Maya Maymoni, an Israeli wildlife photographer who participated in the Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards, received a highly honored mention for the photograph she submitted.
The competition was held by the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and Nature’s Best Photography (NBP). Maymoni captured an giraffes during sunset in the middle of a thunderstorm.
Recalling the moment Maymoni said she felt that she had succeeded in photographing nature. "Its complexity is tested by stopping the motion and creating clear focus in dark conditions, as well as in its elements and composition,” she said.
“The photo captures a moment in a thunderstorm, where the lightning lit the giraffes and caused them to stop suddenly. It didn’t seem like the storm affected their behavior.”
The AWF was founded in 1961 in order to protect Africa’s natural resources, and NBP was founded in 1995 to inspire the protection of nature via photography.
Some 9,500 photos were submitted to the competition, in 13 different categories including African Wildlife Behavior, Fragile Wilderness, Art in Nature, and more.
The Grand Prize was awarded for a photo of a mountain gorilla, taken by American photographer Michelle Kranz in the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
“This amazing gorilla sat down to rest after playing with another gorilla. I took a photo of him as he stood in that pose for several moments,” Kranz said about the photo.
The first place prize in the African Wildlife Portraits category was awarded to a photo of an African lion, taken by the American photographer Russ Burden in Tanzania.
“One of my favorite locations to photograph nature is in the Ngorongoro conservation area in Tanzania, Burden said. "During a tour in the forest, we came across that lion. We waited for him to look in my direction, his eyes opened and I took this beautiful portrait,” Burden said.
The first-place award in the Coexistence and Conflict category was awarded to a photo taken by Jose Fragozo, who photographed the backside of a giraffe appearing behind a concrete wall in the Nairobi National Park in Kenya.
“In the photo, the highest terrestrial animal in the world is running between two pillars of a train track, it must’ve felt the tremors and knew they came from an incoming train,” Fragozo said.