In the Spotlight: Focus on the Positives

“May You Live in Interesting Times.” Ancient Chinese Curse

When we did our Spotlight post last month planes were still flying, people travelling, and museums were all open. In roughly four weeks everything has changed, the world is stopping, people are losing jobs and the apocalyptic feeling is growing with more ghost towns in lockdown. Wow! These changes are a lot to come to terms with making for a very stressful, uncertain time and for many of us it is overwhelming.. IF we keep focusing on all of the above, all of the negativity.

There is an alternative way, to try and focus on the bright side (yes, there is still one!) – the sun is still shining (if you're in the Southern Hemisphere!), the birds are still singing, Spring is coming to the Northern Hemisphere, there is amazing wildlife around us and don’t forget, wonderful people too.

We can’t stress enough what an important role photography plays right now – to capture the moment. There are times when we, as photographers, see something, click the shutter button and then once back at home think ‘why did I take this photo, it's boring’ so leave the photo sitting on the hard drive unseen, presuming you didn't hit the delete button first!

However, what might have seemed ‘boring’ then may become the most important source of hope, motivation, and inspiration when things get tough as they are right now.

Further to our announcement earlier this week, we want to take a moment and say how proud we are of our Excio members who are contributing to the platform by uploading more photos and collections. Today let’s celebrate the positive power of photography, the power to bring smiles, laughs and beauty into people’s lives.

At this time of self-isolation and social distancing we highly encourage you to download the free Excio app on your phone and browse through the collections of photographs generously shared by our members. The featured section on the app shows the most interesting images which you can set as your phone wallpaper with Excio or when tapped, you can read the story behind the photo and swipe left/right through other photographs.

If you want to join us and have your work published, you can sign up for free here.

The Bird's House in Puerto Iguazu, Argentina by Maria Ligaya Photography

"It is impossible to avoid visiting this place while staying at Puerto Iguazú. The birds’ house is one of the best options created by man to get close to nature.⁣ ⁣ No sooner do visitors arrive in Güirá Oga than they are explained –through brochures or a guide- that this place is unlike any other they might have known. This is a wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and breeding center. ⁣ ⁣ The idea is to rescue, recover and reintroduce specimens that get to this place whether because they have been victims of an accident, confiscated or delivered by regretful owners. This is how the provincial fauna got to this place in Puerto Iguazú.⁣"⁣

Yaaaawwwwwnnnnnnn..... by Karen Miller

"Quick now's your chance to cross off that item on your bucket list.... you know.... the one that involved the daredevil stunt of putting your head in the open mouth of a lion?"

Ugly is Beautiful by Peter Maiden

"At the local reserve where we take the dog for a walk there's masses and masses of fennel growing wild. This time of the year when the flowers start drying off it is a pretty ugly sight ...not very inspiring but the flower heads are quite interesting and individually each is really beautiful and photogenic. After taking this photo of one I collected a few seeds for the pantry."

Under my Umbrella by Karen Crozier

"I love color...found this beautiful colorful umbrella and a willing model. ISO 100 F.5.6 1/4 SEC I took this Papamoa Beach look down to Mount Maunganui."

Tulips in a vase by Marina de Wit

"Beautiful bunch of bright a Tulips in a blue and white vase."

Wharariki Beach by Dark Sapphire Photo Artistry by Rochelle Marshall

"Wharariki Beach @ Sunrise. Top of the South Island. An amazing four days spent traveling around the area early March 2020."

Tui by Helen Knight

"Spring time in Te Kuiti Tui on a cherry blossom tree."

Tree Mallow Flower by Fredbearsmum

"Pink flower with gorgeous deep blue centre, couldn't resist the way the flower drew me into its depths. Canon 5dmarkIV ISO100 100mm 1/125 f/6.3 Winter gardens at Auckland Domain."

The Lake and its Magic Flower Fields by Peter Kurdulija

"The Russell lupins around New Zealand’s Lake Pukaki gave the summer scene a slightly surreal feel. The alpine lake water reminiscent of some distant Caribbean coast, is a magnet for visitors and an unforgettable sight within its display of colours and textures. The half-hearted summer drizzle could not put a dent on this amazing experience."

The Pacific by Helen Knight

"Went on a trip up to Norfolk Island and around New Zealand on a cruise ship and. Went to Bay of Islands, Norfolk Islands, New Plymouth, Nelson, Kaikoura, Akaroa, Napier, Tauranga and Auckland."

