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Winning photos focus on wonders of science

Annie McCann, August 19, 2020 7:00PM Mercury

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My image illustrates a scientist’s caring hands checking the health of Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) pouch young. Devils can raise up to four pouch young at a time. Photographed while volunteering on the West Coast during a six-year project documenting the life of Tasmanian devils. The researchers trap devils in numerous locations in Tasmania to survey the population and monitor the spread of the fatal Devil Facial Tumour Disease. Devils are given a complete health check which includes hair, faeces, blood samples and a biopsy is taken if any suspicious growths are observed. Picture: Heath Holden media_cameraMy image illustrates a scientist’s caring hands checking the health of Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) pouch young. Devils can raise up to four pouch young at a time. Photographed while volunteering on the West Coast during a six-year project documenting the life of Tasmanian devils. The researchers trap devils in numerous locations in Tasmania to survey the population and monitor the spread of the fatal Devil Facial Tumour Disease. Devils are given a complete health check which includes hair, faeces, blood samples and a biopsy is taken if any suspicious growths are observed. Picture: Heath Holden

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An image of tiny Tasmanian devil joeys inside their mother’s pouch is a finalist in a photo competition shining a light on the importance of science.

Heath Holden made the top 12 finalists for the Beaker Street Science Photography Prize 2020 with his incredible close-up photo.

The previous 2017 judge’s choice award winner said he was privileged* to witness scientists checking on the barely 10cm long animals during a University of Tasmania population research trip.

“It’s pretty cool to get an insight into what the research entails*,” he said.

“The photos work as a tool to make people care more about the natural world.

“Photography helps people connect a little bit more, it just gives them a reality check about what’s going on in their region.”

This year’s Beaker Street Festival has focused the photography prize solely on Tasmanian, Southern Ocean and Antarctic images.

Beaker Street Festival director and founder Dr Margo Adler said six of the finalists were chosen by this year’s judge, Tasmanian landscape and wilderness photographer Cameron Blake, while the other half were selected via a Facebook popular vote.

She said this years’ online engagement had skyrocketed* with 35,000 Facebook votes and 76 total entries.

“When we started the festival the idea was to try to find a whole range of ways to connect with people who maybe normally don’t take an interest in science,” Dr Adler said.

She said stunning science photography with insightful, detailed captions helped the public appreciate and engage with science.

The peoples’ choice award will be decided by visitors to the festival at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in Hobart, Tasmania, submitting in-person votes.

For more festival information visit beakerstreet.com.au

ÔThe little one said Roll OverÕ media_camera‘The little one said Roll Over’. Southern Elephant Seals (Mirounga leonina) at Davis Station, Antarctica. Picture: Chris Wilson
Little Pollinator media_camera‘Little Pollinator’, taken at Hobart Botanical Gardens, Hobart, Tasmania. Picture: Jarrah King
Into the Sea of Blue media_camera‘Into the Sea of Blue’. Noctiluca scintillans, commonly known as Sea Sparkle, is a bioluminescent species of dinoflagellate, taken in Waub’s Bay, Bicheno, Tasmania. Picture: Saskia Sparshott
Riding the Antarctic Jellyfish Bus media_camera‘Riding the Antarctic Jellyfish Bus’. Big-eyed crustaceans known as Hyperiella dilatata riding on Diplumaris antarctica, found beneath the remoteness of Antarctic sea ice. Picture: Emiliano Cimoli
On The Tiles media_camera‘On The Tiles’. Three small, curious Homo sapiens (humans) along with one Bradypus variegatus (three-toed sloth) – real or stuffed, we are yet to determine – contemplate the extremely rare formations of the famed tessellated pavement. Picture: Deni Cupit
The Feet media_camera‘The Feet’. The male emperor penguin balances and incubates the egg on their feet for 75 days throughout the harsh Antarctic winter, demonstrating an incredible adaptation to breeding in the planet’s most extreme environment. Picture: Kimberley Kliska
Gondwana rainforest media_camera‘Gondwana rainforest’. This is an example of Implicate temperate rainforest typically found on poorly drained soils in North Western Tasmania. It is also an example of Gondwana rainforest from the supercontinent Gondwana that existed until the Jurassic (about 180 million years ago.) Picture: Charles Chadwick
Cribraria cancellata media_camera‘Cribraria cancellata’. Cribraria cancellata is a 1-2 mm tall myxomycete (acellular slime mould) collected from a well decayed silver banksia (Banksia marginata) at my study site at Birralee in central north Tasmania. Picture: Sarah Lloyd
RUST media_cameraRUST’. The reddish brittle coating formed on iron, especially when chemically attacked by moist air, is composed essentially of hydrated ferric oxide, scientifically known as Fe203. The Laura was a twin screw steamer that was wrecked in 1933. It once traded along the south east coast of Tasmanian shores. Picture: Toby Schrapel
Leap Day Lights media_camera‘Leap Day Lights’. Captured on the night of February 29, 2020, this image demonstrates the natural occurrence of all three primary colours – red, yellow and blue. The aurora australis presented red and yellow while a bloom of bioluminescence, lining the cliffs of Goat’s Bluff glittered, in cool blue flashes. Picture: Tim Grimsey
Interstellar attraction media_camera‘Interstellar Attraction’. This image is a direct exposure of the interaction between an extraterrestrial iron meteorite and a terrestrial magnetite iron ore crystal from Kara mines in Tasmania using a specially developed variable-frequency spark generator built specifically for the purpose of such images. Picture: Sean O’Connell

GLOSSARY

  • privileged: having special rights and advantages
  • entails: involves, includes
  • skyrocketed: increased by a lot and quickly

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. How many finalists are there?
  2. Why was Heath able to take the photo?
  3. What locations did the competition focus on?
  4. What does Dr Adler believe stunning science photography and captions achieve?
  5. How were the finalists chosen?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. The Art of Photography
Heath Holden, the artist who took the photo of the Tasmanian devil joeys, stated in the article that “photos work as a tool to make people care more about the natural world. Photography helps people connect a little bit more, it just gives them a reality check about what’s going on in their region”.

Work with a partner and think of an issue in your local area. It could be to do with the environment such as rubbish, an endangered species, or something else such as traffic or a new pedestrian crossing you think your town needs. Think of the photo you could take to raise awareness of the issue you identified. How could you help people connect with the issue? If possible see you if you can take some photos to practise, otherwise plan the photo you would like to take and maybe you can take with an adult’s help at or near home.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: Visual Arts, Critical and creative thinking, Personal and social

2. Extension
Look at the 12 finalist photos for the Beaker Street Festival 2020 and choose the one you would vote for. Why do you find this most appealing and what attracts you to the photo?

Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: Visual Arts

VCOP ACTIVITY
Up-Level It
Scan through the article and see if you can locate three words that you consider to be basic, or low level. Words we use all the time and they can be replaced by more sophisticated words, words like good and said are examples of overused words.

Once you have found them, see if you can up-level them. Think of synonyms you could use instead of these basic words, but make sure they still fit into the context of the article.

Re-read the article with your new words.

Did it make it better?

Why/Why not?

HAVE YOUR SAY: Which photo would you vote for?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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