Stunning images from the field

Every year, NIWA runs a competition to choose the best photos taken by its scientists in the field. This year’s crop of photos is as impressive as ever.

Scientific diver Crispin Middleton won the Our People section for a photography he calls “Toado Selfie.” Taken at the Poor Knights Marine Reserve, he is surrounded by panicked Starry Toado Pufferfish. These fish are rarely seen and usually live in deep open water. On rare occasions they stray too close to land and get attacked by hungry kingfish and snapper.

The judges – photography professionals Ross Giblin of Fairfax Media, Gerry le Roux from Science Lens and NIWA’s Dave Allen, commented that the world would be a better place “if more selfies were this good”.

Other section winners were:

  • Our Places – Rob Murdoch, Penguins on Ice
  • Our Work – Alison Kohout, Ice Edge
  • Special Award – Alvin Setiawan, Tui in Flight.
  • Public Choice – Chris Brandolino, Army Bay, Whangaparoa

Here are the winning photos and those of the other finalists.

Doon Rain gauge ñ Fiordland. Rainfall and Temperature data for Meridian Energy.
Doon Rain gauge, Fiordland. Rainfall and Temperature data for Meridian Energy. Credit: Evan Baddock
Two scientists on reconnaissance for a potential ice core sampling site. Although there is debris at the foot of the ice cliff, ice fall is very rare at the cold-based glaciers of the McMurdo Dry Valleys and especially in the early morning, when temperatures are low and even from the cold of the night.
Two scientists on reconnaissance for a potential ice core sampling site. Although there is debris at the foot of the ice cliff, ice fall is very rare at the cold-based glaciers of the McMurdo Dry Valleys and especially in the early morning, when temperatures are low and even from the cold of the night. Credit: Heinrich Schaefer
A crayfish (Jasus edwardsii) in a crevice surrounded by jewel anemones, taken during a dive survey at the Mokohinau Islands, northeastern New Zealand.
A crayfish (Jasus edwardsii) in a crevice surrounded by jewel anemones, taken during a dive survey at the Mokohinau Islands, northeastern New Zealand. Credit: James Williams
The judges loved this well-spotted and well captured moment which resulted in a clever, humorous image. ìIt was well executed ñ the dashes of colour on the otherwise white landscape work really well. The image piques the viewer’s curiosity, drawing you in and making you want to know more. Credit: Alison Kohout
The judges loved this well-spotted and well captured moment which resulted in a clever, humorous image. ìIt was well executed ñ the dashes of colour on the otherwise white landscape work really well. The image piques the viewer’s curiosity, drawing you in and making you want to know more. Credit: Alison Kohout
Ice shake. A scientist empties icy drill chips during the drilling of an ice core. Taylor Glacier, Antarctica. Credit: Hinrich Schaefer
Ice shake. A scientist empties icy drill chips during the drilling of an ice core. Taylor Glacier, Antarctica. Credit: Hinrich Schaefer
Perfect Launch Conditions - Wills Dobson launches an ozonesonde in perfect weather on a crisp winterís day at Lauder. Credit: Alan Thomas Wills
Perfect Launch Conditions – Wills Dobson launches an ozonesonde in perfect weather on a crisp winterís day at Lauder. Credit: Alan Thomas Wills
Scientific diver Crispin Middleton is surrounded by panicked Starry Toado Pufferfish at the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve. The Starry Toado are rarely seen pelagic pufferfish which usually live in deep, blue, open water. On very rare occasions, the fish stray too close to land and immediately get attacked by hungry kingfish and snapper. The judges commented that they appreciated the tight crop and weight provided by Crispinís arms and body at the bottom of the image. ìIntense engagement with the view and excellent exposure and sharpness. The world would be a better place if more selfies were this good! Credit: Crispin Middleton
Scientific diver Crispin Middleton is surrounded by panicked Starry Toado Pufferfish at the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve. The Starry Toado are rarely seen pelagic pufferfish which usually live in deep, blue, open water. On very rare occasions, the fish stray too close to land and immediately get attacked by hungry kingfish and snapper. The judges commented that they appreciated the tight crop and weight provided by Crispinís arms and body at the bottom of the image. ìIntense engagement with the view and excellent exposure and sharpness. The world would be a better place if more selfies were this good! Credit: Crispin Middleton
