'Best of 2023' competition finalists
By Captivating Photography Journal profile image Captivating Photography Journal
5 min read

'Best of 2023' competition finalists

This competition served as a challenge to artificial intelligence, emphasising that authentic and real photography carries power, emotion, and narratives that are irreplaceable.

We are thrilled to announce the finalists of our photo competition. Making the choice was no easy task given the hundred of exceptional submissions we received. The chosen photographs, which you will encounter as you delve further, are guaranteed to inspire awe, evoke amusement, and make you pause for thought. This competition served as a challenge to artificial intelligence, emphasising that authentic and real photography carries power, emotion, and narratives that are irreplaceable. These inherent qualities in human-taken photographs demonstrate the unique essence and depth that artificial intelligence has yet to replicate, regardless of its advancements. We invite you to explore the captivating world of real photography.

“Misty sunrise over the Waikato” by Carole Garside. An early morning view across the hills in the Waikato. As the sun rose, it highlighted the mist floating across the hills.

“Sapphire tree” by Jarrod Harris. I was out training for the WHAKA100 Miler and exploring some new trails. I passed this scene and was captivated by it. I returned the next day with my camera in hand and captured this.

“Twists and turns” by Noelle Bennett. Sarracenia flowers are quite beautiful in their simplicity of form, and the colour variations are especially striking. This particular plant had inflorescences that had obligingly twisted themselves around one of the leaves, revealing that fabulous colour variation.

“Pakawau” by Kelvin Wright. Sunrise at Pakawau in Golden Bay.

“Towards Mana Island” by Dafydd Davies. Stunning sunset from Plimmerton Boat Club.

“Melting monolith” by Robert Green. Weathered iceberg off Greenland’s West Coast.

“Pied shag - portrait” by Rebecca McDaid. This Pied Shag is the fisherman’s friend and enemy at Raglan Wharf. Seemingly comfortable in the company of humans, we sat together in the morning winter sun on the wharf. I was admiring his beautiful colours and form. I have no idea what he was thinking, but in this moment, he seems deep in thought.

“Muriwai sunset” by Raewyn Smith. Sunset long exposure at Maori Bay, Muriwai.

“Flower stamens” by Sandy McCleary

“Italia” by Jack Peters

“When the music died” by Carole Garside. A very old piano in an abandoned house.

“City vibe” by Ann Kilpatrick. A view along Queen Street in Auckland City. People and buildings, captured in camera with multiple exposures.

“Sunbeams in the redwoods” by Carole Garside. A shaft of light breaks through the trees, highlighting ferns in the foreground.

“Flight of the golden light” by Damon Marshall. I first discovered the Mexican Sunflower a few summers ago from a packet of wildflower seeds sourced from the Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust. Once in bloom, they attract a constant flow of monarch butterflies and bumblebees!

“Two foals” by Karen Miller. I was lucky to participate in the Wild Kaimanawa Photography Tour this year. While out on the range, we came across these two foals. They were happy to pose for us for a few minutes before rejoining their mothers.

“Showdown” by Zac Painting. An epic showdown of tiny proportions took place between a praying mantis and a sparrow. In reality, the sparrow was eating crumbs and completely oblivious to the mantis it had startled.

“Power to the people” by Noelle Bennett. The Mackenzie Country is well-known for its mountain vistas and stunning lakes, but it is also a major producer of hydroelectricity. I wanted this image to capture not only the immensity and power of the dams but also the presence of those amazing aquamarines, making this somewhat utilitarian scene look really quite stunning.

“Water dancer” by Jarrod Harris. Capturing these delicate little birds dancing across the water, this image stands out as one of my favorites from a day spent on the ocean with my camera in hand.

“For our entertainment” by Roy Cernohorsky. An image I came across at a Chinese Zoo, which, as the title suggests, seems to prioritise human amusement with little consideration for the animal’s well-being.

“Wellington storm” by Robert Green. Passing rain and sunlight in Wellington.

“Ghosts on the water” by Jarrod Harris. An early morning outing was pleasantly interrupted by a couple of paddle boarders cruising through the scene, leaving a ghost-like mystery in the image.

“Ezra” by Jarrod Harris. Playing on the beach at sunset, the colours were spectacular, and my son and I mucked around capturing silhouette images. It was a great time spent together.

“First light” by Jodine Waghorn. The photo depicts the Porirua Inlet, featuring plants with a sunset in the background. It captures the calm and serene atmosphere of the outdoor landscape.

“Projections, reflections, and silhouettes” by Philip Wood. An artistic moment amongst exhibits at Fotografiska in Stockholm, Sweden.

“Kaimanawa sunset” by Tara Swan. A wild Kaimanawa horse galloping through the tussock grasses lit up by the sunset.

“Red squirrel” by Carole Garside. Red squirrel eating a nut in a forest in Scotland.

“Woman supporting her people” by Ann Kilpatrick. This young woman was hurrying to get to a gathering in Waitangi Park, Wellington. Despite her haste, she kindly stopped and agreed to a portrait.

“Bad hair day” by Carole Garside. A white-faced heron, standing on a concrete post, with the wind blowing its feathers around.
By Captivating Photography Journal profile image Captivating Photography Journal
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