The Tree Hugger by Anita Ruggle

"With a bit of imagination... Do you see what l see? A tree nymph peering around the tree to see if some one is coming . This is actually a Pohutukawa tree that has self seeded and grown around this old phoenix palm. Canon 80D, iso 400, F8, 1/8 Sec. "

The look of determination by Arun Ravindran

"A rural girl from the last village (Turtuk, Leh district) of India."

That Parapara Tree by Damon John Marshall

"I have never been to that tree in that lake in the South Island of New Zealand. Nor am I too fussed when beauties like this exist in the North! F/6.3 ~ 1/640sec ~ ISO-200. Parapara ranges, Whanganui Region."

Sunset Surfers by Lisa Yates Photography

"A recent trip to Wellington gave me the opportunity to shoot a sunset at Houghton Bay. It was such a warm night that the surfers were still out. I was looking forward to being able to capture them at play in the surf as the sun set."

Sundown by WMPhotography

"Taken from the rocks as the sun was going down, over a smooth sea with Mt Maungatawhiri in the background. f/8 36.7 sec ISO 100 28mm Front Beach Mercury Bay."

Sunny side Up by M & A Whyte Photography & Glassography

"A wild flower planted in a garden at Ashburton domain specifically for the feeding of the local Bee population. 1/200sec, f/7.1, ISO400 Ashburton Domain."

Ten Cent Tiki by Damon John Marshall

"Macro close up of features from Hei-tiki design on New Zealand ten cent coin."

Secretary Island by Peter McIlroy

"The lush chaos of Southern Fiordland rain forest is extraordinary to behold. After an hour of searching I finally came across this composition that managed to contain itself within a frame. 1/4 sec, f11, 24 mm, ISO 400"

Stunning bird by Red Nose

"On safari in Botswana there were amazing colourful birds."

Serval looking alert by Karen Miller

"Apparently the serval can jump three metres in to the air to catch birds. That is as high as a basketball hoop. Wow!"

Should I Stay or Should I go? by Leanne Silver

"The Muriwai gannet chicks are developing their flight plummage and contemplating their first epic flight across the Tasman. This one sat motionless on the cliff for a couple of hours, pondering whether it was time, then deciding to wait another day and retreating back down to the safety of the colony."

Royal Spoonbills Resting Place by M & A Whyte Photography & Glassography

"A pair of Royal Spoonbills in the pre dawn light"

Repose by Occasionalclimber

"A statue of Buddha reclines inside a shrine, Bagan, Myanmar / Chinnon SLR, Fuji 100 ISO slide film, settings not recorded."

Roses are Red by Fairlie Atkinson

"Zoom burst of a glass with a red rose and paint in it."

Racy Red by Gumbootsand Tiaras

"This awesome car was on display at the recent Shannon car show. I have deliberately highlighted the red to show off its beautiful shine."

Pure Joy by Lee Waddell

"This is my son, playing in the rain with a hosepipe in hand. What more could a kid want. I took this image because of the pure joy my son had on his face and the way the light captured every drop of water."

Princess Bay by Vandy Pollard

"Shot on Guy Fawkes night - Wellington turning on it’s own magic on the South Coast."

Pangong Dreams - Leh, Ladakh by Arun Ravindran

"The place which is in every travellers itinerary coming to Leh Ladakh. A portion of the lake lies in China and Tibet with a total length of around 135 Kms."

Offering by Occasionalclimber

"Butter lamps, Swayambunath Temple, Kathmandu, Nepal / Nikon D70S, F14, 1/30, ISO 200, 57mm"

Nievas Valley Pond by aussie-deb

"This little pond in the Nievas Valley has crystal clear reflections on cold, frosty mornings. Canon 5D Mk II, 1/15th sec, f11, ISO 100, 24mm Nievas Valley, South Island NZ, near Wanaka."

Nose Picker by M & A Whyte Photography & Glassography

"This guy was determined that if his photo was taken, he would make it as unappealing as possible."

New Plymouth Wind Wand by Roger Neal

"Iconic Len Lye designed Wind Wand on New Plymouth’s waterfront . ISO 200, f9.0, 1/200 second, lens 18mm, Canon 650d."

Mr. Froggington by Damon John Marshall

"Raised from tadpole, Mr. Froggington was a well kept pet of ours for some time. The frog was eventually released into the wild."

