When he's not working as a firefighter or spending time with family, John Parker is behind his camera.

Parker created Maddox Photography NZ after the death of his and wife Rebecca's son Maddox, who was diagnosed with a rare form of Mitochondrial disease in 2013.

Maddox's passing prompted Parker to pursue photography seriously.

One year after Maddox passed away Parker was asked by a friend to take a nice photo of tūī.

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The simple request led to a one-year project to capture tūī in a unique way.

Over the last year Parker has spent hundreds of hours closely monitoring the native bird at various locations around Te Awamutu, waiting for the perfect moment to capture it.

He believes the pest control efforts on Mt Pirongia and Maungatautari have resulted in an increased native bird population around the Waipā district.

It means he hasn't had to travel far to capture beautiful images.

Over the last year John has spent hundreds of hours monitoring the native bird at various locations around Te Awamutu, waiting for the perfect moment to capture it. Photo / Maddox Photography NZ
Over the last year John has spent hundreds of hours monitoring the native bird at various locations around Te Awamutu, waiting for the perfect moment to capture it. Photo / Maddox Photography NZ

Parker said spending time in nature was a chance to reflect and "take a step back".

He said he had learnt a lot about tūī behaviour patterns and traits.

"Capturing them in a photo is all about anticipating where they'll move to next and having a lot of patience."

"Capturing them in a photo is all about anticipating where they'll move to next and having a lot of patience." Photo / Maddox Photography NZ

"I've sometimes sat for two hours waiting for a bird to fly into the shot or land on a particular branch."

Parker's efforts have certainly paid off.

A triptych of three photographs of tūī mating won bronze in the 2018 NZ Institute of Professional Photography Iris Awards — annual awards which celebrated the innovation and excellence of professional photography.

During one excursion Parker was observing tūī which had been "courting" for some time.

"They'd been puffing their chests up and squawking at each other for a while."

Parker captured the birds mating — a rare moment lasting only a few seconds.

Two of Parker's photos — one of firefighters at a live fire training day, and a grandmother with her new-born grandchild — also won bronze.

John's photo of firefighters at a live fire training day also won bronze. Photo / Maddox Photography NZ
John's photo of firefighters at a live fire training day also won bronze. Photo / Maddox Photography NZ

Some of Parker's photos of harrier hawks will be in a 2019 calendar put out by Wingspan National Birds Of Prey — an organisation dedicated to conservation, education and research of birds of prey.

Parker hoped his photography would inspire Te Awamutu residents to explore the outdoors and take an interest in native birds and conservation.

To meet Parker and purchase his work, head along to the Pirongia Market on Sunday, September 30. He will be there selling prints from 9am to 3pm.

Find Maddox Photography NZ on Instagram, Facebook or maddoxphotographynz.com