The competition features images shot entirely within the New Zealand territory in the past year and a half. There are four categories: wildlife, landscape, society & culture, and photostory. Just 22 finalists have been selected from some 3200 entries.
My photo is now on display in Cathedral Square in Christchurch (9th to 31st August 2014) as part of a free outdoor public exhibition featuring the finalists of the 2014 competition and some of the best images entered in the previous five years. The winners will be announced on 30th October at an event in Auckland.
Every species “does it” their own way. While the Kama Sutra might be strictly for Homo sapiens, jewel anemones (Corynactis australis) have a few different tricks in their own playbook. Jewel anemones reproduce through two methods: longitudinal fission and spawning. In longitudinal fission, the anemones split down the middle to form clusters of clones, the beautiful like-coloured patches of anemones that we find underwater on wrecks and walls in New Zealand.
It was the spawning that I set out to photograph, a synchronised mass reproductive event during which female anemones release eggs and male anemones eject sperm. The event is rare and for someone like me (who gets far too animated about anything that happens underwater), I can tell you it is exciting stuff.
Visit the New Zealand Geographic website to see my picture of female anemones in the throes of releasing eggs. While you're there you might like to vote for your favourite three photos (the People's Choice award). It will be tough for you to choose as there are so many exciting images on display.
It has been awesome to have my underwater photography recognised in this competition. I look forward to loads more scuba diving adventures and the challenges that come with trying to capture stunning photos of New Zealand's underwater wonderland.