Hide And Seek
I travelled to Raja Ampat mainly to visit the stunning Arborek Jetty. If you are really lucky you can observe schools of fish and I spent some time under the jetty. At one point, predators moved in and I was mesmerised by the chase between predator and prey. The Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition is owned by the South Australian Museum Image: TRACEY JENNINGS
© Tracey Jennings

24 August, 2018. Sydney Australia: A mesmerising image of a school of fish fleeing from predators has won the 2018 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year, which is hosted in Sydney by the Australian Museum and produced in conjunction with the South Australian Museum. ‘Hide and Seek’ by Malaysia-based, British photographer Tracey Jennings captured the exact moment the chase began.

Ms Jennings took the winning photograph underneath Arborek Jetty in Raja Ampat, Indonesia.

“I’d seen images on social media previously shot under this jetty which inspired me to travel to Raja Ampat. I dived the site over several days; land based and then again a week or so later on a live aboard trip.” Ms Jennings said.

I spent about six hours in total at a depth of less than five metres under the single relatively small jetty, only leaving when I finished my second air tank, way after sunset. This picture actually lay unloved on my hard drive for almost a year. When I did finally go through my images, this one jumped out at me. I love how the light plays through the fish, and how it really describes the essence of the feeling I experienced when below the jetty where life and death plays around you.

Ms Jennings is the first individual woman to win the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition. Her prize is $10,000 and a trip to Antarctica.

“It’s such a great honour to be named this year’s Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year. It’s an important opportunity to showcase the beauty of our oceans to all people who visit this exhibition,” she said.

“I am so proud to be the first woman recognised as the winner of this competition. I first started taking photographs five years ago, entering my first Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year exhibition in 2015 where one of my first underwater photographs was a finalist in the monochrome category. I always enter this fantastic competition,” she said.

The judges described Ms Jennings’ intriguing photograph as “having a huge amount of energy with a rich cacophony of shapes and an explosion of tonality. Removing colour from the image allows us to focus on the subject. The vortex of fish draws us in and makes us want to be there, to take up underwater photography so we can experience the situation. A great shot with significant wow factor.”

“The photographs shown in the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year exhibition are a powerful collection of action shots, memorable underwater images, dramatic landscapes and unforgettable environmental reportage. Many of the photographers have used their art to highlight pressing environmental issues, and together the images are a reminder of the splendour, drama and variety of life on Earth,” Kim McKay AO, Director and CEO, Australian Museum said.

Chrissie Goldrick, Editor-in-Chief, Australian Geographic said the breadth of subject matter on show in this years’ Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year showcases what a unique and diverse part of the world we live in.

“These winning photographers help us all to appreciate that more fully through their talent and dedication,” Ms Goldrick said.

Now in its 15th year, the exhibition has been developed by the South Australian Museum and presented in partnership with Australian Geographic and the Australian Museum. Featuring over 100 photographs showcasing the extraordinary natural wonder of the Australian, New Zealand, Antarctic and New Guinea regions, the finalists – ranging from professional, emerging and junior photographers - have all shown impeccable timing, patience, artistry and technique to capture the beauty of our natural world and superb moments in time.

The annual competition of the best nature photographs now offers more than $46,000 in cash and prizes, including a voyage to Antarctica for the overall winner.

The winners and runners-up of the ten categories have also be announced:

Animal Portrait

Winner: The Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko, northern leaf-tailed gecko (Saltuarius cornutus), Igor Mikula (Slovakia)

Runner-up: Luminous, bluebottle (Physalia utriculus), Matty Smith (NSW)

Animal Behaviour

Winner: Posing Black-fronted Dotterels, black-fronted dotterel (Elseyornis melanops), Dan Giselsson (QLD)

Runner-up: Play Fighting, western grey kangaroos (Macropus fuliginosus), Georgina Steytler (WA)

Animal Habitat

Winner: Enchanted, White’s seahorse (Hippocampus whitei), Matty Smith (NSW)

Runner-up: Dune Run, emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae), Josh Tagi (VIC)


Winner: The Refuge, red mangroves (Rhizophora stylosa), Andy Lewis (QLD)

Runner-up: Pandani in Blizzard, pandani (Richea pandanifolia), Raoul Slater (QLD)


