Africa Geographic photographic competition 2017: Outcome of my images submitted

I must admit, it has been a long time since my last post but here we go again. Africa Geographic is running a photographic competition for the last few years and this year was no acceptation. Every week any photographer can submit as many photos as he/she like free of charge via their website or via email. There are three categories:

  1. Wildlife
  2. Traditional Culture
  3. Travel/Scenic

Every Friday about 15-20 photos are selected as finalists and published in Africa Geographic weekly newsletter. The completion is running for a few weeks and after the closing date (April 26, 2017) 101 photos are selected from the 300+ weekly finalist to go through to the final judging process. Judges select the winners and runner-ups in each of the three categories but there is also an overall readers’ winner as determined by the number of votes of the readers.

I’ve entered about 40 photos and I had 9 photos selected as weekly finalists. Last Friday the list of 101 photos were announced and below are my three photos that were selected as part of the 101 photos:


My three finalists in the 101-image list:


Richtersveld star trail

Lens = 17mm, ISO 200, f8, 5371,6 second (89,5 minutes), 2m from tree

This photo was taken at amongst the Quiver trees in the Richtersveld – close to Kokerboomkloof camping site. It was a moonless night (moon rise was around 21H00) with no light pollution because there are no nearby towns. Just after sundown, we did the necessary setup of the cameras and then walked back to camp for a lekker braaivleis. After supper (after about 90 minutes) I returned to collect the cameras



The jackal and the vulture 6

Lens = 600mm, ISO 1000, f8, 1/1000 second, 63 meters from birds and jackals

This photo was taken from the vulture hide at Giants Castle in the Drakensberg. While waiting for the Bearded Vultures to appear, we witnessed this type of interaction between a black backed jackal and two Cape Vultures fighting over a piece of meat.



Leopard head down

Lens = 600mm, ISO 4000, f4, 1/1250 second, 12 meters from leopard

This image of a female leopard was taken in the Sabi Sand reserve (Londolozi) while she was coming down a tree after sunset to start hunting for the evening.


The following six photos were weekly finalists but did not make it into the list of 101 finalists:


The other weekly finalists:


Father love

Lens = 600mm, ISO 1250, f6.3, 1/2500 second, 15 meters from meerkats

This photo was taken near a burrow of a clan of meerkats. Some of them were enjoying their last bit of foraging for the day. These four meerkats were making use of the last sunlight of the day to get some warmth in their system before the sun is about to disappear behind the dunes. One young meerkat was looking for some affection from an elder



Lioness and cub 4

Lens = 1275mm, ISO 1000, f11, 1/1600 second, 40 meters from lions

This photo was taken at Leeudril water hole in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park around 06H50 in February 2013. I followed the lioness for a few kilometres very early one morning as she and her two cubs were walking towards the water hole. They drank water for about 10 minutes and they gave me a few opportunities to shoot them in perfect light – the early golden hour.



Chameleon moon

Lens = 200mm, ISO 1000, f2.8, 1/60 second, 2.5 meters from chameleon

This photo was taken during a night game drive in the Mashatu Nature Reserve, Botswana. We came across a chameleon resting on the branch of a dead tree. One has to look very carefully to see these little creatures at night. I used a double exposure technique that is possible to do in-camera (a specific setting on the camera is used). First an image is taken of the chameleon on the branch with a flash and then an image is taken of the moon. The two images was combined in-camera automatically. So I did not manipulate the image in Photoshop – the photo was created in-camera. Not very easy get the composition of the chameleon and the moon right the first time




Eagle eye

Lens = 850mm, ISO 2500, f13, 1/320 second, 8 meters from eagle

Eagle eye – this close-up image of an Martial eagle was taken near Houmoed waterhole in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The eagle was resting on the ground underneath a small acacia tree and it allowed us to get to about 7 meters from it. If looks could kill!!!



Jackals fighting high

Lens = 600mm, ISO 2000, f8, 1/4000 second, 32 meters from jackals

This photo was taken about 2km south of Kji Kji water hole in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park around 09H00 in the morning. During the night, a group of lions killed a gemsbok and when we arrived at the sight, there were two lions still eating. Around the killing was about 15 black backed jackals lying waiting for the lions to leave so that they have a bite. And this is what happen when the lions leave the kill – jackals trying to establish dominations around the kill.



Owlet housekeeping

Lens = 570mm, ISO 2000, f18, 1/1250 second, 4 meters from owlet

One of the resident Pearl spotted owlet around the Graig Lockhart waterhole the the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park was cleaning out its nest by removing what was left of a kill – the leg of a mouse. Interesting to note that it did not just drop the remains out of the nest. It took the leg away from the nest to drop it some distance away from the nest.


Message to take home

Now that you’ve seen my 9 weekly finalists, you’ll be the judge if three images made it into the 101-images lists are my best three images. And with that request comes a warning – be careful that you are not swept away when it comes to photographic competitions. Competitions and especially judges are looking for specific photos or types of photos.


Do not get into the habit of just taking images for competitions because each competition, and for that matter each judge, is different. You will only get frustrated and remember: A happy photographer is the best photographer. Perfection and taking the perfect shot should not your ultimate goal. Forget about competitions and do not become a machine by taking photos for competitions. Such approach may cause your photos to start to all look very similar and even similar to other photographers’ photos. Also, without enjoyment you might start to lose your passion for photography. Enjoyment and just being there to capture the moment should be your ultimate goal. Photography is this type of hobby that allows you to be creative – be yourself, take image for yourself and keep on enjoying it!


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