For residents of one Hawke's Bay suburb, lockdown was a chance to show everyone just how cool the place they live looks through the lens.

Bay View resident and photographer Rachel Ross had thought about starting an amateur photo competition for a while and felt the lockdown was the perfect time because everyone was home.

Ross said she has also been looking at mindful photography and how it helps you meditate and thought the lockdown would suit this activity.

She shared the competition to a community Facebook group and 128 people entered.


Prizes of produce, money, photo prints, vouchers and an honorary naming on a menu were donated by local businesses and individuals.

Rebecca Opie won senior photographer of the year for her portfolio of work. Photo / Rebecca Opie
Rebecca Opie won senior photographer of the year for her portfolio of work. Photo / Rebecca Opie

There were six categories: landscape, nature, people portrait, pet portrait, food and an open category.

A senior and junior winner was chosen for each category and three highly recommended.

Eva Bradley judged an overall senior photographer of the year and junior photographer of the year.

Rebecca Opie won the senior photographer of the year for her wide range of work.

"Open Chicken" won the junior best image category as judged by photographer Eva Bradley. Photo / Lilian Cuevas-Haxton

Bradley said Opie had "good technical skills backed up by interesting storytelling and thoughtful subject matter. These images took me into the moment and inspired an emotional response."

The three highly commended in the category were Ruben Smith, Grace Alder and Michelle Matthews.

The winner of the junior photographer of the year was Lilian Cuevas-Haxton.


"Getting up close and personal to a subject is one way of creating a strong image. Looking at it from an unusual perspective is another.

"This photographer has done both of these things.

Lilian Cuevas-Haxton
Lilian Cuevas-Haxton

"I found myself having a laugh at some of the images and enjoying others just for their interest and beautiful choice of subject matter," Bradley said.

Lilian also won junior best image for her photo "Open Chicken" which Bradley said was "visually compelling thanks to an interesting perspective and the visual elements of the chicken wire circling around and drawing the eye to the chicken at the centre of the subject".

The three highly commended in the category were Georgie Hargrave, Natalie Turner and Madeleine Russell.

Ross said the competition took a lot more organisation and time than she anticipated but is considering holding it again in the future.