase connectivity in the region, noting the bridge’s construction had been key to connecting communities.
‘‘The construction of the bridge typifies my vision for the Illawarra,’’ she said.
‘‘The idea to construct the bridge was an innovative solution – it is beautiful from an engineering perspective but it also connects communities and encourages visitors from across the country and overseas.
“I’m particularly interested in seeing connectivity – both physical infrastructure and information technology – high on the agenda.”
Illawarra resident Geoff Payne was also recognised for his shot of North Wollongong rock pool, which was dubbed the best photograph by Mercury photographer Kirk Gilmour.
‘‘Geoff Payne’s image showcasing people of all ages enjoying the water and surrounds at one of the Wollongong region’s most popular rock pools is a photo that draws you into a state of relaxation and leisure,’’ Mr Gilmour said.
‘‘You want to be in that pool cooling down or sitting on the edge of it chilling out.
‘‘A pleasant photo promoting a great asset of the Illawarra for locals and visitors to use and love.’’
The photo competition was part of the department’s consultation on the ‘‘Illawarra over the next 20 years: A discussion paper’’.
Entrants were asked to show in a picture what they would like to see changed or retained when planning the Illawarra’s future.
Entries included proposals for a tourist cable car climbing the escarpment, seaside gardens at Belmore Basin and more cultural and street festivals.