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