HOW THE ENTRIES STACKED UP IN OUR 2015 PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR COMPETITION

by
Anton Crone
15 May 2015

If there’s one way to reignite your passion for Africa, just host a photographic competition celebrating the wonders of the continent. Over the past 6 months we’ve asked Africa Geographic’s readers to send us their best images, and we’ve been inundated with entries – 9,736 to be exact, that’s 52 photos a day on average, and we’ve enjoyed looking at every one of them. It reminds us just how diverse this enormous continent is and how much there is to celebrate.
These are not the finalists (you’ll find the 15 finalists here), but read further to find out what type of photos our readers love taking, and as a treat we have included a selection of entries that are bound to make you smile.

The most photographed things in Africa

leopard-comp
Clockwise from top left, Leopards photographed by Chris Fisher, Mike Sutherland, Lance van de Vyver and Beth Stewart.

Wildlife/Scenic
This was the category our readers were most enthusiastic about – by far. Out of a total of 9,736 entries, 7,699 were entered in the Wildlife/Scenic category. It’s clear that our readers truly love the wilderness and that they spend a great deal of time communing with the wonderful creatures that live there. Of all the creatures they like photographing, the leopard came up trumps outnumbering any other animal that caught their eye. And who can blame them, the leopard is truly one of the most stunning and enigmatic creatures in Africa, as well as being an incorrigible poser.

TREVOR-Cole-Ethiopia
Image of an Ethiopian girl by Trevor Cole.

People/Culture

MAG - LEADERBOARD advert - in story V2

This category had 1,329 entries, a number that doesn’t nearly reflect the incredible diversity and rich heritage of Africa’s people. Perhaps it’s because people are shy about meeting others and taking their photographs, and that photographers are more interested in wildlife than they are in people. As a person who loves spending time with people and photographing them I personally want to encourage travellers and photographers to explore African culture and try and spend more time with people along your journeys. By doing so you discover so much of what makes this continent great, like the ancient cultures of the Mursi, Hamar, Maasai, Dogong, Hadzabe, San, Touareg, Himba and many more, as well as the contemporary cultures that thrive in cities like Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Johannesburg, Kigali, Kampala and Antananarivo – all vital hubs on the way to the wild places. There are only three finalists in this category.

TRAVEL-LANDSCAPE 2
Image of a track to Botswana’s Nxai Pan by Bobby Bradley.

Travel
This category attracted just 708 images, but then it is difficult to capture the essence of travel in one image. What became clear is that the road less travelled was the subject people liked photographing best, followed by activities such as scuba diving and boating. The lack of entries gave us such slim pickings that there are only two travel finalists.

The most popular photographic destinations

thule

Most of the entries were photographed in South Africa’s wild places. The wild residents of Kruger National Park attracted more attention than any other, not surprisingly since this is the most visited national park on the continent. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park straddling South Africa and Botswana drew the next largest number of entries, and the quality of these images surpassed any other, no doubt because of the quality of the light – often golden red with dust – and the sheer beauty and diversity of the animals and landscape in this arid region. Kenya’s Maasai Mara and Tanzania’s Serengeti vied for the next most photographed spot, and Namibia’s Etosha National Park came in closely after that.

A few of the images that made us smile

The images below unfortunately didn’t make our list of finalists, but they were just too special not to share.

