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2018 photo competition winners

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April 2018 Issue

View the winning images and the best of the rest in the 2018 Wilderness/FujiFilm photo competition

Wow, we thought our previous photo competitions were great, but the 2018 competition has blown them all out of the water. We received more than 650 entries and the quality of images has been outstanding, displaying vision, creativity and a breadth of subject matter that shows just how incredible is New Zealand’s outdoors. With so many worthy entries, it is a shame we are limited to just three winners. But decide we must.


A special thanks to FujiFilm for partnering with us this year and for providing the three amazing camera prizes to our winners.


Wildlife winner: Mountain Buttercup by Mimi Chiu

Mountain buttercup. Photographer: Mimi Chiu

Mimi said of her photo: “I was pleasantly surprised to see mountain buttercup blossoming in early November at Arthur’s Pass. These flowers must be confused by the heat wave that hit New Zealand last spring and summer.”

Judges’ comments

Alistair Hall: The Wildlife category is possibly the toughest to photograph. It’s difficult to make the subject matter look interesting – especially when you consider the grand scenery that normally accompanies the other two categories. But Mimi has done a great job of not only showing this beautiful flower, but also the landscape where it is found.

Dennis Radermacher: Mimi’s image of mountain buttercups near Arthur’s Pass is simple, but done really well. The deliberately underexposed, warm look beautifully captures detail in the flowers. Despite the focus on the flowers, the frame still offers a lot of insight into their natural habitat.

– Mimi wins the Wildlife category and is our third-place getter. She receives a FujiFilm FinePix XP120 worth $349.

Huts and camping winner: Ahuriri Valley campsite by Tom Akass

Ahuriri Valley campsite. Photographer: Tom Akass

Tom said of his image: “This image sums up my favorite thing about tramping. Waking the next morning, the clouds have lifted and revealed truly spectacular mountains.”

Judges’ comments

Alistair Hall: What I love about this image is the feeling of wonder at being in that tent on this morning. What a marvellous place to wake up. The image also perfectly captures a typical camp scene.

Dennis Radermacher: New Zealand is blessed with one of the best hut networks in the world. But Tom’s image captures why carrying a tent to remote locations is still worth the effort. Nothing beats waking up in the mountains in perfect solitude. The photo tells the story of camping in the mountains perfectly.

– Tom wins the Huts and Camping category and is our second-place winner. He receives a FujiFilm X-A3 camera with an XC16-50mm lens worth $994. 

Out there and Grand Prize winner: A frost afternoon on Fanthams Peak by Ryan Domenico

A frosty afternoon on Fanthams Peak. Photographer: Ryan Domenico

Ryan said of his photo: “The views from Fanthams on a clear day are breathtaking. In this shot, you can see the snow-capped peaks of Mt Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe.”

Judges’ comments

Alistair Hall: Ryan’s image has much to please the eye. I particularly love how the climber seems so insignificant, but provides much-needed scale to the photo.

Dennis Radermacher: It is one of the defining features of a great landscape image that it invites the viewer to explore. At first, Ryan’s image appears to be a simple picture of a hill, but upon closer inspection we notice the distinctive peaks of Mts Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu in the distance, indicating the vantage point must be from Mt Taranaki. The image does an incredible job of  capturing the sense of scale and distance. To top things off, Ryan placed a lone climber with an ice-axe in an unsubtle, yet fitting posture in the middle of the frame. The editing further embraces the hazy mood with its subdued colours.

– Ryan won the Out There category and is our overall winner, receiving a FujiFilm X-E3 camera with a Fujinon XF18-55mm lens worth $2498.

Other photos of note:

Out There: Snow! Photographer: Xavi Costa Losa
Huts and Camping: Warming up at Mueller Hut. Photographer: Alison Leversha
Out There: Mt Ruapehu crater. Photographer: Peter Laurenson
Wildlife: Orange fungus. Photographer: Finn Kennedy
Out There: Lake Adelaide, Fiordland. Photographer: Vitek Kocandrie
Huts and Camping: Carroll Hut by candlelight. Photographer: Michel Holleman