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I would like to do little write ups for each of the 1st Place winners. We are working on a "master list" of all those who places and won and will post it on a final awards page.
Shaadi Faris is the photographer who took the "Jumping Wlidebeast with Herd" shot. We have exchanged some emails and he tells me:
"I'm an amateur photographer from Vancouver, Canada. While my focus for years has been landscapes, I've travelled twice now to Africa on safari and this has inspired my love of wildlife photography. Success in your contest has helped motivate me to set up my own photography website at http://www.shaadifaris.com."
I asked him to share a little more about himself, the shot and his website. He writes:
1) I'm not a professional photographer. While it truly is my passion, I came to discover my love of photography when I was well into my 20s and had already started my career along a different path. Now I find I work in order to finance my photography! I also hope my amateur status might serve as comfort to some of your entrants who feared there was no point submitting to a contest amongst pros. I find great photography to be more than just the science of using great equipment and having the time, but something internal to the photographer that has nothing to do with whether they make their living from it.
2) With regards to this specific photo: we had spent the better part of two days moving up and down the Mara River looking for an opportunity to photography a river crossing. This had been my not so secret wish during the whole trip and for the most part was shaping up to be a massive failure. We sat and watched nervous wildebeest consider crossing and then turn away. We chased dust clouds only to arrive a few moments after the last animal crossed. It was our last full day on safari and I was feeling dejected. Our fantastic guide was resolute, however, and at one point darted off in a direction that seemed uninteresting to me. He found a small clearing and my eyes widened as several hundred anxious wildebeest lay across the river before us, snorting and shuffling towards the water. It seemed as though we weren't going to have any further luck as most of the animals started to turn away, but then one brave soul lept into the water, followed by another, and then chaos. It all took place in a matter of a few minutes, but it was a scene I will never forget. I hope this gives you an idea of my excitement that day. I still smile when I reflect back on it.
3) I shoot with a Sony system. For the shot I entered, I used my Sony A700 w/grip and the Sony 70-400G. In addition I have a small collection of Zeiss glass that I'm very much in love with.
4) My new website is Shaadi Faris' Photography Website.
Great shot Shaadi! We look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!