Nature Photography Competition – May Winners!

Gerry van der Walt All Authors Leave a Comment

After working through more than 450 images – the largest amount of monthly entries received thus far – we have a tie for first place in the May competition!

After a number of rounds of judging by the Wild Eye team and international judges two images still ended up with the same scores so instead of resorting to a flip-of-the-coin exercise to select a winner we decided to select two winners and to award both photographers with the full first prize package!

This month the judging was particularly tough and we ended up sending 11 images to the judges as we just could not split them up.

I have also, for the first time, included not only the highly commended images that made up the Top 11 but also the images that made it to the Top 20 as apart from making for a fantastically visual blog post, will show you the quality of images that this competition is attracting.  For more on how the judging process works and how the images are judged check out this blog post.

So with all of that said, I am proud to give  here are the two winners and runners up for May 2012 in the Wild Eye Nature Photography Competition!

Winning Image #1 – May 2012

Lion and Baby Badger

Image by Shane Saunders

 For his winning image Shane will, apart from progressing to the grand finals, receive:

– ProBody Sport sponsored by Clik Elite SA

– Copy of Colors of Southern Africa sponsored by Hannes Lochner

– R 1,000 rental voucher from Wild Eye

– 8GB CF Memory Card

– Wild Eye Baseball Cap

Judges Feedback

Andy Biggs:  Andy is currently on safari and could unfortunately send through his comments.

David Lloyd:  It looks a done deal to the lion, but it’s still an untold story and we still don’t know who wins just by looking at this photo. The poor lion looks stumped as to do what to do next, while the badger clearly has not given up. There’s enough action suggested at the badger’s tail end to tell us this. The lion’s eyes almost tell the story on their own. I found the image growing on me more and more and prompting many questions. So to me that’s the success of it. The low point of view made this a success too, and I doubt I’d be asking these questions in the same way if that were to be anything otherwise. Congratulations, my curiosity is so piqued now that I’m looking forward to hearing of the outcome between these two.

Greg du Toit:   For me, still-life photography is all about the moment and in this image we have an unbelievable moment frozen in time. This is a ‘beyond rare’ sighting and the photographer has captured the precise moment of this event spectacularly. I can almost here the baby badger screaming and the dust falling too the ground communicates even more of the drama. The piercing eyes of the lion round off what is a superb piece of documentary photography. Well done!

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Winning Image #2 – May 2012

Flaming Namibian Rainfall

Image by Mark Dumbleton

 For his winning image Mark will, apart from progressing to the grand finals, receive:

– ProBody Sport sponsored by Clik Elite SA

– Copy of Colors of Southern Africa sponsored by Hannes Lochner

– R 1,000 rental voucher from Wild Eye

– 8GB CF Memory Card

– Wild Eye Baseball Cap

Judges Feedback

Andy Biggs:  Andy is currently on safari and could unfortunately send through his comments.

David Lloyd:  I used to say good luck to anyone who strives to capture an image of the Namib dunes and still surprise, but it’s becoming a frequent occurrence here, and this is another one.  And this a little more so because I cannot recall one which contains such a healthy representation of all three primary colours, red, green and blue. The photographer also to recognises that splitting a picture in two evenly with the horizon can be done successfully, which was needed to accommodate the sky. The foreground green foliage is important too.  There are enough enticing lines in this picture which makes me want to go out and walk in it!  I’ve said it before, but if a picture can look good on a wall, then it wins, and this one does.

Greg du Toit:   Wow, the colours in this image are fantastic. The blue and orange colours in the sky and the red and green colours in the foreground really hold my attention. The inclusion of foreground detail and a very well executed exposure make this a landscape image out of the top draw!

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2nd Runner Up – May 2012

Leopard Ascent

Image by Morkel Erasmus

For his third placed image Morkel will, apart from progressing to the grand finals, receive:

– Memory Card Valet and Wrist Strap sponsored by Clik Elite SA

– R250 rental voucher from Wild Eye

– Wild Eye Baseball Cap

Judges Feedback

Andy Biggs:  Andy is currently on safari and could unfortunately send through his comments.

David Lloyd:  The first thing I noticed with this picture was the clarity of the subject and how it has been isolated from the background so well. Given that this kind of episode more often than not occurs in forest or scrub, then that is a major contributor to this image. This image succeeds too in illustrating a life and death scene, at the same time being an attractive image too, which I’ve always found difficult to combine. And what completes the picture for me is the telling arrangement of the dead prey’s face facing the leopard’s, thereby adding even more drama to the picture.

Greg du Toit:   This is a storytelling image that I can stare at for a long time. I know why the leopard is climbing the tree (to get to the kill) but I wonder where the leopard has been? I also wonder if this is the same leopard that made the kill and I presume so. The blood spattered down the bark of the ancient Leadwood tree adds further to the story. The skill and timing in this shot is excellent. It is very difficult to tell a story in just a single frame and this photographer has done just that!

