Chris wins best na­ture pho­tog­ra­pher

Havelock North Village Press - - News - By LINDA HALL

When the phone rang on a Satur­day night af­ter 9 at Chris Hel­li­well’s home, he never dreamed that in a mat­ter of min­utes he would be “live on stage” at the Nikon New Zealand In­sti­tute of Pro­fes­sional Pho­tog­ra­phy (NZIPP) Iris Pro­fes­sional Pho­tog­ra­phy Awards.

He said he was as­tounded and shocked to learn he had won the Na­ture cat­e­gory.

Chris, who is a pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher and owns Edges Art + Fram­ing in Have­lock North, en­tered four prints and won one bronze and two sil­ver awards. He was named Na­ture Pho­tog­ra­pher of the Year (spon­sored by Ep­son NZ) at the pres­ti­gious na­tional awards, held in Welling­ton last month.

Kaye Davis from the hon­ours coun­cil said his images were “a beau­ti­ful study of na­ture through the ap­pli­ca­tion of var­i­ous tech­niques that showed mas­tery of pho­to­graphic prac­tice. The prints were well han­dled”.

“It is such an hon­our to be recog­nised in such a large and tal­ented field of pho­tog­ra­phers.

“This was my first time en­ter­ing these awards and to be a fi­nal­ist was amaz­ing, then to win was just un­be­liev­able,” Chris said.

The awards are run over five days and Chris at­tended for just one day to watch the judg­ing.

“I did it re­ally to learn more for next year. I was so thrilled to be named a fi­nal­ist but didn’t think for a minute I would win. I didn’t at­tend the gala evening when the win­ners were an­nounced.

“In­stead I re­ceived a phone call and was live on stage ac­cept­ing the award. When I hung up, my phone went crazy with peo­ple send­ing me mas­sages of con­grat­u­la­tions. It was amaz­ing,” Chris said.

The 47 year old says he came to pho­tog­ra­phy quite late in life, “al­though I’ve al­ways had a cam­era and an in­ter­est”.

“As a child I was in­ter­ested in wildlife so about seven years ago I be­came an avid ama­teur pho­tog­ra­pher tak­ing macro (close-up pictures of in­sects) photos.

“I loved cap­tur­ing amaz­ing de­tail of in­sects that are all around us that peo­ple don’t see.

“That has moved into wildlife. I have been lucky enough to go to the Subantarc­tic and Cen­tral Amer­ica to pho­to­graph wildlife.”

“The se­cret to tak­ing a great shot in my mind is show­ing peo­ple some­thing they haven’t seen be­fore or tak­ing them places they have never been.”

“Mix that with ac­tion, for in­stance a bird fly­ing or feed­ing its young, and you have put a story to your pic­ture.”

The NIKON / New Zealand In­sti­tute of Pro­fes­sional Pho­tog­ra­phy (NZIPP) Iris Awards at­tract hun­dreds of en­tries from around the coun­try and over­seas each year.

The awards are highly con­tested and cov­eted as they have helped launch and es­tab­lish many ca­reers. All the en­tries are judged anony­mously over three days by a panel of five judges who in­clude some of the most qual­i­fied and renowned lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional pho­tog­ra­phers.

Chris is also cur­rently the holder of the Colin Rush Cup — Cham­pion Na­ture Print PSNZ (Pho­to­graphic So­ci­ety of New Zealand) Cen­tral Re­gion

Wil­liam C Davies Memo­rial Tro­phy — PSNZ Best NZ Nat­u­ral His­tory Print.

PHOTO / PAUL TAY­LOR

Chris Hel­li­well with his tro­phies won at the New Zealand In­sti­tute of Pro­fes­sional Pho­tog­ra­phers IRIS Awards.

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