Motukiekie beach Reefstars by Kim Free

"Reef stars at Motukiekie Beach, West Coast. These reef stars can be seen at low tide and are predators of the mussels that cover the rocks at this incredible beach. It was an honour to have won the 2019 Ocean Conservancy seascape competition with this image."

Milford track by Peter McIlroy

"Tangled rain forest on the Milford track. The moss a reminder of the fact that rain is never far away. 5 sec, f11, 24mm, ISO 250"

Moss seed by Heiny

"Macro shot with cool texture added. These are a bit of an addiction and have many shots. f3.5 1/100 iso 160"

Mighty Stirling Falls by Bikram Ghosh Imagery

"I have tried this photo several times on each visit to Milford, ever since I came to NZ. With all the rain it gets, the situation can get quite tricky along with all the splashes off the waterfall itself. But with each attempt I have managed to get closer to what I have had visualized many years back but always left that wee room for improvement for next time. F11, 1/200, ISO 100, 27mm Milford Sound."

Mahurangi Beauty by Grant Birley Ch@sing_HorizoNZ

"An unbelievable night under the stars shooting the rising Milky Way Core and being "wowed" by some epic blue goodness - or as we are calling it the "Aurora of the sea"!"

Meet Liliana from Calchaquis Valley, Argentina by Maria Ligaya Photography

"Meet Liliana of Brealito from Calchaqui Valley, Argentina. ... People living in Calchaqui valley is called The Calchaquí or Kalchakí, they were a tribe of South American Indians of the Diaguita group, now extinct, who formerly occupied northern Argentina. Stone and other remains prove them to have reached a high degree of civilization. Under the leadership of Juan Calchaquí they offered a vigorous resistance to the first Spanish colonists coming from Chile. Their language, known as Cacán, became extinct in the mid-17th century or beginning of 18th century. They were farmers, herders, and great potters. They worshipped the sun, the moon, thunder and the earth, and spoke their own language called kakán. With the third expansion of the Inca territory, in 1480, they were incorporated into the Inca Empire (Tawantinsuyu), from which they received a strong cultural influence - The Calchaquí is a northwestern Argentine subgroup of the Diaguita. The Calchaquí were described as warlike, and their stone fortifications located at strategic places in their territory attest to this. They became effective cavalrymen who carried the attack to Spanish towns. They farmed terraced fields, sometimes built irrigation canals, and also kept herds of llama."

Looking Up by Vicki Finlay

"A visit to Austalia Zoo recently found us stranded on Bindi's island in the middle of a downpour. We shared our shelter with a couple of the Lemurs, (They roam free over the island) This one wasnt too keen to share with the human species, and spent most of its time looking skyward for a break in the weather when hopefully it could escape being in such close quarters. Luckily for me, I had my 100-400mm lens that allowed an appropriate distance so as not to cause any stress to the Lemur."

Little Owl by M & A Whyte Photography & Glassography

"A Little German Owl watching safely from his roost, wondering what these strange people are up to..."

Last rays of the day by Red Nose

"One of many magical sunsets taken on Safari in Botswana."

Kea Arthurs Pass by Kim Free

"Kea with a ball it stole at Arthurs Pass, it was having a wonderful time throwing it around in the snow."

Kite Surfer by Pamela Johnstone

"A kite surfer gliding along the waves of New Brighton Beach Christchurch New Zealand."

Jewel Anemone Corynactis australis by Anita Ruggle

"Some of the most attractive of New Zealand’s anemones are the jewel anemones (Corynactis australis). These ones have a pink body and transparent tentacles . These creatures / aneomes are usually found growing in dense colonies around the coast.I found these in some rock pools . Canon 80d, iso250, f29, 1/2 sec."

Greece by Isaac Khasawneh

"A day trip a Geek island last year when we were in Turkey."

Zoe black and white by Damon John Marshall

"Zoe required some stand out portraiture for her bigger screen aspirations."

Hozugawa Kudari, Boats on the Hozu River , Kyoto by SiWills

"The Hozugawa Kudari is the Japanese name for the river boat ride on the Hozugawa river not far from Kyoto. Morning light illuminates a lone boat as it moves down river."

Goodest Boy "Spidey" by Fredbearsmum

"Cutest little jumping spider on a lime leaf, I shot this on top of a light box with a external light source above which made a better reflection in his eyes. Canon 7D ISO100 100mm 1/5 f/10 Waiuku, NZ"

Gazania by Aussie Snapper

"The unofficial flower of the Weddin Shire, self seeded on the footpaths in towns. Nikon D5500 f/8 1/1250sec ISO - 400 Grenfell NSW."

