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Kiwi wins National Geographic photography award

Media Release
24th August 2009

Kiwi Chris McLennan wins National Geographic photography award

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Lost World, Chris McLennan

One of New Zealand’s most internationally recognised photographers has scooped first place in the Outdoor Sports and Activities category of the 2009 National Geographic Traveller PDN Great Outdoors photography competition.

Chris McLennan, originally from Riversdale in Southland, found out about his success over email while he was on location in Alaska photographing grizzly bears.

“I didn’t hear the news directly because I had been on the move around Europe and Alaska for six weeks,” says Chris. “The competition attracted over a thousand of professional entries from around the world so I was very humbled to win the coveted title.” The image which won Chris the title, ‘The Lost World’, was taken at Waitomo Caves in the North Island on a Canon EOS-1Ds MKIII camera with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens.

“95 per cent of my work is now done off shore for travel, adventure and tourism clients, so I was thrilled the image that won the competition is so quintessentially kiwi,” says Chris.

Born and raised in Southland, Chris started his photographic career in Queenstown, building a client base before expanding into Australia and the South Pacific. Chris is now regularly commissioned to work all over the world with recent shoots in Alaska, Belgium, Egypt, India, Romania and Greece. Over the course of his career he has worked in some of the most beautiful and remote places on earth.

“Having an international client base has given me innumerable opportunities to bring some of the most beautiful destinations on earth to life for thousands of people,” says Chris, who is typically on location up to 30 weeks of the year.

“It can be challenging to be away from home so often but the satisfaction I get from the finished product is immeasurable,” says Chris.

Canon products make up the entirety of Chris’s kit. “Canon cameras and lenses are perfectly suited to what I do and consistently produce the highest quality images,” he says.

Chris travels with two Canon EOS-1Ds MKIII cameras and a range of Canon lenses, from a EF 15mm fisheye through to the EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM.

“We were extremely happy to hear of Chris’s success in the National Geographic Traveller Photo Contest,” says Rochelle Mora, Brand Manager – Imaging, Consumer Activities, Canon New Zealand. “His work is testament to the fact that New Zealand produces some of the most talented photographers in the world, which may be helped by the exquisite scenery on our doorstep,” she says.

As well as the outdoor photography Chris specialises in, he is also working on a pictorial book that teaches people how to get the most out of their digital cameras.

“People will learn more easily how to use a camera by seeing a pictorial demonstration than reading a manual where important information can often be overlooked. With the proliferation of digital cameras now, people want to learn how to get the most from their device and I am lucky enough to have the experience to share,” says Chris.


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