Gentlemen, I Salute You!

Gerry van der Walt All Authors Leave a Comment

Wildlife photography is about more than the size of your lens or the amount of competitions you have won.

It is also about sharing.

It’s about people.

Hold that thought…

By now I am sure you have seen that the Wild Eye Website has undergone a serious revamp.

This is the result of quite a few factors including growth in the company, a bit of soul searching and the need to have a better platform for you guys to be able to look for, find and share the photography and travel info you are looking for.

Of all the exciting changes we have undergone – and a few we still have up our sleeves – there is one that we feel is not only going to add value to Wild Eye as a brand but also create something truly special within the South African photographic education and travel industries

Up until this point Andrew Beck and I conducted all the Wild Eye courses, workshops and photographic safaris on our own but due to a fantastic demand and the need to diversify our photographic offerings an idea that started late last year triggered numerous meetings, telephone calls and emails and I am proud to finally announce that the Wild Eye Ambassadors initiative has become a reality.

The Wild Eye Ambassadors team is  made up of six photographers who are not only great at what they do but also love sharing their knowledge, experience and passion.

I am proud to officially introduce you to the brand new Wild Eye Ambassadors.  They are:

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I have no doubt that you will have seen some of these guys work online and know that they are great at what they do. If not, I urge you to go and check out their Ambassador pages on the site and visit their websites and various social media links where you will find inspiration, ideas and amazing wildlife and nature images.

As we roll out more and more photographic safaris, workshops and courses you will have the opportunity to join these amazing photographers on trips to some of the most sought after and pristine nature photographic destinations that Africa has to offer.

Each one of them brings their own unique approach and style of photography to the Wild Eye brand and gives you the opportunity to learn from and be inspired by guys who are passionate about what they do and even more so about sharing their knowledge.

Here are a few of the images you can see on the various Ambassador’s pages.

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One of the places you would also have seen the names of the new Wild Eye Ambassadors is in the winners list of the 2012 Wild Eye Nature Photography Competition.  Just last month Morkel Erasmus won the June competition with an amazing Wild Dog image he captured in Mana Pools all the other guys have consistently done very well in the competition.

Since the Wild Eye Ambassadors program has now officially been launched the matter of these guys entering the competition did come up in the office.  We had numerous discussions as to how we will be managing this potentially sensitive point even though we were very confident that the judging process was good enough not for this to be an issue.  We wanted to make sure we covered all our bases and not end up with a situation that would cause any doubt as to the ethics and conduct of Wild Eye or any of the photographers involved.

As it turned out it was a decision we did not have to make.

I received the following email from the new Ambassadors on 19 July 2012.

Email from the Wild Eye Ambassadors

Hi Gerry, Andrew and Jono,

We as “external” Ambassadors had a quick email conference last night and we have made an executive decision.

We feel that it would be inappropriate for us to enter any further images into the WildEye Nature Photography competition after the Ambassadors are officially announced next week.

We know the judging process is sound but you know how people are, and we feel that it would be a much better move to establish the integrity of the Wild Eye company and brand if we refrain from further participation.  Images that have already made it to the final round can remain in the running as they were entered before the announcement of the Ambassador initiative.

Please discuss amongst yourselves and if you strongly disagree please let us know so we can discuss and come to an agreement.

If you agree about the principle decision then we would also request that you release a statement about this along with the Ambassador press release on Monday or so.

Thanks in advance for understanding.  We are commited to the success of this programme and don’t want to jeapordise the integrity of the brand by participating in the second half of the competition.

Best regards,

The Wild Eye Ambassadors

* * *

As if we needed any confirmation that we have chosen the correct people, this email made me respect these guys even more.

As I mentioned in the beginning –  it’s about people and without any input or pressure from Wild Eye they have shown that they have integrity, ethics and that they care about what we are trying to create – a community of like minded people.

Gentlemen, I salute you!

Personally, I am childishly excited about sharing many photographic moments and experiences with these guys and hope to see you on some of their photographic safaris, workshops and courses.  They will change the way you see photographic travel!

Oh yeah, before leave take a moment to check out this page on the website and make sure to stay tuned for another exciting announcement that will ‘Clik’ into place next week!

Until next time.

Gerry van der Walt

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