Press photographer wins wildlife award
This breathtaking "3000th of a second moment" could have been missed in the blink of an eye.
Instead, it was frozen in time by David Hallett, a photographer at The Press.
The photograph of the two welcome swallows courting each other at Lake Ellesmere saw Hallett win the wildlife category of the New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year 2012 competition.
More than 3100 entries were received, the largest number the competition has received.
The judges selected 39 finalists across four categories - society and culture, landscape, photo story and wildlife, and the winners were announced last night at an awards presentation at the Auckland Museum.
New Zealand Geographic editor James Frankham said the idea behind the competition was to "stimulate New Zealanders to document their natural and social environment".
He said a photographer's technical ability was not the deciding factor in the selection.
"What was more important was what they captured in the frame,'' he said.
''The judges were, like viewers, wanting to be surprised by the photography. They were wanting to be challenged by the images and see representations of our environment that they hadn't seen before."
He said Hallett's photo achieved that.
"It was the frame of the birds; they were almost in a ballet-like grace in the moment that he captured them,'' he said.
''It was a 3000th of a second that image existed. It opens your eyes to what's going on in your own backyard everyday. It was a deserving winner."
The title of New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year was won by Bruce Mercer for his photo story of the MV Rena disaster and subsequent cleanup.
Kah Kit Yoong won the landscape category and Natalie Slade the culture category.
See the New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year 2012 winners here.