Richard Robinson

Photographer of the Year 2013

Congratulations to the winners of the New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year 2013. From 3400 entries, these are the finest visions of our environment and society, and this year’s contribution to the ever-expanding record of our place, and our people.

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A leopard anemone floats into the deep blue at Oculina Point, Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve. These anemones generally inhabit black coral and gorgonian fans on deep reefs out of recreational diving range. Robinson says he stumbled across an unusual phenomenon in which 15–20 specimens had detached from the reef and were drifting out into the blue, a migration presumably part of their life cycle.
A leopard anemone floats into the deep blue at Oculina Point, Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve. These anemones generally inhabit black coral and gorgonian fans on deep reefs out of recreational diving range. Robinson says he stumbled across an unusual phenomenon in which 15–20 specimens had detached from the reef and were drifting out into the blue, a migration presumably part of their life cycle.

Aoraki Mt Cook National Park contains more than 140 peaks standing over 2000 metres high, and includes some 72 named glaciers which cover 40 per cent of the park’s area. Among them is Tasman Glacier, New Zealand’s longest, where Jason Hosking was attracted to the soft, glowing quality of light, and the subtle tones of blue inside an ice cave. This picture was an abstract detail from a wider series he was shooting in the region as part of a book project that took him through 14 national parks over a period of four months. In all he captured several thousand frames, but the simplicity and tranquility of this picture made it his pick for this competition.Aoraki Mt Cook National Park contains more than 140 peaks standing over 2000 metres high, and includes some 72 named glaciers which cover 40 per cent of the park’s area. Among them is Tasman Glacier, New Zealand’s longest, where Jason Hosking was attracted to the soft, glowing quality of light, and the subtle tones of blue inside an ice cave. This picture was an abstract detail from a wider series he was shooting in the region as part of a book project that took him through 14 national parks over a period of four months. In all he captured several thousand frames, but the simplicity and tranquility of this picture made it his pick for this competition.

Whitebait are the juvenile or larval form of five different species of native freshwater fish. They grow up to become inanga, koaro, banded kokopu, giant kokopu and short-jawed kokopu. These native fish are known as galaxiids, due to constellation patterns found on the adult fish, in particular the giant kokopu. New Zealand whitebait are caught in the lower reaches of rivers using small open-mouthed hand-held nets. Whitebaiters tend the nets constantly in order to lift them as soon as a school enters. The ‘bait, however, are sensitive to objects in the river and adept at dodging the nets or swimming back out. Cherie Palmer made this photograph when the Nelson season was in full swing.
Whitebait are the juvenile or larval form of five different species of native freshwater fish. They grow up to become inanga, koaro, banded kokopu, giant kokopu and short-jawed kokopu. These native fish are known as galaxiids, due to constellation patterns found on the adult fish, in particular the giant kokopu. New Zealand whitebait are caught in the lower reaches of rivers using small open-mouthed hand-held nets. Whitebaiters tend the nets constantly in order to lift them as soon as a school enters. The ‘bait, however, are sensitive to objects in the river and adept at dodging the nets or swimming back out. Cherie Palmer made this photograph when the Nelson season was in full swing.
Ian Harrison and his partner Megan were at a Ratana church on a peaceful evening in Raetihi. Harrision says that as his partner approached the church, a horse in the neighboring paddock came over to greet her. He waited for the moment when the horse touched Megan’s outstretched hand to take the photo. Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana founded the Ratana Movement in the early 20th century at the settlement of Ratana, near Whanganui. Initially known as a healer, many people flocked to hear his teachings which led to the establishment of his own church in 1925 with it’s distinctive bell towers.
Ian Harrison and his partner Megan were at a Ratana church on a peaceful evening in Raetihi. Harrision says that as his partner approached the church, a horse in the neighboring paddock came over to greet her. He waited for the moment when the horse touched Megan’s outstretched hand to take the photo. Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana founded the Ratana Movement in the early 20th century at the settlement of Ratana, near Whanganui. Initially known as a healer, many people flocked to hear his teachings which led to the establishment of his own church in 1925 with it’s distinctive bell towers.
Craig Simcox, a photographer for the Dominion Post, made this photo story over the course of two and a half days aboard a fishing trawler crewed by skipper George Imlach and deck hand Craig Cox. Simcox says that although large-scale commercial fishing has come to dominate the fishing scene in New Zealand, smaller operators such as Imlach fish around the clock in Cook Strait and remain an important part of the industry.
A rare lenticular cloud hangs above the eastern slopes of Mt Ruapehu in the Rangipo Desert during a northwesterly weather pattern. The distinctive lens-shaped formations are almost stationary and are normally aligned perpendicularly to the wind direction. Bevan Percival was captivated by the unusual shape of the cloud and the way in which it appeared to hover over the large boulder—a volcanic projectile—in the foreground. He spent several hours with his son watching the cloud develop and searching for the right angle and an interesting foreground.
A rare lenticular cloud hangs above the eastern slopes of Mt Ruapehu in the Rangipo Desert during a northwesterly weather pattern. The distinctive lens-shaped formations are almost stationary and are normally aligned perpendicularly to the wind direction. Bevan Percival was captivated by the unusual shape of the cloud and the way in which it appeared to hover over the large boulder—a volcanic projectile—in the foreground. He spent several hours with his son watching the cloud develop and searching for the right angle and an interesting foreground.

The finalists in the 2013 Photographer of the Year competition each offer a unique insight into who we are as a people, and where we live. They were shot entirely within New Zealand territory, by amateurs and professionals alike, young and old. The pictures come from locations familiar to all of us, and other places few have the opportunity to visit.

And this year, like no other, many of the finalists feature the ocean realm. Some 96 per cent of our Exclusive Economic Zone is covered by salt water, and 80 per cent of our nation’s biodiversity lives in the seas around us, so it should be little surprise that many of the finalists have turned their lenses upon the marine subjects in 2013, despite the enormous technical challenges of working in that environment.

New Zealand Geographic would like to congratulate Richard Robinson, supreme winner and New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year 2013.

PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2013: RICHARD ROBINSON

The photographer with the best portfolio of images is selected from all of the entries to be awarded the highest prize and the title New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year 2013. They must demonstrate technical excellence, but most of all, an exceptional and original approach to the craft of photography; at once journalism and art. This year, the photographer who rose to the top was Richard Robinson, a press photographer for the New Zealand Herald, long-time contributing photographer to New Zealand Geographic, and winner of this award back in 2010. Robinson’s images are exceptional by any measure. From a juvenile green turtle recuperating at Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World to the extraordinarily rare sight of a leopard anemone adrift in the blue during a little-understood and rarely documented part of its life cycle, these are images that communicate the essential qualities of life in New Zealand—unusual, fragile and often poorly understood. It’s hard to appreciate the difficulty involved in capturing images of this quality and gaining proximity to wild animals in their natural realm; a never-ending battle against salt water, limited light, and the tyranny of odds involved in drawing close enough to rare and retiring creatures. In this Robinson excels, and draws us all closer to understanding and appreciating that world.

ALL AWARDS: