There is nothing better than seeing our clients win big photographic awards. In 2017 we were each recognised again, but this year one of our highlights was to have another of our clients excel in a major competition.
Photographic experience is paramount if you are leading photo safaris and that’s why we endeavour to hire the best guides, and recognition comes with awards, especially if they are from leading photo competitions such as Wildlife Photographer Of The Year, European Wildlife Photographer Of The Year, and Nature’s Best.
Lakshitha Karunarathna – Grand Prize, Nature’s Best
The highest accolade this year goes to one of our clients, Lakshitha Karunarathna, for his image African Lionesses taken on our safari in March won him the overall title in Nature’s Best’s 2017 Windland Smith Rice Awards.
African Lionesses – Lakshitha Karunarathna
Last September, while on a safari in Kenya I missed about three phone calls, from an unknown number in Sri Lanka, and they were persistent too. Eventually I picked up and it was Lakshitha Karunarathna, one of our guests from our Big Cat Photo Safari last March, and very keen to speak because he had received news of winning the overall title in this year’s Nature’s Best Photographic Awards. Some of our guests have previously picked up awards, but not a big win such as this one.
“It was early morning in the Great Rift Valley as we were searching for a famous pride of lionesses with many subadults. Not even half an hour into the morning, we spotted the pride next to the road. Since it was very cold the females were piled on top of each other, forming three groups and staying close. This particular set grabbed my attention because they were staring glassy-eyed in different directions. I wanted to capture all possible details with a tight crop to make a striking black and white conversion.”
You can see more of Lakshitha’s work at his website at lakshithak.com.
Amy Shutt – Highly Honored, Nature’s Best
African Lions – Amy Shutt
Photo guide Amy was also recognised in the Nature’s Best event this year for her captivating picture of two male lions huddled together in freezing rain. I remember the encounter well, we were all virtually stranded in teeming rain, a few of our clients were able to capture some pictures, but Amy captured the one picture that I call a rare picture – a very well executed image of seldom seen encounter. I knew that when I saw the result, it would do well, and so it did.
“These brothers were shielding themselves from an afternoon rainstorm. They are two of a new coalition of young male lions currently referred to as ‘The Nomads’ who recently moved into the Maasai Mara. As the rain intensified almost everyone rolled up their windows and put their cameras away. Instead I put on a rain sleeve and draped a towel over my lens to continue photographing. I got drenched hat I m’ glad I did because I was able to capture the essence o f the relationship between these male lions. I wish people were aware just how closely bonded they can be.”
Amy has more images and workshops on her website at amyshutt.com
Richard Peters – Highly Commended, European Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Beautiful Chaos – Richard Peters
Richard was highly commended in the GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year in October, following on from his overall win in the same event in 2015. With an image taken as a guest in 2013, Richard also won the Nature’s Best’s Mammals category in the following year.
“I’m often asked what my favourite animal to photograph is. The answer is always that I’m truly more interested in the quality of the overall photo than the subject within. I often add that I’d rather a good photo of a pigeon over a standard image of something more exotic. The theory goes that the more unique and interesting a photo of a common subject is, the more memorable the photo.”
For more of Richard’s work, including gear reviews, visit his website at richardpeters.co.uk
Cheetah – David Lloyd
For myself, I was commended in Nature’s Best with a cheetah mounted on a tree, and I was also privileged to to be a part of Wildlife Photographer Of The Year again with Tiny Red Dot but of which they named The Power of the Matriarch for the event.
“This tree was the perfect lookout point for the cheetah mother. She had not eaten for a while and was searching for a meal to feed herself and her two cubs. I opted not to get too close, instead staying hack to include the shape of the tree, which proved to he the perfect prop for a photo. Over-exposing on the overcast sky provided the high key look.”
Tiny Red Dot – David Lloyd
“At dusk, in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve, I waited for the herd of elephants on their evening trek to a waterhole. As they got closer to our vehicle, I could see that the mellow light from the fast-setting sun was emphasizing every wrinkle and hair. Because I enjoy working with texture, this was a gift.”
I congratulate both Richard and Amy for their successes, but the biggest congratulations has to go to Lakshitha. It is an honour for us to have guests picking up recognition for images taken on our safaris.
On our safaris we offer guidance for taking your photography to the next level and also advice for entering photographic competitions. Our safaris as listed here. Hopefully you can be our next big winner.