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  • Writer's pictureRubber Monkey

“Off The Beaten Track” Competition Winners

After much anticipation, we can finally announce our top three winners for our “Off The Beaten Track” photography competition, sponsored by Peak Design. Check out the winning photographs below, alongside the final judges comments by Lola Gosling and a short interview with the winners.

You can view more amazing submissions on our Facebook page here.


Ryan DomenicoTaranaki Sunrise “Sunrise, high on the slopes of Mount Taranaki, during a winter climb.”

“I absolutely love the perspective of this image. Ryan’s choice to get low and shoot across the surface of the snow introduced texture, bringing the viewer right into the scene. I can hear the crunch of the snow through the subtle foreground bokeh. I felt this image truly embodied the brief of “Off The Beaten Track” by doing exactly that – going on a hearty mission in the snow. The golden light and silhouetted Mount Ruapehu in the background just topped it off for me. An image I wish I had taken myself!” – Lola Gosling

"My passion for photography stemmed from a love and appreciation of the natural world. When I was a child, my Dad and I would watch nature documentaries together every Sunday and I was absolutely fascinated by the places I was seeing on the screen. Eventually, I made the decision to leave my home in the UK to travel and see some of these places for myself. I had always had an interest in photography and I studied film photography at school, before the days of digital cameras. During my travels, I bought my first digital SLR and I was hooked. I developed a desire to learn to capture the beautiful places I was visiting and do them justice on camera."

Why did you choose this image to enter? 

"This image is a personal favourite from a few mountain trips last winter. When I look at this photo it brings back a lot of great memories of time spent in the mountains with awesome people. I personally think it fits the brief of the competition quite well too."

Is there a story behind this image?

"The image itself was spontaneous but the trip that it was taken on was planned for a while. A group of friends and I decided to attempt a mid-winter climb of Mt Taranaki via the Southern slopes. We spent the night in a beautiful mountain hut and around 1.5 hours before sunrise, two of us set off for the summit. We always have a rule of turning back if, at any point, any of us feel uncomfortable. On this particular morning, we had some technical issues with our crampons so decided to stop, around 200 meters from the summit, waiting for sunrise then head back down to the hut. I shot this image on the way back down, just as the sun had risen."

What was the most challenging aspect when capturing this image? 

"The most challenging part of capturing the image was probably the physical aspect. We were perched on a steep slope of solid ice and it took a lot of effort to maintain a good footing on the mountain. It was also around -15 degrees which made operating the camera very tricky. Maintaining the correct exposure whilst shooting directly into the sun with a moving subject was also challenging."

If you had to describe the image in one word what would it be? 

"Ooh, that’s a tricky one. Probably ‘Adventure’. When I look at the image I am reminded of how epic of an adventure this trip was."

Make sure to check out Ryan’s instagram for more stunning images!


Jinal GovindSolace “We had hiked up Mount Taranaki in a whiteout and sub-zero conditions. The giant Maunga appeared briefly for us. I managed to capture a hiker making their way into Syme Hut to shelter from the -15 degree wind chill!”

“The juxtaposition of Mount Taranaki towering over the tiny person and hut has given incredible scale. The quiet simplicity of the image allows you to really take in all the subtle details, from the icicles on the hut to the patterns on the snow. I am Super impressed with the commitment to the shot. It would make an awesome print!” – Lola Gosling

Why / how did you get into Photography?

Photography is something I’ve had a passion for forever since I picked up one of those Kodak disposable cameras in a yard sale. Fast forward a few years, I decided to explore more of the world and travel through a few countries in Asia. That’s when I knew this is something I wanted to pursue, to be able to tell a story through photos.

Why did you choose this image to enter?

I chose this image because to me it shows what adventuring is all about. How we take those off beaten tracks to escape the crazy and just be consumed by nature. That we are nothing but a mere fraction amongst the vast landscape that surrounds us. How beautiful yet brutal Mother Nature can be.

Is there a story behind this image? Was it planned/ spontaneous?

This image was taken last winter on a hike up to Syme Hut on Taranaki. We had battled through the whiteout and sub-zero conditions up the mountain. High on the buzz of actually making it there, we waited patiently inside with our fingers crossed that Mt Taranaki would reveal itself. Eventually, the clouds cleared just before sunset and we made a quick dash outside to relish the true mountain spirit. The wind was ferocious and within a few minutes, some of us had decided to head back to shelter. I captured this spontaneous moment of one of the hikers escaping the gnarly conditions. As the sun rays faded away, it exposed the sheer size of Mount Taranaki towering over the icicle covered hut.

What was the most challenging aspect when capturing this image? 

The most challenging part of this shot was the weather conditions. In my excitement, I’d left my snow gloves in the hut and had only fingerless gloves to rely on. It didn’t take long for the wild -15 degree wind chill to start making my fingers go numb. I managed to capture this moment just before the hiker disappeared and I too had to go get warmed up!

Make sure to check out Jinal’s Instagram for more stunning images!


Aaron Radford – Tranquility

“This is such a cool perspective of Donut Island I’ve never seen before. I love the sea of green, with the little fleck of the turquoise ocean and lucky kayakers enjoying their adventure. I get that summer vibe and the urge to go visit this beautiful spot. I’m sure Aaron battled some seagulls to nab the shot too!” – Lola Gosling

Why / how did you get into Photography?  

I have been playing with cameras for a very long time. As a child, I remember wasting rolls and rolls of 35mm film being more into the gadget than the results. However, I didn’t really get into photography seriously until the DSLR boom around 2006ish. This is when I purchased a Canon 400D and from here a passion for landscape and macro photography took off.

Why did you choose this image to enter? It has been a favourite photo of mine from this summer and has been my phone wallpaper since I captured it.  When I saw the competition and its title I felt it just fit and it’s just a bit different.

Is there a story behind this image? Was it planned/ spontaneous? Totally spontaneous, I was out drone fishing with family and friends not having much luck so decided to see if we could find any better spots to fish, when I passed over Donut Island I had to capture the shot.

What was the most challenging aspect when capturing this image? Waiting for the Kayakers to be over the dark rocks in the narrow beam of light to make them POP in the image, Too far left they blended into the teal water to far-right then didn’t have any light on them and blended into the rocks.

Make sure to check out Aaron’s Instagram for more stunning images!


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