• Rubber Monkey

'Reflection' Photography Competition Winners



After recently announcing the top 3 for our Nikon 'Reflection' photography competition, we wanted to share their photographs, alongside comments from our guest judge Daniel Murray, and a short interview with the winners.

We want to say a big thank you to Nikon for generously sponsoring the competition and to our amazing judge Daniel Murray for choosing the winning images. You can view more of the amazing entries on our Facebook page.

FIRST PLACE


Shannan Crow - Into The Night


'The last bit of sun for the day going down just before a storm hits the Southern Alps. I quickly set up my camera as this sunbeam broke the clouds and was reflected in the tarn in front of me. After setting up a few geese flew through the sunset and into the quickly approaching night, which is where the name for the image came from.'

 

"Shannan’s compelling and moody landscape image spoke to me the most. The reflective pool leading through a vast landscape to the flock of birds, coupled with the subtle light and colour escaping a storm, makes for an absorbing and beautiful image which I can get lost in for an age." - Judges Comment


How did you get into photography?

I first started dabbling in photography about 20 years back, dragging a camera with me while I was adventuring in the outdoors. But probably about 7 years back I started taking photography much more seriously. Planning trips specifically for photography and tramping into remote locations.


What is your favourite type of photography to practice?

Landscape photography is primarily my focus. I love being in the outdoors and exploring new areas. Spending time in the mountains and the forest is so relaxing/recharging and I love trying to translate some of that into images. Forests I find particularly fun to shoot. There are just so many options to generate unique looking images and compositions. Plus you are not forced to chase sunset/sunrise light, forests are great to shoot at all times of the day.


Why did you choose this image to enter?

I picked this image because of the unique light and also because of how I tried to position the reflection. It wasn’t your classic mountain reflection, but the shape of the tarn is echoed by the similar shape made by the sun shining through the clouds. I placed the reflection in the tarn as a way of combining/linking those two shapes.


Where were you when taking this image?

This photo was taken along the Te Araroa trail. On the section from Boyle to Arthurs Pass through the headwaters of the Hurunui Catchment.


What was going through your mind when trying to capture this image?

I was rushing! I had been watching the sunset going down as I was walking and just enjoying the scene until I spotted the reflection in the tarn. Then I rushed to capture the sunbeam and reflection before it vanished. The primary thought going through my mind was "quickly shoot this composition before the light fades."


What was the most challenging aspect of capturing this image?

I had to crouch/sit down in some mud to get low enough to include the reflection, but the most challenging part was capturing the birds with a fast-enough shutter speed. I know they are near impossible to see, but there was a flock of geese flying around and I wanted to include them in the image. But I knew that the only way that you would be able to see them was if they flew through some of the sunset light. Luckily, they flew into the light at the right moment and after turning up the ISO I managed to get a fast-enough shutter speed to freeze the birds in there.


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

Tranquillity


What gear did you use to capture this shot / what settings were used?

This was shot with a Nikon D850 and Sigma 14-24 f2.8 lens. The image was shot at f11, 1/60th sec and ISO 800. The gear was all set up on my Gitzo Series 3 tripod for the image.


Were there any other favourite photos from this trip?

I did manage to get another couple of images of the streams and rivers we walked past during the trip. Both of the images were captured right at dusk and I was lucky again with some sunset rays shining through clouds

Make sure to check out Shannan's Instagram for more stunning images!



SECOND PLACE


Jon-Paul Hansen – Self Portrait in Sea Foam


'A looming threat? No, just a self-portrait in multicoloured seafoam bubbles. Taken at Te Henga beach, West Auckland.'

 

"Right from the very beginning of the selection process, this image stood out with its unique and creative take on the reflection theme. Exploring the myriad bubbles with their varying colours, shapes, and textures is a real delight."


- Judges Comment



How did you get into photography?

I started when we bought a clearance Canon 1100D DLSR camera for my daughter who had decided she wanted to become a photographer, knowing full well it'd really be a family camera. She would use it for school, and I would take it on weekends on walks in the Waitakere Ranges before the Kauri Dieback track closures. That was about 10 years ago, I guess. I'm very much an amateur/enthusiast, using online tutorials and trial and error to discover the best settings for various situations.


