Scientists produce stunning images

The winners for 2015 Staff Photo Competition were announced at NIWA’s annual Excellence Awards ceremony in Auckland last night.

A day at the office for NIWA scientists can mean anything from taking a helicopter into the Southern Alps to check a weather station, to diving in the ocean to monitor various natural habitats or standing in rivers or lakes conducting water quality tests.

And every so often it means being in the vast expanse of Antarctcia.

These stunning environments which form the backdrop for the vast array of environmental science undertaken by NIWA has led to annual photographic competition for staff.

The competition is unique for the diversity of images which this year includes panoramic scenic shots, birdlife and a little bit of humour.

The winners for 2015 were announced at NIWA’s annual Excellence Awards ceremony in Auckland last night.

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”.

Crispin Middleton
Scientific diver Crispin Middleton is surrounded by Starry Toado Pufferfish at the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve.

Other section winners were:

  • Our Places – Rob Murdoch, Penguins on Ice:

    Penguins on Ice - Rob Murdoch

  • Our Work – Alison Kohout, Ice Edge:

    Ice Edge - Our Work winner 2015

  • Special Award - Alvin Setiawan, Tui in Flight:

    Tui in flight, Special Award Winner 2015

  • Public Choice – Chris Brandolino, Army Bay, Whangaparoa:

    Army Bay, People's Choice Winner

The judges commented on the extraordinary variety of work carried out by NIWA staff which offered unique photographic opportunities. NIWA was widely known for the excellence of its imagery.