The 2016 Sigma D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year (APOTY) competition is now under way, and over the next few months we'll be catching up with our category winners from the 2015 competition. In this instalment, we talk to the winner of the 2015 Action category, Glenda Rees, about what she's been working on since her win last year.
D-Photo: What made you decide to enter the 2015 D-Photo Amateur Photographer of the Year competition?
I had entered the competition a couple of times previously and felt it was a great platform to showcase some of your favourite photos. There are several categories so there is at least one that would be suitable for most contestants.
What was it like to have such a positive outcome in winning the Action category?
I was very proud and excited, especially as the prize was a GoPro and I had always thought they looked very cool to play with.
Can you tell us the story behind your winning image?
I took that image in January 2015. I had discovered a large colony of black-backed gulls and a small white-fronted tern colony on the edge of it. It was surprising to find a tern colony so close to the gulls as the gulls prey on the tern chicks to feed their own young.
So when this huge gull chick found itself in the middle of the tern colony it was bombarded by the adult terns, while the tern chicks cowered into the gravel. I just thought it looked quite interesting, as the gull chick was harmless and looked like it was so bewildered by these terns all darting after it, and how it clumsily tried to make its way to the other side of the tern colony to escape the attention. I thought it fitted in the Action category.
What gear did you use to capture your image? Are you using the same gear now or have you changed your preferred equipment?
I used the Canon 7D with the Canon 100–400mm L lens. I have used that combination since I started bird photography in 2010 and continue to use it, although I would love the Mark II versions of both.
What projects are you currently working on at the moment?
Currently I am unable to get out as I broke my leg at the beginning of summer so I have been trying to use that downtime to sort and catalogue my bird images [that] I have taken in the past, and to plan my next photography projects. Just prior to my accident I had spent some time in Fiordland with Keas and Blue Ducks (both birds I love to photograph). I am just rearing to get back out in the field before winter approaches.
What inspired you to pick up a camera for the first time, and how long have you been shooting?
I became interested in nature photography following an unexpected trip to Namibia and South Africa in 2010. I found such fulfilment in trying to capture the wildlife and birds on camera. New Zealand has very little wildlife other than birds, so after my return I then set about trying to photograph as many different New Zealand birds as I could, but then I quickly discovered that ‘record’ shots no longer satisfied me. I found that if the light is right then even the most common of birds will look spectacular. Ultimately my goal is to portray birds in a more artistic fashion, however a lot of photo editing (which is something I am unfamiliar with), would be required, along with some high-end camera gear!
What would you say to someone considering entering the competition, but who are a little hesitant in clicking the ‘submit’ button?
The competition is a great way to display some of your images. It is easy to enter and also free. The prizes are really attractive and with several categories there will be at least one that should suit everyone. It is rather daunting to enter a competition where your entry is instantly seen by the public, but in this current world of social media most people are now used to posting images that can be seen by everyone. So there is nothing to lose by entering this competition.
To enter this year's competition, which is open now, click here.