What is your favourite type of photography to practice?

My favourite subject is NZ native birds in flight. I love capturing something that is often too quick for the eye to see (well for birds that flap fast anyway). Tui being my favourite subject due to their ever-changing colourful iridescence, and the speed at which they fly. I had a couple of my Tui photos used as subjects for a Charles & Janine Williams art wrap on the Te Wero building during last America's Cup - the first (and only) time I've made a few bucks off my shots, and it was a buzz to see them blown up so big.


I'm also trying to improve my toy photography, I'm an avid LEGO Fan (I've been working behind the scenes on the upcoming LEGO Masters NZ TV show these past 6 months as a model builder). The Rubber Monkey prize voucher has already been put towards a Godox 80cm LED light tent to improve those types of shots, to minimise reflections and shadows. Thank you, I can't wait to try it out!


Why did you choose this image to enter?

It was a cold, windy day on Te Henga beach - I'm normally looking in the sky or middle distance for wildlife to photograph. But I happened to catch the glint of the sun in the seafoam left behind on the sand at the water's edge at my feet and took a closer look.


This one's not my usual style, rather abstract. Many of my friends who have seen it commented on how unusual it was. The general weirdness and the kaleidoscope of colours are why I entered it - figured there wouldn't be many entries with a similar vibe. I chanced my hand by minting the photo as an NFT when that craze blew up a year or so ago. Just like most pieces that were created by unknowns, it remains unsold to this day.


What was going through your mind when trying to capture this image?

"Oh, this looks colourful. Wait, is that my reflection in each of the bubbles, maybe I should move a bit and hold the camera at arm's length so I don't ruin the shot". Haha, I'm glad I didn't do that in hindsight, wouldn't have been fit to enter a 'reflection' theme.


What was the most challenging aspect of capturing this image?

The only lens I was carrying was a 55-250cm zoom, so it was a little awkward to shoot something right at my feet. If I had the 18-55 though, I'd have not been in the same body position, and the 'monster' shape of me in my thick jacket would have been lost. It reminds me of Drew Struzan's famous movie poster art for 'The Thing' (1982)


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

Surreal.


What gear did you use to capture this shot / what settings were used?

I used my teenage son's Canon 7D Mk II that we helped him buy a few years back (a familiar story in the household). As I mentioned earlier, I only had the 55-250 zoom on me at the time (for those wildlife shots that I favour). Settings: f/6.3, 1/320s, ISO160.


Make sure to check out Jon-Paul's Instagram for more incredible work!



THIRD PLACE


Melinda Mackenzie - Eyes See You


'My daughter has amazing eyes. She placed a mirror next to her cheek and I told her to look at me in the mirror.'

 

"This is one striking photograph! The tight composition and framing (including vignetting), great use of shapes and symmetry, and exquisite details all add up to a beautiful image."


- Judges Comment


Melinda Mackenzie - Eyes See You

How did you get into photography?

Even as a kid I enjoyed photography with my little point and shoot camera but I really started getting into it a few years ago when I worked at a doggy daycare. I enjoyed getting those candid shots of the dogs. Since then I've learnt about so many different techniques and ways to capture an image that it's turned into something I'm very passionate about.


What is your favourite type of photography to practice?

My favourite type of photography would have to be those 'In the moment' shots with people and animals. I love capturing those genuine emotions that can really tell a story.


Why did you choose this image to enter?

I chose this image because I'm so in love with the colour of my daughter's eyes and this photo really captures that.


What was the most challenging aspect when capturing this image?

The most challenging aspect was trying to keep my daughter still, while my 4-year-old son was running around her trying to get her to play! Luckily it didn't take long to get the shot I wanted.


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

Beautiful.


What gear did you use to capture this shot / what settings were used?

I used my Nikon Z6 to capture the image. Taken at 70mm 1/200 f8 iso 800.



You can view more of the amazing entries on our Facebook page.