South Africa is blessed with a variety of wildlife and nature, subject matter that many overseas photographers can only dream of capturing. It was heartening to see so many South African photographers making use of our local advantage in last year’s prestigious Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide Wildlife Photographer of the Year. (Apparently, it was the first time in the awards’ history that two finalists came from the same country.)
The even better news is that you’ll be able to see their award-winning work up close and personal as it was designed to be seen when a travelling exhibition of this years images appears in Pretoria’s Ditsong Museum of Natural History from April 2 – June 30, 2014.
In terms of the photographers featured, Greg du Toit was the overall winner with his majestic image of Elephants (above) caught using a slow shutter speed and wide-angle lens. Other top performers include Hannes Lochner, a joint runner-up in Animal Portraits category; Isak Pretorius, the winner of Behaviour: Birds category; Lou Coetzer was commended in the Behaviour: Mammals category; Wim van den Heever, the runner-up in the Animals in their Environment category; Andrew Schoeman who was runner-up for Nature in Balck and White; Thomas P Peshack (German South African) specially commended in the World in Our Hands category and flying the flag in the Wildlife Photojournalist Award is this year’s winner Brent Stirton.
In good news, this is not the only competition where the South African flag is being flown to proudly – the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards Student Focus competition has seen two local students make the top ten lis of finalists. We have reached out to both Russell Bruns and Tara Mette and should have a brief interview with them to share with you in the next few days. It is exhilarating to see the talent of South African photographers really rising to the top this year.
[Main image – Elephants, copyright Greg du Toit]