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Steeples line up to win 2019 Bulletin Photo Competition

Thursday 28 March 2019 9:44pm

mark-hathaway-steeple-chase-image
Senior Communications Adviser Mark Hathaway won the 2019 Bulletin Board Photo Competition with a stunning Dunedin image he calls "Steeple Chase".

A cold walk to work, a rainy day in the office, and a birthday celebration: three photos – each taken for very different reasons – have come first, second and third in the 2019 Bulletin Board Photo Competition.

The annual competition drew more than 150 entries, but the winning images stood out to the judges because as well as each being very beautiful, they each evoked a mood and feeling.

Senior Communications Adviser Mark Hathaway won the 2019 contest with a photo he dubs “Steeple Chase”.

A keen amateur photographer, Mr Hathaway took the photo from the south end of the North Ground/Alhambra Union rugby field as he walked to work last winter.

“This day I remember being quite cold and crisp, and there was plenty of haze in the air,” he says. “I stopped and took a few photos on my camera which is usually in my pocket, and the lowness of the sun helped with the silhouetting of the foreground, and layering of the hills in the background. It wasn’t until I’d taken the shot that I noticed the link between the shape of the radio transmitter and the steeple, which was a nice surprise.”

"It's a real challenge to translate something we often see with our eyes into a photograph with feeling, but Mark has achieved exactly that in this familiar North Dunedin scene."

That link stood out to the judging panel. Freelance photographer and Division of Sciences Communications Adviser Guy Frederick says it was a clear winner – “so captivating it kept drawing us back”.

“It's a real challenge to translate something we often see with our eyes into a photograph with feeling, but Mark has achieved exactly that in this familiar North Dunedin scene,” Mr Frederick says.

“It's a scene which is perfectly framed, captures the magic of light, and allows the eye to travel easily around the photograph and take in all the stunning detail and layers.”

The second placed photo – taken looking out of a rain spattered window by Wendy Adam, a Marketing Services Adviser for the Division of Humanities – evoked a different sort of mood, and one each of the judges could relate to.

“I took this photo on my iPhone and sent it to my sister with the message “Better bring your raincoat!”, as she was flying down to Dunedin the next day for the Eagles concert,” Ms Adam says. “It was taken from the south facing window next to my office at the top of the Arts Building. Afterwards I realised how much I liked the look of the water on the glass.”

The third placed photo, taken by Food Science PhD candidate Mylene Anwar, captured quite a different scene – and created strong feelings of friendship and fun.

“The photo was taken during my 31st birthday last year,” Ms Anwar says. “I was not able to celebrate my 30th birthday since I just started my PhD and didn’t have anyone to hang out and celebrate it with.”

She says making these friends made her 31st birthday even more important.

“They make sure I find time to celebrate important events in my life here while doing my PhD such as my birthday, confirmation, and little accomplishments in my writing and laboratory works, but they also extend a lot of emotional support. I am glad that we had this group photo on my special day to remind me that I have special people that made my PhD life in New Zealand a funny and memorable one even after we go our separate ways after our studies.”

"Otago staff surprise us every year with their photography talents and the amazing locations and scenes they are able to capture."

This year’s competition once again attracted entries from across all of the University’s campuses and from a fantastic mix of professional and academic staff and postgraduate students. This year two entrants had two photos chosen for the top 12 – the winner Mark Hathaway and Lee Adam.

Another member of the judging panel, Professional Photographer Sharron Bennett says the standard was high, with a number of great images to choose from.

She says while it was unusual for two entrants to have two photos chosen, each image was judged on its own merit.

“Choosing two photos from two photographers is unusual but not unheard of,” she says. “Last year we also had one photographer with two of the top 12 images.

“Otago staff surprise us every year with their photography talents and the amazing locations and scenes they are able to capture.”

Mr Frederick adds that it was a nice coincidence that the three winning entries all relate to and reflect different elements of the Otago experience, which is particularly fitting for the 150th anniversary year.

The photos will be turned into the 2020 digital calendar and displayed in the Staff Club in the coming weeks.

2019 Bulletin Board Photo Competition winners and notable entries

First place: Mark Hathaway, Senior Communications Adviser, Division of External Engagement

mark hathaway steeplechase smallPhoto: Mark Hathaway

“Most mornings around 8:30am on my way to work I walk along the south end of the North Ground/Alhambra Union rugby field. In winter the sun is still fairly low at that time of day and often results in some nice light. This day I remember being quite cold and crisp, and there was plenty of haze in the air. I stopped and took a few photos on my camera which is usually in my pocket, and the lowness of the sun helped with the silhouetting of the foreground, and layering of the hills in the background. It wasn’t until I’d taken the shot that I noticed the link between the shape of the radio transmitter and the steeple, which was a nice surprise.