Ernest-porter-Walter-Sisulu-National-Botanical-Garden-Black-collared-barbet
This wonderful image of the original “Angry Bird”, a black collared barbet was taken by Ernest Porter.
Timbavati-Greater-Kruger-Christof-schoeman-and-giraffe-Markus-Eichelberg
A leopard mother and her almost fully grown cubs are a decorative addition to a pretty boring tree, a truly unique image taken by Christof Schoeman. Two male giraffes in perfect symmetry make a stunning image by Markus Eichelberg.
WF-AFR-GEO-Leaderboard-1600x300-Cheetah-Eyes_April2015
baby-hippo-Omesh-A.-Motiwall
Amazing how one of the most dangerous animals in Africa could start out being so cute.
Image by Omesh A. Motiwall.
hyena-Prelena-Soma-Owen-Elephant-Plains-Sabie
A cute hyena pup photographed by Prelena Soma Owen.
Kasungu-National-Park-Malawi-Amanda-Harwood-Caterpillar
Just when you thought the Afro was a thing of the past, this caterpillar reminded us just how groovy that getup can be.
Image by Amanda Harwood.
Lion-brothers_okavango-Logan-verwey
These lion brothers stole our heart, the one seemingly looking after his blind sibling.
Image by Logan Verwey
Maasai-Mara-Kenya-Tori-marsh
Motherhood. What more can one say.
Image by Tori Marsh.
Marion-Gohier_Chacma-Baboon-was-taken-in-the-Soutpansberg-Mountain-in-Limpopo-South-Africa
This cute little chacma baboon was photographed by Marion Gohier.
shareen-nash-elephant
This river is just over half an adult elephant deep.
Image by Shareen Nash
ShaneSaunders-Kgalagadi-Transfrontier-Park
Perhaps a little too soon to start walking.
Image by Shane Saunders.
Kalahari-near-Rooiputs-John-de-Jager
We simply love the expression on this little Cape fox’s face as it looks up at its mother.
Image by John de Jager.
Brina-Bunt-Lake-Mburo-NP-in-Uganda
What we particularly loved about this encounter is that the older girl is clutching a toy zebra.
Image by Brina Bunt.
Marina-Kugler-Namibia_Botswana_Okt.Nov_2013_329__AG
It looks like this little fella has just left the pub.
Image by Marina Kugler.

Thank you

There were so many great images that whittling 9,736 entries down to just 15 finalists was incredibly hard. But along the way we laughed, we ‘ooohed’, we ‘aaahed’ – we might have even popped a tear. It was a wonderful journey and we met some very entertaining creatures, a lot of very cute ones, we basked in the smiles of beautiful people, and were driven mad looking at the open roads you were travelling on while we were rooted to our desks. We were indeed envious of your journeys but glad you took the time to share them with us and our readers. Thank you. It reminds us all what a wonderful, unique and inspiring place Africa is.

What’s Next

On Friday 22 May we will publish the winner in each category. The following Friday 29 May we will publish the audience favourite (as determined by Facebook likes) as well as the overall winner. Click below to have a look at the finalists. Enjoy!africa-geographic-logo

 

 

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  • Faniso C Zimunya

    Oh my goodness these pictures make my day. I feel humbled and blessed to be part of this continent. I love Africa.!

  • Viccy Baker

    Amazing but now my daughter and I are in a raging controversy. Isn’t that a dead buck below the lion on the hill?

    • Anton Crone

      HI Vicci, I don’t understand which image you are referring to, or the reason for controversy. Can you be more specific?

      • StephDK

        Anton, she’s referring to the picture on the cover

        • MyKinKStar

          Do you see it StephDK?

          • StephDK

            Yes I see what she’s referring to. it’s just the way the rock’s edges & shadows are creating an animal shape

    • MyKinKStar

      I don’t see whatever you’re seeing . . .

  • Viccy Baker

    The lioness on the kopje – just below her feet there looks as if there is a dead duiker (NOT the lizard at the bottom of the picture) but my daughter says it’s just a rock formation

    • Anton Crone

      I see you are referring to one of the finalist images. It is just a rock formation.

    • StephDK

      It’s just the way the rocks are cut away & the shadows they produce make it look like a body, but it’s not.

  • Belinda Fernandez

    Lion brothers first, second baby hippo, third cute hyena – amazing expression of wonder in it’s eyes.

    • MyKinKStar

      Lion brothers for sure Belinda. I like the children walking towards the Zebra, with the one holding a stuffed Zebra in her hand too and wonder how that came about. The Hyena pup is nice, because of those toes!

  • Viccy Baker

    Thanks everyone my daughter has suggested I get my eyes tested. I accept that it’s a rock formation now. I think it’s the one that’s going to win…..

  • Louise Tyrrell

    Love them all, but miss my Cheetahs?

  • Hilda

    Three leopards in the tree, the hyena with the ‘play with me ‘ expression, the chameleon saying so you think I look funny’

  • The angry bird” image is beyond like, Ernest you did a great job here. i wonder how it was taken. @Kasun3i