Murray McCulloch wins the NZ Geographic People’s Choice Award for 201631st October 2016     By: Panasonic NZ

Last week New Zealand Geographic celebrated the best editorial photography across society and culture, landscape, wildlife, photostory, aerial, and colour at the Photographer of the Year Awards.

The 2016 competition was a hotly contested field, with 47 finalists-the most in the competition's history- selected from 3,500 entries. Six category winners were also honoured last night, and three special prizes awarded.

Each year the standard improves, both in the quality of photographic craft and also in the technology available to the photographer. This year, images were shot in near total darkness and photographers employing focus-stacking technologies to render every hair of a wasp in perfect detail. There are timelapse videos made from many thousands of individual frames, and in a new category, photographers taking to the sky for the aerial perspective - in helicopters and now a range of drones that look as much like delicate insects as anything in the wildlife category.

Panasonic New Zealand proudly sponsored The People's Choice Awards this year. Kiwis from across the country cast tens of thousands of votes in the weeks leading up to the awards night. Once all the votes were tallied, the clear winner was Murray McCulloch's "Wasp with Water Droplets" which gained more than double the votes of its closest competitor.

Water droplets on a common wasp act as mini lenses, refracting a daisy and the blue of an Otago rugby shirt. A cold morning meant the wasp was sluggish, allowing Murray McCulloch to creep up close. "One of the best things about macro photography is that you can find a whole new world in your own background," he says. 

Panasonic also sponsored the Timelapse category which was won by Hamish Wright for "Aurora australis at the geographic South Pole." Hamish Wright wasn't able to attend the ceremony, but called in from his post at the geographic South Pole, where earlier in the winter he had made an impressive video of the aurora australis.

The Photographer of the Year Auckland exhibition closes this Sunday, November 6  - just one weekend remains to view this year's finalist photographs and timelapse videos. The exhibition is located in Karanga Plaza, opposite the Viaduct Events Centre and across the folding bridge from Auckland's CBD. Open 10am-5pm daily, weather protected and suitable for all the family.

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