Golden hour at the Louvre in Paris by MichaelangeloPix

"Capture of the iconic Louvre Museum in Paris, just after sunset, when the golden hour throws a beautiful light over the entire city. F-stop: f/7.1, Exposure time: 5 sec., ISO speed: ISO-200, Focal length: 18mm, Max aperture: 3.625 The Louvre Museum, Paris."

Fire in the Sky by Dionne Solly

"I got up early to try and get some nice long exposure shots of Lake Wanaka but it was too windy. The sunrise had been a lovely dark pink and then as I was walking back to my car this happened!! Very minor edits to this photo, only slightly to contrast, ambience and shadows."

Endeavours Return by WMPhotography

"The Endeavour replica visited Cooks beach as part of the Tuia 250 celebrations October 2019. f/32 1/30 ISO100 115mm Shakespeares Cliff , Cooks Beach."

Fiordland Crested Penguin by Kim Free

"An incredible encounter with a Fiordland Crested Penguin at Motukiekie Beach, West Coast, one of the rarest penguins in the world."

Dawn breaks by Helen Knight

"Astrophotography photoshoot at Lake Ngaroto Near Hamilton."

Danisha by Anupama s. Wijesundara

"Photographer / Retoucher : Anupama S. Wijesundara Model / Makeup Artist : Danisha F 2.8, ISO 200, 34mm Auckland, New Zealand"

Dragonfly by Vicki Finlay

"What do you do when you go birding and a dragonfly lands on a leaf near by and you dont have a macro lens? Use what you have, my trusty 100-400mm. Still worked a real treat and got me close in to an otherwise unsuspecting dragonfly from quite a distance away."

Cuteness by Gareth McKnight

"A heavily cropped down version of a Kekeno or New Zealand fur seal giving me a rather adorable look."

Cobb Valley by Peter McIlroy

"An gnarled beech tree is reaching from the rocky outcrop towards the light - taken up the Cobb Valley in Kahurangi National Park. 0.8 sec, f11, 29 mm, ISO 100."

Crown Range lupins by Ann Kilpatrick

"Travelling through the Crown Range in the summer, the lupins are everywhere. A splash of foreign colour amidst the brown green of the hills. There is ongoing discussion between the conservationists and farmers on the value of the lupins. 1/250 sec, f/11.0, ISO 64."

Chocolat by Soulseeker

"My late photographic rambling buddy, the gorgeous Labrador called Chocolat. She was the inspiration for our rambles and taught me to value every moment as it happened. She was only 8 but developed an inoperable tumour in her head. Letting go of a hound that means the world to you has been one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had to make. Sony A77 ISO1600 f/6.3 St. Heliers."

Cathedral trees by Heather Owens

"Cathedral trees shot at Wenderholm with a crazy as combination of Lensbaby Sweet 35 with my screw on rainbow filter then with the Omni stretch wand over the top.....then mirrored in edit why? why not! i wanted to see what it would look like!! and it seems sometimes i enjoy making things hard for myself."

Cape Palliser on a Dark Day by Peter Maiden

"Cape Palliser looks rather dramatic on a gloomy day. Pleased I managed to capture what drama the light had created. The angular protruding feature is known as Kupe’s Sail."

Cape Palliser by Vandy Pollard 2020

"Passed this scene on a road trip to Cape Palliser in the Wairarapa - after a few kms we took an about turn to photograph there as a front rolled in. 24-70mm 2.8 Sigma Art."

Burke St Wharf, Thames by simplykiwiphotography

"Remnants of days gone by remind us that this place was once a hive of activity Canon 70d/Sigma 18-35 1.8 ART/18mm/ISO100/.3sec"

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest , Kyoto , Japan by SiWills

"Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is a World Heritage Site situated near Kyoto , Japan."

A Late Walk in Eastbourne by Peter Kurdulija

"Eastbourne is a seaside village destination facing the Northwest on the coast of Wellington harbour where it catches the best of the day's sun."

Arches by TanyaH

"Late afternoon light through the arches of the exterior of the railway station. f6.3 ISO100 1/125s 15mm Dunedin Railway Station."

Auckland harbour bridge by Isaac Khasawneh

"Auckland Harbour bridge it joins both St Marys on Auckland city side with Northcote on the North shore side."

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