Welcome to Laurie Thomas New Zealand Landscape Competition
Meet last year’s winner John Hawkins and find out how he captured his image
When the late Laurie Thomas, a Christchurch Photographic Society member and passionate landscape photographer, traveled the New Zealand countryside in search of scenes to capture on film, he would not have imagined that his name would become synonymous with one of the most anticipated events on the country’s photographic calendar. Since its humble beginnings 24 years ago, the Laurie Thomas New Zealand Landscape Salon has undergone a complete transformation from slides to digital images and now attracts up to 700 entries from amateur and professional photographers alike.
Last year’s trophy went to Christchurch based John Hawkins for his image On a wing and a prayer. John was enrolled in a photography course at Hagley College at the time and was on a field trip at Lake Heron when he captured his winning image. It was late winter and the day was drawing to an end. The sun had just disappeared behind the mountains and the last of the rapidly vanishing light illuminated the snow-covered mountain tops. John and his companions stopped to capture the unfolding scene, but it was not until he got home and processed his images that he noticed the unusually shaped and perfectly placed cloud.
He had taken the original image in portrait format, but the foreground was very busy and distracting. Upon discussion with his tutor, John decided to change the image to landscape format and cropped nearly 2/3 of the image. The problem was solved. He added the final touches by slightly darkening the image to emphasise the cloud and snow on the mountains. For John, the simplicity of the final image depicted the essence of what he had tried to capture at the time. His efforts were subsequently rewarded, but as he points out, he was the lucky one, because several of his fellow photographers are likely to have taken a similar shot but decided not to enter it.
Winning the salon in 2019 was totally unexpected says John. It was the first time he had entered the Laurie Thomas Landscape Salon and he had only started to get more serious with his photography despite having owned a camera for over 30 years.
About 4 years ago he joined the Christchurch Photographic Society and was recently selected onto the committee.
A good definition of a landscape from Wikipedia;
"Landscape photography is done for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the most common is to recall a personal observation or experience while in the outdoors, especially when traveling. Others pursue it particularly as an outdoor lifestyle, to be involved with nature and the elements, some as an escape from the artificial world.
"Many landscape photographs show little or no human activity and are created in the pursuit of a pure, unsullied depiction of nature, devoid of human influence—instead featuring subjects such as strongly defined land forms, weather, and ambient light. As with most forms of art, the definition of a landscape photograph is broad, and may include rural or urban settings, industrial areas, and nature photography.”
For history of the competition and to see previous years competition results
Thank you to this year's Sponsor