Mike White is an award-winning landscape and astro-photographer from Canterbury, NZ

Formerly an airline pilot, Mike has always enjoyed exploring New Zealand’s stunning scenery.  His award-winning photography features New Zealand’s superb night skies and natural landscapes.  Mike is an enthusiastic educator and helps others on their own photographic journeys by offering small group workshops and individual tuition.  Mike is an accredited member of the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography where he holds the distinction of Master of Photography and he also holds an Associate distinction with the Photographic Society of New Zealand.

Mike particularly enjoys the challenge of capturing New Zealand’s beautiful night skies.  On a clear winter’s night, the Milky Way stretches high overhead, easily visible to the naked eye as a stunning backdrop to a wide variety of beautiful landscapes.  Mike has always had an interest in astronomy, spaceflight, nature and photography so enjoys the creative process that brings all of these elements together.  Astrophotography is a field of photography that has become more accessible than ever and is the genre that Mike is most passionate about.

Mike is particularly inspired by the work of renowned New Zealand landscape photographers Craig Potton and Andris Apse who both excel at capturing the mood of the New Zealand landscape.  Mike is also drawn to the classic work of Ansel Adams – timeless photographs that capture the American natural landscape. 

Mike lives with his wife Margaret in Canterbury, New Zealand where they both pursue their own artistic journeys.

Mike's thoughts on photography...

Photography is a powerful tool for sharing the beauty of our natural world. 

Landscapes are forever changing yet I think we often view them as something that will always be there.  Powerful natural forces are constantly at work, sculpting the environment, often subtly, though sometimes aggressively.  The impact of humans on the natural landscape has become increasingly visible and it saddens me to see the negative effects of humans interacting with our natural environment.

To me, photography is a positive way to engage with the natural world around us.  It challenges you to get outdoors, whatever the weather, to seek out new experiences and places to visit.  It is also interesting to revisit favourite locations, often in different conditions or at different times of the day, to capture the effect of these changes within the landscape.

My goal as a photographer is to share images that are authentic.  To me, it’s important that they represent the scene as I saw it at the time it was captured while also serving to convey something of the feeling of the experience.  I find it incredibly satisfying though when I’m able to bring all the elements together to capture a perfect moment.  It’s not easy and the challenge is its own reward.  

“Did you photoshop that?” is now a common question to be asked by a viewing public saturated with advertising and marketing images that often bear little resemblance to reality.  There is nothing wrong with images that are more creative or artistic in their interpretation so long as the viewer is clear about what they are being shown.  With landscape photography, I generally approach post-processing with a light hand to ensure the story being told is in tune with my thoughts at the time of opening the shutter.  Post-processing for my astrophotography images requires a delicate touch to maintain a natural-looking image that builds on a modern camera’s ability to record details and colours that the naked eye struggles with.  While these particular images do not reflect what you could expect to see in a physical sense, without the aid of a camera, I hope they convey the sense of awe that I feel when I’m out under the stars.

I’m an advocate for sharing your interests with other like-minded folks.  I joined the Christchurch Photographic Society some years ago.  It’s a decision I wish I’d made a lot sooner in my photographic journey (but the realities of life do have to be accepted sometimes!)  I’ve very much enjoyed the camaraderie, conversation and competition that is provided in the club environment.  I have enjoyed putting forward some of what I consider to be my best work to be evaluated in the many competitions that are run throughout the year.  The feedback from the judges about my work, and also that of others, is helpful in refining my style and technique.  I have met some fantastic people since joining CPS and it’s great to have a conversation with others that share your passion (true in any aspect of life to be fair!) – though the conversations often head off on a tangent and those are not any less interesting!  I can easily recommend checking out your local club to anyone with more than a passing interest in photography.

Exhibitions & Shows

Art of Photography, Te Ara Atea, Rolleston – 2023 (Juried exhibition)
Selwyn Art Show – 2023
Christchurch Art Show – 2023 (Juried Art Show)
Viewfinder, Te Ara Atea, Rolleston – 2022 (Juried exhibition)
Selwyn Artsheart Art Show – 2022
Selwyn Artist’s Collective, West Melton – 2021
Mixed Media Exhibition, XCHC – 2021
Printer, Painter, Photograph Maker, Liffey Gallery, Lincoln – 2021
Art in Windows, Rolleston – 2021
Christchurch Art Show – 2021 (Juried Art Show)
Printer, Painter, Photograph Maker, Christchurch Botanical Gardens – 2021
Darfield Art Week – 2020
Christchurch Photographic Society Exhibition – 2020

Selected Awards

2023 NZ Astrophotographer of the Year: Winner, Solar System Category for Comet Leonard, New Year’s Day 2022; Highly Commended for Passage of a Lunar Eclipse

2023 RMG Astronomy Photographer of the Year: Shortlisted for Passage of a Lunar Eclipse

2023 PSNZ National Exhibition: Bronze Medal for Passage of a Lunar Eclipse (print)

2023 NZIPP Iris Awards:

  • Nature Category (prints): Silver with Distinction Award, 2 x Silver Awards, Bronze Award;
  • Landscape Open Category (prints): 2 x Silver Awards, Bronze Award;
  • Landscape Category (prints): Silver Award, 3 x Bronze Awards

2023 Laurie Thomas New Zealand Landscape Salon: Silver Medal for Frost, Loch Cameron

2022 NZ Astrophotographer of the Year: 2nd place, Solar System Category for Comet Leonard

2022 NZIPP Iris Awards:

  • Nature Category (prints): 3 x Silver Awards;
  • Landscape Open Category (prints): 2 x Silver Awards, Bronze Award;
  • Landscape Category (prints): 2 x Silver Awards, 2 x Bronze Awards

2022 PSNZ National Exhibition: Bronze Medal for Comet Leonard (print)

2022 Laurie Thomas New Zealand Landscape Salon: Honours for Aurora Australis, Banks Peninsula

2021 NZIPP Iris Awards:

  • Winner: James White Award for Highest-Scoring First Time Entrant
  • Category Finalist: Landscape (In-Camera)
  • Landscape Open Category (prints): 3 x Bronze Award;
  • Landscape Category (prints): 1 x Silver with Distinction Award, 1 x Silver Award, 2 x Bronze Awards

2021 PSNZ National Exhibition: Shirley Peverill Memorial Trophy for We are the Champions (print)

2021 Laurie Thomas New Zealand Landscape Salon: Honours for the Milky Way, Milford Sound

Selected Publications

Astronomy Photographer of the Year Vol. 12 – Passage of a Lunar Eclipse
NZ Camera 2023
NZ Camera 2022
D-Photo, Autumn 2022
NZ Camera 2021

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