Our Members: Top 20 of 2020

Published in NZPhotographer Magazine, issue 39, January 2021.


We have selected 20 photographs from our most active members in 2020 based on how they reflect the year that has now gone in history. It was a tough choice and you shouldn’t be disappointed if your work didn’t make the cut as you have every opportunity to be featured in our Top 10 (or Top 20!) over the coming year! Upload your work to Excio, take part in our weekly challenges, and share your stories of witnessing the unimaginable – remember, there are things no one would ever see if they weren’t photographed.



A Moment To Cherish by Damon Marshall

As the final drops of sunlight splash into this conveniently placed Spirula Spirula shell, I reflect on the unrepeatable memories that were created on that magnificent evening.




Megan by Vicky O’Connor

This is Megan who lives on a farm with her two sisters and brother. We met at a place called The Coast Road Back Packers where these absolutely beautiful trees (Redwoods planted in the 1930s) were the perfect backdrop symbolising power and strength grown from time. The girls work with me to create a style that fits our surroundings to tell a story. I give them as much freedom to choose and explore a look which is rewarded with me being able to watch our youth grow in confidence. The main purpose though is to just Have Fun! The photo, to me, shows someone who is very happy and full of adventure, on her way to a picnic. The clothes are part of an enormous collection I have been gathering for years. The stick is called a Hill Stick... they are often used by musterers in the High Country to keep their balance while mustering sheep on steep country. This one, like many, is made from Manuka.



Girl with Pearl Earrings by Fairlie Atkinson

Based on Vermeer’s painting Girl With A Pearl Earring but set in the time of the Covid 19 lockdown.



Pushkar Lady by Parmeet Sahni

I clicked this beautiful lady in Pushkar Rajasthan, India. I asked her if I could click her photo and she blushed, capturing the tiny bit of her smile peeping through her veil made this image so special to me.


Tui Cloud Over Aoraki by Susan Blick

Does it get anymore kiwi than this? A tui borne of Aoraki! Yep, that's Mt Cook it's perched on. Tonight's high winds had the clouds dancing, but to form a deadset tui is something else. And no, I didn't have to 'tidy it up' at all, that's exactly as the cloud was.

Canon EOS M50, F5.6, 1/2000s, ISO160, 70mm (Sigma 70-200m F/2.8 lens)



Juvenile Kea by Kim Free

A beautiful juvenile Kea in a rain shower at Otira.



Dancing in the dunes by Tony Gorham

The end of a perfect day. Anita dancing carefree in the dunes at Piha beach, Auckland. Damn that was a great day to be a creative!



Skeleton Madonna by Charlotte Johnson

From a Halloween 2020 photo shoot.

Model and styling: Emma Malone

Makeup: Sinead Dudley

Hair: Laura Macdonald



Leucistic or White Tui by Vandy

A rare Leucistic or White Native Tui pondering what all the Media fuss is about as it fed on the yellow pollen of Harakeke flowers this evening in Mount Victoria, Wellington. Bird Leucism is a genetic mutation that results in a total or partial reduction of colour in a bird’s plumage. The reduction of colour is due to an inadequate deposition or fixation of pigments only in the bird’s feathers. Other parts of the bird’s body usually have normal coloration but this Tui has unusually light eyes, beak and legs.



Solace by Ann Kilpatrick

This guy Solace is very popular in Wellington, standing there bravely leaning in, whatever the weather.



‘Haka’, a ceremonial dance or challenge in Māori culture by Maria Ligaya

I was recently invited to photograph a first Maori Endurance event called“Hawaiki Toa: The Realm of the Gods”, and in this event I witnessed the traditional MaoriHaka. ‘Haka’ is a ceremonial dance or challenge in Māori culture. It is a posture dance performed by a group with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment. Although commonly associated with the traditional battle preparations of male warriors, haka have been performed by both men and women and several varieties of the dance fulfil social functions within Māori culture. Haka are performed to welcome distinguished guests, or to acknowledge great achievements, occasions, or funerals.

Māori originated with settlers from eastern Polynesia who arrived in New Zealand in several waves of canoe voyages some time between 1250 and 1300. Over several centuries in isolation, the Polynesian settlers developed a unique culture, with their own language, a rich mythology, and distinctive crafts and performing arts.



Whangamata by Mike Moore

New year 2020, the morning skies being illuminated as a result of smoke from the Australian bushfires.



Sherpa Window by Peter Laurenson

Kids’ toys seem to await their now grown-up owners’ return, gazing out the window of a sherpa home in Thame-Teng, Khumbu, Nepal.

Nikon D750, F9, 1/30s, ISO320, 30mm



After Midnight (kiwi pukupuku) by Judi Miller

It is nigh-on impossible to get high-resolution, low-noise photos of nocturnal kiwi. I had the rare opportunity to photograph this kiwi during the day, and through lighting adjustments, set him into a more natural moonlit scene. Some photographers may call it cheating, but photo-artistry isn't constrained by such purist conventions. The reality is, this manipulated photo is far closer to the actual experience people will have with a kiwi pukupuku when out on a night tour of a bird sanctuary. So much of photo-artistry is about controlling and manipulating light, to enhance light already in the image and to cast light where it is needed to created realistic scenes. A lot of thought goes into the colour and direction of added light, and where the shadows will fall. It's the make or break of whether a composited scene will be perceived as realistic, even when the subject may be fantastical.



In Go(o)d's Faith by Giulio

On one of my three photo trips to Rome during the lockdowns, I walked into a wonderful ancient church in Rome, the Santa Maria in Trastevere. Located in one of the most traditional, best known, and most touristy districts of Rome, this time the neighborhood was deserted, silent, and unreal. Strangely, the Byzantine church was open, but inside there were only two priests, in full compliance with the health rules. Both were reading the Bible, in an atmosphere that, had it not been for the masks and sanitary hand cleaner placed on the altar, would have been utterly and wonderfully mystical.



Christmas in Action by Don McLeod

Seen in a Wellington inner City Church. The movement denotes action and in a way draws one to participate.



Into the unknown by Noelle Bennett

I admit to a wee bit of post-processing to help with this, but do you see what I see? In fact, what do you see? And what do you think this actually is? I saw LOTR landscape when I created it while actually it is the colour version of the plant.



Punakaki by Brendon Gilchrist

Life might seem like a storm most of the time but every now and then this light shines through, it's amazing the power that people have that can influence our lives to change for the better.



Grey Warbler by Gareth McKnight

A Riroriro or Grey Warbler cautiously keeping an eye on me, its nest is in a small shrub nearby.



Moss Seed by Roy Chernohorskyi

Another in my moss series taken over the years from a larger collection.



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