“I am a keen amateur photographer, and particularly enjoy black and white photography. ”

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Second place: Wendy Adam, Adviser Marketing Services (Humanities), Division of External Engagement

wendy adam rain smallPhoto: Wendy Adam

“I took this photo on my iPhone and sent it to my sister with the message “Better bring your raincoat!”, as she was flying down to Dunedin the next day for the Eagles concert. It was taken from the south facing window next to my office at the top of the Arts Building. Afterwards I realised how much I liked the look of the water on the glass.

“I come from a family of photographers, my father had his own darkroom for printing photos. My marketing career has also often allowed me to indulge a passion for locating and using great images for marketing purposes. This year my own best photos have often come from my iPhone rather than my DSLR. It just proves a fancy camera doesn’t always make a great image!”

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Third place: Mylene Anwar, PhD candidate, Department of Food Science

mylene anwar smallPhoto: Mylene Anwar

“This photo was taken during my 31st birthday (3 May 2018). With me are my special friends (Sheba, Senni, TK and Ed) who are also PhD students in Food Science. This photo is one of the many group photos I have with them but it is special since it was taken during my birthday. I was not able to celebrate my 30th birthday since I just started my PhD and didn’t have anyone to hang out and celebrate it with. My 31st birthday was very memorable with all of their surprises. They make sure and find time to celebrate important events in my life here while doing my PhD such as my birthday, confirmation, and little accomplishments in my writing and laboratory works but also extend a lot of emotional support. I am glad that we had this group photo on my special day to remind me that I have special people that made my PhD life in New Zealand a funny and memorable one even after we go our separate ways after our studies.

“I love documenting special moments and little things that catch my interest by taking photos. I love photography and will be always be amazed by it.”

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Marco Brenna, Lecturer, Department of Geology

marco brenna smallPhoto: Marco Brenna

“A frosty morning on the Rock and Pillar Range near Big Hut. A colleague and I made the ascent one afternoon and had great views of the auroras at night. We left the hut at the break of dawn, and this view opened up with the warm sunlight firing up the tussock in the foreground, contrasting with the misty Middlemarch Plain down below.

“I've been an amateur photographer since early on, and I am intrigued by unusual combinations of light, colours and shapes, particularly in the natural world.”

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Lee Adam, Lecturer, Oral Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry

Lee Adam staff club smallPhoto: Lee Adam

“I participate in a weekly photography challenge, and one of the weekly themes in January was “city at night”. One evening during the challenge week, after several weeks of hot dry weather, it rained. Eager to capture reflections of lit up buildings in the rain-soaked ground, I headed out with my camera after sunset. I knew from previous after-dark walks through campus that the Staff Club would be subtly lit and the tiled ground would provide lovely reflections of the lights, so I headed there. Both my camera and I got soaked taking this shot, but it was worth it.

“I am a keen (some would say obsessed) hobby photographer. My interest in photography began when I saw photos of the Aurora Australis, and I purchased a second hand DSLR to try and capture it myself. After teaching myself to take long exposure astro photographs, I realised that I didn’t know how to photograph in normal daylight conditions, so I set about learning. I have been practising both low light and daylight photography for the last three years, and take any opportunity I can to learn new techniques and skills.”

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Dave Bull, Audio Visual Support Engineer, IT Support Services, Shared Services Division

Dave Bull waves smallPhoto: Dave Bull

“The photo was taken at St Clair looking out onto the enormous waves coming in that evening, with White Island in the background. I had myself been catching some of the smaller waves earlier that evening on a body board, but after a rogue set of three giants pummeled me and tore one of my swimming fins off I decided to call it a night. So I came in to take photographs of the surfers on the point, but with rapidly fading light had to think quickly how to adjust my shooting for the conditions. I switched to shooting surfers in motion with a longer exposure of 1/10th of a second, keeping them sharp by tracking them but getting a nice blur to the wave showing the motion of them. Then I switched to a tripod keeping White Island in the background, trying to capture that moment when the wave had peaked and parts of it were falling while other parts were still hanging. I was very happy with this particular shot which is just what I was looking for.

“I have always been interested in photography, getting my first SLR when I was 20 using film. Two years ago I decided to take it more seriously and signed up for a distance learning course with SIT for a diploma in photography which I am currently half-way through. It led me to have more confidence, buy a better camera, lenses and to practise, practise, practise. There’s nothing like assignments and deadlines to motivate you, to push you outside your normal comfort zone. It has taken my photography to whole new level and I absolutely love it. ”

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Inge Walgern, Senior eConferencing Technician, IT Support Services, Shared Services Division

Inge Walgern flower smallPhoto: Inge Walgern

“The photo is of the inside of a red tulip from my garden. The photo was taken in spring 2017, I planted tulips in a pot for the first time and I was very proud that they flowered. What led me to take the photo was how beautiful it was inside. The structure of a flower is what gives it its beauty. It’s what attracts the bees to the pollen and in essence helps our ecosystem.

