Turritopsis rubra

Turritopsis rubra

Turritopsis rubra

As the water temperatures get warmer in the Southern Hemisphere, more and more sealife starts to appear.

These little guys (approx 5mm) have been showing up at out local beach in the last few days.

To the naked eye they are just little red blobs covered in an opaque jelly but under the macro lens they are really something quite spectacular. 

Their little white tentacles furl and unfurl as they glide up and down through the water with the currents.

We swam with these guys last year and as far as we can tell they do not sting and are quite happy just floating around in the tide.

Turritopsis rubra from above

Turritopsis rubra from below looking up

Archey’s Frog (Leiopelma archeyi)

Archey’s Frog (Leiopelma archeyi)

Archey’s frog (Leiopelma archeyi) is New Zealands smallest native frog.

The species is categorised as Nationally Vulnerable under the New Zealand Threat Classification System and as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Because populations are rapidly declining, the species is at significant risk of imminent extinction.  

Archey’s frogs are now only found in three North Island locations: Coromandel Peninsula, Whareorino Forest and Pureora (Pukeokahu).

The Pureora population was translocated by the Department of Conservation in 2006, with a top up in 2016.

They have been establishing well, helped by DOC’s constant predator control and yearly frog monitoring.

I was fortunate enough to be able to tag along with the dedicated DOC and Auckland Zoo team members to help with their 2019 frog monitoring.

Spot the frog 

With mottled skin colours of green, brown,orange and red, they are masters at blending in with their surroundings, they are also very small and come out at night time to feed, making them incredibly hard to locate.

Archey’s frogs do not croak and sit incredibly still when there is a predator in the vicinity, so locating them visually under torch light is the only way (and even then they are extremely hard to spot).   

The monitoring team work through a grid pattern, with ground level searching through leaf matter, ferns, moss and in and around plants and fallen trees. 

Once a frog is located, it is carefully placed in a bag for transporting to a shed a few metres away where they will be measured, photographed and weighed before being returned to the exact location they were found. Details of the location found is noted down to the centimeter so as they can be returned to the exact same spot.   


The photo to the left shows the variation in size, from a small baby frog through to an adult.

To give you an idea of how small these little gems are, on this particular night:

Smallest frog:
Length – 10 millimetres
Weight – 0.14grams

Larger frog:
Length – 31 millimetres
Weight – 4.81grams 

Archey’s frogs are one of the world’s rarest and most endangered amphibians. This species, along with others in the family, have changed little over the past 200 million years, and therefore they represent “living fossils”.

The data collected from this monitoring will identify individual frogs, helping to monitor and better understand what is leading to the species’ decline.

Auckland Zoo also have a captive programme dedicated to developing captive breeding techniques and this along with the hard work from all the dedicated DOC team members in predator control and monitoring will hopefully prevent this species from becoming another extinction statistic.

This was an amazing experience and one I will never forget. I am in awe and very grateful of the hard work and dedication from this team that worked well in to the wee small hours each night to ensure that these little ‘modern-day dinosaurs’ have a chance at survival.

  2019 RESULTS

  Archey’s Frog (Leiopelma archeyi) Monitoring – Pukeokahu, Pureora Forest Park

  56 captures of 45 individuals
  Of the 45 individuals:
  – 1 was a founder from the 2006 release,
  – 7 were from the 2016 release,
  – 19 were new individuals not recorded before 
 – 18 individuals as previously recorded recruits.

  One individual (P366) had not been seen for 7 years.

To find out more about our native frogs and native frog conservation visit the links below:

  • New Zealand Frog Research Group (University of Otago) – Donate Here

Reference material from DOC, Wikipedia & Auckland Zoo

D-Photo Sigma Amateur Photographer of the Year 2019

D-Photo Sigma Amateur Photographer of the Year 2019

Nice surprise to see that my ‘Pretty in Pink’ image placed second in this years Sigma Amateur Photographer of the Year ‘Macro Category’ run by
D-Photo magazine.

With over 14,000 entries and 250 shortlisted images its such a buzz that this got chosen.

Congratulations to all the winners, this competition is definitely one of the largest in the NZ photography community and there is a great and varied selection of amazing images entered.



With 2017 drawing to a close its time to reflect on the year and start planning for 2018.

Its been a busy year for me this year with lots of exciting news along the way.  It’s mainly been macro work this year, and as much as I would have liked it to be more storm and astro orientated, we haven’t had as many opportunities this year to get out under the stars or share Mother Natures stormy stuff.

I entered a few competitions throughout the year and was buzzing when the results came out ………

Harry Williams Astrophotography Competition – awarded a ‘notable image’ for my shot of Torea:

D-Photo Magazine Amateur Photographer of the year – placed 2nd in the Macro category with this image:

NZ Geographic Photographer of the Year – Winner of the ‘Resene Colour Award’ with my little spidy shot:

As always it is interesting to see what the machines come up with and it’s never quite the ones I would have picked but here are Instagram’s best 9 selection for 2017.

Whats 2018 hold……

I am hoping to have a go at focus stacking and have my fingers crossed for some more storm and astro opportunities. I also have just finished putting in a frog pond at home (this was so i didn’t have to risk getting hit by golf balls at the local pond on the golf course). There are at least 10 new green residents so without a doubt there will be more frog shots on the way. In general it will be a year of experimenting more and seeing if I can mix it up a little.

Thank you to everyone for viewing my pictures and for all the support and comments throughout the year.

Wishing you all an exciting and successful New Year and 2018 🙂





NZ Geographic Photographer of the Year 2017

NZ Geographic Photographer of the Year 2017

Very excited to get the news that one of my little Jumpy Spiders has been selected as a finalist in the NZ Geographic Photographer of the Year 2017. (UPDATE: Little spidy won the ‘Resene Colour Award’ in the NZ Geographic Photographer of the Year 2017)

You can view all the finalists and vote for the Panasonic Peoples Choice Award here. There are 65 finalists with images of our environment and society to choose from. Just select your three favourite images and place your vote.

The Photographer of the Year exhibition will be on-site at Cathedral Square, Christchurch, for a month from Saturday 4 November, and in a special exhibition at Auckland Museum from December 15 until the end of February. Both exhibitions are open seven days, and free to attend.