It’s competition time again! Here are the Judges’ Choice and Public Favourite winners for March in the 2019 Indlovu River Lodge Wildlife Photography Competition in association with At Close Quarters.
Last year At Close Quarters(ACQ) teamed up with Indlovu River Lodge(IRL) to spice up their wildlife photography competition and it was a huge success! We received countless superb entries from all over the world, including an incredible photo of an African darter shaking its wet wings by Geo Jooste, our 2018 grand prize winner.
This year there are four brand new categories, namely: Animal Close-ups, Birds, Creative Visions and Freeze the Action, and we invite you to enter a maximum of two images per category per month. Until the end of June, ACQ photographic guides, Villiers Steyn and Lance van de Vyver, will choose a Judges’ Choice winner each month and the public will vote for their monthly favourite on the IRL Facebook Page, each of which will receive a small monthly prize plus the chance of being voted the grand prize winner!
And yes, just like Geo did last year, the winner will have a chance of a lifetime to enjoy Indlovu River Lodge’s world-class underground hides with a friend or family member for four days at the end of this year.
The incredible opening response we’ve had in the first month this year made choosing the winners a tough job. Here are the Judges’ Choice and Public Favourite winners for March 2019, with constructive comments by Villiers and Lance:
JUDGES’ CHOICE WINNER, March 2019: Dee Roelofsz
Villiers: “It’s not easy getting extreme close-ups of wild animals, even with long telephoto lenses, but you certainly can increase your chances by going to the right places. Places like Rietvlei Nature Reserve (where Dee took this image), where the animals are very relaxed around vehicles. I just love the detail and shallow depth of field in the image, plus the colour of the ostrich’s eye. Most importantly for me, though, is the fact that the eye (and especially the pupil) is perfectly in focus. Dee, this is exactly the kind of photo Lance and I had in mind when we conceptualised this category! (nudge-nudge, wink-wink, everyone else…)”
Lance: “What an absolutely beautiful image. This shot has a lot going for it – I love the warm tones of the ostrich, complimented with the cool tones of the sky. The sharpness of the eyelashes being reflected in the eye is superb and the use of depth of field to send the viewer right where you want them is great. Well done, Dee!”
PUBLIC FAVOURITE WINNER, March 2019: Japie Bornman
Villiers: “Elephant trunks make for excellent animal close-up photos! This one is beautifully shaped and lit, but I would have loved the image even more had the horizon been straight and the stones at the bottom been cropped out.”
Lance: “I love the colour contrast with the blue water and the beautiful golden light. The texture of the elephant’s trunk is also superb!”
JUDGES’ CHOICE WINNER, March 2019: Japie Bornman
Villiers: “This was without a doubt the toughest category to judge this month. Japie’s photo stood out from the crowd not only because of the spectacular backlight on the subject, but also because it wasn’t a typical bird portrait. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good portrait, but if you look at ten good bird portraits, it’s hard to choose a winner. This image, however, jumps off the screen with those golden feathers and stunning shape grabbing your attention instantaneously.”
Lance: “I love the composition in this shot, with the tree branch splitting the image in two. The flying grey go-away-bird’s pose is timed to perfection and the lighting is incredible. Well done, Japie.”
PUBLIC FAVOURITE WINNER, March 2019: Stephan Olivier
Villiers: “I love everything about his shot! The lighting and colours are perfect, the weaver has a catch light in its eye, there’s plenty of space below it, the depth of field is stunning… It’s no surprise the public liked it so much, Stephan.”
Lance: “I love this shot from Stephan. When it comes to bird portraits, capturing some kind of behaviour is a huge plus. The colours and background in this image are brilliant!”
JUDGES’ CHOICE WINNER, March 2019: Annemarie de Plessis
Villiers: “Annemarie featured prominently in last year’s IRL wildlife photography competition and she’s back with a bang early this year! This flipped reflection photo of drinking giraffe is precisely what we’re looking for in this category – something completely out of the ordinary that showed real creative thinking. What makes this shot extra special is the fact that the outer giraffes look inwards, creating balance in the shot, as well as that exquisite background colour. I like the panoramic crop, but the only criticism I have is the lack of space on the far right.”
Lance: “Annemarie, this image is stunning and I hope you have printed it for your wall! The composition is incredible with the three standing giraffes facing the lone drinker, pulling the viewer’s eye around the image. I love the use of space with the three on the right vs one lone animal on the left. The colours are beautiful and there are just enough ripples to let you know this isn’t a standard silhouette. It’s an incredible shot!”
PUBLIC FAVOURITE WINNER, March 2019: Dee Roelofsz
Villiers: “It’s perhaps not exactly what I have in mind when I think ‘creative visions’, but there’s no denying that this shot is superb. Using this stunning light, angle and composition certainly show great photographic creativity on Dee’s part. It’ll take most people a lifetime to capture a better leopard photo!”
Lance: “This is another absolute cracker from Dee! The pose, the colours, the composition and the timing are all perfect. I seriously wish I had taken it…”
FREEZE THE ACTION
JUDGES’ CHOICE WINNER, March 2019: Michiel Duvenhage
Villiers: “I knew we were going to get some cracking entries in the Freeze the Action category this year, but Michiel’s jackal shot has totally surpassed my expectations! This is Super Jackal flying through the air! And Michiel nailed everything from focus and exposure to composition and depth of field. I’ve seen a lot of Kalahari-jackals-hunting-birds photos before, but this is definitely my new favourite!”
Lance: “What a cracking image from Michiel. Patience has definitely paid off here, but more importantly, was the timing of the shot! To get the jackal in such an incredible pose was wonderful and the focus bang on. The exposure is also great, continuously dragging your eye back to the jackal’s head. I wish this was my photo, Michiel!”
PUBLIC FAVOURITE WINNER, March 2019: Trix Jonker
Villiers: “I have watched and (tried to) photograph falcons capturing doves in the Kalahari for many, many hours and one thing I can tell you – it’s extremely difficult! Trix didn’t just get the shot, she nailed it! Her focus and depth of field were perfect, making this an exceptional shot. I’m very glad the public loved it so much.”
Lance: “The timing of this shot with the two, no, THREE birds coming together is spectacular. The exposure is also bang on, which is not easy to achieve for fast-moving subjects like these. I could keep looking at it all day long, Trix…”
Entries for May are now open!
Simply visit http://atclosequarters.com/wildlife-photography-competition/ to enter and make sure to read through the rules and category briefs carefully before you decide which photos to enter. Remember – you may only enter two per category each month…
Vote for your favourite April entries
Good luck and remember to check out the Indlovu River Lodge Facebook Page to vote for your favourite entries from April.