Three penguins run beside a track of broken ice created by the US icebreaker Nathaniel Palmer into McMurdo Sound. The judges said this was a stunning image with strong, visual design. It was successful because of the extreme visual simplicity and made effective use of simple diagonal compositions of shapes and lines, well balanced by the penguins. Credit: Rob Murdoch
Three penguins run beside a track of broken ice created by the US icebreaker Nathaniel Palmer into McMurdo Sound. The judges said this was a stunning image with strong, visual design. It was successful because of the extreme visual simplicity and made effective use of simple diagonal compositions of shapes and lines, well balanced by the penguins. Credit: Rob Murdoch
Spawning sea urchins. This urchin Sterechinus neumayeri is a broadcast spawner liberating its seed into the water column. The solid ice roof, through which we dive, can be seen overhead with brinicles forming on a tide-crack. Credit: Peter Marriott
Spawning sea urchins. This urchin Sterechinus neumayeri is a broadcast spawner liberating its seed into the water column. The solid ice roof, through which we dive, can be seen overhead with brinicles forming on a tide-crack. Credit: Peter Marriott
View of the crater lake atop New Zealandís largest active volcano ñ Mt Ruapehu. If you look closely, steam can be seen above the warm crater lake surface. Caption: Nava Fedaeff
View of the crater lake atop New Zealandís largest active volcano ñ Mt Ruapehu. If you look closely, steam can be seen above the warm crater lake surface. Caption: Nava Fedaeff
This photograph was a standout winner in the public choice category, voted for via social media. A trip to the beach at Army Bay, Whangaparoa provided the opportunity to capture a winning shot. Credit: Chris Brandolino
This photograph was a standout winner in the public choice category, voted for via social media. A trip to the beach at Army Bay, Whangaparoa provided the opportunity to capture a winning shot. Credit: Chris Brandolino
This tui was photographed on Tiritiri Matangi Island in the Hauraki Gulf. The judges described it as a great action shot, employing sharp detail and motion blur in the same image. ìIt has a lovely sharpness and detail around the birdís head with effective use of shallow depth of field to isolate the bird against its surroundings. Caption: Alvin Setiawan
This tui was photographed on Tiritiri Matangi Island in the Hauraki Gulf. The judges described it as a great action shot, employing sharp detail and motion blur in the same image. ìIt has a lovely sharpness and detail around the birdís head with effective use of shallow depth of field to isolate the bird against its surroundings. Caption: Alvin Setiawan
Returning some common smelt to Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere). Credit: Shannan Crow
Returning some common smelt to Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere). Credit: Shannan Crow
Out of the class room. School education days at the Waiwhakareke Wetland in Hamilton allows students like Kieran Burton, pictured here, to get up close and personal with the world around them. Credit: Tracey Burton
Out of the class room. School education days at the Waiwhakareke Wetland in Hamilton allows students like Kieran Burton, pictured here, to get up close and personal with the world around them. Credit: Tracey Burton
Gannet on the wing, Farewell Spit, changing direction prior to diving for fish. Credit: Rob Murdoch
Gannet on the wing, Farewell Spit, changing direction prior to diving for fish. Credit: Rob Murdoch
Taken from Mount Ngauruhoe, Tongariro National Park. Lake Taupo is in the far background. Credit: Piet Verburg
Taken from Mount Ngauruhoe, Tongariro National Park. Lake Taupo is in the far background.
Credit: Piet Verburg
Mr Crab. Estuarine mud crab in Omokoroa harbour, Bay of Plenty. Credit: Tracey Burton
Mr Crab. Estuarine mud crab in Omokoroa harbour, Bay of Plenty. Credit: Tracey Burton

6 Comments

  1. Robin Purdey

    Got the Tui well, I like the fact that is a real action shot not ‘posed ‘ on a branch with not a feather out of place . If I do it well I will see what others think.

    Many thanks —-Robin

  2. Peter Griffin

    Hi Robin,

    Try clicking on the image of the Tui, which will open it in your browser, then in your browser menu click print. If that doesn’t work, let me know and I’ll email you a copy of the image. Ed.

  3. Peter Griffin

    You are right! Caption mix-up, that’s a crayfish (Jasus edwardsii) in a crevice surrounded by jewel anemones, taken during a dive survey at the Mokohinau Islands, northeastern New Zealand. Have added Mr Crab too. Cheers.

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