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2021 Wilderness Photo Competition Winning Images

Image of the April 2021 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
April 2021 Issue

Thank you to all who entered, and special thanks to our sponsor Panasonic which has supplied three incredible camera prizes to our winning photographers.

A year of staying in New Zealand seems to have prompted far greater interest in the Wilderness photo competition than ever before. For the first time, we received almost 1000 entries.

After carefully examining each entry, our now square-eyed judges have found the winners and a tiny sample of the many worthy runners-up.

Before we show you the winners, here’s a selection of the best of the rest:

Huts and camping: Pitching the tent Photographer: Tara Barlow
Wildlife: Pipit takes off Photographer: Michael Lynds
Out There: Steve Carr Photographer: Mallika Goel
Out There: Alternate route Photographer: Jacek Pakulski
Out there: Morning coffee Photographer: Aleksandra Aksuik

Huts and camping winner

Camping in the Matukituki Valley

Judges’ comments

  • Alistair Hall: Shane’s image is instantly engaging and it always makes me smile when I look at it. I love how bright and colourful it is and that the kids are genuinely having the best time. It’s a pleasure to view.
  • Matthew Cattin: Shane has beautifully captured the joy of being outdoors, but kept his location secret – a wise man. Beautiful lighting, and pinpoint focus throughout, this is a lovely image that you can’t help but love.

Shane wins the Huts and Camping category and receives the Panasonic TZ90 travel camera, worth $599.

‘Camping at the kid's secret spot in the Matukituki Valley.’ Photographer: Photographer: Shane Woonton

Out there winner

Lifting whiteout

Judges’ comments

  • Alistair: These trampers are really ‘out there’ – seemingly on the precipice looking into the abyss – all accentuated by the light streaming down on them while the rest of the image lies in shadow. For sheer drama and spine-tingling adventure, this photo is a worthy winner.
  • Matthew: There is enough drama in this photograph to make you want to put on a jacket. The angry skies, vertigo-inducing viewpoint, and rime ice all combine to take you into the moment, while the shrouded background details keep the eye roaming.

Xander wins the Out There category and receives a Panasonic FZ300 camera worth $849

‘While descending Scotts Track in whiteout conditions on Avalanche Peak, the clouds started to lift.’ Photographer: Xander Wijninckx

2021 Wilderness Outdoor Photographer of the Year

Kea takes flight

Judges’ comments

  • Alistair: It’s an incredible shot – perhaps the best photo of a kea I’ve ever seen. For that reason it really stands out among the dozens of other entries we have viewed this year. The wing colour, framing, focus – it’s all there.
  • Matthew: When judging the wildlife category, we were reluctant to give first place to a kea image as each year we are inundated with snaps of the cheeky mountain parrot. But in the end, we couldn’t deny the sheer drama and beauty of this image. The subject is framed beautifully by the glacial valley beyond, and the bird is crisp and sharp throughout.

Jinal wins the Wildlife category and is the 2021 Wilderness Outdoor Photographer of the Year. He receives a Panasonic Lumix G85 with 12-60mm lens worth $1199.

Wilderness outdoor photographer of the year: Jinal Govind. He said of his photo: ‘This is one of my favourite shots that I couldn’t believe I captured. The cheeky kea flying away from us after a brief encounter in Fiordland with the valley and mountains in the background was truly special.’ Photo: Jinal Govind