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First light on the divide

Description: Whataroa Saddle, Mt Mannering 125th anniversary climb.

Judge’s Comments: This image lines up all the ducks in a row. It’s a technical feat, balancing the light of dawn breaking on the horizon with the remaining star-scape in the sky and the light of the headlamps on the slope in the foreground. But also because it tells a story; a climber finishes packing whilst his/her buddies travel ahead, lighting the way. Well done. (Simon Waterhouse)

Prize: Black Diamond Mission 75 Backpack – Thanks to Black Diamond NZ and Southern Approach

Trophy: Guide Alack Challenge Cup

Posted: 04/09/17

Posted By: Sam Ruddenklau

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Black Shadow

Description: Rocklands, South Africa. A morning session on Black Shadow 8A+.

Judge’s Comments: The Rock Climbing category is always a favourite to judge and this year’s entries definitely didn’t disappoint. The winning image ‘Black Shadow’ really stood out to me. The exposure of the ambient lighting and that of the off-camera flash is well balanced whilst the placement of the flash is also well considered. The lighting, the composition, the positioning of the climber and good post production skills all add up to make this a winning image, well done. that have strong visual impact and creative composition. (Lee Howell)

Prize: Black Diamond Icon Headlamp – Thanks to Black Diamond NZ & Southern Approach

Posted: 03/09/17

Posted By: Lans Hansen

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Himalayan Refuge

Description: Self portrait of my tent at Camp 1 (5700m) on the South West Ridge of Ama Dablam (6812m). Khumbu Region, Nepal.

Judge’s Comments: This image caught the judges attention fairly quickly – it’s a striking images even before diving into the details. The complementary colour contrast between the blue of dawn/dusk and the orange tent is superb. The exposure is expertly matched for both the ambient and artificial light and a natural composition leads the viewer’s eye from the huge mountains into the micro-world of the tent interior. Great to see a touch of foreground which really  adds depth to the image. The judges noted it had a very ‘commercial’ aspect to it – ie, it could easily be seen in print advertising for a big outdoor brand, or a double page spread in a magazine. It’s worthy winner of the category and the grand prize for this years competition. (Dean Mackenzie & Simon Williamson)

Prize Details: GoPro Hero5 Black Edition & Craig Potton New Zealand by Craig Potton – Thanks to Black Diamond NZ & Southern Approach & Potton and Burton

Trophy: John Harrison Memorial Trophy

Posted: 31/08/17

Posted By: Lachlan Gardiner

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Tranquility

Description: Dome Ridge, Mt Ruapehu

Judge’s Comments: I found this image sort of snuck up on me. It quietly made it through each round of the culling process until it was surrounded by just a handful of selected images. It was then that I saw the beauty and simplicity in it. The category description states the winning image should have great light, colour, tone and detail, which this image doesn’t really have and yet the subtle tones, lack of colour and detail all add to the beauty of it. The composition is perfect, the footprints lead your eye into the frame where you see a lone mountaineer heading off along the ridge line and disappearing into the distance. (Lee Howell)

Prize: MSR Wind Burner – Thanks to MSR and Ampro Sales NZ

Posted: 07/08/17

Posted By: Marcus Bai

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Ice beauties

Description: Cave in Haffner Creek, Canada

Judge’s Comments: After some fairly robust discussion, 2 out of 3 judges settled on this image as the category winner – it’s a stunning formation which lends itself to ‘artistic rendition’, but the execution is clearly carefully considered. The use of a low down wide-angle forces the perspective, creating leading lines and gives the image structure. The image could easily have been ruined by a bad treatment, so it’s great to see the photographer exercise some restraint in post production. Congratulations. (Simon Waterhouse)

Prize: Black Diamond Touchstone haul bag – Thanks to Black Diamond NZ and Southern Approach

Trophy: Erica Beuzenberg Memorial Award

Posted: 31/07/17

Posted By: Derek Cheng

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Sunrise over Cloud Inversion whilst ascending Sebastapol Ridge

Description: Mt Aoraki-Cook National Park/ Sebastapol Ridge metres below the Annette Plateau/ No particular route just avoiding an overhanging Cornice. Brad Cameron leading and Tom Gilbert on belay.

Judge’s Comments: It’s great to see some healthy competition in this years Youth category—this particular images holds its own amongst of the best—It’s a dynamic with beautiful warmth. The photographer has made a deliberate effort to find an angle to show the climber leading, with the perspective naturally leading the eye to the belayer. The time of day is perfect, with the sun just on the horizon, especially in such a dramatic position. Congratulations—it’s probably the strongest youth winner in recent years. If the judges were to offer any advice to the young photographer, it would be to be careful with the treatment of highlight and shadow recovery in post production. It’s often an extremely fine balance and the shadow recovery here is pushed just a little bit further than necessary. (Dean Mackenzie & Simon Waterhouse)

Prize: $1000 scholarship for an Alpine Recreation climbing course – Thanks to Alpine Recreation

Posted: 22/07/17

Posted By: Benjamin Sanford

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