Narooma locals win big at Australian Geographic Nature Photographer awards

The Narooma area was very well represented at the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year awards this week with three locals winning prizes.

Narooma High School student Georgia Poyner of Dalmeny took out the Junior section with her fantastic photo entitled “Dancer” of a common dolphin porpoising out of the water.

Her younger sister Tess, was runner-up in the same category with amazing photo of an Eastern grey kangaroo bounding through a local lagoon. It is entitled “Morning Mist”.

Fellow Dalmeny resident and Batemans Marine Park manager Justin Gilligan meanwhile took out the overall prize with his amazing photograph “Predatory Pursuit”, featuring an excited octopus about to feed on an aggregation of spider crabs. 

Mr Gilligan also won both the Botanical section with his photograph “Final Stand” and also the Our Impact section with “Gillnet”, with all three photos taken in Tasmania.

He, together with Georgia and Tess, all travelled down to Adelaide for the awards presentation and opening of the gallery exhibition of the photos at the South Australian Museum. 

“Just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone for all your lovely messages. We had an amazing trip!” Tess posted on her Facebook page.

“Thanks to mum and dad for getting us to Adelaide and to everyone that made the event possible, South Australian Museum and Australian Geographic.”

Georgia’s winning “Dancer” photograph was taken off Dalmeny and had the following description: “I was out boating in our inflatable when we encountered a pod of common dolphins. Dolphins can be a tricky subject as you never know when or where they will surface. Being patient and quick really helps!”

Tess’ runner-up photograph “Morning Mist” was taken at Tanja Lagoon south of Bermagui and was described as: “An early morning start, kayaking on Tanja Lagoon. I managed to capture this picture of an eastern grey kangaroo jumping across the lagoon through the mist. It’s not common to see them in the water. I loved the colours of the morning sunrise.”

Justin Gilligan’s overall prize-winning photograph was entitled “Predatory Pursuit”  features an aggregation of spider crabs (Leptomithrax gaimardii) and a predatory Maori octopus (Octopus maorum). “The octopus was behaving like an excited child in a candy store trying to work out which crab to catch and consume – its eyes were certainly bigger than its gut!”

The unusual encounter was captured in the Mercury Passage, between Maria Island and mainland Tasmania

His other winning “Gillnet” photograph was taken off the Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania and had the following description: “In most Australian states recreational gillnets are now illegal. However, in Tasmania gillnets or graball nets – due to their non-selective nature – can still be set for six hours at a time. This marblefish and herring cale are likely to be released from this net as dead by catch.”

His final winning “Final Stand” photograph was taken at the Actaeon Islands, Tasmania and was described as such: “Tasmania once had vast swathes of giant kelp forests. A rapid collapse has occurred due to the prolonged warming influence of the east Australia current. The very last forests are now restricted to the cool waters off the Actaeon Islands.”

Tess post