Project Description

In the Sky – Nature’s Treasures Photo Competition

April 14th, 2020

This week the Wildlife Warriors Nature’s Treasures Photo Competition received 93 entries from 39 different photographers.


Sonia Varma for a stunning photograph a Ruppell’s Vulture and a juvenile White – Backed Vulture in flight with a plane in the background. Both species of vultures are critically endangered.

The judges were intrigued by the sharpness of the two vulture species. It was amazing to also capture the plane in the background. The image has a spectacular composition and was an incredible moment of a species that are the cleanup crew in the wild. You can see the eyes of the vultures and the wingspan in detail. Also, the plane in the background is very sharp.

Where did you take the photo? At Nairobi National Park

What was happening when you were taking the photo? There were lions near a kill. The kill had been over and the vultures were now feeding. During this time there were some vultures flying, coming in and taking off, so I got the shot with the plane at the background and the two vultures flying. Back when I took this photo I was very new in photography.

What camera do you use? Nikon D5300

What do you do for a living? I’m a Veterinarian. For me, it’s all about animals. If I’m not treating them I’m photographing them.

What do you love most about nature photography? Just being able to capture unexpected moments. When you are out watching wildlife you don’t know what’s going to happen. If you are there ready with your camera it doesn’t matter what you are looking at. You could just be looking at vultures and you get a nice shot like this. Expect the unexpected and if you are ready to capture that moment then you are very lucky.

Any tips for any upcoming young people interested in photographers? The most important thing is to be patient. Be persistent and practice. Lots of practice. Practice on everything. On flowers, on birds, on everything.

Have a look at more of Sonia’s work on Instagram @sonias_wildside. Congratulations Sonia. She wins Ksh 1000.


Hassan Esmail with a photo of a Lilac Breasted Roller in flight.

The Lilac Breasted Roller is the national bird of Kenya and is often recognized as one of the most beautiful birds in the world because of its striking plumage. The judges were captivated by the sharpness of the image. They also noted it is not easy to capture the roller in flight. Being able to see the full spread of the wings from almost eye level is fantastic. The light in the eye is also remarkable and credited the image as very beautiful. We spoke to Hassan about this image.

Where did you take this photo? I took it in Masai Mara 2 months ago.

What were you doing when you took the photo? I was on an attachment in Masai Mara at Keekorok Lodge. There is a guy I met who flies the air balloons. I didn’t have an equipped lens but he assisted me with his. He assigned me to document on the Lilac Breasted Roller and instructed me to take the bird whenever we see it. After a couple of days, we were lucky to find this one in particular while on an air balloon safari.

What camera did you use? Nikon D7500 with a 500mm lens. I myself have a D5600.

What do you do? I’m an ecology student at the University of Nairobi taking Wildlife Management and Conservation.

What do you love most about nature photography? In Kenya, employment is such a big deal so you need to venture into something else such as photography and be unique. Since I was on attachment as part of my course work, I thought it would be good to learn and explore photography.

Any tips for any young person interested in photography? Look at photos from professional photographers, know what you want and work towards it. Look at photos from professional photographers, know what you want and work towards it.

Congratulations Hassan. He wins Ksh 500.


Ashikoye Okoko for a beautiful photo of a dragonfly. The Judges were impressed by the sharpness of the image especially on the wings and the eyes. It’s very unusual to get a very sharp look at the underside of a dragonfly. We had a conversation with Ashikoke.

Why did you submit the photo in the theme ‘In the Sky’? It was an afterthought as I assumed the theme was about birds and the moon. I decided that since my photo has the sky in it, let me just send it and see what happens.

How did you take the photo? That branch was in a tall section of the tree. I had to bend down to take the photo.

Any tips for an upcoming photographer? When taking photos of insects you have to catalog yourself so that the insects think that you are part of the environment so that they don’t run away.

What do you like most about nature photography? It came in as a hobby which I picked up. I’m inspired by nature and like interacting with nature.

Which camera do you use? Nikon D7100.

Have a look at more of Ashikoye’s work on Instagram @oashikoye. Congratulations Ashikoye. This is his second win.

The JUNIOR CATEGORY WINNER (age 15 and below)

Shiru Ndegwa (14) whose photo of a sunrise at the beach was perfectly captured at the golden hour. The judges were impressed by the mast of the boat which mimics the clouds.

We also had a conversation with Shiru.

Where did you take this photo? In Mombasa, Bamburi Beach last year in August.

What kind of camera do you have? Canon EOS 4000

What made you submit it in the theme In The Sky? I’ve been taking photos of sunrises and sunsets for a long time. They are so beautiful. This week I was excited because I knew I had many photos. This was among my favorite ones.

Shiru is a very active member of Kijani Gang, a group of young Kenyans who use their talents and passions to conserve nature and wildlife. You can follow Kijani Gang on Twitter @KijaniG and Instagram @kijani_world.

Congratulations Shiru. This is Shiru’s 3rd win.


Shout out to Seifudin Patwa’s creative concept. The judges were impressed by the thought of taking trash and turning it into a canopy rather than recycling it and commended his two images for their creative interpretation of the theme IN THE SKY. The image with the sky reflection shows a different perspective looking at the sky from down and not up.

We spoke to Seifudin to find out what inspired him to submit his images on this week’s theme.

For the image of the sky reflecting in water: I have a trough for birds that come to drink water. I submitted the photo on the theme, “In the Sky” because the birds are in the sky so this was a connection, also in terms of the water which also ‘comes’ from the sky.

The plastic bottle canopy: From an environmental point of view, plastic pollution is at a catastrophic level now around the world and particularly in Kenya. I submitted the image which is a sun shelter at my house. It was like a message for people to reuse, re-purpose or recycle as much plastic as possible and to remove as many plastic bottles from the environment. We used plastic bottles that were in the house. We also used plastic bottles collected from the streets. I recycle 90% of my garbage and only 10% is thrown out, hence we have all this garbage for example glass bottles which I crushed and placed inside the plastic bottles. The reason for this was to make some kind of musical noise as the plastic bottle sun shelter moves and also as the sun hits the bottles this glass which are different colors creates some kind of illusion with the glass reflecting in different ways.