Fairy-like Danube mayflies win Close-up Photographer of the Year’s “Minimal” challenge
Close-up Photographer of the Year (CUPOTY) has displayed magnificent photos over the last few years. But other than the main contest, it has special annual challenges, each featuring a different topic.
This year, CUPOTY challenged the photographers to answer the topic Minimal. This year’s winner is Hungarian photographer Ferenc Kocsis for his dreamy image of Danube mayflies in flight. Their “dance” is a very special event, possible to capture in a very short time span. And with his winning photo, Ferenc captured the magic of this unique phenomenon.
“Danube mayflies take flight sometime in August for about a week,” Ferenc explains, “flying at nightfall for only an hour or so.” This is why it’s extremely important to show up on time if you want to witness and photograph these creatures. “The larvae that live in the riverbed hatch in April and this is the final stage of their development, when they fly for the last dance of their one-year life.”
I personally found Ferenc’s photo very inspiring. I’m familiar with this phenomenon, and we call it “the blooming of the Tisza.” In the summer, Tisza mayflies swarm above the water’s surface, frequently touching it making it look like rain. The weather conditions need to be just right, and it all lasts only a few days. It’s something I’ve always wanted to witness, and Ferenc’s photo inspired me to finally do it, hopefully this year!
As for the second place, it was awarded to Canadian photographer Paul Gravett for his abstract image of carefully arranged layers of paper and acetate. “The images are layered and blended in the computer to create abstractions that reference modern art,” Paul explains. “I hope to blur the boundary of photography and art, tricking the eye and testing our assumptions about photography.”
Stefan Gerrits won third place for his image of a mountain hare sitting in a midnight snowstorm in Norway. “My goodness I was chilled to the bone, waiting for signs of life,” Stefan recalled. “Thankfully, I got lucky when this hare seemed to have goose bumps, which made its hair stand on end.”
Tracy Calder, the co-founder of CUPOTY, said that the contest asked photographers to showcase images that ate clean, uncluttered, and with few elements. “What we got was so much more,” she added. “Everything from stink bugs to springtails and plant seeds were put before the judges – each picture a beautiful example of how simplifying a scene can really amplify its message.”
The fifth Close-up Photographer of the Year is currently open for entries. The Early Bird deadline is May 31, 2023, and the final deadline for entries is July 9, 2023. So, head over to the contest’s website if you want to submit your own photos! Check out the rest of the winners below, as well as a selection of shortlists. You can check out the full gallery here.
More from Close-up Photographer of the Year
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- Picture of salamanders consumed by carnivorous plant wins 2022 Close-up Photographer of the Year
- Fairy-like Danube mayflies win Close-up Photographer of the Year’s “minimal” challenge
- How a GoPro and patience helped photographer win the Close-up Photographer of the Year 2023
© Alex Pansier | cupoty.com
Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.