And the winner is…

Jakkalsdraai female leopard and cub by Max Waugh

A staggering 201 images were submitted for the 2011 MalaMala Photographic Competition. It was no easy task to whittle down the incredible selection to a Top 10 – let alone to choose just one winner.

But after 44 days of earnest deliberation, we are tickled pink (rather apt on this “love”ly day) to present to you THE WINNER, as well as the remaining 10 OVERALL FINALISTS.

Max Waugh has walked away with the prize for his image, ‘Jakkalsdraai female leopard and cub’

From out judging panel: A very well balanced and beautiful image in respect of composition, colour, angle and texture.  The shallow depth of field is integral in separating the foreground foliage and background foliage from the leopards, and more importantly, allowing the eyes of the baby leopard to remain the focal point. The out-of-focus mother behind the cub fills as a supportive element to the whole feel of the image.  The twigs and leaves, also slightly out of focus, add even more depth. The sum total is an image that allows the eye to wander around, but always draws it back to the gorgeous little cub as the heart of the scene.

We simply had to give credit to a number of other entries which made it to the Top 10 (although we would have really liked to include more). Here they are folks.

SECOND : Andy Goodman – Styx lioness and cubs

Styx lioness and cubs by Andy Goodman

A very well composed and well balanced image creating a captivating mood, with a good use of sepia tone. A great use of depth of field brings attention to the eye of the mother, the main focal point of the picture. This picture has a gorgeous look, excellent pose and beautiful processing resulting in a lovely tone and mood.

THIRD : Lee Slabber – Parrot

Parrot by Lee Slabber

A very well composed photograph. Bird photography requires a great deal of patience and capturing an image like this is no easy feat. The simplicity of this photograph with its vertical and diagonal lines, along with the bold and striking colours on the bird enhanced by the late afternoon light make this image first class. Parrots are fast fliers, so to capture this would require a high level of anticipation, along with correct camera positioning and absolutely perfect timing.

FOURTH : Lee Slabber –Lion

Lion by Lee Slabber

A very well composed image and great use of side lighting to create a dramatic feel, with texture and depth. The play of light through the grass and onto the face of the lion, with deepened shadows behind the animal make this picture even more powerful, enhanced by the stark contrast of yellow and black.  The detailed whiskers and sharp eye are the focal points of this image.


Andy Goodman – Elephants

Elephants by Andy Goodman

A great use of vertical and diagonal lines. The shallow depth of field also separates the subject from the background. A well presented crop allows eyes to remain fixed on the elephants. This is a really beautiful interaction, and is a good example of portrait mode. The blue in the background also lends a lovely hue to the scene.

Martin Joffe – Waterbuck

Waterbuck by Martin Joffe

A perfect portrait, with a lovely pose and a clean background. This well composed image taken from a low angle and using simple composition rules makes the male waterbuck appear dominant, and almost regal.

Carrie Thurman – Dwarf mongoose

Dwarf mongoose by Carrie Thurman

A wonderful image of these fascinating animals, with a decent composition. This picture is big on the “cute and comical” factor with the mongooses all peering out of their den. It could have been further enhanced with a tighter crop.

Chris Prestegard – Daughter of the Kikilezi female leopard

Daughter of the Kikilezi female leopard by Chris Prestegard

A gorgeous picture with great colour saturation, good balance and a good play on horizontal lines. The shallow depth of field separating the leopard from its background allow for the animal to become very pronounced and vivid. This is a picture that everyone wants, and with the mopane colours is a great, clean image.

Jennifer Martin – Giraffe necking

Giraffe necking by Jennifer Martin

An unusual photograph which plays on the diagonals and verticals and allows the eye to explore the entire image. A tight crop has allowed most of the image to be filled with the giraffe, and hence has added a hint of clever confusion to the image. The author went in tight for the eye image, and pulled it off.

Nick Rabjohn – Leopard on log

Leopard on log by Nick Rabjohn

A very well composed image with a good use of diagonal lines. There is a great colour saturation, with a unique combination of the yellow fungus and the leopards coat. The leopard is in perfect focus and the overall composition is beautifully enhanced with the curling of the leopards tail. The leopard is cropped a bit tight, and the vignetting tightens it even more, but this is a beautiful scene.

Max Waugh – Jakkalsdraai female leopard and cub

Jakkalsdraai female leopard and cub by Max Waugh

The wide eyes of the female leopard are the main focal point of this image. There is a great use of depth of field to hold the viewer in the leopard’s eye, however the poor lighting conditions have not allowed for any good colour saturation. This is a very rare sighting. The photographer could have zoomed out a bit more to show more of cub, but the overall impact is still very strong.

Congratulations from The MalaMala Team

32 thoughts on “And the winner is…

  1. Congratulations to all the winners with such stunning photos! Surely must make anyone want to rush off to have an awesome safari at MalaMala Reserve.

  2. oh my gosh–these were amazing
    we had a wonderful time when we visited
    and now i can not wait to go back
    to your beautiful reserve
    thank you for sharing these photos
    keep us on the e-mailing list
    lori dolley

  3. Some amazing shots that showcase the reason why MalaMala is the wildlife photographers dream destination!

  4. Thank you so much for the beautiful pictures. The photos are extra ordinary and i’m absolutely impressed!!!
    I’m looking forward to staying in Mala Mala in 2013!!
    Best regards, Gabriele

  5. Hi Gabriele. It’s such a pleasure! Glad you enjoyed them. We’re looking forward to seeing you next year! 😉

  6. OMG these photos are amazing!!!!!!! I love the both ones that have the leopard and the cub. I came 2011 and it was AMAZING. If you are going you are REALLY lucky.

    Ps. Tell Yankoo, (am i spelling that right) that he was an amazing guide and I really miss Mala Mala!!!!!!!

  7. WOW!! that is my first response! Now I can go back and look at each and every one–and admire the beauty in each of these amazing creatures! Each in their own way such a wonder of nature! I am so fortunate to be able to see these images–thank goodness the wildlife is still there so we can share in it!

  8. Thank you Violette! Our sole objective is to provide valuable information, so if anyone has any suggestions as to how we could improve – we welcome them.

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