“I am constantly taking photos of my family. In the last two years it has become more important to record those memories. I am new to photography and am always inspired by those who have an eye for seeing things differently.”

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Lee Adam, Lecturer, Oral Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry

Lee Adam waihola smallPhoto: Lee Adam

“Lake Waihola is one of my favourite spots for photographing the sunset because the yellow slide provides an interesting foreground to the shot, and if the lake is still it reflects the gorgeous sunset colours beautifully. I recently invested in a set of neutral density filters for my DSLR so it was a great place to try them out. The sunset was very subtle on this evening, but the filters allowed me to get a two-minute exposure, capturing the beautiful pink light and smoothing out the ripples on the lake from the slight breeze. I love the dreamy, peaceful look of long exposure images.

“I am a keen (some would say obsessed) hobby photographer. My interest in photography began when I saw photos of the Aurora Australis, and I purchased a second hand DSLR to try and capture it myself. After teaching myself to take long exposure astro photographs, I realised that I didn’t know how to photograph in normal daylight conditions, so I set about learning. I have been practising both low light and daylight photography for the last three years, and take any opportunity I can to learn new techniques and skills.”

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Samuel White, Social Media Adviser, Division of External Engagement

Samuel White bubbles smallPhoto: Samuel White

“The photo was captured at the Luma Light Festival in Queenstown, last year. There was a lot of movement and light (obviously) at the festival. I wanted to capture the essence of the chaos there, so made sure the shutter speed was slightly slower than I’d normally allow when shooting movement, and focused primarily on the bubble the artist was making. There were a few shots from the same time, but this was the one that stood out the most to me. It was a strange night overall, and a very mysterious environment to be in, which I think I captured in the image.

“I’m interested in capturing the moment. It is important for me to document as much as I can with my camera. This is why I also aim to encapsulate the mood and feel of the moment as I know memories can become unreliable over time. I have always been fascinated with photography in general, as my undergraduate study was in film and television and I was required to take photos when I was a reporter for the newspaper. Now, I still get to actively publish and use my photography skills at the University by running our Instagram account.”

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Nina Dickerhof, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Pathology and Biomedical Science, University of Otago, Christchurch

Nina Dickerhof smallPhoto: Nina Dickerhof

“This photo shows my partner reaching the summit of a remote mountain in New Zealand’s South Westland shortly before sunset. I was hoping to capture the sense of freedom, achievement and contentment that comes with reaching one’s goal – symbolised here by reaching the end of a line of footsteps and looking down on a sea of cloud we had to ascend through.

“I use photography to capture and share my deep connection with the New Zealand outdoors. Photography enables me to be present in the moment and to be mindful of the environment and its charms. I am passionate about New Zealand’s wild places and how we protect them in order to preserve opportunities for future generations to experience wilderness.”

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Mark Hathaway, Senior Communications Adviser, Division of External Engagement

Mark Hathaway NICU smallPhoto: Mark Hathaway

“My wee daughter Chloe was born on 17 May last year at 34 weeks gestation – so roughly six weeks early. She and my partner Kelda spent the first few weeks of Chloe’s life at NICU here in Dunedin, where the staff and facilities were absolutely wonderful. In those first few days a wee premature baby is so delicate and vulnerable, and while Chloe was in her incubator hooked up to wires and drips and thermometers I wanted to capture a photo to show Chloe when she is older. The red light on her foot (which I think was a thermometer) stood out to me as being eye catching, but also indicated something serious was going on here with the delicate young baby. Chloe had a great start to life thanks to the team at NICU, and is now a cheeky and chubby baby that laughs a lot.

“I am a keen amateur photographer, and particularly enjoy black and white photography.”

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Bonnie Scarth, Project Manager, School of Physiotherapy

Bonnie Scarth smallPhoto: Bonnie Scarth

“I took the photo in the old part of Lyon on rue du Bœuf in late August last year, while wandering with my husband and children. Lyon is famous for its gastronomic delights - even more so than the rest of France - and I remember relishing all the smells, sounds, tastes and sights of that area.

“I always make a point of looking up whenever I'm walking in a new place, as you often see unexpected architecture, street art, window gardens, among other things. So walking under those umbrellas, I looked up, and noticed the contrast of the red against the old pale buildings and just loved the visual image of how it was framed. Often I'll take photos of particularly stunning sights (especially when tramping or travelling), or animals or people. But I also just love taking photos of an aesthetically pleasing composition, as in this case. Looking at the photo brings back all those sensory memories in a way that a photo of a particular cafe or scene may not. And that's the point of photography for me: it's a visual pleasure that also revives sensory memories.”

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