Winning photo captures the magic of nature


The photo of a banded dotterel/pohowera, taken by Don Parish, took out the open section of the...
The photo of a banded dotterel/pohowera, taken by Don Parish, took out the open section of the inaugural Waimakariri Nature Photo Competition. PHOTO: DON PARISH
A photo of a banded dotterel taken by Don Parish at the Ashley-Rakahuri River has won the open section of the inaugural Waimakariri Nature Photo Competition.

The judges, Steve Attwood and Tracey Borgfeldt, said the photo captures a magic moment as the bird is reflected while feeding, telling a great story about this bird in its environment.

The winning image of the junior section, taken by Olivia Woodcock in North Loburn, also came in for high praise from the judges.

‘‘This photo comes through as the winner because it is very strong in terms of storytelling.

‘‘The mating damsel flies, and egg laying captures this wetland scene so well.’’

The competition, which attracted about 100 entries, ran during the Christmas/New Year School holidays to promote Pest Free Waimakariri, a Waimakariri District Council greenspace team initiative which was established in October last year.

Pest Free Waimakariri’s ranger Richard Chambers said many people in Waimakariri are working to make the district's natural places better for wildlife, so the aim of the competition was to encourage people to get out over summer and spend time enjoying them.

‘‘We had a lot of photos from the rivers and estuaries of the area, but also many from people's own gardens which was great,’’ he said.

Council greenspace team spokesman Mike Kwant said the public response to the competition was tremendous.

‘‘The photographs reveal the diversity of life that make their home in our district and emphasise the importance of looking after the natural habitats which they depend on for their survival.

‘‘Where possible we need to look beyond protecting these reserves and take practical steps to enhance and extend them,’’ he said.

‘‘There is also the added value of learning about the plants and animals that live there.

‘‘The experience of visiting our natural greenspaces is that much more rewarding with that knowledge which just teases curious minds to know more.’’

The judges were pleased to see a high standard of entries.

‘‘At the top end, we were really challenged to choose between the winner and the runners-up.’’

For this reason a few highly commended prizes were added to the competition.

They also said they hoped the competition would become an annual event.

‘‘Competitions such as this encourage people to get out and learn what natural treasures they have in their own community,’’ Steve said.

‘‘That leads to a better understanding of what is there and greater awareness leads to more support for reserves and native species conservation so our children and grandchildren will still have these beautiful plant and animal species and special landscapes to enjoy.’’

Tracey said it would be great to see the competition become a regular event.

‘‘I would love to see more entries in the youth section. For its first time up, the competition attracted some amazing photos and I can only see it getting better and expanding and creating that closer relationship between people and the wonderful place we are lucky enough to live in.’’

They also had some words of encouragement for the photographers whose images did not win a prize.

‘‘Join a photographic club and keep getting out there and taking photos. The more you do, the better you get, and spending time sitting and observing while you wait for that perfect shot is a great way to really engage with the environment.’’


Open: Don Parish, Banded Dotterel, Ashley-Rakahuri River 1, Ann Coates, ‘Stepping Up’, Banded Dotterel chick, taken at the mouth of the Ashley-Rakahuri River 2, Graham Fisher ‘Stretching My Wings at Sunrise’, Little Egret, Taranaki Reserve, Ashley-Rakahuri River 3.

Highly commended: Cindy Signal, Royal Spoonbill, Ashley-Rakahuri Estuary; Graham Fisher, Dragonfly, Kaiapoi Lakes.

Youth: Olivia Woodcock, Damsel flies, North Loburn 1, Lyla Powell, Waterside Pukeko, Fernside 2, Ben Woodcock, Young fantail, North Loburn.

-By Shelley Topp