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Rallying gained a place in the spotlight at the 2020 Nikon IRIS Professional Photography Awards in New Zealand. The awards are staged by the NZ Institute of Professional Photography with a wide array of categories, and Rallysport Magazine’s New Zealand contributor, Geoff Ridder, claimed one of the major awards. Hamilton-based Ridder won the James White Memorial prize. This award is presented to the highest scoring first time entrant in any of the open categories, with the winner by determined from the aggregate score of their top four entries. Ridder’s four-image rallying portfolio featured action from recent WRC Rally Australia and New Zealand Championship events. The photos depict rally action and atmosphere from some unique vantage points. "I was a finalist in the Documentary Photographer of the Year as one of the three highest scoring photographers in that particular category, but the James White award was completely unexpected," Ridder said. Ridder’s personal favourite image of the four is the water splash photograph of Esapekka Lappi’s Toyota Yaris WRC, which was captured at the Coldwater stage of WRC Rally Australia in 2018. The entire car is obscured by the surge of water, apart from the Toyota badge on the nose, which has become detached by the force of the water. "I'm quite pleased the Toyota badge pic got a Silver Distinction [a high 80s score] as I wasn’t able to enter it in the Motorsport NZ awards. It didn't qualify because it wasn’t a MSNZ permitted event or a New Zealand competitor, but I thought it had potential to be an award winner. "I guess that makes it my favourite, even though it didn't score Gold like the flying stones pic did.’’

Photo: Geoff Ridder

Ridder’s decision to enter the competition for the first time was prompted by changes to the entry process that came about due to COVID-19. "I was encouraged to enter by the change in the awards process the NZIPP made as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic," Ridder added. "Usually matted prints are submitted and judged in person by the judges over a couple of days before the annual conference. "But this year the whole process was moved into the digital realm, with digital files uploaded and Zoom based judging sessions."

Photo: Geoff Ridder

Photo: Geoff Ridder

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