NISI Filters Competition Winners

A very big congratulations to Chris Troch, Glen Bradshaw and Bertus Hanekom, who walk away the prizes in that respective order.

Images got a score from both myself and Paul Bruins as below.

  1. Composition – 10 + 10
  2. Light – 10 + 10
  3. Originality – 10 + 10 (e.g. Blouberg scored very low, a location that the judges didn’t recognise scored very high)
  4. Editing – 10 + 10
  5. Relevance to theme – 20 + 20

This earned each image a total out of 120, which we reworked to a total out of 100 to appease the OCD people. The results of the top 10 are at the bottom of the post. You will see that some images did well in a lot of the categories, but got marked down heavily for things like lack of originality or sloppy editing like curved horizons that weren’t corrected, dust spots or areas with no detail.

1st Prize – Chris Troch

We knew from first sight that this image of Giraffe in Etosha with an incredible cloudburst behind was likely to be one of the winners. It is incredibly simple and has no distractions from the main subject. The composition is fantastic, the light is amazing and most importantly – that dark curtain of rain with it’s swirls on the side absolutely screams out the theme. This image is a perfect example of where landscape and wildlife photography work in harmony to produce images that epitomise the beauty of Southern Africa and it’s dependence on rain for survival. 

Critique – We gave this image a near perfect score in all categories except the editing. We felt that the sky suffered a bit in contrast application and could have been treated more carefully.

Chris wins a NISI Filters 100mm Advance Kit to the value of R13 000.00

2nd Prize – Glen Bradshaw

This is another image that was one of the clear winners from the moment we received it. What sets it apart from so many of the other seascape entries is that there was clearly strong and conscious thought about the foreground composition. The photographer found an attractive gully in the rocks and got low enough to make it the primary feature of the image. Too many of the other images just have some very random rocky foregrounds that don’t show much care or consideration for composition. Next time you’re out shooting a seascape, think about this image and it’s strong and purposeful foreground that leads the eye towards a dramatic sky.

The incredible light in this image is no doubt a fantastic complement to the scene and that golden and milky water rushing down the gully ensured that it scored high for the relevance to the theme.

Critique – We felt that the brightest part of the sky could have had slightly more natural graduation of tones. It feels like it was excessively recovered.

Glen wins a NISI Filters 100mm Starter Kit to the value of R9 000.00

3rd Prize – Bertus Hanekom

After the top 2, there were a lot of images in very close contest when the images were being discussed, but this image of a wet dirt road in the Karoo after a big thunderstorm pulled into 3rd place on the judging system. What do we like about it? It’s a very dramatic image with incredible colour in the sky, strong lines and simple composition. The rocks in the immediate foreground are considerately spaced so as not to irritate the viewer and the road ends at a 3rd and it is perfectly balanced by that bright orange cloud top left that ends on the opposing 3rd. Do things always have to end on a 3rd? Of course not, but in this case the image was carefully composed to ensure balance.

Most importantly – this scene is something that most Southern Africans are incredibly sentimental about and fond of. Most of us know what it’s like to experience a soaking thunderstorm in a very dry area – the Petrichor, the cooling off after a hot, humid day and the knowledge of the animals and plants rejoicing in the gift from the skies.

Critique – Reflections should never be brighter than their light source, so we feel that the land should have been at least a stop darker. There is no detail in the distant reflection in the left track – part of the same problem. That being said, Paul and I both know how incredibly difficult it is to tame a sky like that, so we showed a bit of compassion with the editing score.

Bertus wins a V5 Pro Enhanced Filter holder system and any 100mm filter of his choice to the value of R6 000.00

Most Liked Image on NISI Filters Facebook Page – Niel van der Westhuizen

This striking image of a barren Theewaterskloof dam on a rainy day in the cape walked away with the second 3rd prize, also a V5 Pro Enhanced Filter Holder System and any 100mm filter to the value of R6 000.00

We would like to thank each and every person who entered and we hope that the competition motivated you to shoot more frequently and enjoy our beautiful nature. Below are the images that placed 4th-10th, but as there were several tied scores, there are more than 7 images.

We have already decided on our next competition theme, which we will announce later this year. We want to motivate people to get out and explore the unknown corners of Southern Africa, rather than just shooting the same iconic subjects over and over. Our #exploremore competition will launch in the 4th quarter of this year and hopefully we can bring even bigger prizes to the table. We have secured distribution of another incredible brand that is not available in SA, which will revolutionise the use of filter systems on ultra-wide lenses (wider than 16mm). Watch this space for exciting things to come!

Thanks again to all who entered and thanks to the talented Paul Bruins for helping with the judging. You can see his incredible portfolio here.

– Hougaard Malan 

Score Sheet (click to enlarge)

#4 – Cornelius Muller | Jonkershoek Sunset

#5 – Anne Hrabar | Plett Coastline Sunset #6 – Rob Smith | Unknown Coastline#7 – Cathy Bell | Misty Blue Seascape#8 – Jason Brown | Meisho Maru Shipwreck#8 – HD Grobler | Sunset Seascape#9 – Ivan van Niekerk | Twilight Waves + Rocks#9 – Allan Rein | Seascape with Arch

#10 – Henry Starbuck | Rock Pool + Lighthouse