Archive for category Photography competitions

Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year 2017 final results

Well, well, well – one of my 9 images and an image of mine that was almost not taken (Thanks Hougaard Malan for the persuasion) won the Travel/Scenic category of the Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year 2017 competition. Thank you Africa Geographic for organising the competition and the great prices – much appreciated. Looking forward to next year’s competition.

The image:



Detail of the image:

Exact location:

Kokerboomkloof camp site, Richtersveld, South Africa


This photo was taken amongst the Quiver trees in the Richtersveld Transfrontier Park – 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 but still enough light to ensure a great composition, we did the necessary setup of the cameras (including the bulb mode on camera). I waited for the Blue hour to pass (just before 19H30) and then pressed the shutter release. We left the cameras (open shutter) on walked back to camp (about 1km) for a lekker braaivleis. After supper (after about 90 minutes) the camera was collected and after another 90 minutes of in-camera noise reduction, I was able to view the image on the back of my camera for the first time. I was very pleased with the results. The Southern cross was perfectly placed thanks to Hougaard’s calculation and  the camera captured just enough light and stars before moonrise.

Date and time taken:

June 15, 2014 @ 19H27

Equipment used:

Nikon D800 camera, Nikon 17-35mm lens @17mm, Benro head on Benro tripod, cable release used, ISO 200, f8, 5372 second (90 minutes using bulb mode), Manual priority, White Balance – sun


There was even an article in our local Volksblad newspaper:

More details on the competition and results:

Message to take home:

Interesting piece of information I’ve read on the Internet and and I though it is so true. I hope it is applicable to my star trail image above:

“I always thought good photos were like good jokes. If you have to explain it, it just isn’t that good”


Until my next blog – keep on shooting!!!


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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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Natures Best Photography Africa 2015 competition – results

The winners of the Natures Best Photography Africa 2015 competition were announced on Tuesday evening during a gala event but unfortunately I was unable to attend (middle of the week). However, I saw the winners and the winning images were posted on the website of the competition. Nice to see two of my images amongst the winners on the website – many of these winners are professional and experienced wildlife photographers. Another image of mine received a honoured award. Total of three awards for me – very chuffed with myself to have won and saw my images amongst these prestigious names in wildlife photography.


The link to the winners:


My two winners are:

First runner up – Mammals of Africa:

Almost 2 crop 1 1920 300k 72d sRGB Y W

Almost – taken at Cubitje Quap waterhole in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park


Second runner up – Birds of Africa:

Goshawk challenge 1400 300k 72d sRGB W

Goshawk challenge – taken at about 2km north of Samevloei waterhole in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park


Honoured Award – Mammals of Africa

Hippo aggression 2 by Willem Kruger1

Hippo aggression – taken on the Chobe River, near Kasane, Botswana


Until next time – keep on shooting!!!



Overall winner of the Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year for 2015

Just a follow up on a previous post of mine – the overall winner of the Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year for 2015 was announced. Unfortunately my image did not won the Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year for 2015. However, a great image selected as the winner. Still, I consider it an honour to have been been selected as one of the finalists.

Here is the link to the 2015 Winners and finalists:

My image selected as one of the finalists:

Almost 3 crop 1 1024 300k 72d sRGB W


Until next time – keep on shoot!!!

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Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year 2015 – finalist

Wow, what a surprise when I open the email with the following message from the African Geographic magazine:

“I am thrilled to report that your jackal and grouse image has been selected as one of our finalist in the Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year Competition!!!


The image:

Almost 3 crop 1 1024 300k 72d sRGB W


It was amazing to be one of only 15 finalists in this prestigious photography competition – almost 10 000 entries were received for this year’s competition.

Unfortunately my image was not selected as a category winner (posted today) but nevertheless, it was a honour just get an image selected as a finalist. Here is a link to the image


And the link to the category winners – stunning photos and a worthy Wildlife/Scenic category winner by Chris Renshaw:


Can wait to see who will win the overall price – to be announced on May 29, 2015!


Royal Photographic Society monthly 365 competition: Finalist – December 2013

I was browsing the website of the Royal Photographic Society in the UK (RPS) when I saw one my 5 entries for the monthly 365 competition was selected as one of 26 finalist. On the website it seems like there were just over 830 entries. This monthly 365 competition is created for members of the RPS and the society has members from all over the world.

The website to view the finalist:

Very interesting choice by the judges – the selected image:

Hornbill foraging 1

Hornbill foraging

Image taken near the entrance to 14th borehole in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in Sept 2013 – for detail see my trip report


One is allowed to submit 5 images for each monthly competition – below are the other 4 images I submitted:


Cheetah drinking water 1

Cheetah drinking water 1

Image taken next to Cubitje Quap water hole in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in November 2013 – trip report to follow at a later stage



 Dad and son 1Dad and son 1

Image taken near Auchterlonie water hole in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in November 2013 – trip report to follow at a later stage



14 Lioness and cubs drinking water 3 W

Lioness and cubs drinking water 3

Image taken at Leeudril water hole in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in Feb 2013 – see trip report for more detail



Aggressive 800m start 768 500k 300d sRGBc

Aggressive 800m start

Image taken during an inter-school athletic meeting in the Free State during the month of March 2013


Message to take home:

When it comes to photographic competitions, it is important to remember the following: Your viewers’ brains analyse what their eyes see when they first look at your image. Your subject and story of your photograph must be identified quickly by your viewer. If your viewer cannot figure out what the subject is…. all interest is lost. So keep your image as simple as possible with the least amount of distracting elements.

Until next time – keep on shoot those simple shots!!!


Weg magazine: February 2014 Mense se lense competition – Naaswenner (runner-up)

I’ve just returned from a photography safari trip to Kenya (Laikipia & Lake Nakuru) and I’ve read in the Weg magazine that I won a second price in the magazine’s mentioned competition.  So I am fortunate enough to have a third image published in the Weg magazine in just than more than a year. The image was one of my favourite images of the honey badger visiting Cubitje Quap water hole in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in Sept 2013.

The image:

Honey badger drinking water 1

Honey badger drinking water 1

For more details – see my trip report on the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (Sept 2013 edition)



Message to take home:

Do not always just go for the big five when you visit a nature reserve or in the case of the Kgalagadi (where you won’t find all of the Big Five), just looking for lions, cheetahs or leopards. For once, look around you to see what else Mother Nature wants to offer you. That was exactly what I did we I saw this honey badger next to the waterhole. I wanted fro him to lick his lips after drinking some water and I captured the moment. By waiting for the right moment, I got the really interesting shot. I did not expect it to be a winning shot but I also like the uniqueness of the image and it looks like Toast (the judge) from Weg magazine had the same idea. So, by just keeping your eyes (and especially your mind) open for the smaller things around you, you can also get that winning shot.


Until next time – keep on shooting!!!