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Published: 25 October 2010

Photographic passions

Michele Sabto

The things that people do in their spare time can warm the heart. Landcare volunteers who give up their Saturdays to pull up weeds in local reserves, people who help out in edible community gardens, wildlife rescue volunteers and, of course, who doesn’t love a birdwatcher? And now, with the publication of Australasian Nature Photography, I can add nature photographers to my list.

Australasian Nature Photography: ANZANG Seventh Collection<br/>Various<br/>South Australian Museum and CSIRO Publishing<br/>2010, Paperback<br/>ISBN: 9780643101166 – AU $39.95<br/>Available from <a href="" target="_blank"></a>
Australasian Nature Photography: ANZANG Seventh Collection
South Australian Museum and CSIRO Publishing
2010, Paperback
ISBN: 9780643101166 – AU $39.95
Available from

This book comprises the prize-winning photos from an annual nature photography competition with the unwieldy title of Australia, New Zealand Antarctica and New Guinea Nature Photography, mercifully shortened to ANZANG. Readers are treated to glorious photos of birds in flight, dolphins at play, lugubrious looking frogs, mist-shrouded landscapes and much more.

There are two overall prize winners: one for best image; the other for best portfolio. Then there are prizes in different categories, including animal behaviour, underwater subject and threatened species.

In the ‘Interpretive’ section, the photographers have experimented graphically with the images. A timelapse photo of two oystercatchers on a beach on the Coromandel Peninsula of New Zealand is made up of light, washed colours and soft edges, suggesting impermanence and vulnerability.

The photos are accompanied by brief descriptions, written by the photographers. Some share the circumstances in which the photo was taken. It is these glimpses into the passions behind the photos that made me smile. There’s the chap who gets up before dawn to wait, still and quiet on the Swan River, in the hope of catching fairy terns mating – apparently, the deed is all over in a split second. Another photographer had to contend with his frog subject repeatedly jumping onto the camera. And, the winner in the underwater subject category, who took a fantastic photo of grey nurse shark, had to ‘consciously not think about its teeth.’ Well, you would, wouldn’t you?

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