A painful selfie with a passing jellyfish and a moody scene from the Fiordland bush are just some of the highlights from this year’s NIWA Staff Photography competition.
Science takes NIWA employees to some stunning locations and every year the research organisation holds a photographic competition for staff working across its climate, oceans and freshwater platforms.
This year attracted more than 400 entries and the “view from the office” in 2023 has once again produced another batch of spectacular results.
Scientific dive specialist Richie Hughes was working near the Poor Knights Islands when a bloom of mauve stinger jelly fish came drifting past.
While recording the event, Northland-based Richie couldn’t resist a selfie. The resulting image took out the “Our People” section in this year’s awards, but it also came at a cost.
“I got stung a lot and had big welts on my hands that took weeks to recover. I even needed a significant dose of Botox on my lips to help with the stings.
“It was worth it though, because my work makes a difference to understanding New Zealand’s marine environments – and the picture looks great.”
In another chance encounter, Richie’s colleague, marine ecologist Irene Middleton captured the unusual sight of a translucent slipper lobster larvae hitching a ride on the back of a mauve stinger.
A highly accomplished underwater photographer, Irene, also took out the “Our Places” award with her luminescent photo of delicate soft corals anchored on the seabed of Doubtful Sound.
” It was very cold but once back on the boat, I was stoked with the results,” said Irene.
Other award winners included marine ecologist Katie Cook’s moody Fiordland landscape, the image NIWA crew member Tran Lawrence crafted in the Auckland Islands from Research Vessel Kaharoa’s bridge and the Tongan volcano afterglow in the night skies above Wellington, captured by systems engineer Jill Scott.
For the record, the external judges settled on the following competition awards: Our People – Riche Hughes; Our Work – Tran Lawrence; Our Places – Irene Middleton; Emerging Photographer – Katie Cook; Special – Irene Middleton; Phone – Jill Scott; Data Visualisation; Ben Noll.