Every year, thousands of photographers try their luck when entering the Natures Best Photography Windland Smith Rice Photographic Awards, and every year for the past five years, I have been in the mix trying my luck and entering images into the competition. Finally, after reaching the final round of judging every year since I started entering, I have cracked the nod, and have had two images accepted into the awards.
The competition is based in Washington D.C. and the gallery housed in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. It attracted twenty four thousand entries from over fifty countries, making the going quite difficult.
The two images that were accepted are both quite special to me. The first, the elephant’s trunk, is a shot I have tried to get for many years. Getting a close up shot of the trunk is surprisingly difficult for a number of reasons. The first is you have to get quite close. Elephants are large and dangerous animals, so I needed to find one that was relaxed around vehicles, allowing me to sneak a camera nice and close. Secondly, the trunk never really stops moving, so zooming in on the trunk, and trying to follow its unpredictable movements is a seriously tricky affair. Lastly, the trunk is constantly in the grass/bushes/trees, so getting it to stand out from the surroundings requires a lot of luck. After many years of trying/waiting/hoping, I got the right elephant on the right day, and it paid off.
The second image is of a small group of greater flamingos. Again tricky, but for quite different reasons. On this particular day, there were around five thousand flamingos walking through the shallow waters of the salt lake. Separating a small group from the masses was nearly impossible. Everywhere you aimed the camera there were more flamingos! Another difficulty is that they all do the same thing, all the time, so finding a new perspective or a new shot was challenging. Luckily for me, they started displaying and the shot seemed to compose itself.
It really is a great feeling to have your images accepted into such a huge competition, especially after putting in the time. Lets hope the good luck continues!