Aurora's awe a medal winner

23:42, Apr 15 2014
geoff cloake
CAPTURE THIS: Photographer Geoff Cloake.

Geoff Cloake's desire to capture the "fleeting moment" has reaped rewards.

The Timaru-based photographer won silver and bronze medals in the Nature category at the Photographic Society of New Zealand's National Exhibition.

"I am absolutely rapt. I've been trying different approaches with my photography. I wanted to capture a fleeting moment, and I wanted it to be honest," Cloake said.

BRILLIANT SKIES: An aurora captured in Tekapo by Geoff Cloake.

His award-winning photographs were exceptionally wide panoramic views of an aurora and a patchwork panorama of the upper Rangitata River after a massive snowfall last winter.

"I was particularly proud of the aeroplane shot. We captured an extreme moment. The braided rivers were just coming out of the snow, showing interesting character. It was the perfect shot," he said

Cloake said the aurora he captured over Tekapo in February was the best in nine years.


"Everything about the picture was the product of sheer luck. I was there at the right place and the right time," Cloake said.

"I actually forgot to bring my tripod but somehow I still got the shot. Incredibly, the aurora not only hung on that fraction longer for me, but pumped up one last minute of massive dying power, just as my camera panned on to that part of the sky.

"It was magnificent."

As well as exhibiting at galleries, Cloake has hundreds of private clients. However, he said his philosophy on how to take a photograph was changing all the time.

"Nowadays it is more about computers and "post camera" work. Anyone can make their photos look good in the touch-up process.

"As a nature photographer, arty things must to be avoided. It's all about getting everything correct in-camera and making sure the final image produced is as true as possible.

"I see myself as a witness for the camera," Cloake said. "It's got to be honest and it's got to be factual."

Cloake has been a semi-professional photographer for nearly 30 years but still remembers the pleasure he got as an amateur enthusiast as a teenage tramper.

"I've always enjoyed the outdoors and the big, open spaces. Photography takes you to places you wouldn't otherwise go to."

His award-winning photographs will be on display at the Photographic Society of New Zealand's National Exhibition in Blenheim from April 23 to 27.

South Canterbury