Passion for photography pays off

by Mike Isle

Hunter Benbow’s passion for photography received a boost when he was shortlisted for this year’s Bayleys Foundation New Zealand Secondary School Photography Competition.

Hunter’s photograph, Galactic Oak, was one of only 20 to make the shortlist from more than 400 entries received.

The Year 13 student at Darfield High School said he is delighted with the recognition, but somewhat surprised.

“I entered three photos for the competition and I thought Galactic Oak was probably the weakest, so I was really surprised when they told me it was shortlisted.”

He said one of his teachers, Cath Wilson, helped him to choose the three photos he entered.
“I am really grateful to her,” he said

Hunter’s winning photograph, which was taken from his backyard in Aylesbury, features an oak tree set against the dramatic southern nightscape.

Hunter believes the lack of natural light in the immediate vicinity added to the clarity and drama of the photo.

“Photography is something you can experiment with,” he said. “I started doing it seriously about three years ago experimenting mainly with longer exposures and lighting, and this nightscape is an example of that.” 

Hunter’s photo wasn’t among the top three chosen for prizes, but he remains thrilled to have made the shortlist from so many entries.

This was his first competition entry, and he considers photography still to be a hobby.

“I haven’t yet decided whether I would make photography a profession. But it’s certainly an option. You never know.”