The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and Nature’s Best Photography (NBP) have announced the winners of the 2022 Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards. This contest “Brings Africa to the World, and the World to Africa,” and it introduces us to diverse African wildlife through a series of stunning images.
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to most of you that Kenya’s Southern Rift Valley is hot. Really hot. A seemingly inhospitable place that just looks like a barren wasteland. But it’s not. It’s a place teeming with life. Something that photographer Will Burrard-Lucas knows all too well, having spent a great deal of time at the Shompole Wilderness Camp over the last two years.
Will learned early on in his time there that there was a vast array of wildlife. In a single night, he saw five species of cat, three species of hyena and a whole host of other smaller animals. He set up a camera trap at a small water source for a week and saw a massive array of animals visit. It was then decided to build a new watering hole, with a hide, to allow people to observe and photograph the amazing wildlife.
As a child during the 1980s, I grew up with a weekly diet of TIME magazine and the evening news. The famine in Ethiopia during the decade generated an endless stream of news filled with images of Black bodies, so much so that my entire conception of the continent was built off the tragedy of a single nation. To me, Africa was a desert wasteland of starving people – a thought conceived through photos.
Of course, Africa is hardly that. The second-largest continent with the second largest population boasts beaches, deserts, mountains, fertile farmland, pyramids, and wine country. And yet, images of abject poverty – particularly those of children – continue to perpetuate visual stereotypes of a place that inherited the racist moniker of “the dark continent” in the 19th century by Europeans seeking to justify imperialism and slave trade.
Black panthers are not only beautiful creatures, they’re also very rare. Photographer Will Burrard-Lucas was determined to photograph this amazing animal and he released his first images in 2019. But he wanted to raise his project to a new level. He combined a black panther with a starry sky in a series of photos that were a challenge to capture – but they were well worth the effort.
Africa has been on my radar for a while. Having shot around Europe, India and South America, I was up for a completely new challenge, and also for exploring a continent that in many ways was different to anywhere I’d experienced. I knew it wouldn’t be easy – I’ve heard stories from fellow photographers on how certain African countries weren’t the most camera-friendly of places, and Ethiopia was one of them. In spite of this, I still wasn’t fully prepared for the intensely challenging experience I was about to embark on.
The black panther has been one of the most iconic creatures the world has ever known. They have such beauty and power, yet are extremely rare to find in the natural world. There had been rumours that at least one was living in the Laikipia region of Kenya, but without any high-quality footage or photographs, confirming their existence was impossible.
This led British wildlife photographer, Will Burrard-Lucas on a mission to Africa, to finally capture the majestic big cat on camera in Laikipia Wilderness Camp. To do so, he used several camera traps from Camtraptions. And eventually, his patience and perseverance paid off, capturing some absolutely stunning photographs of wild black panthers.
Aerial photography gives us an entirely new perspective and a new view of the world around us. I always find it exciting to see this new perspective, and so does Australian photographer Leah Kennedy. So, she took her gear and flew over vast landscapes of Namibia in a helicopter or a small aircraft. She played with the aerial view in search of abstraction, and this has resulted in some fascinating, painting-like images.
Artificial intelligence is already used in cameras for various purposes, but Resolve and Intel have teamed up and created an AI-based camera that is used for a good cause. Their TrailGuard is a camera that helps to protect endangered species in Africa. It’s able to detect, stop, and arrest poachers before it’s too late.
A few months ago I was commissioned by a boutique safari company to travel to Tanzania and document my experience throughout my adventure. Here is WILD: Africa is Calling
Africa begins with a smell. From the moment I stepped out of the plane, I was enveloped by the strong scent of the earth.