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Friday 21 May 2021 3:41pm

photo comp winner
Eugene Yeo took this on the west face of the Remarkables.

For the second year in a row Eugene Yeo, a Client Services Administrator for the University Library, has won the Otago Bulletin Board Photo Competition.

The stunning image was taken near the top of a 200 metre mixed ice climb named Friday's Fool, 2100m above sea level on the west face of the Remarkables. The photograph shows Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown in the background.

In order to capture the photo Eugene used ice axes and crampons to claw into the ice and hook onto small-edged features in the rock to climb upwards, while placing blocks of metal and metal screws into the ice to clip onto in case of a fall.

Eugene says this shot was taken at a more “photographer-friendly” section of the climb – just out of view is a 50m vertical drop straight down to the climbers' last belay ledge.

“I usually only ever get the camera out when I'm in the outdoors, either to harass my friends with raw candids of them, or to capture epic moments in the wildest places.”

“These moments tend to be some of the best times of my life, and as my memory can only do so much to remember them, photographs enable me to relive these experiences in far greater detail than my attention could have captured in the moment.”

photo comp 2nd place
Roan Vasdev's second place entry was taken with a drone at Port Chalmers.

Second place went to Laboratory Technician Roan Vasdev, who also had two notable entries in the competition.

Roan says he has been interested in photography for a few years and was keen to explore all avenues it had to offer, so over time he picked up a mirrorless camera with a variety of lenses and a drone to experience a different point of view.

“I enjoy the challenge that photography presents, capturing the exact moment and getting that perfect composition. You can feel proud of yourself when it all comes together and you have created something special.”

For his second-place winning entry he says it had been a while since he had used his drone so he decided to head down to Port Chalmers one weekend.

“Upon arriving at the dock near Boiler Point and looking out over the dock, I instantly saw this photo in my mind. The inclusion of the boat moving out on the left was a bonus and I think it really makes this image.”

This year three judges narrowed down the final 12 photos through an anonymous photo viewing process.

Guest Judge Mark Hathaway, Senior Communications Adviser in the Media Advisory team, says trimming down the entries to a final 12 photos was a tough task.

“However, by keeping in mind elements such as perspective, action, framing, light, focus and depth we were able to carve the cream off the top, though there were a number of entries narrowly missing out.”

Before selecting the winner each judge made their own pick before comparing notes.

“It was clear the stand-out photo was Eugene's mountaineering shot. The mix of the perspective looking from above at the daunting drop, the framing and position of characters within it, leading-line of the rope, colour-pop of the warm orange sun in the otherwise chilly chasm with the textured icy walls, the dramatic background, and perhaps most importantly the element of action and drama with the lower climber coming over the edge, set this photo apart.

“While we did acknowledge the photo was similar to last year's winning shot – and we suspected could be shot by the same photographer - we needed to judge it against the other entries alone. Congratulations Eugene, and well done to everyone for putting their entries forward.”

Notable entries

photo comp philip

Professor Phil Seddon, Department of Zoology

For the last 21 years I have been leading annual field trips to the Aoraki/Mt Cook region for Wildlife Management students, where, amongst other activities with our Department of Conservation hosts, we observe the critically endangered kaki/black still on the Tasman River delta. Usually, the trip takes place in March, but in 2020 we were in lockdown, and so held the trip instead in winter. The normally deep unstable silts of the delta were frozen, enabling us to venture far out in search of kaki, until the DOC staff warned us that our icy footing was rapidly thawing. We beat a hasty retreat to firm ground - but not before I snapped this shot looking up the Tasman River towards Aoraki. (The students in the shot also made it back to safety).

I'm an Otago graduate from back in the 1980s, then spending 12 years overseas, in southern Africa and in the Middle East, before returning to New Zealand to take up the Directorship of the Otago Postgrad Wildlife Management Programme. My work both in and outside of New Zealand has exposed me to some fantastic landscapes and wildlife and I've long been interested in trying to capture images of these - though I also try to strike a balance between looking through a lens, and just absorbing the moment and the memory without technology.

photo comp simon

Simon John-McHaffie, Master's student Biomedical Sciences

This photo was taken at my partners graduation ceremony. I love the history connected to the Clocktower, and had always seen many wonderful photos of graduates in front of it, but I still wanted to try and capture something more unique, that really highlighted the idea of "Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder". So we found a quiet spot and captured this image, one of my personal favourites.

