The ‘pics’ of the bunch: NZ Geographic photographer of the year soon to be announced from 28 finalists

A timelapse video of luminescent glow worms, delicate frost crystals, a blue shark emerging from the water and a jellyfish the size of a dinner plate are among the 28 finalists of the New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year, selected from a whopping 5,800 entries. 

The entries were across five categories: Society and Culture, Wildlife, Landscape, Photo Story and the competition’s latest added category, Timelapse. 

Winners of each category receive $1000 cash, publication in New Zealand Geographic and other prizes. The overall New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year 2015 will receive a further $1000 cash and a berth onboard a Heritage Expeditions voyage on assignment for New Zealand Geographic magazine.

The Young Photographer of the Year 2015 also receives $1000 cash as well as special mentoring and a workshop with wildlife photographer and judge, Kim Westerskov. The People’s Choice winner also takes home $1000 cash and other prizes. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on October 29 at Auckland’s Karanga Plaza and the works are on display in exhibitions currently running in Christchurch and Auckland. 

The public can vote here for the People’s Choice award and read more about the finalists.

The thousands of entries were judged by internationally recognised professional photographers Andris Apse, Kim Westerskov, Brett Phibbs and New Zealand Geographic editor James Frankham.

“Like the viewers, the judges were wanting to be surprised and challenged by the images. They wanted to see representations of our environment and society that they hadn’t seen before,” says Frankham. “This was the largest field yet, with an outstanding diversity of subject matter. The new timelapse category, in particular, had some eye-wateringly good entries. Photographers lay in sleeping bags beside their cameras, monitoring the output every few minutes throughout the night—one photographer spent 40 hours in a glow-worm cave for a single two-minute clip.”

The finalists depict subjects as diverse as the closed religious community of Gloriavale to young women vying for the title of Miss Universe, a release says. “They span the entire realm of New Zealand, from deep underground caves on the mainland to albatrosses dwarfed by massive waves off the subantarctic Bounty Islands, some 700 kilometres to the east of the South Island. The photographers are almost as diverse as the images they’ve made—a business student, a policeman and an engineer are just some of those vying to be named New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year 2015.”

Christchurch City Council councillor Paul Lonsdale says he is pleased the national competition will be showcased in Christchurch for the third successive year. “The stunning imagery captured by these talented finalists highlights the beauty of our country. Hosting this popular exhibition in the heart of Christchurch adds to our city’s growing artistic culture and attracts both residents and visitors into the central city …”

He says in its entirety, the exhibition is a celebration of our diversity as a country. “How many people have hunted fish with bows and arrows? Who has camped in a cave in temperatures like a fridge for a week? These photographers have been to little-known and remarkable corners of our nation, and shared these original perspectives with us. They help us understand who we are as people, and what makes our country unique.”

The exhibition will be in Christchurch until September 6 and Auckland until November 1.

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