Winner: Early Elation, Dylan Fox (WA)

Runner-up: Broken Dreams, Ben Goode (SA)


Winner: Junction Falls - After, Peter Hill (NSW)

Runner-up: Light Dappled Billabong, Richard Wylie (QLD)

Junior (photographers under 18 years of age)

Winner: Running Wombat, common wombat (Vombatus ursinus), Floyd Mallon (NSW) aged 16

Runner-up: Hell’s Gate, Fionn Holyoak-Roberts (WA) aged 16

Our Impact (depicting human impact on nature)

Winner: Left Behind, kangaroo (Macropus sp.), Ben Goode (SA)

Runner-up: City Slicker, White’s seahorse (Hippocampus whitei), Justin Gilligan (NSW)

Threatened Species (threatened, rare, vulnerable or endangered species)

Winner: Maybe 2 in a 1000, hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), Matty Smith (NSW)

Runner-up: Turtle Reflection, green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), Johnny Gaskell (QLD)

Portfolio Prize (best portfolio of size or more images)

Winner: Matty Smith (NSW)

Note: watermarked images MUST be used online

The 2018 competition judges are:

David Evans - an Australian Master of Photography who creates work of high fidelity, depth and substance. He has won many titles including the AIPP Australian Landscape Photographer of the Year in 2015, and South Australian Professional Photographer of the Year in 2006 and 2009.

Peter Eastway - an Australian photographer known internationally for his landscape photography. He has been involved in photographic magazine publishing for over 30 years, establishing his own title, Australia's Better Photography Magazine, in 1995.

Stanley Breeden - recognised as one of Australia’s pioneering nature photographers and writers having authored some 20 natural history books, and he has been published in the world’s leading natural history magazines.


Dates: Australian Museum 24 August 2018 - 28 January 2019. Tickets From $21.

Information: https://australianmuseum.net.au/

South Australian Museum 24 August - 11 November 2018


Presented in association with Digital Camera Warehouse.

Six workshops, Beginners and Enthusiast sessions, led by Daniel Smith of Digital Camera Warehouse

September 14,15 and 22 from 1:30pm-4:30pm and on November 3,10 and 17.


6pm - 730 Thursday 6 September: Kirsten Woodforth

6pm - 7.30pm: Thursday 11 October: Justin Gilligan


Presented in association with Digital Camera Warehouse

Children’s Wildlife Photography Workshops, check website for details.

About the Australian Museum (AM)

The AM, founded in 1827 is the nation’s first museum, and is an internationally recognised natural science and culture institution focused on Australia and the Pacific. As custodian of more than 18 million objects, the AM is uniquely positioned to provide a greater understanding of the region through its scientific research, exhibitions and public and education programs. Through the Australian Museum Research Institute (AMRI), the AM also has a leading role in conserving Australia’s biodiversity through understanding the environmental impacts of climate change, potential biosecurity threats and invasive species.

Editor’s notes:

The competition and resulting exhibition are owned, managed and produced by the South Australian Museum.

Coral Expeditions joined in 2018 as the Presenting Partner.

Open to photographers of all ages, skill levels and nationalities, the competition asks people to submit images of fauna, flora or landscapes in Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and the New Guinea regions.

Image Usage Requirements

Usage:All files/images are orientated correctly for display and must be reproduced in the orientation that they appear. Images can be resized but not rotated or flipped. They must be reproduced at a sufficiently high resolution to ensure that the photographs are not distorted, blurred, pixelated, or otherwise altered. Images cannot be cropped except where this is clearly stated in the caption as a ‘detail’.

Any images reproduced for online channels must use the watermarked versions of the image,

Copyright All images are the property of the photographers and can only be used to promote the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition and exhibition, or to illustrate stories about the competition and exhibition. No other usage is permissible except where arranged in writing with the South Australian Museum and the photographer.

Mandatory Credit The credit “The Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition is owned by the South Australian Museum” must appear in the editorial copy.

Photographer’s Credit

The name of the photographer and the name of their photograph must be included in captions as a minimum requirement in the following format.

Media contact

Claire Vince, Media Advisor
T +61 2 9320 6181 | M +61 468 726 910