I am currently studying at the University and am working towards finishing my Masters. I started photography a few years ago when I bought a camera to document my overseas travel. I've since fallen in love with the art and have continued to develop my skills in capturing moments and creating memories.

photo comp jana

Jana Watt, Laboratory Technician

I'm a regular visitor to the Botanic Gardens during my lunch breaks, and some of the ducks became quite forward with regards to food snatching. I thought it would be entertaining to try and capture some of them mid-leap so now I have a decent collection. This one was actually a happy accident - I was just about to leave when this guy launched himself straight at me with perfectly outstretched wings, and for once my camera was pointed in the right direction!

I'm very much still an amateur, but my interest in photography really started a couple of years ago. I've always loved bright colours, and usually focus on close-ups of flowers and insects, but I love our wildlife too! Unfortunately, I'm often just a bit too impatient to wait around for that perfect photo when dealing with an animal or bird - so I was extra pleased with this lucky duck.

photo comp ario 1

Ario Smith, Developer Marketing Content, External Engagement

Boatshed Remains at Hoopers Inlet

These are the remains of the boatshed featured on The Chills' single Rocket Science / Lost in Space.

I'd stopped by Hoopers Inlet to try a lens filter designed to reduce glare from the water. It worked!

I took this shot with an entry-level drone I bought last year. It's been surprisingly robust: after crashing into a sand dune, diving into a river, and plummeting from the sky with ice on the propellors, it remained functional enough to capture this peaceful scene.

photo comp ario 2

Moeraki Boulder at Koekohe Beach

Koekohe Beach is one of my favourite spots for sunrise photography. I usually visit just after high tide, when the sand is undisturbed by morning walkers (or other people with cameras).

Here, I used a long exposure to blur the waves and focus attention on the reflection in the crater.

I've been doing long-exposure landscape photography for around seven years. For me, it's a relaxing and meditative way to explore the environment.

photo comp clare

Claire Grant, Communications Manager, Genomics Aotearoa

It was September 29, 2020 and there was blossoms on the trees – the thought of winter was passing. So it was a somewhat surprisingly to see a few gentle snowflakes falling as I got to work, then literally within minutes the campus was in the midst of a swirling snowstorm that transformed spring colours to monochrome. The most fun wasn't photographing snowflakes on spring blooms though, it was seeing the reaction of the students who went into an 8am lecture in St Davids when the weather was fine, and came out to a winter wonderland 50 minutes later – their excitement was contagious! My orange umbrella moment, taken on my mobile phone, was sheer right place at the right time.

I've always loved photography and my plan is to use 2021 to improve my skills.

photo comp amber 1

Amber Hannah, Laboratory Technician

My dogs are the subject of most of my photos, as people who know me will attest to! They have proven to be far more willing subjects than my daughters who run away when I have my camera in hand. I don't consider myself a photographer, just someone that likes to take photos. My camera only gets used on auto and I work on the theory that if I take enough photos I'm bound to get the occasional good one!

photo comp amber 2

This photo was taken at Long Beach. I had Moose, Sika and Bandit stay and wait while I took a look at the beach beyond the rocks at the North end, past the main cave. I turned back to check on them and saw they made an interesting silhouette with the rocks against the sky.

My family and I had an adventure quad biking from Te Awanga and then hiking up to the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers last summer. I was thrilled to witness and capture this pair bond ritual between these two gannets.

photo comp roan 1

Roan Vasdev, Laboratory Technician

I have always had an interest in birds and spoonbills in particular due to their distinct bill and hair style. I wasn't expecting to see any on a walk around the Island Park Reserve but was fortunate enough to come across a group of three. With my camera easily accessible, I snapped far too many photos and the wind was blowing in just the right direction for this particular shot.

photo comp roan 2

This photo was taken on a trip to Zealandia in Wellington. Being an avid birder, I had always wanted to visit, and we were not disappointed by the diversity of wildlife we came across whilst walking around the ecosanctuary. By one of the feeders, the kakas were hopping around and I shot this cheeky looking one while it was looking straight at us.

The winning photographs and notable entries will be on display in Staff Club soon.

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