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A big congratulations to Shane, Mark and Morkel on their amazing images which will now also progress through to the grand final where they will stand a chance to win a photo safari for two to photograph the great migration in the Masai Mara in 2013!

There are still 7 months left meaning that there are still 21 spots available in the grand finals!  Make sure you give yourself a chance and enter to stand a chance to win some incredible prizes.  For more information on how to enter click here.

As with each the last couple of months, here are the highly commended images, in no particular order, that made it into the Top 11 – yes Top 11 – and came very close to making it into the top three.  After the preliminary round of judging we just could not split the images up so we sent all 11 images to the judges.

I am sure you will agree that there are some awesome images included below!!

Highly Commended Images – May 2012

 Midnight Express

Image by Brett Greenaway

 The negative space and reflection makes this image stand out.  Combine this with the fact that you can see the lion’s eyes and tongue and you have a fantastic wildlife image.

* * *

 Eye Level Black Crake

Image by Lee Bothma

This image is all about depth of field.  The photographer has isolated the subject beautifully and by including the reflection of the red foot created an amazing, clean image.

* * *

 Kalahari Lightning

Image by Shane Saunders

This image perfectly captures the intensity of a Kalahari thunderstorm.  It takes skill and knowledge of your equipment to create a clean image like this.

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 Critically Endangered Escape

Image by Bridgena Barnard

Apart from what must have been a fantastic sighting, this image shows how you, as a photographer, can tell a story.  The rhino on it’s own would have been a great shot but with the lions in the background looking at it takes it to a whole new level.

* * *

 Plain Elephant

Image by Albie Venter

Perfect composition, lovely light and a truly African subject makes for a classic wildlife image.

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 Twin Kokerboom

Image by Mark Dumbleton

It’s always difficult to include the bright sun in an image but here the photographer pulls it perfectly.  The two shadows pulls your gaze towards the centrally placed subject.  Well spotted and very well executed.

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 Storm Clouds over Namib Rand

Image by David Burnstein

This image shows how, by knowing what is possible in digital photography, you can create a very striking image out of a very ordinary scene.  Stunning!

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 Silence

Image by Lee Bothma

The combination of negative space,  implied lines and great use of light makes for a wildlife image that could work very well on a large canvas.

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The images that made up the Top 20

The following images made up the Top 20 after this month’s preliminary judging.

The judging was so close that the scores for these nine image were all between 79,00 and 76,00 with the next image, that just didn’t make the Top 20, scoring 75,67 showing that the quality of entries to the competition really is top class.

  Elephants on Fire

Image by Isak Pretorius

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Playtime!

Image by Brendon Jennings

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Golden Zebras

Image by Fabien Depasse

* * *

Curios Cubs at Dusk

Image by Hendri Venter

* * *

Poised Lion

Image by Lee Bothma

* * *

The Trunk

Image by Liz Frost

* * *

Hidden Danger

Image by Andrew Aveley

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Namibia Sunset

Image by Isak Pretorius

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King of the Plains

Image by Isak Pretorius

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Once again a huge shout out to our panel of international judges who assisted in choosing the winner and two runner ups.  Great to have their input in choosing the winner and get feedback on each image.  Also, I would like to thank Clik Elite SA for not only recognizing the photographic quality of images being uploaded to the competition but also for coming on board and sponsoring some truly amazing prizes.  Thanks guys!

As always we will be getting in touch with the winner and runner’s up to arrange for the delivery of their prizes and to get the RAW images of their images as these will be used during the judging process in the final.

Here are a number of links that you can check out for more information on the 2012 Wild Eye Nature Photography Competition which includes details on how to enter as well as all the entries for January and February this far:

The competition for June 2012 is already open and there are some fantastic images being uploaded.

Check out the entries for June 2012 and then make sure to get your entries in to stand a chance to win that magical trip for two to the Masai Mara in 2013!

I would again like to thank you all for the amazing support and excitement that we have been able to build around this competition.  It is awesome to see the awesome quality of images being uploaded and great to see the amount of people out there who are keen on wildlife photography!

As always we would love to hear your feedback!   Did your favorite image make it to the Top 10?  Drop us a comment with your thoughts and please feel free to share with people who will enjoy the amazing images!

Until next month and good luck!

Gerry van der Walt

Comments 0

  1. Lee Hayden

    I love all the images and congratulations to the everyone but I must say Isak’s Namibia Sunset is well up there for me, the double rainbow centrally placed combined with the colours and the overall landscape and composition are simply superb!

  2. Simon

    Congratulations, Shane, Mark & Morkel! Your work is truly inspirational. Many thanks to all who entered, and to Wild Eye for hosting a competition to showcase such magnificent talent! We’re honoured to be associated with all of you!

    The Clik Elite SA Team.

  3. Pingback: Wildeye Photo Contest – May Winners - Photography Competitions

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